Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sylvia Does Not Take Rejection Very Lightly

By Anne Sullivan

A cold morning in August. I shivered when I went out to feed Sylvia and Gordo. As I opened the door a scream left my throat when I almost stepped on a huge chewed-upon rat stretched out on the porch.
It must have been Gordo. Sylvia had never been that homicidal.
Sure enough, Gordo was sitting up in his bed looking as pleased as Punch.
“Thank you for the nice rat, Gordo,” I said, whereupon Gordo bowed and smiled.
“You got in late last night,” Sylvia said between bites of fresh kibble. “Where were you?”
“I went to Socorro and I had a lot of errands to do and meals to eat. Oh, and by the way, there’s a letter for you.”
“Where?” Sylvia stopped eating. “You should have woken me up. I’ll bet it’s from my publisher.”
“It probably is. You don’t exactly have an extensive correspondence. Do you want me to open it for you or would you rather chew on the envelope?”
“Open it. Quick, quick! I want to know when they’re going to publish my book.”
I ripped open the envelope, handed the typed letter to Sylvia and went into the house to start my breakfast which involved turning the electric kettle on and popping the poppy seed bagel into the toaster.
I was slicing my bagel when I heard another agonized scream. Thinking that Gordo might have bombarded the porch with a bevy of dead rats, I ran outside.
I found Sylvia weeping and wailing and waving her letter up and down.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” I asked as I rushed over to her.
“It’s… it’s… my book… sob… they don’t want it… they’re going to…sob…throw it out if I don’t…I don’t send return postage… I’ve… I’ve… been rejected!”
“You haven’t been rejected. Your book has. You can’t take this personally.”
“How can I not take this personally? This book is my life’s blood. The child of my loins. And it’s rejected!” A waterfall of tears poured down her face and onto the porch where they formed a neat puddle which Gordo, thinking it was for him, immediately drank from.
“What does the letter say?” Sylvia being too stunned to answer, I detached the letter from her paws and read it.
And this is what it said:
Dear Sylvia Sullivan,
We are in receipt of your manuscript entitled JUST MURDER. We do not publish short stories. We would like to return it to you but you have not enclosed a SASE.
If we have not received a SASE by the end of this month, we will be forced to destroy it.
Most sincerely, A&B Publish-ing
“They’re going to destroy my precious child, the murderers,” Sylvia cried between gnashed teeth. “Those publishers have no vision. My book could make them millions. I’ll bet they never even read my manuscript. What’s an SASE?”
“That’s a self addressed stamped envelope. You’re requir-ed to send one with every submission.”
“How was I supposed to know that?”
“That information should have been in the publisher’s guidelines. Didn’t you read them?”
“I did, but I didn’t think they applied to me.”
“How did you choose the publisher to send your manuscript to anyway?”
“It was the very first one listed in that old copy of the Writer’s Guide you bought in 1995, back when you thought you could write.”
Swallowing her insult, I quelled her tears and panic by saying, “I tell you what, I’ll advance you the money for the postage so you can get your manuscript back.”
“Thank you,” she sniffed. “But what will I do then? I must get it published.”
(Continued Next Week)

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