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“Friday, October 31, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

           I respectfully submit my first full story, “Inertia”, for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you by early January, as announced in the guidelines. 

           Sincerely,

Philip Duchesne (pronounced ‘Due-Shayne’)”



 “Saturday, November 1, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

           I submitted a story entitled “Inertia” on October 31st, but have not yet received the confirmation e-mail as announced in the guidelines. If this is simply a question of the weekend, I understand. I hope your Halloween was a great one!

           Best regards,

                        Philip Duchesne”



“Saturday, November 1, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

           I am writing to inform you that I did in fact receive your e-mail about an hour after having sent my query. Please disregard my previous message, and thank you for confirming receipt of my story. I look forward to hearing back from you by early January, as announced in the guidelines. 

           Sincere thanks,

                       Philip Duchesne”         



“Monday, November 3, 20xx     


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,    

       As a follow-up to my last message confirming your e-mail about “Inertia”, it occurred to me that I had omitted the word count on the cover sheet. The guidelines did not specify whether it was necessary, but since the limit is 5000 words, I wanted to clarify that my count is in fact 4789 words, unless you include the title, in which case it is 4790. Terry Billington’s The Writer’s Craft: 50 Do’s and Don’ts of the Aspiring Author (my Bible!!) specifically states (# 38) that one should make the word count crystal clear. I can’t believe I forgot! Sometimes it’s difficult for the absent-minded artist to come down to earth! I understand, with preparations for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities, if you do not reply to this message.

               Best wishes,

                     Philip Duchesne”



 “Friday, November 7, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

           In planning my various literary submissions for this year, I was considering sending my story, “Inertia” to the Ozark Review.  Therefore, I would like clarification on your exclusivity policy. I have looked at the guidelines, but was unable to decipher exactly where the Editorial Board stands on this issue. 

           This could have waited, since the Ozark Review has a submission deadline of January 5, but I wanted to make sure that I sent this note to you before the Thanksgiving holiday (Billington # 7: “Plan, Plan, Plan”). I see from your online academic calendar that you have a week off for Thanksgiving, and I am sure that right now is a busy time on campus.  Thank you for any help you can give, and I wish you the best for the holiday. I am relieved to be staying put this year!

           Merci d’avance, as the French say,

                       Philip Duchesne”



 “Friday, November 14, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,                   

            Did you receive my e-mail concerning your policy on exclusive submissions? It has been a week since my inquiry. I wanted to make sure that the message had not been lost, as sometimes happens.

           Yours truly,

   Philip Duchesne”                                                             


“Monday, November 17, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

           Thank you for pasting the excerpt from the guidelines in which you state your exclusivity policy. I assume that you do not include a salutation or signature in e-mails in order to retain editorial distance.

           Now that I have the official text, I can consider whether submitting “Inertia” to the Ozark Review would be a wise decision. I would not want to prejudice my chances with either publication. Billington is not very clear on this point in 50 D’s and D’s. Furthermore, can you imagine having to decide between the two were my story to be accepted at both? What a Sophie’s choice that would be! I’ll research the legal aspects of simultaneous acceptance. As noted, I am staying at home for the upcoming holiday, and will not have family around to distract me. What a relief! I will therefore have plenty of time, when taking a break from my writing schedule, to look into these issues and make the right choice. 

           Thanks once again for the information,

                       Philip Duchesne”



                                                                           “Monday, Nov. 24, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

           After very careful consideration, I have opted not to submit my story to the Ozark Review. I didn’t need the entire holiday to figure this one out. Life is about choices, and I chose Lexington State Literary Life because of its rich history, including the discovery of two-time Pikeville Writer’s Group silver medal award winner Trent Olingstern, who I had the honor of meeting at last year’s PWG BBQ and Roundtable on characterization. Trent is such a role model and student of the Craft.  

There are some things we can choose in life, like our favorite literary outlet, and others that we can’t, like our family. You can decide not to be with them over Thanksgiving, though! These are two resolutions I feel so great about: committing to Literary Life, and deciding not to deal with all of the hassles of travel, overeating, and petty comments about my life choices. I’ll just enjoy my chicken and revel in my serenity. Besides, I must use the vacation to continue honing my prose; I am very excited about my works in progress. Don’t worry about replying to this e-mail, even if you are checking messages over the holiday, wherever you are. I do look forward to hearing back from you by early January or even before. 

           Fondly,

                   Philip Duchesne”


                                                               “Tuesday, December 2, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

             Just checking in now that I’m sure you’re back in session! I know that early January is the notification period for acceptance, but sometimes publications let writers know early, so I thought I’d preempt. I have been so busy that I have had very little time to dedicate to my writing, so being in touch with you was a way to get back in the game. “Writing is writing”, as Billington constantly reminds us (in fact, it’s #1 and #25 of the 50 “Do’s”, as I’m sure you know). 

             It looks like Christmas won’t be as tranquil as Thanksgiving. I have a guest coming: Bogdan, my new neighbor. He’s from Russia and alone, so I decided to keep him company, not that I need the hassle. I even had to brave the SaveMart Black Friday nightmare! I felt so plebian among those people, but I needed some key items for our evening. I must continue to set aside time for my writing; one doesn’t master the Craft by planning Christmas dinner with Bogdan! You know what I tell myself, though? That I can use all of these experiences in my stories. Billington (# 2): ‘Write what you LIVE’.

             I look forward to hearing back from you soon. 

                  Busily yours, but eagerly awaiting news,

                        Philip Duchesne”



                                                            “Wednesday, December 24, 20xx


Dear Editors of Lexington State Literary Life,

             It’s been almost a month since we’ve been in touch. I was occupied with preparations for Bogdan and the pressure of adhering to my writing schedule. Additionally, I wanted to respect your (somewhat hurtful) request of December 4 that I “…please avoid any further contact with the Editors”. 

             You promised in that same e-mail that the Editors would “contact [me] in due time concerning [my] work”.  I wanted to remind you of that pledge. I naively thought that you would let me know where my story stands before the expected date. Have any of your other submitters, mostly rank amateurs I am sure, been following the progress of their stories this closely? I’m simply holding to Billington’s “Do” #28: “Stay on the Radar!”, after all. LSLL has shown an egregious lack of respect for perseverance.

             Bogdan seems to be celebrating “Horrendous Disregard for Common Courtesy Month” just like you. He told me this morning of his new Christmas plans (a sick uncle in LA…what’s Russian for “liar”?). The hours that I wasted stringing popcorn, decorating that stupid tree, wrapping presents, and buying a ham! A ham, for Christ’s sake!

             You know what? Forget I ever sent you my story, and forget I ever shared with you. I’m sure that in early January, if you even answer, I’ll receive a “We regret that we are unable to publish your work at this time. Please note that we receive hundreds of submissions, and that our decision in no way reflects on the quality of your writing.” Pathetic. 

             I hereby unsubmit my exceptional story for publication to your second-rate, student-run, virtually unreadable rag. Don’t bother answering.

             Sincerely Disappointed in You,

                       Philip Duchesne”         



                                                               “Thursday, January 1, 20xx


Dear Editors of Ozark Review,

           I respectfully submit my first full story, “Inertia” for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you by early April, as announced in the guidelines. 

           Sincerely,

Philip Duchesne (pronounced ‘Due-Shayne’)”

June 14, 2020 07:37

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5 comments

Tempest Juvano
21:16 Jun 24, 2020

Dear Mr. Brazeau, We are very glad to inform you that the short story "Respectfully Submitted" that you have written for the ReedsyPrompts, has been received with extreme delight. It was a very refreshing read, with a format that rejuvenated the reading mind. We are very grateful to you for the creation of such a masterful piece and look forward to reading more of your excellent writing. With best wishes for your writing and safety in these turbulent times, Tempest Juvano from HRA, (Hungry Readers' Association)

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Brian Brazeau
06:14 Jun 25, 2020

Thanks so much! Love the format of your comment. :-). I just left a comment on your story as well, which I enjoyed very much. Excellent job. Looking forward to reading more. Brian Brazeau

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Mehak Aneja
11:00 Jun 26, 2020

Great work and I literally loved your story. You did an excellent job. Kept me hooked till the end. Would you mind to read my story too and share your opinions on it, as it will help me improve.

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Ethernia Thiadi
08:25 Jun 25, 2020

I love the irony that Philip's book is titled "Inertia," it seems that he truly is living what he wrote. It was a pleasure to read.

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Brian Brazeau
06:31 Jun 26, 2020

Thanks! Really appreciate the comment!

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