Dear Editor, thank you for your rejection. We get many rejections and cannot respond to each one personally. We wish you the worst in all your attempts to keep your so-called “journal” or publishing vehicle in existence. May you and your “editorial staff” rot in hell.
Who do you think you are to reject us? Do you know who we are? Do you know how many rejections (fill in the blank) we have received of this potential classic of world literature (fill in the blanks but it could be something like Fyodor Tolstoy’s “Crime and Peace” or Joseph Conrad’s “Fart of Harkness”)? Look at your table of contents while you’re at it. It’s all soup du jour.
You will of course ask why are we are knocking on your door if we’re so disdainful of the kind of pieces you publish. Why? Damn straight! Because we never read any of the magazines we submit to anyway (even if we are subscribers), despite the frequent admonition to read their stories and poems before submitting to see what they’re looking for (of course this is an insult since we know what we like; we could care less what they’re “looking for”).
BTW we’re going to be so glad when our subscription runs out and we start receiving those dire warnings — “Your subscription is about to expire” — followed by threats that it’s expiring and finally pleas and discounts that are supposed to lure us back and make up for the pain of all the rejections we have received. Even though all these are computer generated, we get a secret thrill from doing to your direct mail program what you’ve done to us. A rejection for a rejection! A tooth for a tooth. How do you like it when nobody gets back to you? Or when after the 50th reminder someone like us writes back “Please stop sending me these notices”? How do you like having your emails blocked? Touché!
You’re going to say, “You sound very angry,” in a soft therapeutic tone, but don’t try to pull any head trips on us! BTW, we’re not angry, we’re enraged, primal scream-level fury. It’s like putting a Kalashnikov in the hands of a Raskolnikov. It will be a duel out of a 19th-century novel, only it will simply be us shooting ourselves in the foot before said foot gets caught in our mouth.
Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. We don’t do binary numbers! This is code but you can exhume Alan Turing if you need to encrypt. Get my drift? What about the form letter rejecting the rejection of the rejection? Or the rejection of the rejection of the rejection to the umpteenth power to Kepler stars, 1,200 light-years from Earth and on to oblivion? What about an infinite progress of rejections each responding mechanically to the one before by the square root of 2 or pi? Will SpaceX handle this cargo? Or the Chinese? Will there be a landing on Mars, with the rover carrying digital files of rejections that will then be shot off until they reach the event horizon of that celebrity black hole Messier 87? Huh? Enter your user name and password. Check the box if you want to save them or check never!
Emergency Room, Bellevue Hospital, 462 First Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016. Dear Doctor (fill in blank): Mother died yesterday, or maybe today. I can’t be sure, which may sound strange! We would like to submit a humorous short story, a thinly veiled autobiographical work dealing with the absurdity of our life and existence in general. Don’t be “Nose”-y or mention the name Gogol or William Kentridge within 500 feet of a fire hydrant. Since you are an old-fashioned hospital, we’re enclosing an S.A.S.E. or what Albert Camus would have called an envelope pré-affranchie.
We have titled this piece “DSM-5” and it deals with bipolar and borderline disorders as they manifest in a freelance writer who, in the course of trying to find their voice, ends up hearing voices. Thanking you in advance for your consideration and ultimate rejection of this piece.
Alfred Jarry (a.k.a. F.)
Francis Levy is a Wainscott resident. An animated version of his novel “Erotomania: A Romance” has just been completed and its trailer can be found on YouTube by searching for “Francis Levy Erotomania.”