(Originally published on The Nervous Breakdown.)
Area woman and aspiring writer Jodi Tannenbaum, after a third attempt at getting published by the literary website McSweeney’s (in its “Lists” section), found herself “totally in the middle of that scene from Swingers.”
“You know that famous scene,” she said, “where the guy, not Vince Vaughn… the other guy…he calls a girl he likes and says something embarrassing on her answering machine, so he calls back again to explain, and then again to explain that—wait—what do you mean you didn’t see it?”
When Tannenbaum’s humor piece about 80s alt-rock band The Smiths was not accepted, she noticed that her rejection letter did not include the “keep trying” tag she had received in two previous rejection letters. She attempted to brushed it off as a possible error or a matter of the editor “being in a rush.”
The following day, however, when she saw a headline on the Pitchfork website breaking news about Morrissey’s upcoming tour, she couldn’t help but respond to the rejection letter by attaching a link to the Pitchfork piece with a short note asking McSweeney’s if they were “sure.”
Tannenbaum later qualified this by saying, “I went back and forth about whether or not to use a winking smiley face emoji but figured that would be frowned upon in McSweeney’s circles, so ultimately I opted against it. But then I pretty much tortured myself for the rest of the day wondering if my questioning their decision would be perceived as ‘hostile.’”
As of this reporting, McSweeney’s has not responded to Tannenbaum’s follow-up letter, but she remains hopeful that come May, when Morrissey is in San Francisco, she may yet hear back from firstname.lastname@example.org.