A long time ago (I’m talking late 20th century!), on a quaint and sprawling college campus to which I commuted 30 miles 5 days a week, I was asked to contribute to a student-produced literary mag titled The Longer Now: Various Sketches from the Center of the Cosmos. The image above is its cover, painted by the mag’s chief creator.
The Longer Now was not the university’s official literary mag, which was titled Collage. In fact, The Longer Now was conceived of by and filled with the works of students whose work had been rejected by the wise, cultivated, and presumably better-suited-to-judge- good-art editors of Collage. The editors of The Longer Now sought, among other goals, to disrupt the status quo of the school’s arts community. Their primary stated goal, though, was to “showcase good art that was as close as possible to the essence of what it is to create”, so everything in it is raw and unpolished. For those of us who submitted written work, we were asked to turn in our handwritten poems, stories, or essays on whatever we’d happened to jot them down on, even if just a barroom napkin.
I submitted a short, silly poem titled “The Cover Up”. I gave it a surprise ending, and my intent in writing the poem was to force people to re-think their expectations of feminine beauty. I was a feminist waaayyyy before the “#MeToo” movement. Following the poem is a picture of how it appears in The Longer Now. I regret that I can’t share more images from that pretty cool little mag, but I never knew any of the other contributors and have no way of finding them now to get their permission to share their work.
The Cover Up
Susie Muse rues her shoes.
If not them, she’d rue her rouge,
which she needs, like her powderpuff,
eyeliner, lipstick, base, eyeshadow,
hairspray, earrings, hair coloring,
and all her other beautifying stuff,
to emphasize her pretty face enough,
to draw the hungry stares of the glaring rubes
upwards and off of her really big
I have to tell you, it felt pretty damn good, after 6 consecutive semesters of Collage rejections, to see my work in print, even if it was just a one-off destined to be quickly forgotten by all but its no-longer-dejected reject artists. Indeed, I had forgotten it myself, until a few weeks ago, when I was helping my parents clean out their garage, and I discovered a huge plastic tub, at the very back of the topmost shelf, containing a bunch of my old books from college, including The Longer Now, and even dating back to the 1970s. Here’s a picture of the really cool thank you note, written on black paper with silver ink, that I got from the mag’s editor, cropped for privacy concerns:
A few years later, I discovered the best way to get published in Collage, discounting, of course, submitting quality work, was to join its editorial staff, which I did for 4 semesters, during which time several of my works were published in it. Maybe someday I’ll share them too.
How about y’all? Anyone have any good rejection stories to share?