Fifteen Submissions to the The Gibberish Review
by Lou Gaglia
"During the last decades the interest in professional fasting has markedly diminished…."
Dear Mr. Kafka: Thank you for submitting to The Gibberish Review. We regret that we cannot use your story and wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect…"
Dear Mr. Kafka: Thank you for submitting to The Gibberish Review. Please note our guidelines which state that writers may only submit once every six months. We also do not publish stories about insects. That is stated explicitly in our guidelines, if you bothered to read them.
"There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love turned to dust."
Dear Mr. Lawrence: Thank you for submitting to The Gibberish Review. We enjoyed your story, but it's not for us. Please note that we do not publish genre fiction. This includes romances, especially sad ones.
"The small locomotive engine, Number 4, came clanking, stumbling down from Selston with seven full wagons…."
Dear Mr. Lawrence: Please read our guidelines. We do not consider work from authors who submit twice in a six-month period. We also don't read children's stories. That's clearly stated in our guidelines as well. Finally, we do not publish stories with "chrysanthemums" in the title. This is our guidelines' very first item!
"During an interval in the Melvinski trial in the large building of the Law Courts, the member of the public prosecutor met in Ivan Egorovich Shebek's private room, where…"
Dear Mr. Tolstoy: We are sorry but we do not publish stories with "Death" in the title. Please read our guidelines, which specifically state that we hate stories about death, unless the deaths are quick and violent.
"The high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world."
Dear Mr. Steinbeck: Last year, you sent us another story, also starting with some description of the Salinas Valley. Our guidelines specifically state that we do not accept stories about the Salinas Valley. This is our preference and nothing personal. Besides that, we don't like stories about flowers, especially chrysanthemums, which we are allergic to.
"I am a rather elderly man. The nature of my avocations, for the last thirty years, has brought me into more than ordinary…"
Dear Mr. Melville: Thank you for submitting to The Gibberish Review. We enjoyed half of your opening sentence but regret to say that we cannot use your story. What the hell is a scrivener, anyway?
"And where's Mr. Campbell" Charlie asked.
"Gone to Switzerland. Mr. Campbell's a pretty sick man, Mr. Wales."
Dear Mr. Fitzgerald: We appreciate the opportunity to read your work. Unfortunately, your story is not for us. We like when an author opens a story with dialogue. In this case, however, our readers will at first have no idea who Mr. Campbell, Mr. Wales, Charlie, or Switzerland are, and we can't subject them to this kind of confusing opening.
"North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free."
Dear Mr. Joyce: Thank you for submitting to The Gibberish Review. We enjoyed your story but feel that it's not quite right for our publication. Try starting a story with some lively dialogue! Let the reader know immediately who is who, and clearly separate people from places. If you say that a street is blind, right away that will confuse the reader who will think North Richmond Street is a person and not a regular street. Also, does the school set the boys free, or do the teachers themselves do that? Make this clear. Hope this helps. Please tidy up your work, and feel free to re-submit—after six months.
"Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet."
Dear Mr. Joyce: Six months does not mean six minutes. Please read our guidelines. As a reminder, we do not include stories with the word "Dead" in the title. Finally, saying that a girl was literally "run off her feet" will confuse our readers who will undoubtedly picture a girl running past her own dislocated feet. Think simple. "Lily was as tired of running around as anything," might work better.
"The Salinas Valley is in Northern California."
Mr. Steinbeck: What did I say about the Salinas Valley. We also do not read novels, especially biblical ones. That is explicitly stated in our guidelines.
"Call me Ishmael."
Mr. Melville: We've deleted your novel unread. We don't read novels, or any story in general when all it's about is some fish!
"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Mr. Tolstoy! We do NOT read novels, especially long ones with a thousand Russian names in them that are unpronounceable! Submit again in six months. And keep it under 1500 pages. You guys are too much.
Cc: Mr. Melville, Mr. Steinbeck
"The store in which the Justice of the Peace's court was sitting smelled of cheese. The boy, crouched on his nail keg at the back of the crowded room, knew he smelled cheese, and more: from where he sat…."
Dear Mr. Faulkner: Thank you for submitting to The Gibberish Review. Unfortunately your piece is not right for us. Please note in our guidelines that we do not read stories with sentences more than ten lines long—nor do we like colons except when time is noted: 3:00 A.M, for example; and once we see a dash, we're done reading—we hate dashes.
"Hold it right there, Johnson!" The police officer crouched low with his gun trained at the temple of Mr. Johnson, who had just exited the local Quickway. Mr. Johnson slowly raised his hands, open-mouthed and trembling.
"Drop those cheese doodles, now!" commanded the officer.
Mr. Johnson dropped the bag of cheese doodles on the ground. The officer…."
Dear Mr. Spellicy: Thank you for submitting your wonderful and exciting story to The Gibberish Review. We will be proud to include it in Issue One of our publication sometime within the next two years. One thing: Could you give the police officer a mustache? We like characters of either sex who wear them.
Lou Gaglia lives and teaches in upstate New York. He's been published recently or has pieces forthcoming in Rose & Thorn Journal, Stirring, Stymie, Bartleby Snopes, Hobo Pancakes, Pig in a Poke, and Indigo Rising.