I had to chuckle. Okay, maybe it was more of a snarl. But it was some form of an amused sound I made when I read The Massachusetts Review's rejection of my submission:
Though your work has been declined by our editors, we thank you for allowing us to consider it.
The Editors of The Massachusetts Review
I was struck by a couple of things: the anonymity of the rejection, of course. But also by how that anonymity was somehow amplified by the inconsistent logic in the use of the upper and lower case. I mean, I never think of myself as a Writer. But if I did think of myself that way, I'd think that what I wrote was Work. And--no offense, I don't think of the editors of The Massachusetts Review as Editors, either, but as people who have names. Same as I have. A name, not an upper case letter appended to what I or they may or may not be.
Anyway, it's nothing personal about Massachusetts, the state (or should I say The State?) to which I one day hope to emigrate in order to cleave more closely to the shore (and ironically, the story I submitted to them was one set on Massachusetts' brilliant Cape Ann). It's just that the irony of such an impersonal rejection was in stark contrast to the warm acceptance I got for a story which will be forthcoming this fall in the print edition of Prick of the Spindle journal. I had an earlier piece in the September, '09 online edition of that magazine, which you can see athttp://www.prickofthespindle.com/pages/vol.3.3/nonfiction_reviews.htm. It's called "Lent."
Okay, no hard feelings, dear Editors of The Massachusetts Review (or maybe a tiny few) and just to prove that I'm going to quote, as a paean to the Bay State, from a Felicia Hemans' poem I used to recite as a child (strange child!) at the drop of a hat for any occasion. My family didn't like it, but I was a Pilgrim to my core:
The Landing of the Pilgrims
The breaking waves dashed high
on a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
their giant branches tossed.
And the heavy night hung dark
the hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
on the wild New England shore.
(Just imagine all the nouns and adjectives you could turn into Words of Substance in this little snippet of the poem.)
And don't forget to check out Prick of the Spindle!