Spring 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 2008 |

No

The most honest rejection letter I ever received for a piece of writing was from Oregon Coast Magazine, to which I had sent a piece that was half bucolic travelogue and half blistering attack on the tendencies of hamlets along the coast to seek the ugliest and most lurid neon signage for their bumper-car emporia, myrtlewood lawn-ornament shops, used-car lots, auto-wrecking concerns, terra-cotta nightmares, and sad moist flyblown restaurants. "Thanks for your submission," came the handwritten reply from the managing editor. "But if we published it we would be sued by half our advertisers." This was a straightforward remark and I admire it, partly for its honesty, a rare shout in a world of whispers, and partly because I have, in thirty years as a writer and editor, become a close student of the rejection note. The shape, the color, the prose, the tone, the sub-text, the speed or lack thereof with which it arrives, even the typeface or scrawl used to stomp gently on the writer

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Brian Doyle is the muddled maundering mumbling muttering shuffling shambling humming editor of Portland Magazine, in Oregon. He is the author of many books of essays and fiction, among them the sprawling Oegon novel Mink River. His new "whopping sea novel" The Plover will be published in April 2014 by St Martin's Press.

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