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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rejection Letters before They Were Famous

Roland BarthesRoland Barthes
Although we enjoyed your submission “Death of the Editor”, it is not particularly suited for our publication. In fact, some of the passages in which you provide detailed information regarding the location and security access codes of our editorial offices have been the cause of deep qualms. A more evocative concept might be the death of the author. I’m sure you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve post-structuralized the semantic construct of yourself.

William FaulknerWilliam Faulkner
Please revisit our submission guidelines. We are sending back—unopened—the crates containing pieces of wall on which you had inscribed text with a dull pencil. We are also including an invoice for $167, the amount it cost to get rid of the termites which had infested our offices.

V. WoolfVirginia Woolf
Your lyricism and allusions are quite captivating; however, our editors had difficultly knowing where they were. Some thought they were in the ocean, when in fact the character was at the train station. One of our associate editors (who incidentally has a degree in psychiatry), said your reoccurring delusions and impaired perception of reality deeply resemble schizophrenia, and she highly recommends you take a gander at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by our sister company. After reading it, we assure you, you’ll feel like a different person.

F. DostoevskyFyodor Dostoevsky
We are unable to read your manuscript as it is. Please consolidate all character names and refer to them consistently. We cannot distinguish between characters’ surnames, nicknames, and proper names. In many cases (which we find extremely aggravating) you refer to two different persons with the same name. For example, Polina (Polya, Polenka, Polechka) often addresses Sofya (Semyonovna, Sonya, Sonechka) Marmeladov by her middle name Ivanovna, which is the same as two other Ivanovnas in the novel, Alyona and Avdotya. By the fourth chapter, one of our editors went into epileptic shock, which, despite your earnest cover letter, doesn’t make you the only one.

Matsuo BashoMatsuo Basho
Your haikus are endearing, though we feel you could expand on your motifs. Your interface with the moon is prosaic, sentimental at best. Also, it seems that you use butterflies and moths interchangeably whenever you require things to fly. And the reoccurring cuckoo cries are somewhat of a crutch, especially when they are always followed by exclamation points. We do however sense a lot of growth in you, so please submit again in the future.

Wonderful penmanship. We were also quite keen on Your use of symbolism in Bible: The Great American Novel, especially concerning Sodom and those gays. What are we supposed to do with them? While Your request to have it leather bound and its pages gold plated are beyond our budget, we encourage You to submit it elsewhere, as we’re sure it will go over well.

S. BeckettSamuel Beckett
No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. Dumbass.

Jimmy Chen is an only child, and only a child.