Thursday, September 17, 2015

Letter to Tropical Fish Hobbyist

Dear editor, Tropical Fish Hobbyist:

Recently I have been submitting my work to an assortment of national and local magazines and newspapers. In my unbalanced letters to these various editors, who I have no serious hopes of working with, I frequently mention my submissions to your magazine, Tropical Fish Hobbyist. When I do this it is generally in the nature of a light joke, as in "I am submitting my work to many of the major national magazines: Time, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Tropical Fish Hobbyist." This may not seem terribly amusing to the editor of Tropical Fish Hobbyist either because you are defensive about being the editor of Tropical Fish Hobbyist, you feel there is absolutely nothing funny about having tropical fish as a hobby, or it is not a very amusing joke.

On the other hand you might find it quite funny, which would be nice, because I don't have a lot of fans and it would be heartwarming to have the tropical fish community on my side.

But no matter whether you find my comment amusing or not I feel a little bad about it. It's always easy to make fun of the little guys, and all you have ever done, in this age of the Internet, is survive against amazing odds. That cannot be easy! You still look big and glossy and like a real live magazine. Newsweek folded. Life folded, twice. Time looks like a pamphlet now. The cat and dog magazines rebranded from "fancy" to "ster" and have merged so as to cut their publishing frequency in half. I'm not sure what happened to Bird Talk, but I haven't seen it around lately. And there you are, bold and beautiful, on my library shelf like it's still 1982.

Good for you.

No, I'm not making fun of you.

Also, if I'm going to be telling all these other magazines I'm submitting to that I'm submitting to you as well, I don't want to be a liar. So, enclosed, you will find some of my work. As you will see none of it has anything to do with tropical fish. But you may also notice that it is unsuitable for publication in pretty much any other magazine you can think of, so why not send it to you as well?

Besides, I have an idea.

I only say this because now that we've ironed out our differences I think we have excellent rapport. I think we'd work well together. So I propose I write a regular column for you at Tropical Fish Hobbyist. It would be something like:

The Complete Neophyte's take on tropical fish
Ask someone who doesn't know anything about your tropical fish hobby
The non hobbyist talks tropical fish

Usually when I write editors I assume they are a kind of deadened, institutional bureaucrat clutching vainly at their precarious hold on power, leeched in conservatism, and I have to try and talk them into reconnecting with their joy and humanity once again only I can't because I am not good at marketing. However, you have kept Tropical Fish Hobbyist going against horrible odds, you have kept your humor and sagacity, and whatever power you have as editor of Tropical Fish Hobbyist is probably modest enough to not have corrupted you. So I figure you probably know what you're doing.

I'm just saying I trust you to decide what the title of my regular column should be.

I look forward to working with you, but I have also enclosed a rejection form letter for your use in rejecting me. Just in case.

In fish (tropical variety), yours,

F. Calypso

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