Today I found three envelopes addressed to me in my own handwriting in my mailbox. I immediately know what those are: rejection notices from literary journals. Because if a journal wants your work, an editor will send you an e-mail, or will call, or both. He or she won’t use the self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) you enclosed with your submission. Of course there are way more journals now that accept work electronically, and therefore also send their rejections electronically.

Incidentally, one such e-mail popped up in the lower righthand corner of my screen while I was typing this blog entry. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the subject line “Re: Your submission….,” and felt a flicker of hope. With an e-mail, you actually have to read the body of the message to see whether it’s an acceptance or a rejection. Of course it was a rejection but hope and possibility lived just a little longer, and their demise was a little less tangible in cyberspace than it is in the form of a SASE. Those SASEs often lie about unopened in my pile of mail until I have the heart to log the rejection in my submissions spreadsheet.