Friday, June 15, 2007

Apparently She's Serious.

Funny story with this one. When I got this email, I thought he/she was pulling my leg, so I actually emailed back and asked, "Are you serious?" and he/she said they were. Unfortunately he/she also asked me to be kind, so I will be.

The Rejecter,

I'd like your advice, and as a favor, please give me your advice with the understanding that I am a very good writer, capable of conquering the world with my words. I have nothing to show for myself except an insightful manuscript, freakishly well-written, with such exquisite craftsmanship you wouldn't see outside the boarders of eighteenth century Europe, though is it possible for me to get published in The New Yorker? I'm nineteen years old, and, I think this is relevant, very good-looking. (I don't know if I should say that on my cover letter.) Is the slushpile a meritocracy, is what I'm asking. Assuming I am the most talented writer in the world, what then should I do?

Okay. I need a second to breathe here.

....AND I'm done. All right. All right. I'm up to this. Something positive.

1. For your information and everyone else's, you are not going to be published in the New Yorker unless you know someone who works in the fiction section of the New Yorker or your agent does or your publisher does. Most of the pieces that are placed in the New Yorker are either by established short fiction writers that have already won a ton of international awards and/or are getting published to promote the short story collection that's coming out at the same time, and the publishing house pulled some strings to get the story in.

2. I know you are the greatest writer in the world, but that said, you might want to do a little double-check on your grammar before sending an email to someone who would catch things like comma splices.

3. For your information and again for everyone else's, it does not matter how attractive you are. In fact, most fiction authors are not very attractive, especially in fantasy. After all, writing is not usually paired with exercising. It's a very stationary activity. Also, fantasy authors usually own a a lot of cats and have a beard.

4. I'm not saying people aren't published at 19, but it's rare. Generally writers who have been writing all their lives reach some level of maturity in their 20's, and are embarrassed about anything they wrote before. Yes, yes, the Eragon guy was 17 or whatever. You know what? Eragon sucked. There, I said it.

5. I don't know what this business about 18th-century Europe is, but actually, a lot of great literature has been written either after the 1700s or outside Europe. In the "outside Europe" category, you have the Popol Vul, the writings of Virgil, the writings of Plato and Socrates, The Tale of Genji, and Homer's Greek epics, to name a few. In the "post-1700's" category I would put pretty much everything that's been written in English except Chaucer and Shakespeare. Austen, Dickens, Joyce, Faulkner, Hemingway, ... If you don't recognize all those titles, you have a lot of reading ahead of you.


Anonymous said...


I'm eight years old, and I'm a star writer. I wrote a book about a kitty. can i get it published?? How??

******Just kidding. but seriously, I find this sad. It's great this writer is pursuing their dreams, but they might want to leave the ego at home if they're going into this business.***********

The Rejecter said...

I wrote a story when I was about 6 about an alien who came to earth and went to a parade. It was awesome. I wonder why it was never published? Was it because it was written on lined paper and mainly pictures?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Virgil and Plato were European writers ... and Socrates didn't write--he was written about.

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...


The really sad part is that I was probably even more clueless at 19. (And I'm ugly as a sheepdog's ass!) Sheesh.

Boarders? Is that supposed to be "borders" or "saw mill operators" or just "boarders" in the sense of "Boarders vs. Boarnes & Noable vs. Amazoan?"

The Rejecter said...

Anon 10:58

I'm gonna give myself a pass on this one, because they were Greek/Roman and writing at a time when there wasn't a concept of "Europe" as we know it. And we have a lot of Socrates' speeches, don't we?

Rob said...

First, let me say that the email came from someone who should write comedy, because that was one of the funniest things I've read in a long time!

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the odd way the email begins: "The Rejecter." She's addressing you like an inanimate object. Why not "Dear Rejecter" or "Hello Rejecter."

Actually, it is no surprise that she is so conceited. That seems to be the trend with today's teens/young adults. I won't get into the well-known stories about kids who think they are too good to work fast food. They deserve better, even if they haven't earned anything.

Why is it relevant to writing that this arrogant child says she is good looking? I've seen some ugly pictures on the jackets of best selling pictures. To me that just goes to prove she has no clue what is needed to succeed.

Don said...

I'm still stuck on the "boarders of eighteenth century Europe." Who are these excellent writers renting rooms in eighteenth-century Europe? And why doesn't this remarkably precocious writer know to hyphenate compound adjectives?

Gina Black said...

>>you might want to do a little double-check on your grammar before sending an email to someone who would catch things like periods within parentheses<<

Um. I thought the rule is that the period goes inside parenthesis when it's a whole sentence. (Isn't it?)

Williebee said...

Nah, I think she meant boarders. A number of great surfers write.

These are our children, and the children of our children. By and large, we are getting what we deserve. (Is it too early for a drink?)

moonrat said...

you're awesome. how have i never seen your blog before?!?!

--anonymous recovering agency assistant

Rei said...


Of course, Rejecter, what you categorized as run-ons would be more precisely described as comma splices.

I don't get this sort of ego among high schoolers. When I was in high school, most high schoolers were self-deprecating. Perhaps this person isn't really that egotistical but thinks that she needs to present this egotistical front in order to be viewed as legitimate?

ORION said...

Yanno -- I wanted to write my entire life and thought I would make it a career when I was a teenager.
But life got in the way.
Fast forward forty years.
My debut novel will be published in August 2007 and I will be 54 years old.
I thought I knew everything at 19.
I know now I knew nothing then. I write better than I did when I was 19.
Seeing a letter like this brings my past back to me.
We need to keep the confidence of youth but lose the arrogance.

Anonymous said...

After wading through her freakishly well-written question, I think she's basically asking if one can be successful on quality alone, or if the business of writing and being published takes more than that. Oh, say, sleeping with an agent or something. (Hey, I was 19 once. I remember the kinds of things I thought.)

Oh, and on that note, I looked at my Little, Brown Handbook, and it says to put the period inside the parentheses if it contains a complete sentence. And, isn't a run-on sentence a style thing, not a grammatical error? What? I'm a Virgo. I need to know these kinds of things!

That's not to say her sentences were grammatically pristine (the "though is it possible" clause isn't even a construct that exists in English, is it?)

BTW, Eragon wasn't so bad. But it used far too many SAT words. Maybe he had a deal with his mom that if he wrote a story with all the SAT and GRE words, that he wouldn't have to do any more vocabulary lists ever again. And that's what produced Eragon.

The Rejecter said...

This is why I'm not a copy-editor.

Rei said...

BTW, Eragon wasn't so bad.

Are you serious? Perhaps if you've never read much Fantasy before. If you have, it was such a cliched rip. No originality, god-awful prose, and almost no research (Hello, Paolini -- horses are not cars!**). Here's a nice thread that goes into a lot of specifics:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get to the break room. I Suffer Without My Coffee! ;)

** - In bad fantasy of that nature, I often think their world would be best served by the heroes abandoning the quest and leaving the task to the horses, since they're clearly a lot more competent and immune to normal ails (nearly no food or water needs, immunity to hoof diseases and saddle sore infection, no need for cooloff, infinite endurance, and so on).

Anonymous said...

I'd like your advice, and as a favor, please give me your advice

Simmer down, son.

You have years of writing time ahead of you. Take a week or two off for rereading and revising correspondence before proclaiming how well you write.

If you don't have any critique partners you might want to join this group:

ORION said...

Hey even my copyeditors couldn't agree!!!!

Anonymous said...

That was just bloody hysterical if the Queen of the Prose really was serious in her original email. Almost no one (and absolutely no teenager) who is that confident in their abilities is even as close as the ionosphere in their self-assessment.

I've been writing since I was six (and barely functionally literate then) and before that if you count the stories I tried to commit to paper with pictures, and I had written a novel at 19 but even I knew I wasn't THAT good...hence my never sending it out anywhere. (I threw it away a couple of years ago when I moved out of the country, that's how bad I think it was, in retrospect. And unsalvageable, the Cold War being nearly twenty years dead.)

This reminds me of the story a gal in our writers' group, "K", told of a teenage fellow author friend she had who thought her greatest compliment to K was, "Wow, you write almost as well as I do!" K's assessment of her writing was that it needed a lot of work and needless to say her prima donna friend just didn't want to hear about it.

If the Queen of the Prose really does have *any* talent I hope she learns to curb her Manhattan-sized ego, which will probably do more to hamper her budding career than even her inability to punctuate properly.

jjdebenedictis said...

We're giving her a rough ride here, but I think at least some of this letter is tongue-in-cheek.

The question is: will being photogenic and young (like Kaavya Viswanathan) help a writer get her foot in the door if she really does have talent?

As our esteemed Rejectrix points out: for The New Yorker, it will not help.

For everything else, I suspect the answer is still "it will not help", BUT being young and pretty might help after you've got your foot in the door.

When the time arrives to publicise your book, being photogenic makes you more memorable to your potential audience and piques the interest of those who might consider interviewing you for television.

Write well and bust into the industry on the strength of that.

And when you have, then it's time to make sure the publicity department knows what you look like.


Robin L. said...

No, a run on sentence isn't a style thing, but a long sentence is a style thing. A run on is two complete sentences, not separated by a period or semi-colon.

This is a short run on: The black bear ran to the beach the kids were all scared.

Jane Austen uses very, very long sentences, but they are all grammatically correct.

Rob said...

To Williebee:

To quote a great man - "It's always 5 o'clock somewhere."

Unknown said...

I LOLed throughout. :-D

"You know what? Eragon sucked. There, I said it."

THANK YOU. Someone agrees with me.

Niteowl said...

Oh I dunno, I never read it, but it has a fricking dragon on the cover. A dragon. Close-up. I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

Man, I wish I were nineteen again! Back when I was nineteen, I knew everything too.

Anonymous said...

I am a fantasy writer and if people ask me if I am like Eragon or that damn Harry Potter one more tiem, I am going to stick my clue-gun up their nit-wittery behinds and shoot a couple of rounds!

-Ms. Clue-Gun

Anonymous said...

"freakishly well-written"

If I read this on a query letter it is an AUTOMATIC rejection. I want people to show me freakishly well-written work, not tell me that it is freakishly well-written work.

-Ms. Clue-Gun

Austin Williams said...

"Yes, yes, the Eragon guy was 17 or whatever. You know what? Eragon sucked. There, I said it."

Thank you! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Good-looking and 19, eh? Now, where did I put my manuscript-doctor smock ...?

Anonymous said...

Look at the bright side: If she ever does get published, with an ego that big, she won't have any trouble getting up in front of her fans.

Heather Dudley said...

Thank goodness someone in the industry thinks Eragon sucked.

The boy would never have gotten published if mommy and daddy hadn't been rich.

Anonymous said...

Oh. my. god.

If that was supposed to be funny, it wasn't. If it really was serious...honey, the ghost of Miss Snark is gonna come and hunt you down and hit you with the clue nuke. And I'll be cheering from the sidelines.

Rejecter, my hat is off to you for maintaining your composure.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe the manuscript IS freakishly well-written (though to me, "freakish" and "well-written" don't really belong in the same sentence), and maybe the writer IS fabulous and good-looking.


The trouble is, when the writer herself SAYS these things, and we have neither manuscript nor un-retouched photo to go by, it's only so much hot air.

Standard writing advice is "show, don't tell." I should think that would apply to submissions as well as to storytelling.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the number of posters who are assuming this arrogant young writer is female. That kind of arrogance, in my experience, belongs almost exclusively to the male.

Humility is even more important to a writer than talent, though possibly not more important than perseverance; but anyway, it's essential. As Bret Lott says, the writer's motto must be, "I know nothing!"

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the success of Harry Potter and Eragon. I tried to read them. I really, really did. I just couldn't do it. I was bored to tears, and I'm nearly forty years old. How are children eating these books up? Something in the water? Little messages on the TV screen telling them to do it? When I was a child, we had Roald Dahl, etc., now that's a writer for children. I'd read them over and over and over. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

Hey now! I've met both Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, and neither of them had beards.

As for the writer who inspired this post, I suggest she check out John Scalzi's 10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing at .

(Scalzi does have a beard. And a cat to which he tapes bacon.)

Kim said...

I wrote my first book at 19 - dug out the Writer's Market, looked up the big romance houses, and off went my queries (luckily I had just enough clue not to stuff the whole mess in an envelope).

Yanno, I still have every single form rejection. And I unearthed that manuscript from the bottom of a drawer and read it. I still cringe. It was awful. Terrible. Took suckage to a whole new level.

That's the funny thing about growing up - you realize you don't know jack, but you can learn. Unfortunately, this good-lookin' writer-to-be hasn't quite learned that lesson just yet. But there's always hope!

I didn't think Eragon totally sucked, but I thought it was boringly predictable.

Jeff Draper said...

I'm reading Eregon to my son. I think it sucks majorly; he loves it. And so there you go.

A Kelly said...

Yes, yes, the Eragon guy was 17 or whatever. You know what? Eragon sucked. There, I said it.

I love you, you're my hero.

I knew it wasn't just me!

Anonymous said...

you're really kind.. I, personally, would not have been able to ignore that letter fast enough

Twill said...

1) The letter seemed quite interesting, and the writer seems to have a great sense of humor.

I would suggest that he/she take that freakishly good writing and start submitting it, to see where it falls in the grand scheme of things.

A warning for him/her, though - if it's wonderful, that means it will only get rejected ten or twenty times before finding a home. Perservere.

2) The great thing about stories like Eragon, is they bring young readers into the fold, who can then pick up classics (and hopefully excellent new works) and learn where the tropes came from and how they *should* be used.

Adrienne said...

Kate -

I think the reason people are assuming the author is female is that the Rejecter entitled her post: "Apparently She's Serious". Later on in the post the Rejecter goes on to say he/she, but I don't really think it was sexism going on here, just you know, what the header said.

Metaphysical Speculator said...

Hey Kate: You decry sexism in your first sentence, then commit it in your second.

Karissa Chen said...

by "boarders" does she mean surfers or skaters? i wasn't aware they had them in the 18th century, but i'm probably not as crafty or good-looking as she is, so i probably wouldn't know.

okay, i don't want to be mean. you have to say that at least, she's "self-assured". maybe it'll make rejection a little easier than be a thin-skinned down-on-yourself type of writer (i know, i know, but one can hope for her sake, right?).

Anonymous said...

Assuming I am the most talented writer in the world, what then should I do?

Start sending your work out. I want to see your reaction when the rejections start coming in.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rejecter,

Please don't be kind! If it is going on your website, have at it! The best part of your blog is your wicked tongue and it is really unfair to the rest of us if you are going to be curtailing it because some "arrogant thin skinned know it all" wants you to be kind. Which is really a contradiction of terms, if you think about it. But then again, so is "freakishly well written."

19 is young but not 15 crushing your hopes and dreams young. 19 is stupid young but old enough to get a smack down and bounce back from it young. So please, unless you are getting a question from the "we must be protective of your fragile egos" young (under 16 is where I would cut that off), please let them have it. You will be doing all of us a favor.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, most fiction authors are not very attractive, especially in fantasy."

Hey! Hey! HEY!


Anonymous said...

No beard and no cat. Damn, I'll never get published.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the pieces that are placed in the New Yorker are either by established short fiction writers that have already won a ton of international awards and/or are getting published to promote the short story collection that's coming out at the same time, and the publishing house pulled some strings to get the story in."

This is apparently true. I never bothered to submit to the New Yorker, oh wait, I did once when I was 19. But my book editor told me exactly this, that they have people at their house, a major NY one, that know their people, and can pull strings ask for favors, etc. This is not only true for the New Yorker, but for most of the other major mags. Not they would publish my 19 year old drivel, but that who you know opens doors.

Anonymous said...

I threw away my Little, Brown handbook the last time I moved. Anyone know where I can acquire a new copy? Maybe littler, and browner?

John B said...

I feel like this could have been written by me...except the part about being good looking.

John B said...

Oh, crap. Also, I'm not 19. Other than that, it was like looking into a mirror.

Richard said...

The refreshing naivete of youth, the feeling of being empowered to change the world and being welcomed to do so.

The sad reality is that the world just doesn't care.

Of course, maybe I am just overly jaded.

There was an interesting interview in the latest issue of The Dramatist, in which several authors were asked what they would really like to do for a living. Interestingly, none of them chose writing. I suppose the desire to escape one's job is universal. While we clamour to become writers, the writers are clamouring to become us.

Miri said...

"19 is young but not 15 crushing your hopes and dreams young. 19 is stupid young but old enough to get a smack down and bounce back from it young. So please, unless you are getting a question from the "we must be protective of your fragile egos" young (under 16 is where I would cut that off), please let them have it. You will be doing all of us a favor."

I'd go so far as to say that anyone who at 15 will let their hopes and dreams be crushed by someone on a blog (respectable and knowledgeable as Rejecter is) isn't going to make it far in this business anyway. You have to, at the very least, be able to take criticism.

RE: Eragon: You are my hero. Seriously. There are other ways to get kids into reading.

Fluffy said...

I weep for my generation.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kate, the reason we assume the poster is female is 'cause of Mademoiselle Rejecter's headline..."Apparently She's Serious." She tried to hide the gender in the post below but missed her own headline.

I disagree that the colossal ego displayed in the message was necessarily the mark of the self-impressed male - there are plenty of women with this sort of ego too (and who will assure you how good-looking they are. A fact, which, incidentally, IS relevant, as obviously the better-looking you are the better you'll come across in the media and to your fans. Sad but true. Fortunately it's not a pre-requisite as Stephen King will happily attest.)

If the writer was trying to be funny s/he/it didn't do a very good job of it...a mark of the unformed writer. However it's possible we're taking hir far more seriously than we should.

E said...

Sorry to be pedantic, but no, Rejecter -- we don't have any of Socrates' speeches. At least not first hand. What we have is Plato's version of them. Obviously I could be wrong, but I'm not aware of any first-hand Socrates having survived.

All of which is a propos of nothing, but anyway...

Anonymous said...

C'mon, you gotta love that teenage moxy! I wrote similar letters about being the world's greatest poet at 16, of course, that was before I dropped out of highschool.

Anonymous said...

"Eragon sucked" and "The boy would never have gotten published if mommy and daddy hadn't been rich" together kind of prove the questioner's point that getting published can be influenced by stuff other than your writing. Now who's being naive?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of books that suck but which get published and sell well.

The factor we're failing to take into account is not that mummy and daddy were rich, but that Eragon was enjoyable.

Even though it sucked.

It was like the Da Vinci Code that way.

The Grump said...

Love the blog ...

Love the comment about fantasy writers having beards.

While I don't have a beard, my mustache outfuzzed my son's until he was almost 30.

Does that count in getting published?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't know. I'm pretty sure "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" was published because the author is attractive. Certainly it wouldn't have gotten anywhere on its own merits.

Anonymous said...

Re Eragon--it wasn't so much that Mom and Dad were rich as much as Mom and Dad were in the publishing industry. Badboy, The Rejecter never said that influence didn't matter--she says as much in her comments on getting published in The New Yorker. But just being pretty doesn't count as "influence", especially at nineteen. And especially with the writing skills the questioner demonstrated here.

Anonymous said...

Hm, coming at it from the other side, I wonder if beauty could actually work against a wannabe writer since they mightn't fit in with the stereotype of how a writer should be. Even if they got the right contacts someone would eventually wonder how they made those contacts... When I went for a grad job as a programmer I think being slightly nervous actually worked in my favour cuz geeks are 'supposed' to be a bit socially awkward.

patricia said...

I think Paris Hilton wrote the letter. In prison.

Anonymous said...

If you are the type of person who gets your jollies by sending fake questions to Rejecter's blog to get a rise out of her and her readers, then you are the type of person who would respond, "What? Of course I am serious. Please be kind" when she emails you in disbelief over your question.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:39, this letter sounds genuine to me. John Scalzi wrote a blog post that draws offended teenaged writers like flies, and about half of them sound exactly like this, only with worse spelling and grammar.

LindaBudz said...

My guess: The question (is the slushpile a meritocracy) was serious but the letter is at least partially tongue-in-cheek, with the suppositions inflated to further drive home the question.

ORION said...

I'm uh kind of bummed now that you all said it wasn't my beauty that's getting me published...

dawnmetcalf said...

Okay, so I write fantasy and have a beard, and two cats...and am Well, I guess in the plus category, I *also* think Eragon was a poorly-written, cliched hunk of boring drivel, but he's rich off of his novel and I'm not, so there it is.

ANYWAY, I feel for this teen's moxy, I do, but it's a tough thing to be a writer -- especially a 'young' one -- when you're caught between feeling that your writing is better than a lot of stuff out there while simultaneously feeling that it sucks as you try beating it into shape. You present the former and bury the latter if you want to market yourself. This is my generous interpretation of this letter.


Well, sometimes you DON'T write well. Sometimes the writing DOES suck. Your first idea isn't always your best idea and sometimes your first passion isn't the one you take on for a lifetime. (Think of your first real date!) And that's what experience, rejections and critiquing can teach you in the world of writing.

Of course, I say this having written since I could write and knowing I wanted to do this for a living. Still, I agree my early novels never saw the light of day (and thank goodness for that)!

You want to know if you're good? Have your work critiqued by at least 5 people who are not related to you in any way (no family or friends or families of friends, etc.) and see what they think. DO NOT just send stuff out there because, frankly, it clogs up the pipes. Someone has to take an objective view and, Dear Writer, it sure as heck ain't you.

Good luck!
(**rolls eyes discreetly**)

writtenwyrdd said...

Ditto rei on Eragon. What a piece of junk! And besides the horses without physical needs, there's the really bad learning to use a sword better than anybody in the evenings by the fire on a journey fraught with monsters across unknown lands with no food supplies.

I saw some promise to Paolini's writing, but this book needed revision in the worst way to be considered good writing.

writtenwyrdd said...

The great thing about stories like Eragon, is they bring young readers into the fold, who can then pick up classics (and hopefully excellent new works) and learn where the tropes came from and how they *should* be used.

No, no, no! That's not how it would work! The kids would read the originals from which Eragon was stolen and presume that Eragon had been ripped off. Haven't you ever heard a kid insist that a cover song is the original version, and that the Stones or whomever never did that song because it's too current? Their time is the only time, after all!

Anonymous said...

Re Eragon suckage:

Check out the "AntiShurtugal" LiveJournal sometime. It's an LJ for those to vent their Eragon suckage and cry many single tears.

Now here's the really scary part:

If patterns hold, there should be a pitch making the rounds on the CBA/Christian Bookstore publishing circuit right now: "Just like Eragon, but CHRISTIAN!"

Anonymous said...

Ok, whoever had the cojones to write this letter clearly has some unmedicated psychological issues. But please, please, PLEASE do not assume this is how all teenage writers are. I am seventeen, and took last year off school to write my second manuscript (the rejections for the first are still in my inbox, right above the congratulatory notice for the manuscript's win of a respectable conference-sponsored contest.) Said second novel is now represented by an agent I met at the conference, and is currently being revised before going out on submission. This is something I have been working towards for ten years, religiously, at the cost of my friends, wallet and certain personal hygiene habits.

So don't be haters, folks. Some of us kiddies deal with rejection and carpal tunnel, too.

(Also, Eragon was indeed a POS. Bravo, Rejecter.)

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm a little sad to know my odds of being published are smaller than a quark, but I guess it's good to know that I can't instead of remaining ignorant and sending in a similar (albeit better worded) letter.

As for Eragon: HAH! I wasn't wrong when I thought his writing was a pile of bull. That makes me feel much better.

Anonymous said...

As Amy said, this is not all teenaged writers' state of mine. This is an arrogant egotistical teenaged writer's reaction to more than (gasp!) 2 rejections.

I'm fifteen, and after writing my umpteenth novel, I am currently shopping one to agents that has been critiqued by many, many writers, shred to bits, rewritten twenty-plus times, thrown away, salvaged, and lost me many a chance for a social life.

I recognize I'm not the most talented writer in the world by far (I doubt I'm even in the top million), but at least I've had twenty critiquers all agree my manuscript is publishable.

Who wants to bet the 'freakishly well-written' masterpiece was a first draft of a first novel?

Rachel said...

In all fairness (and, yes, I know the particular book I'm about to mention doesn't fall under the category of fantasy), S.E. Hinton was only 16 when she wrote "The Outsiders". That's a teenage girl writing a novel from a male POV; a novel that is widely considered to be a modern classic, and tought in high schools throughout the country (at least it was when I was in high school). All that being, I wish I had that kind of gumption.

At 31 years old, I refuse to even glance an anything I wrote before the age of 22. It's far too embarrassing even in the privacy of my own home. We should all rest easy in the knowledge that, one day, the little girl in question will be all grown up. When that day comes, she will recall the hubris of her email and turn beet red. I just wish I could be there to enjoy it. (Yeah, I'm mean. So what?)