Now we are in 2005 or 2007, I don't remember exactly which year it was,
but I noticed I had a missed call on my cellphone . . you know how that is . . I DO remember it was a Tuesday and it was May 2nd . . THAT is ingrained in my mind forever. . . and it was 11:24 AM.
What had transpired a month or two prior to receiving this call, I had drafted polite, professional letters inquiring, just inquiring ( Since I did not get a coherent answer 7 years ago to my "funny trick" letter ) why
my stuff is not right for the magazine, now. I asked please for a communication. I asked in the letter that don't you think that if you are not going to buy a cartoon from me after 19,000 rejections, the chances are that you won't, and it would maybe be a wise thing to tell me to save us BOTH time and not to send any more ? ( And save me postage ) I said PLEASE, all you have to do is to tell me and I'll disappear from your incoming box. Hell, this is nothing, believe me, I CAN handle the bad news. No big deal. I've never worked for the Post Office, I can handle pressure, I work best under pressure! This is all small stuff.
I told him I could " handle " this type of rejection, that I was the CEO, in house psychiatrist to my company, professional businessman with 32 employees and running a successful business that I founded 25 years ago, dealing with all kind of nut jobs, on a professional basis.
My work had evolved and I thought ( like a lot of other cartoonists ) that my work BELONGED in the magazine. In fact, I received a letter from a big publication, " REACT ", which was a Sunday magazine supplement like PARADE magazine, stating that my work, although it was good, was
" TOO NEW YORKERISH " ! This letter will be published in its entirety in a few days.
I listened to the missed call, I'm paraphrasing . . " Hi, this is Bob Mankoff . . Roy, you wanted communications, here it is . . You're not a BAD cartoonist, in fact you're a pretty GOOD cartoonist . . It might be good for Reader's Digest, but it's not quite right for us. If you want to talk about it, call me . . " and he left his personal number.
I never called back, it could not be done on the telephone.
I listened to it twice, and then I headed directly to the kitchen and poured myself a double-shot of the GOOD WILD TURKEY straight up. Then I chased it with an ice cold Coors Banquet Beer in a bottle.
I sat myself down, and thought and studied about what I just heard. For the first time in my life, I felt like either I SOUND dumb, COMMUNICATE dumb, LOOK dumb, COME OFF as dumb or maybe I AM DUMB, ( But I don't REALLY think so, in fact I know so, I'm sorry ).
WHY in the world would he mention READER'S DIGEST ? True, I had the most cartoons in their recent hardback book of cartoons . . . " LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE " and was doing quite well there, BUT, BUT WHY not mention HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW where I appeared there MORE or BARRON'S where I was appearing there also on a regular basis . .
MAYBE, JUST MAYBE it could have been because by mentioning READER'S DIGEST, it IS PLAUSIBLE that their humor is a little more geared to a family, wholesome audience. ( Although many New Yorker cartoonists send their NYer rejects to Reader's Digest and sell them there ). And maybe, if I was not TOO swift, I would overlook this. It might be worth a shot, so I'll try. ( Was THIS the thinking, H-M-m ? )
I must be paranoid thinking like this !
Interesting to note also that the cartoonists in HBR and BARRON'S are ninety-percent NEW YORKER cartoonists . . HM-M-M-n-n ? H-M-m ?
THERE HAS TO BE A NICE WAY ( I KNOW THAT I COULD DO IT ) to draft a polite "stock" letter to send to people like me who continue to waste editor's time and money. I think it is the "right" thing to do.
If we can put a man on the moon, I think this is a no-brainer.
What most people want in this world is someone that can talk straight with no games, just be honest, straightforward and courteous, AND EXPLAIN YOURSELF . . If you CAN"T EXPLAIN it coherently, SAY you can't explain it or try to find more words like GOSSAMERS, ENIGMAS,
words like these ARE helpful, VERY helpful ! , SURE. Yeah !
Look, it's not them . . it's me.
Too much Alan Watts can screw you up.