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Tuesday, 29 June 2010 02:00

I regret to inform you...

By  Richard De Nooy
Dear Mr. McSweeney,I regret to inform you that, although your internet tendency shows great promise and regularly prompts a wry smile, I have decided that your publication is unsuitable for my work. Because there are so many literary magazines to choose from, I am unable to enter into further correspondence regarding my decision, but sincerely hope this does not deter you from seeking the work of other authors.

Sincerely yours,

Richard de Nooy


Dear Paris Review, 

Although I am honoured by your request to contribute to your magazine, I regret to inform you that I must cordially decline as it has come to my attention that you have long preyed on the gullibility of those ignorant enough to believe that you are based in the French capital, when indeed you are little more than a colonial rag, buffing up and serving somewhat outdated quotes to your friends on social networks. That said, I wish you the very best of luck in your further endeavours.

Yours in writing,

Richard de Nooy


Dear Playgirl,    

Although I am willing to accept, as you have repeatedly suggested, that there is "a select group of readers who take a keen interest in the naked bodies of middle-aged authors," I regret to inform you that no air brush on earth is strong enough to blow me onto the glossy pages of your publication. I also strongly advise that you remove from future queries the contention that "you writers will do anything for hard cash", as this seldom extends to the publication of soft focus photos of one's meat and two veg.

Discreetly yours,

Richard de Nooy

PS: I have enclosed unopened the 2009 calendar featuring Man Booker Shortlistees.


Dear The New Yorker,    

Having received more than a dozen pleas by e-mail, letter, fax and telephone to submit work to your magazine, I kindly urge you once more to read the submission guidelines on my site, which clearly state that one of your editors should contact my agent and arrange an appointment to submit to me in person at a motel of my choice, preferably dressed in appropriate garb (no latex, please), at which time I will ponder the merits of your publication as conveyed to me by your editor in the form of modern dance.

Strictly yours,

Richard de Nooy


Dear Granta,    

Your junior editor, Michael Basildone (according to the passport I confiscated along with his clothes), has been curled up naked on my doorstep for the past four days. I ordered my wife to stop feeding him on Wednesday, but he seems undeterred and has taken to intercepting my mail in the hope of finding something useful to publish in your magazine. You have until noon tomorrow to retrieve or call off your editor (the volcanic ash excuse will no longer wash) or I shall be compelled to call the police.

Considerately yours,

Richard de Nooy


Dear Ms. Winfrey,    

I hereby formally retract my participation in your book club. As I have explained to various members of your team, I initially acquiesced to your request because I was labouring under the misapprehension that yours was a fan club for the Marx Brothers (Harpo was always a firm favourite). I also kindly request that you stop sending me video messages of yourself crying as you read my previous messages out loud. In closing, I would like to suggest that you procure the services of a psychotherapist to answer the question you ask at the end of your previous message (in all-caps, 16-point, bold, Times New Roman), as I feel I am unqualified to tell you who you are.

Yours cordially,

Richard de Nooy


Dear Dr. Lundqvist,    

Flattered though I am by the attention you have bestowed upon me, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept a prize from an organisation that kidnaps (albeit briefly) its nominees and subjects them to torture (albeit light) in the back of a limousine. Yes, the three committee members first plied me with champagne and gravad lax, and yes, I initially agreed to the foot massage proposed by your Korean member (Mr. Wong?), but I certainly did not give permission for the subsequent feathering of my soles by the tall, blonde lady who introduced herself only as Svenka and kept shouting: "This is an honour! Are you willing to accept this honour?!" in a strong Swedish accent. Judging by the faces of previous nominees, I hazard to guess that I am not the first to escape from your limousine as it cruised the beltway. I find it hard to fathom that an organisation such as yours would drive people to such reckless deeds. Perhaps you could raise this issue at your next board meeting.

Not entirely yours,

Richard de Nooy

PS: I would be most grateful if you would return my sneakers, which I suspect are still hanging from the rear-view mirror of your limousine.
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9 comments

  • Comment Link Phillippa Yaa de Villiers Thursday, 07 October 2010 02:00 posted by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

    ROFLOL! HILARIOUS!!!this was just what the doctor ordered!

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  • Comment Link Mehita Tuesday, 27 July 2010 02:00 posted by Mehita

    Read an interview with Richard here: http://www.itch.co.za/?news=32" target="_blank">http://www.itch.co.za/?news=32

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  • Comment Link Karina Monday, 12 July 2010 02:00 posted by Karina

    Loved this! Thanks for the laughter, Richard.

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  • Comment Link Richard de Nooy Wednesday, 07 July 2010 02:00 posted by Richard de Nooy

    I was today compelled to remind McSweeney's open letters editor that the least traumatic and longest lasting relationships are built on mutual rejection.

    Thanks for your encouraging comments, friends.

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  • Comment Link Roland Knoppe Tuesday, 22 June 2010 02:00 posted by Roland Knoppe

    Dear Mr De Nooy,
    Thank you for the letters of rejection, which will help me in my future attempts to find a job.

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  • Comment Link Alex Nodopaka Tuesday, 22 June 2010 02:00 posted by Alex Nodopaka

    Dear Mr. Richard de Nooy,

    Thank you for making my day. I'm happy to report I read the same literature you write.

    Sincerely but untruly yours,


    Alex Nodopaka

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  • Comment Link Richard de Nooy Monday, 21 June 2010 02:00 posted by Richard de Nooy

    Dear ITCH Magazine,

    Flattered though I am by your impeccable taste, I fail to see how anyone could misconstrue a letter of rejection as a submission to your magazine. The fact that you have chosen to publish my private correspondence alongside letters of rejection sent to other publications - thereby confirming my suspicions that there is an international coven of magazine editors engaging in sinister, near-philatelic exchange - affords me no other alternative than to give you a long-overdue taste of my lawyer; a stooped and somewhat sour septuagenarian who seems hell-bent on extracting vengeance for insults incurred in adolescence on account of rampant acne.

    While I firmly believe that courage in publishing should be rewarded, your decision has, to all intents and purposes, stripped off its protective clothing and is recklessly climbing the treacherous slopes of Mount Doom without a rope. I am sure my lawyer will convince your Gollem that this is both foolhardy and hazardous.

    Jurisprudentially yours,

    Richard de Nooy

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  • Comment Link Harry Owen Monday, 21 June 2010 02:00 posted by Harry Owen

    What more is there to say about work that is so subversively innovative? Keep writing those rejections, Richard: they offer hope to us all!

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  • Comment Link Mehita Monday, 21 June 2010 02:00 posted by Mehita

    Thank you Richard for the post-script! :)

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