As The Passive Voice points out, nothing can ruin one’s day faster than receiving the dreaded rejection letter. Nothing, that is, except for receiving the standard form rejection letter, a lifeless kick to the guts aimed en masse at a pool of unsuitables who are, it would seem, undeserving of a personal shove.

To find a standard form rejection letter worth mentioning, then, is quite a task, but not impossible: here is the finest of examples, written and sometimes sent by Brian Doyle, current editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine.

I’m so sorry…

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Remington Steele the parakeet is prepared for surgery at the Animal Medical Center, NYC (from Letters of Note)

“Thank you for your lovely and thoughtful submission to the magazine, which we are afraid we are going to have to decline, for all sorts of reasons.

The weather is dreary, our backs hurt, we have seen too many cats today and – as you know – cats are why God invented handguns, there is a sweet incoherence and self-absorption in your piece that we find alluring but we have published far too many of same in recent years mostly authored by the undersigned, did we mention the moist melancholy of the weather, our marriages are unkempt and disgruntled, our children surly and crammed to the gills with a sense of entitlement that you wonder how they will ever make their way in the world, we spent far too much money recently on silly graphic design and now must slash the storytelling budget, our insurance bills have gone up precipitously, the women’s basketball team has no rebounders, an aunt of ours needs a seventh new hip, the shimmer of hope that was the national zeitgeist looks to be nursing a whopper of a black eye, and someone left the toilet roll thing empty again, without the slightest consideration for who pays for things like that.

And there were wet towels on the floor. And the parakeet has a goiter. And the dog barfed up crayons.

Please feel free to send us anything you think would fit these pages, and thank you for considering our magazine for your work. It’s an honor.

–Editors”


Poor Editors. With so much going wrong in Portland, one wonders how they ever find the time to publish a magazine. Many thanks to Letters of Note for the tip!

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