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Reject rejection slips

A British student’s put down of Oxford University shows it is always better to get even, not mad, HT writes.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2012 02:21 IST

We wish we had thought of this first. A student who got a rejection letter from Oxford University went one better by sending in her own rejection slip to the institution saying that it was not up to the mark in her eyes. For those of us who have a collection of such slips for articles and manuscripts, this brings a vicarious pleasure. Howsoever nicely worded, a rejection slip is always a blow, unless you happen to be resilient like us - we invariably bounce back after being berated by readers for trying to put one across to them.

Many publishers take great delight in putting down aspiring writers. Here is a sample. "Thank you sending in whatever you sent us. It doesn't meet our needs whatever they may be." But let us take inspiration from that eternally optimistic Snoopy. In his avatar as a potential novelist, he accumulates so many rejection slips that his bird friend Woodstock makes a blanket of them to keep him warm. But this one takes the cake. A publisher writes to him, "Many thanks for submitting your story. You are the worst writer we've ever seen. Leave us alone. Drop dead. Get lost." Snoopy leans back and says, "Probably a form rejection slip."

But don't lose heart, those of you who get the dreaded slip. A survey among the literati who gathered in Jaipur, we are sure, will reveal that many of them too waited at the letterbox, only to have some cruel publisher dash their hopes. So, who is laughing on the other side of their face now, eh? Perhaps Mad magazine's philosophy holds some lessons. One of its rejection slips told the writer that things could worse than being rejected. Your work might have been accepted, said the irreverent magazine, and then where would you be?