issue 3 :: Fall 1995

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Fiction: A Confessional

by Josh Ronsen
When I was younger, I wrote a lot of short fiction, mostly narratives but occasionally a fictional historical account. I sent the completed manuscripts to every literary journal I could think of, and everywhere my work was not welcome. I collected the rejection slips and posted them on a wall in my bedroom, reminding me that next time I would have to better. The turndowns continued to come, some seeming to arrive from magazines I had never contacted. Soon I had a collection of negative replies that far exceeded my own writings. I had a unique view of editorial styles from across the country; from the harsh terseness of the Northeast, to the gentle, apologetic attitude of the South. Occasionally an editor would write to me personally, telling me of his own early attempts at getting published and encouraging me to continue writing. I remember one letter that just had the word “NO” typed on an otherwise empty A4-sized paper. After a while, the letters formed a many-layered mural on my wall, as I had resisted the temptation to post them on the other walls of my room, although I was considering putting them on my ceiling. The rejections became so numerous that part of my wall actually collapsed under their weight. Rats broke through this section and started to gnaw on the glue that held the letters to what was once my wall. Many of them became sick, and the ones that ate my returned fiction died in my closet, leaving horrible, ghastly stains on my clothing, which to this day I am unable to wash out. -Fall, 1991
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