Thank you for your submission.
While we are not interested in this particular piece,
if you have work that is closer in style
to the audacious prose of our client, Norman Mailer,
we would like to read it.
(A hint: Fewer knitting circle scenes.)
Thank you for your manuscript.
Unlike our client, Norman Mailer, you have not mastered
The art of writing as though every word
Comes from the gut, where also resides
At least seven tumblers of premium-label Scotch.
When you have written something like
The Naked and the Dead
Get back to us.
Thank you for allowing us
The dubious privilege of reading
Your novel, A Shade of Dolorous Pink
Like That Found on the Breasts of Mourning Doves.
It made us glad
That our client, Norman Mailer,
Does not read submissions.
For surely he would wish most fervently
To hunt down the doves of which you write
And break their necks with great deliberation.
(He could do it, too.
He is a burly man, but nimble.)
Your manuscript, The Coroner’s Philtrum,
Made us stare out at the grid of city lights
And think, Has the human race
Come so far only to produce
This infected intestine?
You may want to consider
Watching more boxing matches,
As does our client, Norman Mailer.
(The lead critic at the New York Times
Described his prose as “muscular.”)
Thank you for your collection of short stories
Upon which our client, Norman Mailer, would piss contemptuously
And possibly then stab you with a butterknife
Even while still zipping back up.
His is a talent one can only call monstrous
Which is why he would be able
To multitask thus.
Henceforth, when you think of publishing,
Please do not think of us.
Photo by Poryorick
This piece provoked me to laughter. Congrats on catching the elusive snottiness of cookie-cutter rejection. Cool!
What a great piece…evoking many memories of my own rejections… and making me laugh my ass off (especially at the point of the butterknife). Well done! You tell ’em!
Thanks, y’all. Believe it or not, this was based on a true story a friend of mine told me about working the slush pile at Mailer’s old publisher — in the form notes they sent, they liked to remind groveling would-be novelists that not only were they rejected, it was by the Great Man’s publishers. Awful. Glad it wasn’t my job! 🙂