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Rejection letters: Just saying no

Saturday August 14, 2010 at 12:39pm
Andy Warhol got one, so did Jimi Hendrix and Gertrude Stein. Tim Dowling remembers the sting of receiving a rejection letter


hey aren't the sort of thing one tends to hang on to, so I was surprised it took me only a half hour to find one of my own, at the bottom of a suitcase full of papers my sisters made me take away from my dad's house the last time I visited. Written on the laid paper letterhead of DES Magazine ("The Primary Information Source For Truck Fleet Equipment Managers") by the managing editor, David Cullen, it is still crisp 24 years later. This was probably the second time I'd taken it out of its envelope.

"Out of the large group of highly qualified applicants interviewed," it reads, "we have chosen a person who best fits our criteria for the position of assistant editor." Nowhere in the letter does it expressly say this person isn't me, but it's made clear they're not expecting me on Monday morning. "Good luck in pursuing your journalism career," it says. I'll show them, I thought, and I did. I moved to Boston, and within a year I had a job parking cars outside a restaurant.

As artefacts, rejection letters have the ability to conjure up a whole narrative in just a few carefully chosen words: a fractured View complete Guardian article
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