Rejection Letters to Famous Authors

Have you ever asked why so many writers take to drink? It’s editors. Well, you would drink too if you received a rejection letter like these writers might have received.

Dear Mr. Faulkner (Absalom, Absalom):

You are very good with the long sentences. But you seem to be stuck way too much in the past.

Dear Miss Mitchell (Gone With the wind):

The Civil War is over. Get over it.

Dear Mr. Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea):

Our audience is an adult audience. Unfortunately your sentences are not above the sixth grade reading level.

Dear Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer):

Could you give us more sex and less story please?

Dear Mr. Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath):

We don’t do wine books.

Dear Miss Austen (Pride and Prejudice):

Nothing seems to happen in your novels. If you could write something with a story like Fifty Shades of Grey, we could see our way to publishing. Call it Fifty Shades of Mr. Darcy.

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby):

I am sorry but I don’t think our readers will be able to identify with your Gatsby character. He is way too rich and those parties he throws are much too sinful. Now if he loved Jesus, and was a lost soul that converted to the Lord, you would have something.

Dear Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet):

Your detective, Sherlock Holmes, is much too smart for our readers.

Dear Mr. Dickens (A Christmas Carol):

That Scrooge fellow makes all us capitalists look bad. Then you have to go and turn him into a communist.

Dear Mr. Heller (Catch 22):

Very interesting book. It really isn’t about baseball, is it?

Dear Mr. Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five):

There are no such things as aliens.

Dear Mr. Tolstoy (War and Peace):

Make up your mind. Is it war or is it peace?

Dear Miss Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird):

We are not interested in instruction manuals on how to murder birds.

Dear Senor Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude):

Nobody around here reads Spanish. That is Spanish, isn’t it?

Dear Mr. Adams (A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy):

In what galaxy is hitchhiking allowed?

Dear Mr. Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy):

We did not find your book funny. Not funny at all.

Dear Mr. Gibran (The Prophet):

If you are a prophet, why didn’t you predict that we wouldn’t publish your book?

Dear Mr. Joyce (Ulysses):

Where did you hide all your commas anyway?

Dear God (The Bible):

Not sure what genre to put this one under. Geneology? History? Poetry? Motivation? Fantasy? Biography? Besides nobody will ever believe that story about the guy and thw whale..


All that glistens is not gold. Merchant of Venice.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.
Act 1. Scene 3.
Dear Auntie Yorick:
Are we going to have another bout of the plague. I mean, another bout of the you-know-what?

Dear Fearful:
Stock up on cats and you should be okay.

Dear Aunitie Yorick:
I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do. First I get it from Laertes. He’s my big brother. Avoid Hamlet like the plague. Then he takes off for Paris where he can do what the damned well he pleases. Excuse my “damned”. But damn it. Then my daddy tells me to avoid Hamlet like Henry VIII avoided Catherine of Aragon. What’s a girl to do?

Hamlet is so dreamy I just gush all over myself when he comes into the room. I mean he is a prince and all and the closest thing to Elvis this side of Graceland. If that ain’t enough, he’s the only eligible bachelor in the castle. Of course, I could go after Horatio. Only he’s such a commoner. Dirt poor too. If he wasn’t Hamlet’s buddy, he wouldn’t even get in the castle. And the clothes he wears. Ewwww.

I know. I know. Daddy and Laertes say I ain’t got a shot with my Ham. You know, he calls me his Eggs. Together we do make a nice Omelette. That’s French, by the way, for Ham and Eggs.

Hamlet will be king someday and he has to marry some prune faced princess from LaLaLand to keep the peace. Well, I am sorry. I just don’t believe it. Hamlet has told me he loves me big time. And we did do the—oops, almost spilled the beans. Anyway I think I would make an awesome Kate Middleton, don’t you think?

Dear O:
On the one hand, Dahling, y’all can follow your head and do what Daddy says. On the other hand, y’all can follow your heart and elope with your prince. Looks like it’s a lose-lose situation. You are caught between the proverbial Iraq and a hard place. Only one thing to do. Follow the advice of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Just be careful or ya”ll will turn this into another “Romeo and Juliet”. We wouldn’t want that, now would we? Richard Burbage has already insisted he won’t play Romeo ever again.

Perhaps the best advice is to get thee to a nunnery.

Dear Auntie Yorick:
What am I going to do? Normally I am as loyal and obedient as any father could want his son to be. After all my name is Laertes. I tried to walk the straight and narrow. But how was I ‘sposed to act. I get to Paree and it’s spring. You know what spring is like in Paree I’m sure. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Not London. Not Moscow. Not even Rome. And definitely not Elsinore which rhymes with snore.

I was at this party, see. I met this girl. She said to me, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime. We could parlez vous francais, if you know what I mean, Big Boy.” So I did and yadda yadda yadda. Before I knew what happened, I woke up, tied all spread-eagled across a bed. She stole all my money. I just couldn’t resist her. It was the Big Boy that did it.

So here I am in Paree without a dime to my name. I am afraid to ask Daddy for more cash. But these guys are pounding on my door, threatening to break my legs if I don’t give them the cash I lost at the races. What should I do?

Dear Laertes:
To thine own self be true but neither a borrower nor a lender be. Better yet. Follow the Bard’s advice from ” All’s Well That Ends Well”: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” That seems to be a winner.

Now a word from our sponsor:
Next month Auntie Yorick is leaving the nest and going on tour. She may be coming to a town near you. So get your tickets. And expect some unexpected guests. I am not saying who but one of them has the initials W S.

Auntie Yorick:
I can’t get no respect. I mean, c’mon. I go and get His Magnanimousness elected king. I raise two kids so that they grow up to be decent human beings. Their mother had to run off with a door-to-door salesman. Left a note saying that I was such a bore. Here I was working my fingers to the bone to put meat on the table. At least, I did end up with two wonderful kids, Laertes and Ophelia.

The problem is that those kids won’t listen to me. It isn’t like it used to be. In my father’s day, you put a chastity belt on your daughter and that did the trick. No, kids today won’t listen.

My Ophelia wants to date that no-good bum of a prince. Always sitting thinking. He’s not done a day’s work in his entire existence. His mama has done nothing but mollycoddle that boy since the day he was born. All he does is sit around and feel sorry for himself. Sure wish I could set her up with that Young Fortinbras. Now that would be a match made in heaven.

On top of that, Laertes goes and gets in trouble in Paris. Paree, he calls it. Can you believe that? Wants more money. That boy is going to bankrupt me before he’s done. What should I do?

Damned if I know. All I can say is one man’s Paris is another man’s Paree.

War Story

Story Prompt: “How to Tell a True War Story” by Tim O’Brien

People ask me why I became a war photographer. Why did I pick up a camera at forty years old and head off to the hell holes where war devastates so many lives? I don’t talk much about the reason. Most people would not understand why a man keeps doing a thing over and over that is so destructive to his personal life. Ending two marriages and jeopardizing his relationship with his four kids. I have never told anyone this. It is because of my dad.

My dad never talked about the War. The War being World War II. Neither did my Mom. She  kept silent for my dad’s sake.

When he came home from the War, he didn’t take the G. I. Bill. “It’s not right,” he said to my mom. He went to working the assembly line for GM, building Chevys. He and my mom saved and scrimped enough money to pay his way through college. He became an engineer since he liked to build things. Ended up building bridges and roads. Seems many of the roads and bridges in the state of Florida one way or another have his stamp on them.

When family and friends or my mom’s church group came over, my dad would head off to his workshop out back. He was not a man to give God no never mind, and he was not a man who craved company much. Our backyard became a playground for my sister and I and our friends. There was a tree house. There were swings and slides and a maze. All kinds of wooden things we played on. All built by Dad.

If a war movie, a “Longest Day” or a John Wayne playing at war, if one of them came on tv, my dad either changed channels or snapped off the movie.  He would say, “We’ll have none of that in my house.”

I turned eighteen in 1968. By this time, his hair had turned gray and he looked twenty years older than his forty years. He  packed my bags, put me on a bus and sent me off to Canada. His last words in his deep bass voice still ring in my ears, “No son of mine’s going off to Vietnam and get his ass blown off.”

Come 1990 I got the call. My aunt phoned me. Dad was dead. I had not seen him for the twenty-two years since I caught that bus to Saskatchewan. Every time I wrote or phoned, Mom told me that Dad did not want me to come home. The time was not right.

Before I could get my bags out of the cab, my sister Lindy was in my arms, hugging me, crying. Crying hard. Her husband, Dave, paid the driver and took my bags into the house. Lindy didn’t want to let go. It was as if she believed that I would disappear if she let go. Finally I wrenched myself from her arms. That’s when I saw Mom, standing on the porch, her face filled with sorrow.

In the next few days, I heard the stories of my dad’s war. He had been in North Africa and Sicily, fighting with Patton. He was at Omaha  Beach in Normandy. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was among those soldiers who liberated Buchenwald.

Mostly the stories came from our aunts. They told us that Dad had medals “up the wazoo”. Even the Purple Heart and a Silver Star. But there were no medals for us to see. No pictures of my dad and his buddies in uniform.

I asked Mom, “Where’s Dad’s medals?” She didn’t answer. She just slipped away into the kitchen.

Aunt George said, “He buried everything. When he came home from the war, he buried his uniforms. Any pictures we had. All his medals. My mom begged him not to. But nothing would stop him.”

“Where did he bury them?” I asked.

“Nobody knows.”

Later that night, I stood on the porch. Uncle Jack and I were drinking a couple of Buds. He said to me, “You know your dad shot himself on purpose. It wasn’t an accident. He meant to do it.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “No,” I said, angry at Jack for accusing Dad of something I just knew he wouldn’t do. I knotted my fists and got ready to strike.

“He knew guns too well for it to be an accident.”

I sat down on the porch and went to catch my breath. “But why?” I asked.

“I think he had enough of all the nightmares. Most of us were able to leave the war behind. Not your dad. He’d seen way too much of it.”

“I should have come back sooner,” I said, then downed the last of the beer in the can.

“You wouldn’t have been able to stop him. In fact, he might have done it sooner if you had been here.” His words were no consolation.

They lowered his casket into the grave. The soldier went to hand Mom the flag. She hesitated taking it, but she finally did.

Everybody left, but I lingered behind. I tried to recall Dad’s face. I couldn’t summon up that face. My mind was blank. I was numb all over. I went to say something to the man in the grave, but nothing came. After a while, I walked away. I joined Jack in his car.

“You alright?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “I mean I don’t know.”

He drove on. Both of us quiet. Everything had been said. There was nothing else to say. Back at the house, I did the socially acceptable thing and spent time with all those who came by to express their condolences. Then I slipped off and climbed up into the tree house. The tree house I had spent so many good days in.

In the dark, I sat listening to the night. The crickets were chirping, filling the summer night with their music. I wanted to cry, to weep, but the tears just were not coming. Softly I prayed to the night, “Dad, I love you. And I miss you. My God, if you only knew how much I miss you. There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t think of you. I became an engineer because you were an engineer. I married and became a father because of you. Oh, I love Mel but I would never have had the courage to take on a wife and kids had it not been for you. Now, you go and do this. Why couldn’t you just share with me all the crap you went through. Maybe I could have helped.”

For two years after that night, I was in a fog. I flew back to Mel and the kids. Went back to  work on the project I was on. For a year I was a zombie. Mel, the kids, they knew something was wrong.  One night I was watching the news, or maybe it was some documentary. It was a war zone. Later Mel and the boys were off to bed. I sat alone in the dark in the living room.

The fog cleared. It all came to me in an instant. I knew what I had to do.

The next day I went out and bought a camera. Then I caught the next flight to Sarajevo.

Hamlet: To Soliloquy. Definitely To Soliloquy

Never was a story of more woe than this. R&J 5.3.
Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
(King John Act 3. Scene 4.)

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 1. Scene 2. Hamlet is the guy in the room who could use some therapy. Freud would have had a field day with him. Everybody else in the room is singing, “Happy days are here again. “They’re all thinking Hamlet is messed up. All that sitting in the corner and brooding. Such moaning and groaning. None of the courtiers had seen its like. Ever. You’d think there was a ghost running around the castle moaning and groaning.

“Cheer up,” the king says.

“Cheer up,” his mom, the queen says.

“Cheer up,” all the courtiers say.

Even Hamlet’s inner voice says, “Cheer up.”

Still Hamlet broods and broods, and he broods some more.

Hamlet is depressed. You’d be depressed too. With good reason. Your daddy dies and Momsy has to go and marry his brother. Now Hamlet can’t be king. Momsy really fixed that.

On top of everything else, the only girl in Castle Elsinore is Ophelia, and he is not allowed to date her. No drive-in or making out in the back of his BMW. I mean c’mon. Ham is a young frisky guy, with all his testosterone hanging out.

Why did Hamlet have to go and promise Mom and the king he would stay in town? He’d rather be off to Paris and the ooh-la-las with Laertes. How did he get himself into this mess? Oh, yeah. He could never resist his mother’s pretty-please look.

Laertes gets to skip town. What makes him so special? Why not Ham? He mimics Claudius. “Your mother has missed you a lots and I want to teach you the king business.”

One thing is for sure. Ham is not the one in the white hat business. He’s not the one shaking hands and kissing babies. That guy is Claudius. He’s the guy what wants to be liked. All that paparazzi snapping his mug every which-a-way. Let Claudius have his throne. Hamlet doesn’t care. There’s no way he could stand all that attention.

Hamlet steps up to the mic. This is his big chance to get in good with the audience. He had better not blow it.

“I hate Denmark,” Hamlet speaks into the mic. “Why? For one thing it gets friggin’ cold here. I don’t mean the normal winter chill. I mean to-your-bones cold. I can never get warm.”

Bad Hamlet appears on his right shoulder. “Why don’t you go ahead and off yourself.”

“Who the devil are you?” Hamlet wants to know.

“I’m the guy who wants you to have a happily ever after,” Baddie says.

Hamlet pulls out his dagger. In mid-air, Good Hamlet shows up on his left shoulder. “Hold it,” he says.

The dagger stops.

“Wh-wh-what?” Hamlet stutters.

Goodie repeats himself, “Hold it, I said.”

“What do you mean showing up here?” Baddie challenges. “Haven’t you got business elsewhere? Like helping Henry VIII pick a new wife?”

“Nope,” Goodie says. “Got no place I’d rather be than here. Now, Hamlet, put that thing away. You’re going to poke your eye out.”

Baddie puts his hand above Hamlet’s hand on the dagger. “Hold on, fellow. You’re stuck here in limbo already. Why not go whole hog?”

Goodie grabs the dagger above Baddie’s hand. “Hamlet, you know that is a mortal sin.”

Hamlet grabs the blade and cuts his hand. He releases the blade.

“Now see what you’ve gone and done,” Baddie says. “That’s not nice.”

“What’s this got to do with nice?” Goodie retorts. “What we are talking about is his immortal soul.”

Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo appear onstage. Poof! Goodie and Baddie are out of there.

Horatio calls out, “Yo.”

Marcellus and Barnardo do a “Yo” as well.

Hamlet embraces his friend Horatio, then says, “It’s been a month of Sunday.”

“Longer,” Horatio says.

“Whazup?” Hamlet wants to know.

“We think we saw your daddy,” Horatio says.

“I’ve seen him to,” Hamlet says. “In my mind’s eye.”

“You still on that happy juice?” Horatio asks.

“No,” Hamlet says. “I haven’t been able to find a dealer here. My daddy drove them out of the kingdom when he was king. He wasn’t happy that so many Danes were happy. Thanks to the happy juice.”

“We have news,” Barnardo says.

“We saw your daddy,” Marcellus continues. “Or a reasonable facsimile.”

Horatio finishes, “He was a ghost as large as the Eiffel Tower.”

“You saw my daddy? You saw his spirit?” Hamlet’s eyes light up with hope.

“The apparition we saw wore your father’s armor and his visor.”

Hamlet can’t believe his ears.

Marcellus continues, “We have seen it for the last three nights.”

“And,” Horatio says, “I saw it tonight.”

Right then and there Hamlet decides he must see it too. Tonight.

After midnight.

Something to think about. I know I do.

Often I let my inner groucho come out for a little looksee. Mostly I do it with language. So here is some thoughts for your edification on Uncle Bardie here doing his Uncle Bardie thing.

Language is a wonderful thing I love to play around with. Give me a word like garbage and I am going to be doing a Norm Crosby and say garabage. It’s something I can’t resist.

Did you know there’s supposed to be a funny font? Well, I am here to tell you I don’t think Comic Sans is up to the job. Squirrelly thang, isn’t it? One thing is for sure. It ain’t no Louis C. K.

Talk about songs. I like to take songs and throw them for a loop. Feliz navidad becomes Police-know-it-all. Don’t think so. Just try it.

You know Paul McCartney wrote a song about al Qaeda? It’s called Band on the Run.

I once wrote a story that used this playfulness with language. It was called “I tink I can, I tink I can”. The opening paragraph went like this:

Jan Horstafeller vas a mighty fine fellow. He ate his haggalogen on Vod’s Day, Tor’s Day und Freya’s Day. As he scarfened down his haggalogen, his cappagaggas growed to ten feet vide und twenty feet large und Jan Horstafeller vas only a vee bit of a Horstafeller. Haggalogen has tat effect on der person. It enlarges von’s capagaggas enourmously. Yah, tat it does.

There was more but that’s enough. I can hear all my fans out there, yelling, “Turn it off. Pleeze.”

What started this blog off was a question I keep asking about English. If more than one child is a children and more than one brother is a brethren, how come more than one sister isn’t a sistern?  If a female actor is called an actress, if a female waiter is a waitress, if a female priest is a priestess, if a female enchanter is an enchantress, if a female tempter is a temptress, how come a female adult isn’t an adultress? Think about it.

And if the humor ain’t flowing. If the laughter ain’t coming out of its hole, here’s some jokes for all you discriminating readers.

Nudist woman says to her friend, “I have a blind date tonight, and I don’t have a thing to wear.”

We all know that strippers are popular for bachelor and bachelorette parties these days. My question is what does a nudist have at their bachelor or bachelorette party? A clotheser.

Nudist mother takes a look at her new born baby and says to the nurse, “He looks just like his father.”

You know what you call a private investigator among nudists? I don’t know either, but it is not a private dick.

What do you call a dad’s bike? A popcycle.

Why is the largest party day of the year in the middle of Lent? I’m talking Saint Patrick’s Day here folks. Think about it.

How do they get those bunnies to lay those Easter eggs? Think about it.

Why is it we go to doctors and lawyers who are just practicing? If you had a plumber who was just practicing, wouldn’t you get rid of him. What happened to my kidney? you ask. Oh, the doctor removed it. Why? He was just practicing. Think about it.

Here’s something to think about. Don’t know if you remember the country comedian Minnie Pearl but here’s some mini pearls I have come up with. Did you know that Minnesota (mini soda) means little Coca Cola? Did you know that menopause  means little hands? It’s pronounced mini paws. Did you know that Minneapolis means little town?  Minnehaha is little laughter. Think about it.

And think about this. The Oxford English Dictionary people are thinking about adding Mx to their dictionary. It can be used as an alternative to Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Miss. So, when you get married, you will be pronounced Mx and Mx. Big question. Who will be the Mx and who will be the Mx? Puts a whole new spin on the term mxmarriage, doesn’t it?

Tae boo: to scare the pounds off of you.

Punctuation, punctuation, punctuation. What a pain. Guess that’s why it’s called punk-tuation, huh?

When I think semi-colon, I ask when is it going to grow up and become the colon it’s meant to be. I hardly ever use a colon. It calls me to think that my writing may just need a colonoscopy.

I do love to invent words like curioddities.

Add –licious (-icious) to a word and you have a new adjective. Adding –licious to a word intensifies the experience. Example: googlelicious.

incidii (pronounced en-sid-dee-eye): more than one incidious. As in: The incidii conspired to make me look like a fool. Examples of the incidii: People of Walmart website. Facebook, Youtube, Google+

Bet you think I am getting geniuser and geniuser. One of these days I too might be the geniusest.

Now admit it. You did chuckle a little along the way, didn’t you? C’mon, adimit it. No? Then why are you smiling?

Bon appetit.