Friday, 27 April 2012

My Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

OK, here’s the skinny. I submitted my story ‘A Florescence of Gerhards’ to you last year. You respond several months later with heavy edits, expressing a promising interest to bring the story to publication. I rewrite various sections of the story based on vague impressions of the sort of end you have in mind, enjoying the healthy and rare dialogue between writer/editor. Communication is shaky from then on as I send you my latest edits and suggestions, and you refer me to a co-editor. Said co-editor speaks to me once, claiming to have read my edits, and will return with her own edits soon, once she unpacks her luggage or such and such in her NYC basement loft or somewhere. Silence reigns for a long time. I assume the journal has bitten the dust. Eventually, you reply explaining all sorts of internal conflict, and profess you have lost the ability to be neutral on my story, the subtext being ‘I am thoroughly fed up of this piece and would like to move on.’ Being a reasonable sort of fellow, you extend an olive branch and ask me to submit another story for your latest issue, ‘Maggie’s Setlist,’ which I summarily send, having a matching story available. I take this gesture as genuine, being a naive sort of chap. You promise me a response ‘within the week,’ and I send an enquiring email, asking for that response two weeks later. I then send another email asking for a response to the non-response a month later, to which I have still to receive a response. So here we are. One disgruntled writer seeks mumbling apologies from unresponsive editor. Is this how one runs an effective, healthy, writer-loving literary journal of cutting-edge prose? Or is this another example of the excruciating dead-air snub that writers have come to hold so dear in their professional lives? I have published quite a few stories now in my (young) writing career, so it’s not as if I’m desperate to see my piece in print, and hey, chances are my piece won't "meet your needs" at this specific time. But when you open up a dialogue with someone in a friendly way, you enter into a social contract with the person that requires courtesy, courtesy, and, uh, a response. Any response. This year.

If this email receives no response I will come to the Bellow offices and put moonshine in your gravy.

Love and kisses,

MJ Nicholls

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