6:32 PM, June 1st
I am withdrawing my poem, “My Vagina is an Ocean” due to its acceptance in a journal so prestigious, your editorial staff keeps putting off submitting there until the vague and far-off day when their work is “good enough.” I hope you will pick up a copy of the issue either in print (they don’t ship to the U.S.) or online (behind a paywall).
7:50 PM, June 1st
How silly of me! I read the too-kind rejection letter from Very Prestigious Journal and misunderstood it as an acceptance. Isn’t my face red! Don’t worry, though, because in between now and then, “My Vagina is an Ocean” was accepted by another journal. They’re not as renowned as VPJ, but they have a fun Twitter presence where they do a lot of bantering with other journals.
I’ll need to withdraw the piece, but you’ll see a teaser tweet about it from Fun Twitter Journal soon, right after a meme about nihilism.
9:18 PM, June 1st
Fuck. That one was a rejection, too. Why the hell are all these rejection letters so nice? Why can’t they just say, “It’s a no from us,” or “No chance, loser,” or “Your mother was right, your MFA was a waste of money”?! Why does it all have to be couched in such kind language? I admit, I am a little comforted to know that the people doing the rejecting are writers themselves, but still…Jesus Christ. Anyway, I withdraw my withdrawal.
10:23 AM, July 17th
An acceptance! A real one! With the words “accepted” and everything! Take “My Vagina is an Ocean” off your list because it is gone, baby!
2:56 PM, July 17th
After some extensive anxiety-googling and website-trawling, I have determined that the site that accepted my poem is less, “literary magazine” and more, “pay to publish scam.” What really confirmed my suspicions were the markups: $2 to include an author photo, $10 per contributor copy, $25 for a single post on Twitter, $50 for the post to be “enthusiastic.” Highway robbery! Honestly, I was hoping I might come back here and see you begging me to reconsider and let you publish my work, but barring that, I appreciate your patience while I make this difficult decision.
4:02 AM, July 18th
After a lot of thought and several bottles of wine, I have decided to withdraw “My Vagina is an Ocean” due to its acceptance in Pay to Play. Let’s face it, ever since my sister got into med school I’ve been desperate for something to announce, and I haven’t seen my name in print since that volume of “Who’s Who: American High School Sophomores.” I hope to keep the other poems in the packet with you for further consideration.
(Also, do you think you could refund my submission fee? These insta posts aren’t cheap.)
Frances Klein (she/her) is a poet and teacher writing at the intersection of disability and gender. She is the author of the chapbooks The Best Secret (Bottlecap Press, 2022) and New and Permanent (Blanket Sea 2022). Klein currently serves as assistant editor of Southern Humanities Review. Readers can find more of her work at https://kleinpoetryblog.wordpress.com/.
image: Christine Naprava is a writer from South Jersey with a soft spot for photography. You can find her on Twitter @CNaprava and Instagram @cnaprava.