Editor’s Desk

14 November 2016

Today’s editor’s letter is from Ehsaan Bhatti`s Review contributor and associate editor Nathan Tompkins. 

Dear Intrepid Readers,

Every so often, more often than I would like, I get jealous of my friends, and other people whose work I admire.  Facebook makes it easy to do, especially during those dark times when it is my sole contact with the outside world.  Those times where I have shut down, turned all the lights off, and resigned myself to watching the world roll by.  I feel jealous, and I start to think that maybe I should just raise the old white flag, surrender, call it quits on this writing thing, this art thing.  Because, face it, it’s not bloody easy.  But then again, no one says it is.

But I *am* sure that I can't stay away.
But I *am* sure that I can’t stay away.

We’re always inundated with the success stories on our Facebook feeds, the announcement that so and so had another story, another poem, another art piece accepted in a litmag, or a book, or a gallery.  Then, we check our email another time.  Nothing, or worse yet, a rejection.

Then, I start thinking that maybe I am shit, my writing is shit, my art is shit, that maybe people were only publishing me for an example of pure bad writing, or photography, that maybe I just got lucky those times, that maybe I am used up.

I choose to think that you're just not capable of appreciating my vast intellect.
I choose to think that you’re just not capable of appreciating my vast intellect.

This doesn’t mean you or I are not happy for those that get their book deals, their recording contracts, their shows, their lit mag acceptances, awards, gallery shows, and everything else that signifies a success.  No, it just means that we want them, too, as it helps to crystallize the dreams of everything we worked for, the goals we held in our hearts for a few years, or all our lives.  They mean yet another step to the golden finish line.

Another thing to remember though, is that few people brag about the twenty rejections they just received in a row.  I remember one time, in a 24 hour period, I received 15 rejections.  This wasn’t even a record.  However, since I had poetry stuff to do, I just said, aw fuck, mourned, drank, shrugged, and moved on.  This isn’t always easy to do.

It’s worse when we have depression whispering in our ears.  I live with depression.  I have lived with it for as long as I can remember, for longer than I even knew there truly was such a thing.

They go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Or wine and chocolate. Or pretty much anything and chocolate.
They go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Or wine and chocolate. Or pretty much anything and chocolate.

Depression is the ex who always hangs around; who drunk texts you at 4 am hoping for a booty call; who calls you when things start looking good telling you everything that’s wrong with you at midnight; who, at 1 am, tells you they’re sorry, and at two, calls you a fuckface; who follows you in the shadows; lies to everyone about you, and mostly brainwashes you to believe the worst in yourself.

It’s not an easy thing to live.  Not for anyone.  However, it seems worse for anyone who works hard at succeeding in whatever they’re doing, only to fail time and again.  As a working writer myself (as well as editor for the awesomest Zoetic Press/NonBinary Review), I know this.  I have experienced this.  I have sat in my room, linked only to the outside world by the internet, through Facebook, Twitter, and email, watching others get the successes that I so dearly wanted.  It is tough watching other people get their gallery shows, their readings, their book deals, their recording contracts, publications, when you just struggle along wading through an ocean of rejection, and it’s not just because you’re work is shit, it could just be the fact there was a typo or a grammatical error that the editor, for whatever reason, just couldn’t.


I know this.  I live it every day.  I always feel disappointed when there is no update, and devastated if rejected…especially if rejected by a lit mag or press that I admire.  As an editor, I know that there is a large amount of subjectivity in the decisions, though as a writer, it is hard to remember, that just because that place or editor didn’t take your work, doesn’t mean it is worthless, it just means it didn’t fit their vision/goals for their publication/press at that time.

I repeat, as this bears repeating.

Rejections don’t mean a fucking thing.

Rejections don’t mean a fucking thing.

Rejections don’t mean a fucking thing.

Here is another fact that is hard to remember, perhaps the hardest thing to remember:  you are loved.  Let me repeat this.  You are fucking loved.  Whether by family, friends, a pet, or even just us.  You are loved.

Here at Zoetic Press and NonBinary Review, we love our contributors and readers so much, we want to hug you, and squeeze you, and call you George.  You are the reason we are here.  Without you, there would be no us.  Even if you are an aspiring contributor, never forget, that we love you, too.  Yes, it is hard to see other people succeed where you have failed, but just because we may have turned down your piece, or numerous pieces (NBR has rejected my work many many times), we still want to hug you, and get you drunk, and tell you to submit again.  We like it.  As I said before, your work feeds us.

Feed us your words, Seymour!

And always remember.


Associate Editor



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