Fortune’s Vomit

Fortune vomits on my eiderdown once more, as Edmund Blackadder once observed: today I got a rejection from a magazine I’d sent a story to, along with the story in my self-addressed envelopes.  I hate the sight of these envelopes coming through the post: at least when you email something and don’t get a reply you can imagine they’re still thinking about your story and that a committee somewhere is passing it round and discussing its merits.  There was a rejection slip in with the story, and someone had scribbled a note on it.  ‘Oh,’ I thought, ‘maybe they want to say how much they regret not being able to publish my story and wish me luck for the future.’  Not a bit of it.  It was a rather rude and patronising note advising me to do some research before I send stories out, to attach a covering letter and to use the name of the editor.

Now, I can only assume that the covering letter got detached from the story before this person read it; because I always attach a covering letter when I post stuff out; plus if the name of the editor was out there, why wouldn’t I use it?  I do all the research I am able to do; looking at listings and seeing what the requirements of the magazine are.  But – and here’s the rub – I can’t afford to subscribe to all the magazines I might want to submit to, so what am I supposed to do?

I thought the tone of the writer was rather rude and patronising and I’m tempted to reply with a little note of my own, thus:

Dear Person from ____ Magazine

I would advise you to reflect a little before you send out rejection slips.  Are you sure there wasn’t a covering letter?  These things can so easily get detached.  And before you criticise a writer for not studying your magazine, please reflect that magazines cost money and most struggling writers can’t afford subscriptions.

I would address this note to you personally but I don’t know your name.


Sarada Gray (age 57 3/4)

Off now to clear up fortune’s vomit.

Kirk out

PS  It occurs to me that I actually AM 57 3/4!