I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

The Magical Ship

This is not A Pause For A Poem. I wrote this one to deliver some news, a message.


I stared up at that wonderful, marble deck
saw myself standing up beside the captain
felt my skin tingle with the salt of adventure
a heavy suitcase but a light and stirred heart
they called out names and cheers went up
the lucky ones slipped on the shiny gangway
then the engines panted, billowing smoke
the brief list was left to ride on the breeze
the magical ship is setting sail without me
the wrong money? few cabins? no skills?
a gentle man turned to offer some comfort
look over there, breaking out of the horizon
it's another big ship, on a different voyage
with just as much space in its golden cabins
and if it's not that one, there will be another
there's no shortage of these magical ships


If you haven't guessed already, I had a response today from Macmillan New Writing. Needless to say that that particular magical ship has set sail without me. I had to mention this here because I'd built you all up to expect an answer. But hey, as the poem says, just over there is something else breaking out of the horizon. I've already sent off a mail to another possible publisher and I will now crank up the approaches.
I've decided to publish here, in full, the nice rejection letter that MNW sent me. It is a standard one, but better than most that publishers or agents send out. It also attempts to make you feel that maybe it wasn't your fault. Nice touch.


Dear Mr XXXXXX,

Thank you for sending us your novel. This has now been read and given due consideration, however I regret we are unable to accept the work you sent us for publication.

Macmillan receive many thousands of manuscripts every year so unfortunately it is not possible to respond personally to every author.

Because we receive so many mss and are able to publish only a small percentage, rejection does not automatically imply anything about the quality of the work we are unable to use.

There are many reasons why a book may not suit our lists. We may have other, similar material in production, we may be oversubscribed with good submissions during this season, we may have decided not to publish books on certain themes, etc.

Unless you have asked us to return a typescript manuscript to you, we will now permanently delete any electronic files we have relating to your book.

Thank you for contacting us, and good luck with your writing.

Michael Barnard
Publisher, Macmillan New Writing



I will be back on the wharf tomorrow, bright and early, waiting for that next gangway!

8 comments:

pundy said...

There's no getting away from it, rejection is always tough, a killer. Don't lose the faith though, Shameless, one day you'll catch that boat. What a voyage that will be!

Maxine said...

This is a beautiful and brave posting.
Life is full of disappointments. I am currently living with someone who is devastated because she did not get the role of Robin Hood in the school play. She is totally devastated. She thinks she is "talentless and rubbish". I am telling her that what other people think of you is not anything to do with what you are, that if they did not pick you it is they who are missing out.
I think you demonstrate great grace under pressure.
Your day will come.

skint writer said...

Huh, bet my pile of rejection letters is bigger than yours ;)

Shameless said...

Thanks for the kind comments Pundy and Maxine. They are very much appreciated. It would be an interesting exercise, Skint, to publish the different styles of rejection letters. Some people have a lot to learn in this area. I saw one once (not to me) that simply read: "Nope. Don't want it." And that was from a very reputable (allegedly) agent in London.

Minx said...

My heart sank a little for you as it does when my own boarding pass is invalid.
This ship was not your ship and that is one of the nicest 'no thanks' that I've seen for a long time.
Catch the wind Shameless, it's coming!

Verilion said...

Oh dear, but I'm glad that you jumped right back out there. There was a funny post (on Miss Snark I think) that was a scene from the Black Books - that might cheer you up a bit. Meanwhile, I've still got fingers and toes (and I plaited my hair for a whole week cos it was a bit inconvinient to work with crossed fingers) crossed.

Shameless said...

I am touched that some crossing was done for me. You are real troopers.

Carla said...

That's a lovely piece, Shameless.

I wish you luck finding another ship, and in the meantime, writing is its own reward if you love doing it.