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by beginningstoendings



Subject: Re: Short story compilation

Dear Miss. Henry

I have just finished reading the sample short story you sent me via e-mail.  I am generally not the person that handles these sort of things but I thought since you requested in your e-mail not to have a “formulated response” I would write you a personal reply.  A heads up for next time: don’t send short stories via e-mail, it’s unprofessional and in addition to that, you may wish to contact a literary agent to organize some of this for you once your work is more presentable.

Unfortunately the story you sent was not something I can publish.  You stated that the other short stories dealt with similar subject matter, that of a mental health facility and its patients in the 1940s.  Where you had a generally interesting approach to the delicate subject of mental illness, I believe that you need some more time researching.  Your main characters exist for the readers strictly in a steam-of-consciousness format.  I would expect to see more confusion in someone who has a clinical illness.  These individuals appear under-developed; you don’t seem to care about them enough.  Perhaps you should flesh out your ideas more—expand on your underlying themes rather than relying old clichés for content.  What I’ve said here is merely the beginning and you might get something out of a writing course.


Jacob McMurrough

The editor (I’m not entirely sure that’s what he is) from St. Louis.  I really can’t imagine what would be in St. Louis or what I was doing sending my short stories there anyway.  I mean out of all the places I’d want to get my book published, St. Louis?

I have always thought that that city would sound like my parent’s scratchy jazz records and would be the color the suburbs get after its rained really hard all day and the sun comes out in the evening.  That bright sun that, despite its intensity, still seems bleak.  I always want the rain to come back at those times—return with the warm, moist grey that blankets the neighborhood and causes the city to swell.  The rejection letter isn’t something that surprises me and until today, I had nearly forgotten that I had sent the St. Louis guy a copy of Mint Green.