Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Rejection Letters: Should They Sting and Burn?

For those of us who are writers, it's hard not to take a rejection letter from an agent or editor personally—especially early in the process, when each word of a simple form rejection can feel like bee stings, BBs in the buttocks, or hot acid. And it's difficult indeed to see querying, and the inevitable rejections that come with it, as the subjective process it is.

Let's imagine then, for a moment, that rejection letters were par for the course in other very subjective contexts. Would you still take them personally? Would they still sting and burn? Does rejection stink no matter how it's served? Or are we sometimes wearing puce-tinted glasses? I wonder. Let's see:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lugnutz,
Thank you for the opportunity to tour your lovely home at last Sunday's open house. While we admired the billiards room and the wet bar in the master bedroom, we're afraid to say that we just didn't quite fall in love. We're looking for something very specific, you see: A home in which we can raise our pet ferrets in a hutch in the backyard. Upon measurement, your backyard—while filled with fragrant spring flowers and that pleasant tinkling fountain—just doesn't have the correct contours for our needs. We hope that you find a buyer who will bestow upon your house as much love as you have clearly put into it.
Misty and Hugh Greenteeth

Dear Sadie-Lou,
I enjoyed our blind date on Saturday. You are clearly a personable young lady, with many charms. Among them are your very voluptuous rump and your extremely advantageous bosom. Despite these assets, I just didn't feel the chemistry required to see you a second time. You deserve a man who will want to ravish you at each and every opportunity, and for a reason I cannot fathom (and at times excoriate myself for, for you are a hot number), I am not that man. I wish you the best of luck in finding love elsewhere.
Bobo Bunface

Dear Freckles, Sassy, Jiminy, and Bobo,
Thanks for the opportunity to consider each one of you to be my new puppy. I enjoyed your boundless enthusiasm and the spittle that flew from your tongues. Unfortunately, I may choose only one puppy whose poop I wish to scoop during endless walks, and that will grow old with me by the fireside. When I saw little Spot—plain and piebald though he was—my heart jumped, for I sensed a kindred spirit. I know your angry little hearts are burning with jealousy and rage now, little pups, but you want an owner who will be true to you through all. Trust me, you will find someone who loves you. Yes, even you, Freckles, with that bum leg and that wandering eye...for perhaps you will try harder to beat the field than any of them.
Orphraim Zizzlewat

Funny, I set out to prove a point here. But I'm still feeling a wee bit sad for the Lugnutz couple, Sadie-Lou, and the little Lumpen puppy Freckles. I hope they keep their chins up. I think that they will.


Anita said...

Nobody looks at things like you do, Jenny! GREAT post!! I'm tweeting it tomorrow. ;)

And like you, I'm sad for the puppies. Sniff. I have to say, that out of all of these rejection letters, the only one that didn't sting was the first. Maybe because the home wasn't actually PART of the said rejectee(s), so the rejection was less personal. Hmmm.

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...


:( Kinda laughed at this...

Jenny Phresh said...

Aurora, ha! My grandfather used to rudely call a boyfriend of my mom's "Bobo Bunface" and I had to use it somewhere.

Anita, thanks for the Tweet! Really good point you made. Didn't think of it that way at first, but our books are kind of like "us." Part of us.

The Rake said...

Brilliant! I am and have been Bobo Bunface many a time!

Angela said...

As usual, you've outdone yourself ;o) You totally nailed the "voice" of a rejection letter (all the "whiles" "despites" and "unfortunately's"). LOL! Well done, my friend :o)

cherie said...

LOL! Loved this. I agree with Anita--the first one wasn't much of a sting because it wasn't nearly as personal as say, being rejected by a date, or the puppies (I'm not a dog person because of allergies, but even I wanted to find all of them a home).

chris said...

o, pony: i hope you have taken the letters and used them as kindling for a fine fire to warm wet toes.

A stand-in, if you will, for the idiot and thick-skulled bauble heads of the rejectors!