I'm not the most organized person in the world. An example: when I sent out my most recent short story in an attempt to get it published, I submitted it to 10 different fiction journals. But I forgot to keep track of which ones.
It wasn't that big a deal. After four of the journals rejected it, a fifth, the rather interestingly named "Hobo Pancakes," was pleased to let me know that they really liked it and wanted to include it in their latest edition. Great news. Except that there were five other journals I applied to and by now (a month or so had passed) I couldn't remember the names of the remaining five. In fiction circles, if you've mutiply-submitted a short story and one of the places wants to publish it, it's considered proper etiquette to inform the other places of its pending publication so they can remove it from consideration for their publication. So forgetting the other places constitutes a real jerk move on my part.
Thankfully, one of the remaining five did some of the heavy lifting for me, sending me an e-mail last night. I've redacted the name of this publication, since I figure that's between me and it. But other than that, the text of the e-mail is reprinted here verbatim:
We regret to inform you that we will be unable to accept your submission, "BMW Supermodel," at this time. DO NOT let this discourage you from writing creatively. Continue writing, and continue submitting your work. If you choose to revise this piece, please feel free to resubmit it to us, and we will be more than happy to reread it.
Thanks again for your submission.
This is by far the nicest rejection letter I've ever received. For anything -- job interview, fiction submission, college application, etc. I actually felt good after reading it. Maybe this particular journal likes to make people feel good about themselves. But it sure doesn't feel like a form letter.
Now if only I could remember the other four places I sent my short story to....