Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Letter to The Believer Magazine
Because the title may throw you if you don't know the magazine, The Believer is not some sort of religious magazine, but rather is a very prettily produced literary magazine somewhere vaguely out at the forefront of American Culture.
Dear Editor of The Believer Magazine:
I am writing to let you know that I am not submitting any of my writing for publication in your magazine. I have included none of my short essays, no works of cultural criticism, and have provided no SASE for your response. Ideally you would recompense me for the cost of the first class stamp I am using to send this letter to you, but I am sympathetic to the tight budgets you likely operate under.
I do not withhold my work as a protest. I have nothing against The Believer Magazine. It seems like a very nice magazine. When the library I work at first started carrying your magazine our teen librarian, Marcus, who is our most eclectic, sophisticated and devoted reader, was very excited. I thought "Oh, maybe it's the sort of magazine that would carry my highly idiosyncratic short essays!" I looked at your magazine. It seemed quietly cool. It immediately felt like everyone involved in it was slightly famous and knew loads of interesting people. It looked like it would be fun to read, and interesting, but not, you know, too fun or terribly interesting. It seemed like the sort of magazine that wouldn't publish any of my work in a million years, I mean, if I proposed said publishing, which I won't. But the truth is there are mostly far worse matches for my work out in the rest of the publishing world.
Is my work good enough for inclusion in Believer? Yes. I am a genius. I am one of the greatest writers of our time. But that doesn't make my work popular, or appealing. Brilliance is just one small ingredient for an artist. Like if you were a painter, a painter with greater technique and skill than Caravaggio for instance, but you exclusively used invisible paints.
That's totally me.
But why, you perhaps wonder, would I write you and not submit any of my work for publication?
I hate rejection.
I'm already dangerously prone to bitterness. Rejection, never a stranger to me, just acts as a goad to that bitterness. I have learned to be careful. And submitting my work to you does not feel like a good idea.
So, unfortunately, I have to reject your magazine and any application it might make or interest it may or may not have in publishing my prose. Your magazine will be worse without me, yes, but not so as anyone in the world will notice.
I wish your magazine much success and hope you fare better with other writers.
With kind regards,