The shocking truth about the slush pile…

…is revealed by one buried beneath it:

It was my first job out of university: I was bright-eyed and idealistic and imagined that I might become some kind of beneficent tweedy sprite, conveying the writing of unknown literary artistes to the masses. By the time I left my job in publishing a few weeks ago, my idealism was in tatters, destroyed by the piles of typescripts I received from people who told me that their fondest desire was to write full time while sitting in a villa overlooking the Mediteranian, despite the fact that they didn’t know how to spell it.

Of course, the “shocking truth” is that most of the stuff that rolls in unsolicited to any kind of publisher anywhere is terrible. Nothing shocking about it, I would have thought. I’ve known it ever since I worked at the Weyburn Review and we, despite not publishing poetry (newspapers in general just aren’t really a big poetry market these days) received the poem with the memorable lines (they must have been memorable, because I still remember them) commemorating the sad tale of the woman who couldn’t flag down another car after hers was sidelined by a fire:

She works in the grocery, sometimes crossing the street at a run.
She’s always in a hurry to get things done.
As she was heading home late one night to retire
She did not expect her car to go on fire!

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