Mistakes of a Night

September 2, 2010

tragic tale has come to our attention in recent days: that of one who shall be generically known as “artist,” and those editors of a certain medium we shall refer to as “publishers.”  The artist submitted his art to the publishers, and though it was prettily inscribed, the publishers timely rebuffed it. The artist, rather than shrugging the pain of this (no doubt) crushing rejection from his narrow shoulders, took to arms against said publisher, crashing their gate, and falsely imprisoning the lot. As one would imagine, the fruit produced of this ill-conceived violence was as bitter as the inedible Curaçaoan laraha. The local constabulary came upon the scene and, using a form of stinging leaden music, subdued the savage artist. Thus the publishers, though filled with dismay, lived to reject another day.

Cloaca Maxima. (In its present condition, 1879.)

We at the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge have had many a manuscript, spat upon, torn to tiny bits, and cast into Cloaca Maxima with such sweet-penned form letter excerpts as: We are sorry to report that we won’t be able to use any of your work at this time but hope you keep in touch with us in the future — as a reader as well as a writer; Thanks for sending us your work, but it’s not right for [our publication]; and We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.

Out of context, the words are innocuous. To press them against one’s precious work is bound to evoke the poet’s ire, momentarily. Yet rejection of art should never lead to actual violence; rather, a new audience ought to be sought.

Figure 405, Peel of the Laraha, quartered, cross-section, and dried

And even after all the audiences in all the great wide world seem to have been exhausted, there is hope, gentle artist: recall the stunted citrus of the Curaçaoan laraha. While its fruit is pungently aromatic, the dirty green peel of the laraha – when dried and its essential oils extracted – can be turned to a cordial which is highly esteemed and quite palatable.
.
So too can your rejected art be foreshortened to produce a publishable work.

Please allow our good friend Æsop to add his timeless wisdom, as
translated by George Fyler Townsend.

The Oak and the Reeds, Giovanni Maria Verdizotti, 1577

The Oak and the Reeds

A very large oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.”

They replied, “You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.”

Moral: Stoop to conquer.

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