Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Little Nostalgia

I received a rejection in the mail yesterday. The "snail" mail. The good old-fashioned paper mail. Take a look at the picture--do you see the wrinkles and coffee stains on the right side of my SASE? Inside: two note cards with hand-scribbled comments about what worked, and what didn't, in my story.

Ah...nostalgia.

At the end of Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters, John Lagan includes story notes with a little discussion about sending/receiving actual paper correspondence with editors. I couldn't help but feel something has been lost in the era of quick-click email submissions. Granted, everything happens so much faster now, but, especially as a child, I loved the feeling of waiting for the mail. My wife laughs because I sometimes I still have that childlike enthusiasm.

How many of us would keep writing if each story (and rejection) was sent in the regular post?

17 comments:

Amanda C. Davis said...

Haha, wow.

A few years ago I shopped around a (not very good) kids' novel, and that was long enough ago that I was working out of the Writer's Market and sending all snail mail queries. (And oh, trying to find these people online! About two agents had a web presence. I can only assume the others either relied on their shining reputations or were actively in hiding.)

You're right, there was something neat about getting "real mail". The variety of rejection letters was amusing. All shapes and sizes! But man, I blew a fortune on postage. And I still have a folder full of form rejections to store. I'm just as happy to keep it all digital. I never got a papercut from an email.

Barry Napier said...

This, children, is what we call an envelope. oftentimes, people would place letters into it. Yes...that's right...handwritten letters, made on paper!

L.R. Bonehill said...

Real, honest, tangible mail – I’m all misty-eyed for the good old days.

Cate Gardner said...

Waves hand in the air in answer to your question. Me, me, me. And I did so between the years 1993 and 2000.

Damien Walters Grintalis said...

A real envelope complete with genuine coffee stains. I'm getting misty eyed. While I was querying agents, yes, I sent snail mail copies. I have yet to send one for a short story, though.

onipar... said...

I love the speed of e-mail submissions, but I really do miss the excitement of receiving envelopes through the mail.

brady said...

I always appreciated the business card-sized rejection slips. So often, they were printed on colored paper, which meant that some editorial assistant had to go to the paper aisle in Office Depot and say, "What color best says, 'Sorry about your dreams'?"

Aaron Polson said...

Amanda - Postage does get pricey.

Barry - This is why I take pictures.

L.R. - I could even feel the roughness of the stained section.

Cate - Would I/could I have been writing then, I should/would have.

Damien - I might donate it to a museum.

Tony - I love the speed, too. But what would we know if that speed wasn't there?

Brady - I had several on tiny slips of paper, too. So long, suckers.

Jarmara Falconer said...

How many? I haven't stopped yet. I've only sent off a couple by email and only had about three rejection by email so make when I write full-time and send more in I'll receive more rejection by the internet.

Good luck with your writing.

Andrea Allison said...

May I Ooh and Aah for a moment. I don't believe I've ever seen of a snail mail rejection before. It's such an interesting specimen.

Danielle Ferries said...

I don't remember the last time I got a rejection letter like that. Come to think of it, people just aren't replying to me at all lately.

I love receiving letters in the mail, the good old fashioned hand written kind.

K.C. Shaw said...

I kind of miss the olden days of sending actual paper mail and getting actual paper mail back--but it did get expensive. As it happens, though, I've sent a query and a requested partial out this week in the actual paper mail, so it's not completely dead yet.

Anonymous said...

excellent points and the details are more precise than elsewhere, thanks.

- Murk

Natalie L. Sin said...

That's a tough one. I love getting mail, but I hate mailing stories by post. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-writing by longhand or anything. Just not my shorts.

Aaron Polson said...

Jarmara - I only send snail mail when I have to. Granted, I haven't queried for a novel in over a year...

Andrea - Isn't it?

Danielle - It's fun...but a little strange.

K.C. - I remember the cost. (and congrats on the request)

Nice Spam, Murk.

Natalie - Nor mine (usually). This market only took postal subs.

katey said...

Honestly, I adore getting mail--I adore sending mail, which is why every time I send something to some writer-pal I end up attaching a ridiculous little hand-written note. It's just fun.

But I don't like sending or receiving story-business that way. It's messy and irksome. I am, it's true, a complete philistine in that way.

R. Scott McCoy said...

I actually get giddy when I snail mail a submission. That is unless it's to Canada or the UK. I hate getting those coupons and always worry I sent too many or not enough. US though, it makes me feel more...official I guess. I still get about one a year via snail, though the dream is to get an acceptance via snail. Something for my bucket list.