Why is it called submission?

I submitted. I closed my eyes, forgot about consequences and just did it. Now I’m in a panic because I fear the inevitable rejection that everyone says is part of the process. Or worse than rejection – indifference.

What I want to know is why is it called submission? When I sent off my first story for consideration to a magazine editor this week, I gave my heart. I opened an emotional artery. I held my breath and I submitted serious thoughts on a serious subject to a stranger. I could have kept these thoughts to myself, left well enough alone but I decided to put myself out there and now it’s done and I’m exposed and afraid.

It’s a perilous game with only two outcomes – success or failure. While I wait, I self-flagellate. I commit psychological harakiri. I am nauseated. I administer regular mental floggings. Sweat soaked sheets and tear filled pillowcases need frequent changing. That’s what submission does.

It should be called consideration.

Here is my story for your consideration.
I’d like you to consider my words.
I appreciate your consideration.
I know you will show consideration for my work.

Thank you for allowing me to consider your work.
I have given your essay considerable thought.
Your work deserves careful consideration.
In consideration of your skillful efforts I am pleased to accept your fine work.

See? Now that’s a balanced relationship. Look at the thoughtful editor, sitting at her desk, surrounded by stacks of manuscripts; a cup full of red pens, one tucked behind her ear, glasses perched on her head, gazing out the window into the New York skyline as she meditates on the merits of the essay she has just read. She’s evaluating. She’s reflecting. She is considering and she is not asking anyone to submit. Because she cares. She will reply, reject with respect, and move to the next piece of work for her consideration.

Chains: Chains, rust, orange, metal, iron fishingYes. Well. Why not?

In the meantime, I await the outcome, handcuffed and bound by a process that renders me submissive, hoping for some attention from the Master. It’s a sick business and I’m just one of the many willing victims eager to submit.

Please. I beg you – tell me your submission stories – the worse, the better.


10 thoughts on “Why is it called submission?

  1. Bruce Goodman April 25, 2015 / 3:07 am

    “Plotless, humourless, characterless. There’s enough trouble in the world without your writing.”


    • redosue April 25, 2015 / 10:51 am

      OMG. Did someone actually say that to you?


    • redosue April 25, 2015 / 7:10 pm

      Ah. “Send things out.” That’s a good replacement for “submitting”. Were your poems “accepted” Cynthia? I hope so.


  2. Cynthia Jobin April 25, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    Since poetry, if one is serious about it, (and not just wanting to work for greeting card companies) has practically no market at all, the trade publishers usually know they will take a loss on poetry books so they only do a few thousand copies of really famous poets. Fledgeling poets “submit” poems pretty much only to small literary/academic journals that no one reads except other poets….until their name becomes familiar and they self-publish a few chapbooks. It is still the profs in literature courses who push readers toward particular poets. The “scene” is pretty much academic (get a master’s degree in creative writing, shmooze with the right people, attend workshops and readings—mostly taught and controlled by people who are trying to push their own work at the same time.) It’s a really tiresome competition for very little reward…and you’r better be writing the right “sort” of poetry to begin with. I pursued all this when I was in my twenties and thirties and finally decided it wasn’t my cup of tea—though I continued to write and moved into other creative directions in work and play. But I have always sensed a vocation as a poet, have always studied other poets and written it for myself. Now that I’m old and don’t have to answer to anyone about it, I pursue it with gusto. I’m thankful for small favors, like a blog with readers. As you’ve read on y blog, it was “A Great Reckoning In A Small Room”, finally.

    In your own case, with the kind of writing you do so well, the world is open to you. Just keep plugging away at being “considered” and you will hit it right. Starting out with a particular niche or subject matter and finding the interest-group publications for that, is a good way to break in. When I was a teacher, I found it relatively easy to get published –for no pay, at first—in education publications, and eventually even got paid for it….until my views on education did not fit well with the teachers unions. 🙂 If you can keep testing the waters and not get discouraged by rejections you will make it eventually. You have the talent.


    • redosue April 25, 2015 / 9:54 pm

      Somehow your summary of the poetry world doesn’t surprise me but it sure as heck makes me sad/angry/tired-before-I-start. I thank goodness for blogging, too (though I’ve kicked myself to Tuktoyaktuk and back for letting Life in a Flash go) and the support of other writers in this place. I sincerely hope you keep writing and sharing your remarkable poetry with your readers. I remember your poem “A Great Reckoning in a Small Room” but will go back and reread.

      Having discovered at this stage of life I have an ability to write, I think it would be wonderful to have . a piece of writing accepted for publication darn near anywhere – even Hallmark! I don’t know if I have the stamina or strength for the competition but I’ll try for a while. I think published writers must have the hides of rhinos to keep plugging. I don’t have thick skin – except on my heels.


  3. Cynthia Jobin April 25, 2015 / 10:56 pm

    And you know what they say: time wounds all heels. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)


  4. amusingpoet May 2, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    Maybe I’m really lucky, but I only have one negative submission story. Usually people are pretty nice or just neutral in rejecting my work. I tell myself that if you’re not getting rejected, you’re not sending things out, and the only way to get work accepted is to send it out. I like the idea of sending your work out for consideration—–a far better term. Thanks for posting!


    • redosue May 3, 2015 / 11:55 am

      I’m glad to hear you haven’t had awful submission experiences and I hope mine will be similar. It amazes me that people have the courage to send their work out. I died a few times before I actually clicked “send”.


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