Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Favorite Rejection Letters

Two rules apply when I submit my poetry, fiction and nonfiction.

Don't spend a penny.

That means, don't mail anything in AND don't submit to a journal when they say "there's a reading fee."


I'm very fortunate, b/c I get two kinds of rejection letters.

The first is for grants for New Directions Support Group. The last couple were shockers - I really thought I'd written a winning proposal.

The Blue Cross Foundation, who gave us $10K last year, emailed me their usual blather - so many worthy candidates, we can't fund them all, so thanks for submitting, o worthy you, but no money for you!

The Leeway Foundation denied my request for funding a program New Directions will host in August. It was so well-written, I was shocked once again. I also wrote something called a Transformation Grant. Sans doute, the rejection will arrive any day now via mail.

A thin envelope will arrive with their logo saying "Call us if you need an explanation."   

Second, I get rejected for my poetry and prose from lit mags.

Here's one of my favorites:

Dear Ruth Deming,

Thank you for sending your work to Fifth Wednesday Journal. We have completed our review, and our readers and editors do not recommend your work for publication in the Fall 2015 issue. But we do wish you the best in your writing life and hope you will look favorably on us when you are ready to send more work for review.

Please visit for information on future submission periods.

Thank you again for the opportunity to read your work. If you wish to receive our newsletters go to the website and click on the Join Our Mailing List icon.

Thomas Hrycyk
Editorial Assistant
Fifth Wednesday Journal

NOT ONLY does Thomas H invoke his editors to reject my work but he also digs in his nails by saying HIS READERS also reject my work.

What an insensitive idiot!

While I was preparing to write this post, I got an acceptance letter from Crack the Spine, a publication I found somewhere.

Here's what I wrote them:

Hello! Just discovered your online lit mag and would be ecstatic if you liked my work.

They liked a piece called "Alone Again After All These Years."

What was the story about? 

I did read it again, thought it was fairly good, certainly not one of my best, but am indeed ecstatic they're publishing it. 

Scuse me while I jot it down on my White Acceptance Envelopes up here in my Upstairs Office, with the fan whirring next to me.


Meantime, Crack the Spine has rejected five of my best poems - submit again, they ask - and one of my best short stories: The Last Lawn Party. 

Am I gonna fly to the Golden Gate Bridge and look down into the deep waters?

Or, am I gonna continue writing my next short story - The Doctor in the Bikini - for Saturday's Writers' Group. 

Off on the right of my very long desk is a religious pamphlet I found at the Giant Supermarket. "The Upper Room: Where the World Meets to Pray" will be the subject of a future short story. These righteous individuals will be taking a retreat on a cruise ship, where many interesting things will happen. Perhaps even a murder!

Joseph from Classic Computers in Willow Grove just called me. He found the problem with my laptop. It should be ready tomro morning.

Extra! Extra! This rejection letter arrived today.

Click to enlarge.

Look, it's fine if they rejected my grant proposal for $15 K. But, please, don't give me uninformed bullshit reasons why.

Also, take a look at their stationery, which I am crumpling up to put in the recyclables as we speak.

I'd say, Back to the Drawing Board, it sucks!


Here's another doozy on August 5.

After rejecting my terrific short story, they ask me to be their online supporter.

Dear Ruth Deming,

Thank you for submitting "The House on Myrtle Avenue" to Newtown Literary. Unfortunately, we have to decline "The House on Myrtle Avenue" for the upcoming Newtown Literary Issue #7, as it was not a proper fit for us. We are extremely appreciative of the time and effort you took in submitting your work, and we suggest that you submit again in the future. We look forward to it.

*Please subscribe to our mailing list for updates:
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"Rejected pieces aren't failures; unwritten pieces are." -- Greg Daugherty

The Editorial Board
Newtown Literary


JUST IN!  One of my favorites rejected.

Dear Ruth Deming,

We would like to thank you for giving us the chance to consider The Boys at Saint Regina's for publication in Dappled Things. We receive many excellent submissions from around the world and it is truly difficult to choose. Unfortunately, we are not able to publish your work, but we deeply appreciate your time and effort and are grateful that you thought of us. The generosity of contributing artists like yourself, who are willing to share their work with us, is what keeps this project going.

Sincerely in Christ,
The Editors

Below is a fine piece of BULLSHIT from Plume Poetry Journal. 

Hi, Ruth --

Many thanks for letting us look at these -- really, fine work, meticulous in craft and lively in the best way -- and no doubt others will be more than happy to have it, as we would if we had the space, which, alas, we do not at the moment.

I am grateful that you thought enough of us to send, and I do hope you continue to read us.



Oh, hurry up, I said to myself, while tearing open the Rejection Letter from the Connolly Foundation. I was 99 percent sure I'd be rejected.

This means - and today is August 12, 2015 - New Directions has serious financial problems.


Dear Funding Applicant:

The Genuardi Family Foundation is in receipt of your recent online LOI submission.  Upon review, the Foundation has determined that your request does not represent our Board of Directors’ highest priorities, and thus would be unlikely to receive funding.  As such, your organization will be unable to access the full application to participate in the current grant cycle.

Thank you for your interest in the Genuardi Family Foundation.  We wish you the best in fulfilling your charitable mission.

Very truly yours,

Meredith A. Huffman
Executive Director

Genuardi Family Foundation
Blue Bell Executive Campus
470 Norristown Road, Suite 102
Blue Bell, PA  19422
Tel: 610-834-2030
Fax: 610-834-8998

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