Saturday, July 14, 2007

It’s Just a Phase

Ah, it’s a New Moon today. This explains much. I’m convinced that it has the same crazy-making properties as a full moon. I can always tell by the responses I receive from author rejection notices that occur during my day job.

What’s that? you ask, responses on manuscript rejections?

Yes, yes, you thought there aren’t supposed to be responses to rejections, and you’d be partially right. From time to time I receive very nice, classy little things thanking me for my time, etc. But then there are the other ones that defy explanation – like today.

Saturdays are my day to review manuscript submissions. The office is quiet because everyone is out having a life. I was gratified to have waded through my large pile of email and hard copy submissions, loving a few, rejecting most. Since I no longer give crits to submissions due to occasional author backlash, I felt reasonably shielded from those who felt the need to vent their spleen over a rejection.

Until today.

I received not one, but two, nastygrams from writers who took issue with the fact that I’d rejected them. It’s disconcerting that a writer is willing to reveal that level of negativity about themselves, as if their anonymity serves as a buffer against exposure. I often reflect upon what their lives must be like to release their bilge out across the internet like a leaky discharge to a complete stranger who, for whatever reason, rejected their work.

It doesn’t matter so much what they say, because it all boils down to one thing; they can’t handle rejection and must have the last word. Normally, in my world, the last word is, “Thank you for reviewing my submission.” But these types have to attack in order to feel good about themselves and pretend that my rejection didn’t hurt. I understand hurt, but the nature of publishing, and life, for that matter, doesn’t guarantee a pain-free existence.

These writers make me think about people, in general, who can’t handle rejection or hearing the word, “No.” I’m never cruel, and my rejection notices always wish them the best of luck, but still they lash out in sometimes the most rude fashions. Has the internet, with it faceless neural net of bytes and pings, altered our definition of humanity? Are we now freer to be rude and insulting because there’s no face on the other end? Just once I’d love to see half these writers talk like this to my face. Would their bravado fail them? I wonder.

I guess I’ll turn my computer off for today and go stare at the moon that isn’t there and hope those who are adversely affected by its phases do no further damage.

Who needs scientific wizardry? Just ask me about the rejection responses.

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