Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Dear Publisher: Let me explain
I bet you're looking at all this and thinking "What the hell?"
I'll admit this is not a very organized submission.
Yes, this is a submission. I am hoping you will consider these, er, materials, for publication.
I bet you are wondering why it all seems to have been mailed in a paper bag, and why things are all stuffed into this odd, thrice used package willy nilly, and why it came 40 cents postage due. Probably you are wondering why the writing samples vary in paper size, font, legibility, and amount of food stains. I bet you are even wondering why I am writing you in my pajamas, or you would be, if you knew, because that surely can't be professional. I bet you are wondering why there are Target receipts and folded up post-it notes that say things like: "home and away Karl ove Knausgaard" shoved into the "envelope". Please disregard these, they got into my submission by accident. But at this point you are probably even wondering about this letter.
I want you to know that I understand your confusion. And I can explain.
I don't submit materials for publication very often, hardly at all to tell you the truth. It's the rejection. The rejection hurts. Also the rejection enrages me. And did I mention that it hurts? Well, it does, so much that it's hard not to keep talking about it with you. But I'll try. So, the thing is, I am not at all inclined to submit my tender works of writing unless I am feeling VERY CONFIDENT about them. I am not likely to send my work to a publisher (like you, hi.) unless I am feeling that my writing is brilliant, beguiling, wizardly, hilarious, and riddled, like some delicious blue cheese, with genius.
I sometimes feel like this.
But the feeling does not usually last very long. For instance, I am feeling it right now as I compose this sentence, but by the time I finish this sentence the feeling will probably be over. Yep, it's over. And when I reread that sentence the chances of it coming back are one in a hundred.
So this, I hope, will explain to you how when I am up late at night, and I am reading over old blog posts of mine, some from my collection of roughly 1,900 short essays, and the feeling comes over me that I am the greatest writer of my era, and I think such fantastical and underappreciated works of genius must be shared with the world!, I know that time is fleeting. I must strike while the iron is hot. If I don't start cramming stuff in an envelope (of some kind), if I don't get it addressed and stamped and out the door in the next fifteen minutes it's not going to happen. I'm going to turn back into a frog, so to speak. My work will have ceased being so urgently brilliant, and you will never hear from me because, once again, it will all be hopeless. All hopeless.
So that's why this was done in such a rush and I shoved everything together as fast as possible without regard to order, coherency, and attractiveness.
I hope you will understand.
And maybe you would, if ever I sent this, but I don't know why I would really. What's the point after all?
Anyway, thanks, I guess.
Feldenstein Calypso, author