Dear Writer

Dear Writer,

Thank your for your submission to {city/nature} {review/journal}. Unfortunately, due to the large number of submissions (there are many of you out there, Writer, and most others are better) we are unable to accept your submission at this time.

We are sorry this took so long to reach you. We know you sent this to us four months ago with a determined brow and a note that said you respected us. In our note you told us a little bit about yourself. Don’t be uncivil—of course we read it. We read the letter about what your story was and who you were, and, yes, writer, we read your story as well. Do not blame us, Writer, for we read you.

We read about the freckle above your character’s left eye (Is that a freckle on your face, Writer?), we read the part about the playground slide and the flight to Paris. We read your childhood and your heartbreak and the way you hesitate as you type certain words. Were you pondering them? Were you wondering which ones would give your character, with the freckle that is undoubtedly your own, a chance to be read? We applaud you, Writer, for the attempt, and we regret that when you paused, you did not pause longer. Maybe that is what your story needs.

Or maybe it needed to be longer. Maybe you didn’t give us enough time to fall in love with your story, with you and your life and the life you wrote down with your hesitant words, and maybe if you had added that scene in the diner we would have understood.

Then again, Writer, we are a magazine published only quarterly, and there are so many of you, and it is more likely it should have been shorter. Maybe you should have erased the part that made you cry and kept it light, kept the dialogue and the comebacks and the way your characters (your family? friends?) loved one another.

Do remember, Writer, that you have our sincere compliments. It is not easy, we should know, to type out your thoughts and send them to be judged.  It is easier not to ask.

You have asked us though, Writer, in our submission form where you listed your word count and your title (Was it the title? No. It is nothing so simple). In our form that asked you to follow the directions exactly, and you did (thank you for that). Our form where you folded up your story and the girl with the freckle and sent her to us in the form of an open-ended question, to which this letter is the answer.

No, Writer.

Try again.

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