Tuesday, January 10, 2012


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in pursuit of publication must bear a lot of rejection.

And that is all right, because we know that great, very good, pretty good and not so good writers have all gotten rejections. The one thing certain is that rejection does not make you special: not especially good, or (gulp) especially unworthy either.

So the other day I got a rejection from a periodical to a non-fiction article I submitted. It was a long shot, not only because I rarely write and never submit those, but because, well, any submission is a long shot. No biggy.

But the friendly editor sort of gushed about my article, the one she was also rejecting, and ended her letter with an emphatic invitation to see more from me. Her tone was not only friendly, but included a cute pun.

Not having another non-fiction article in my arsenal, but wishing to show appreciation for the warm and jest-full response, I replied with a ‘Thank You' and this off the cuff ditty:

I wasn’t kidding                

When I said

I have objection

To rejection.

The most forbidding,

Which I dread,

Shout interjection

Of affection.

So if you’re going to tell me ‘NO,’

Please do not sign, “I liked it so.”

Which I thought was the end of that, unless and until I think of something else to write which may be a good fit for her periodical.

A week later I got a note from her, saying the poem did not work for her, so she regretfully must reject it.

Now I do feel special. I’m one in the distinct group whose response to a rejection got a rejection.

Any and all marvelous rejection stories welcome-


  1. Boy, you should submit this to the Bulletin ... it'll cheer us all.

    I have no cute rejection stories. But the ones that come close to acceptance hurt the most.

  2. Ha! That's very funny -- good for you, way to keep things in perspective.

  3. Okay, here's mine:
    A few years ago an agent told me my BEDTIME pb was lovely, but "too quiet." Yeah, I get it, but it still cracks me up.

  4. This isn't me (obviously), and I may not get it exactly right, but legend has it that one of Fred Astaire's early auditions earned him these comments when he was rejected: "Can't act. Can't sing. Can dance a little."

  5. LOL. I'm sorry you were rejected twice, but at least you have a funny story to tell.

  6. Mirka,

    Your perspective always helps me and you bring humor to my life!

  7. I had an editor phone me out of the blue. He went on and on about how he liked a short story I'd written, then he rejected it.

    About six months later, I found out he was retiring and leaving the magazine.

    However, I did eventually sell him a story for an anthology.

  8. Could something like this work for the SCBWI bulletin? They publish those humorous little poems lately.

    LOL -- my word veri: macia

  9. Great little story to help us keep rejections in perspective.

  10. ^That’s two votes now for the Bulletin… Hey, Bulletin, what do you think?

  11. I'll make it a third. Yes, definitely you should try the Bulletin. It's a fun story. And you were very clever to respond to the initial rejection the way you did.

  12. Very funny poem and story! I can't believe she thought it was a submission!

  13. What a great spin on the agony of rejection! I'm impressed with the quality of the off-the-cuff composition too. Send it in to the journal!

  14. Mirka,

    Ooops, I forgot I was supposed to let you know that I'd given you an award on my blog. How fun that you just stumbled upon it! And thanks again for being such a faithful commenter. =)

  15. Ha! Cute poem. How funny that it got rejected. Could have been an overeager assistant, I guess. Definitely try the SCBWI Bulletin!

  16. I've got a whole slew of rejection poems that I'd love to publish some day with other writers' rejection poems. Even if there isn't a market for such poems, I'll bet they'd help a few others on this road stay sane. Please hang on to that one!

    Nothing clever to add here; though I've got my fair share of rejection stories, none of them are as entertaining as yours. But I LOVE skywriter's 'too quiet' story. As the mother of hyper-insomniacs, I could have used a quiet bedtime story.

  17. I can just see it, Mary: REJECTION POEMS By Rejected Writers. If you want to organize the project, I hereby submit mine…

  18. Mirka,
    Sorry about the rejection, glad you at least got a good story out of it.
    I may be jumping back into the slush pile as things are a little up in the air at my publishers. The owner passed away last summer at age 93. Still waiting to hear what his wife plans to do.
    So once I'm ready to submit my finished book, I'll keep your story in mind as the rejection letters start pouring in!!

    take care

  19. That made me laugh. And cringe... all at the same time! I have replied to rejections before and it was out of pure reaction. You know, that "you kicked me in the gut but didn't know it so I had to tell you" type of reaction. Your poem was much cuter than anything I've responded with, though!

  20. I never respond to rejections. But this was a Thank You note for the gushing invitation to submit again, when I didn't have the right material to offer. Maybe it wasn't as cute as I thought...

  21. Rejection make you inspired and challenged to be best writer!!:)