An Open Letter to The Antigonish Review

leopard girl; pen and ink on a page from an old math textbook; drawing for an illustrated novella.

Dear TAR,

Got your rejection letter yesterday. Same as all the other ones. Yep, I'm starting to get the picture.

To be honest, it doesn't sting so much anymore. I know I'll find my true love, in some other magazine or collection, some fine fall day. There are so many shiny fish in the sea. We're simply two kids at the same small-town dance, eyeing each other from across the Legion Hall. Or perhaps just me eyeing you. And you're never, ever going to say yes, no matter how many times I ask you, or how good the band is. I get that. There's just something about my face, my hair, my stupid shoes that you will never, ever accept. I get it (and don't worry: I'm not going to start circling your house in my pickup truck, waiting for the upstairs light to come on).

What I *don't* get is why you have to send back my manuscript with the first page ripped off. What, do you think I can reuse this? Do you think I have a whole stack of stories just sitting there, waiting to be reunited with their first pages? WTF!!??

If I sent you a cake, would you send it back with all the icing licked off? If I sent you some gloves, would you cut off all the fingers? If I sent you a Barbie, would you send it back with no head?

Jesusfuckingchrist woman, it's a bit cold, don't you think?

Just the pitiless note will be fine. Thank you.


p.s. Soon none of this will matter anyway.


  1. I just linked to your blog via 101 Birdtales and I am loving your work. Too bad some people don't see talent when it is in their face.....
    Anyway, do you sell online anywhere? Love your cigar tins--great idea--art and story together. How sublime. *Sherri*

  2. Thank you, Sherri! I *do* sell online -- I've mailed cigar-tin stories and paintings to places all over the world. You can find a gallery here:

  3. That reminds me, I have a cheque from The Antigonish Review that I haven't cashed yet. (Snap!)

  4. i can't imagine what they are doing there with those first pages, but i think that it might be a collage?
    you go get em.
    got my stamps yet?
    some really spiff ones in there.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. That letter made me weep - with vicarious frustration and the laughter of recognition.

    I have a really badly spelled rejection letter from a literary agent that I might share one day

  7. Lu: do you have one with your name spelled incorrectly? Because then I win.

  8. For my very first published story, my name was on the cover of the mag. Sort of. A friend wrote to me to say, "Congratulations, Chandelier DesClartes."

    (For those of you who don't know me, my name is Christina Decarie.)

    The thrill was, shall we say, mitigated.

    And I have received totally illiterate rejection letters.

  9. this is my absolute, 100% favorite yet.
    If you decide to sell it, please give me an insiders tip.

  10. ok, i'm so sorry about all of this. but, even with this ridiculous rejection, i LOVE this post! it was a really great read-i laughed, i cried and then i laughed again. Fan-freaking-tastic! those folks are idiots! please send them barbie doll-please! just the barbie doll with your return address and nothing else. maybe the barbie will get published? and, we knew you were never going to be cool enough for all this publishing business. sad, but true. i suggest you start a garage band first, become a cool rock star, then go back to the writing. let me know how it goes.
    off to lick the first page off something-take care,

  11. Anonymous5:23 pm

    I loved your blog. Thank you.


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