Archive for December 1st, 2011

Feeling rejected? Read these.

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
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Not one.

Take heart, rejected writers everywhere!

This is too delicious to pass up:  Flavorwire has 10 nasty rejection letters to eminent writers.  (We wrote about famous rejection letters some time ago here.)

Here’s a 1912 rejection for Gertrude Stein by publisher A.C. Fifield:

Dear Madam,

I am only one, only one, only one. Only one being, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy would sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one.”

Sincerely Yours,

A.C. Fifield

Here’s another for the manuscript that eventually became Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer‘s The Estate and The Manor, rejected by Knopf editor Herb Weinstock in 1959:

It’s Poland and the rich Jews again.

With endless editorial work and endless serpentine dealings with Moshe Spiegel, the willing translator-adapter, this might be turned into an English novel nearly as good and nearly as salable as The Family Moskat. I honestly do not think it worth Knopf’s time and effort … Personally, I’d reject.

"You are scum."

Have to agree with the Guardian Books Blog on this one, which isn’t technically a rejection letter. It’s Hunter S. Thompson‘s letter to his biographer, William McKeen, following the biography’s publication in 1991. It opens:  “McKeen, you shit-eating freak.”

I warned you not to write that vicious trash about me —

Now you better get fitted for a black eyepatch in case one of yours gets gouged out by a bushy-haired stranger in a dimly-lit parking lot. How fast can you learn Braille?

You are scum.

HST

The Guardian blog noted that McKeen now has the letter, framed, on his wall: “That’s one way to deal with rejection.”