Tuesday, April 14, 2009

George Singleton's 10 Things to Do While Waiting for The New Yorker’s Response

10 Things to Do While Waiting for The New Yorker’s Response
By George Singleton

I’m pretty sure that The New Yorker sells my SASEs’ stamps half-price to people on the street, instead of mailing me back a rejection.

This has been going on since 1987.

Sometimes—maybe five percent of the time—I’ll get a little piece of paper back. There for a while a guy named Willing Davidson responded, and asked for me to send more.

Then he changed his mind, quit, or passed away.

I’m still optimistic enough to believe that one day the New Yorker will take a story from the slush pile, and maybe even a story from someone who lives in the American South.(Gee, has anyone there ever noticed that, oddly enough, some writers actually come out of the South?)

Anyway, for those writers out there who hold an odd, Pollyanna-ish view of the world like I do, here are ten things to do while waiting for that response.

10. Paint the exterior of your house with a one-inch wide brush.

9. Go back to college and study what you really wish you would’ve studied the first time around.

8. Memorize the Periodic Table of Elements backwards and forwards.

7. Invent a Time Machine.

6. Paint the exterior of your neighbor’s house.

5. Walk north to Canada, take ten steps over, walk south to Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, take ten steps over, walk north to Canada, take ten steps over, ad infinitum.

4. Translate Ulysses into Braille, by hand, using butcher paper and a stick pin.

3. Wallpaper India.

2. Track down the person responsible for Windows Vista and beat him or her with a length of bamboo.

1. Write stories/novels/essays throughout the entire time, and send them elsewhere.

George Singleton, an accomplished short story writer whose work has appeared in such respected publications as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Playboy, is the author of a new book, Pep Talks, Warnings, and Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers.

Please visit his Web site at:

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