Months ago, I mailed out a query letter to Ms. Magazine about a topic I am dying to publish–the ridiculousness of the fake teen diary Go Ask Alice and other cautionary tales “edited” by Mormon therapist Beatrice Sparks.  I previously sent a similar query to Bitch Magazine but never heard back from anyone. 

Through journalism classes, writing magazines, and conversations with fellow writers, I’ve learned to fear rejection letters like the plague.  I’ve been told that rejections can be harsh, mean-spirited, and capable of killing one’s self-esteem. 

With all of this in mind, I almost passed out on the spot the other day when I looked into my mailbox–there sat the stuffed, self-addressed stamped envelope I mailed to Ms. back in October.  I held my breath, opened the package, and (among all of the paperwork I had mailed in) sat this:

My first rejection letter.  The note at the bottom of the page reads: “This was a compelling query but we ultimately felt that Go Ask Alice is a bit too dated.  We’d be interested to hear similar cultural queries on more recent/emerging phenomena.” 

Despite receiving my first rejection letter, I feel great!  How is that possible, you ask?  Someone at Ms. took the time to handwrite a critique of my query so I have a better idea about how to present my ideas in a different way, in hopes of finally getting it published.  And nothing in the letter was mean or soul crushing.