The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rejection Letter

Sometimes, a rejection letter isn't such a bad thing. After sitting on a conference paper for almost a year, I whipped it into what looked like shape and sent it off to Prestigious And Slightly Stuffy Academic Journal. I got a response back in six weeks: the skinny envelope. (Wife: "that quickly? they didn't even send it out to reviewers?" umm... looks like so.) It's not that I didn't expect it; before working on it I was told that it lacked a central argument, and even after editing it I couldn't encapsulate what I was arguing without saying "well, it's about this, and about this, and how this and this work together." Like I tell my students, if you can't state the argument in one declarative sentence it's not done.

Anyway, I figure that the thing really wasn't meant to be an academic paper, but I just needed to have confirmation of that. Now I think I'm going to jazz it up and submit it to someplace like Smithsonian or the clique at The Believer, who still haven't responded after almost four months to my query letter. (I submitted it, as they ask, as an email; no response. Sent it by snail mail, and received a postcard back saying "please submit by email." Did so, again. No response. Nice. You'd think email'd make it easier to say "thanks, but no thanks.") Still a good magazine, even if they're apparently modeling their submissions procedure after the folkways of the popular crowd at New Trier High.


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