Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The "Nous"

I stopped submitting items for possible publication years ago, mainly because handling rejection is not one of my strong suits. I've been sifting through boxes lately and came across my favorite rejection letter ever. It's from the then agent of Dave Barry to whom I sent a large package of random writing samples with absolutely no proposal regarding what I planned to do with it or exactly for what project I wanted him to represent me. I also suggested he visit my web site, which at the time was a mentally imbalanced ode to Larry David. Here is the agent's response verbatim in what appears to be a TYPE-WRITTEN (as in a typewriter) letter:

Dear L.:

Thanks for your Fed Ex full of frothy exuberance. It's clear that you are an intelligent and amusing woman, quite capable of writing an engaging book. Unfortunately, we are trying to reduce the number of our commitments these days, not add to them.

You probably had the nous to send out simultaneous Fed Exes to a number of agents, and I trust you'll snag a good one. Someone your own age, or thereabouts, and fully conversant with the higher tech. I blush to confess that I know nothing of cyberspace (is it still called that?), have no website you could visit and wonder what broadbands are.

The best of luck to you and who(m)ever. And thanks for thinking of Fox Chase as a possibility. Alas.

A.L. Hart

I wrote back a rambling note and told him I most certainly DID NOT have the "nous" to send out simultaneous Fed Exes and asked if he had any idea how much Fed Ex cost or if he still used the Pony Express. I also indicated I did not want someone my age "or thereabouts" representing me because everyone my age was a moron. He kindly sent me a second note thanking me for my "pertinacity" and said he thinks I'll "do very well" but he cannot represent me. I sent back a third note letting him know I heard Dave Barry was retiring (I hadn't) and that I think he will need 15% of my earnings to keep his lifestyle afloat. I was greeted with no further letters from him.

In other news, I am still recovering from taking two toddlers to a wedding this past weekend and wish I had the nous to recognize in advance that my kids would not take well to travel, holy matrimony or barbecue mini-meatball appetizers. Photos to come.


  1. I feel stupid, but what, pray tell, is the "nous"? I am assuming we are not talking about "we" en francais?

  2. We will not let you be rejected again. I have an idea. Let's tawk.

  3. That is hilarious. I'd get rejected just to read more letters like that! :-)

  4. Wow, I have no idea what "nous" are, but I wonder if I have them. I've definitely never sent multiple FedExes and have no fantasies that Dave Barry would ever consider me anything more than ever so slightly annoying (not even creative enough to be really annoying!). But I enjoy the idea of finding out I have something I didn't know about.