Tag: Letter

Rejection Letters of 2018

The following is a record of the rejection letters for my prose and poetry that I received in 2018. This is a total account; my embarrassing 2-3 rejections per month are a living, working reality. I’ve cut greetings (hello, dear writer, etc.), story titles, and editor names for some mixture of brevity and privacy.


Fiction — “To Dr. Sterling pertaining his Artist”

Dear Dr. Sterling,

I have a complaint about your advice column, but it’s not about your advice specifically. In fact, I was delighted by your response to my letter on how I should deal with my husband [see Issue 8, 2016]. I was afraid our problems would lead to the dissolution of an unhappy marriage, but ever since I began to act the compliant, chirpy wife, per your suggestion, we not only get along better, but we make decisions quicker.

No, my complaint is about the artwork you feature inside your column, which does not reflect the tone of your advice.

You may need to speak to your artist, Ms. Josie Aurelio, about her visual direction. For example, in your response to my letter, Ms. Aurelio created a diorama (the images constructed out of magazine cuttings) depicting a nude Barbie doll in a wheelchair, her head cut open with a pink, gummy brain floating above her. Jumper cables connect the brain to a 2017 Jeep Wrangler (snipped from a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ad), in the driver’s seat of which sits a Ken doll, who I can only infer is revving the engine. I found this image to be disturbing and insulting and possibly misandristic. Would you have a talk with the young lady?

Victoria Greene

* * *

Dear Dr. Sterling

Again, I have good and bad news.


Rejection Letters from 2016

In the interest of clearing out my Rejects Page (which is in the menu above) to leave space for a new slew of letters, I’m posting my prose and poetry rejections before 2017. Consider it much needed spring cleaning.

Read if you’re in need of emotional support— the kind that only a little schadenfreude can provide.


A letter from Barbados to my friend, Stilgard the Warren-hearted

Greetings my astute and totally manly companion,

As I sit on this quite comfortable and well-cushioned lounge chair in my villa’s mezzanine, overlooking a salmonella sea that’s almost lapping against my toes, it’s difficult to retain a humble and God-seeking perspective. Luckily, my humility is about the size of a very small planet. And again, less luck and more awesomeness, it’s difficult to lower my gaze from the sublime and write this note. But by some astrological direction, although more perhaps due to the tenebrific nature of the setting sun, which darkens my tapestry, I will peruse your person for grammatical errors. And write.

Pertaining my drinking habits (and I do say habits deliberately), there’s a Stygian sting to your condemnation. Mountebank! Marauder! You… dare I say it? Friend. I have been at the drink, indeed. However, do not fret! I am Charles Bukowski only in spirit, not through spirits. I am Lord Byron only in sexcapades. I am Sir Francis Richard Burton only in my ability to speak to animals when intoxicated.

Buffoonery aside, I do do (ha!) want to speak to you at some point. Perhaps by dint of Skype, or Facebook, or auxiliary technology. Ad interim, letters will suffice. There’s a cough of Kafka in all of this, which arouses me. I await correspondence from my chums of old. Be wary of venereal warts.

Most ungratefully,

Desmond White

In an effort to keep a lecturer at UCSB, we presented and recited this scroll to the Dean of Creative Studies

 To the Good Queen’s Kingdom of Creative Studies:
Us groundlings have been waiting. We go to class in good faith; we sit on the lawn and watch the trees grow – in good faith. We sit on the OLT benches, burning cigarettes, compose. We wield plastic hammers at the gods of poetry – in good faith. We’re waiting for the CCS trees to scrape the sky, but in the meantime, we’ve learned to read–and we’ve cultivated intellectual fleas that quiz us incessantly as we bathe in the dust. We’ve watched our rags unravel in the scorched late afternoon sun – until now, this moment, when the prayers we never knew we had were answered. All this time we’ve had our ears pressed to the ground, and finally, we heard the news:


Us groundlings have a proposition.

In the name of Love–for knowledge, literature, and the dear and wonderful college as a whole–we express our joy and gratitude to Rob Wallace–a bright new liberating philosophical king of the classroom–and nominate him to fill the void.

Rob is a rare and noble spirit. He is so intent, so solid, so dedicated to the protection and integrity of the mind–as well as that which lies beyond. To Us groundlings, it seems as if many scholars these days have disembodied heads–their love for knowledge is for knowledge alone and serves little purpose in the world. They’re archaeologists so obsessed with cobwebs that they’ve forgotten about the spider which hangs above them.

Rob, on the other hand, is a living musician, and he loves spiders. He strums on cobwebs as ancient as any lyre, and has the ability to bring facts and history back to life. With Wallace, the classroom is not just a classroom—it’s a divine theatre that contains the whole world–past, present, and future. The classroom is an image of eternity where Rob can play Orpheus and we his inspired Cerebus!

Rob Wallace is a priceless treasure. Rob Wallace is an IED, an improvised explosive device, except instead of exploding soldiers and curious children – he implodes our minds with the secrets of the cosmos. Rob Wallace isn’t a spark, he’s the Big Bang. When Rob dies, valkyrie will fight over his corpse. Three days later when Rob brings himself back to life; we will tremble in fear and awe.

And honestly, Rob Wallace, our valiant Dao troubadour, forges struggling artists into struggling heroes. His criticism unites two areas of inquiry that traditionally necessitate each other, that of scholastic euphoria and artistic novelty. With Rob, Art and Academia finally consummate their awkward sexual tension and engage in some serious improvised baby-making.

Nor does Rob consider the production of art to be limited to mercantilism –he treats artistic creativity, awareness, engagement, and transformation as a lifestyle. Rob Wallace utilizes CCS as a platform from which Us Groundlings develop the ability to creatively engage with the world–to think for ourselves, to question what is taken for granted and blindly accepted by many, to wonder what we might do with our lives instead of what we should, to live more fully. In this way, Rob would be MANificent as a CCS professor. From putting on class performances to after-hours film screenings to independent studies courses to his own concerts at the Biko House in IV and Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara – he’s the most dynamic and yet complete creative writing guru we know. 

But we are just simple groundlings. All we can do is say that we love Rob and that he would be a wonderful addition and asset to CCS. Please consider!

Thank you,

Seth J. Miller
Desmond White