Back in January, 2009, I wrote an essay about Virginia Woolf and my grandmother. It’s a good essay. My parents think it’s good. Some pretty famous Woolf scholars have read and enjoyed it. I hope, one day, to publish it in a little magazine.
I entered it in a contest. It came in second. I was disappointed but still hopeful that it would find a home.
I sent it to the Yale Review. I got my PhD at Yale. Woolf published some essays in The Yale Review in the 1930s. I thought an old-fashioned personal essay that was about the love of reading and a mean Yankee grandmother written by a Yalie might find a home in the Yale Review. It was a longshot, but not utterly insane. The essay had, after all, come in second in a contest.
I called the Yale Review late in the spring of 2009 to check on the status of my essay. “Oh, my goodness!” was the flustered reaction. Profuse apologies for the lack of acknowledgment (not to mention reading or decision) ensued.
In the fall of 2009, eager to move on, I left a voicemail: I am submitting the essay elsewhere. It's still elsewhere. I still hope for news, dimly.
And now, awaiting me in my mail at work, is a note, dated July 28, 2010, from the Yale Review. It’s not a rejection. It’s an apology that, given the intense preparations for the 100th anniversary issue, they won’t be able to get to my essay until June of 2011.
Shame on them.