Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The New Yorker Rejects Me

I was eagerly awaiting my electronic rejection of "The Hypochondriac" piece that I submitted to the Shouts and Murmurs section of The New Yorker. I got it today:
Dear sir,

We’re sorry to say that your piece, ‘The Hypochondriac,’ wasn’t right for us, despite its evident merit. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work.

Best regards,

The Shouts Dept.

I was fully expecting a rejection. I'm not a syndicated writer, and I'm not a producer or writer of a television show. Those are really the key factors in getting published in any section of the New Yorker. Hell, they no longer accept unsolicited nonfiction, and no matter how brilliant a fiction writer you may be, your work isn't going to get published in The New Yorker, because they won't take a chance on an unknown writer. I think this is probably why The New Yorker hasn't won an Ellie in 10 years or more. I know the piece I wrote isn't riveting or "death-by-laughter," but I thought it would hold a candle up to the lame-ass columns they usually have. But I do have to ask myself, "What could I write that is sure to get published in either the Shouts and Murmurs or the Fiction section?" And the answer dawned on me. I should write horrible poetry, generic and trite fiction, and humor writings that only capture the attention of people. I suppose that was my problem; I was trying to make people laugh with my piece!
Of course, of course. Laughter is so uncouth. I should aim for a chuckle. No, that might be overdoing it. I think a winning Shouts and Murmurs submission would have people reading it with blank faces while thinking to themselves, "Boy, this is funny." But what would the subject be? It can't be anything too odd or a rarity, because that could be construed as humorous. I know, I'll do some sort of humor piece on the flag, or America, or politics or the economy and the bailout. Something like that. Heck, when I make the big time, all I have to do is mindlessly write pieces and my name will ensure that they'll get published in a regular rotation, because people will assume that my rise to fame was not a fluke but the product of being continually funny.

The fiction section could pose a problem. All the pieces I've read in the New Yorker have been boring. Extremely boring. Apathy inducing, even. And they all avoided large vocabularies. Too flashy. And they also avoided plots. Too gimmicky. And there was also no character development. Too whatever. It's all been done before! I keep forgetting that the New Yorker is the trendsetter here for writing. By rejecting all good works of writing, they are setting a new trend! Bad writing is now good writing, and sloppiness is king. I've got it. I'll do some detective story. I'll even start it off with "It was a dark and stormy night," and include some convoluted self-doubt by an unnamed character, a cryptic ending, and a non-existent plot or conflict. Solid gold!

Poetry will be easy. All I have to do is look outside my window and instant poetry. I just have to remember to make the indentations of the text all askew. That's artsy.
The solid red
falls upon the gold
the red does not wish
to land upon the ground
Major bummer

And let's see what else I see.

Solid beast of steel

I conquer

of and to my abode

you shall ride

Ride, ride, ride damn you

And I also see a street:

Black river path

whence came the men with their guns

pus, pestilence, apoplectic

Rah rah rah
Of course like any good writer I will of course proof-read and edit my works, but as of right now, you can start sending me accolades for my poetry. I know it will make it in.
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