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What didn’t make the cut

| Monday, April 12, 2021

Rejection letters. We all get them, we all hate them. This week, I stumbled upon Rejection Letters, a literary magazine that publishes … fictional rejection letters. Satirical, heartbreaking, artistically-inclined rejection letters. What a concept! 

I was inspired, looking for a Viewpoint column idea and still cooling off from my last inbox disappointment. As is written on the Rejection Letters website, “We all cope in our own weird ways.” 

So it is with the deepest, regrettiest of regrets that I inform you I’ve written a few of my own Notre Dame-related rejections this week. Enjoy! 

Dear Pfizer-BioNtech, 

Thank you so much for submitting “Vaccine” to “My Left Shoulder.” This year, we received a staggering volume of work from many incredible vaccine companies — both seasoned and emerging. And while we are immensely grateful for the opportunity to review your work, we regret to inform you that “Vaccine” was not accepted into Issue 1: Things My Immune System Immediately Enjoys. We encourage you to revise and resubmit this piece, perhaps within a period of 21-42 days.

Your work won great praise from our editors for its precision. It was so sharp, we literally had to put on a bandage afterwards. But your use of authorization was more emergency-use than experimental, more sterile than avant-garde and our editors were split on whether or not it “worked.” 

Specifically, the chapter, “Vaccine Envy” was underwhelming. 

And while we appreciated the obvious care and attention to detail you put into the piece “Not Getting COVID-19,” we found the second-day mild headache and arm pain to be a bit much. One of our editors was unable to sleep on her left side for “a while.” 

Lastly, while “COVID Vaccine Dose Number 1” was clean, elegant and simple, with minimal effects on the reader, “COVID Vaccine Dose Number 2” felt a bit scattered, and left us feeling confused about the severity of our potential side effects. 

In the future, we’d like to see you take on a variety of variants. Challenge yourself to merge some of the two-part pieces into singular works. Please do not be discouraged: “My Left Shoulder” believes you have great promise, and sincerely looks forward to reading more of your work.

Warmly (redly, and a little swollenly), 

My Left Shoulder


Dear Two Mini-Breaks, 

It is with regret that we inform you that your piece, “48 hours of unscheduled time during an already stressful semester” was not accepted for publication at this time. We had many other accomplished school days this semester, and we simply did not have enough space to accommodate for the piling up of assignments due several days prior, a lack of sleep and burnout. 

Though we appreciated the restorative and restful value of your work, our editors found that two wellness days was simply not enough to, “help students maintain their mental and physical wellness” as you wrote in your bio. In the future, we’d like to see how you experiment with longer pieces and forms, as we believe this could improve your outlook for acceptance into our journal. 

We encourage you to continue submitting your Mini-Breaks to us in the future, as we believe you show great promise. One editor in particular remarked, “My professors were so kind as to not schedule any homework on the mini-break day!” Please feel free to reach out for more detailed feedback, and do apply again. 


A Student Who Would Like A Day Off


Renee Yaseen is a junior who majors in economics with minors in theology and the philosophy, politics, & economics (PPE) program. In her free time, she writes poems, hangs out with loved ones, and works on her software startup. She can be reached via the chat on a shared Google Doc at 3 a.m., on Twitter @ReneeYaseen or at [email protected] by email.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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