‘I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.’ – Sylvia Plath
Rejection is a painful reality but why not have a little fun with it, so I decided to rewrite rejection letters as vignettes. Please enjoy my missed connections with literary agents.
You were my ideal, flawed yet perfect. I imagined you read Zadie Smith, Lydia Davis, and Sylvia Plath. When you requested my full manuscript, I was astonished, you were a ‘super-agent’. I was convinced you would fall in love with every page.
I began to worry after three weeks of silence. Weeks passed into months, were you even a possibility? Then one day, you said my writing had a ‘mythical cadence’ that you admired. You paused. It was one moment of hesitation. You weren’t fully connecting with the larger narrative and couldn’t explain why. It became one of those haunting mysteries. I wondered what might have happened if you had looked one more time, if circumstances had been different, would you have represented me? You blamed yourself, a hectic move and so much on your plate hadn’t allowed you to read my manuscript with clear eyes. If only you had looked again. I blamed myself… you were too perfect.
You were a hipster. The burly beard was a giveaway, but you never tried to conceal it. You lived in Brooklyn and read Infinite Jest on the train (or pretended to) as passengers admired your literary taste. I wanted to ignore you for your pretentious ways, but my friend insisted I query you. Three days passed. You hadn’t responded. I assumed you were drinking craft beer in Williamsburg. Then came the rejection letter. I was relieved. Hipsters confuse me.
I saw you at a lawn party. You were talking to a group of friends about Kandinsky. We were standing in a sea of madras that could have easily been a Pollack painting. My friend introduced us and we chatted, briefly. You offered to read my manuscript. I was sure you would love the main character. It all seemed so perfect. Only you were searching for the literary equivalent of Sacchi. I don’t think of what might have been.
You used the prefix Mr. to address me and I forgot to correct you when I sent my partial manuscript. Three weeks later, you asked for the full manuscript. You used the prefix Mr. again, this time it amused me, but sadly, we weren’t meant to be.