Should You Force Your Child to Play the Cello or the Oboe?


OMG, make it stop hurting!!! Can’t you make it stop hurting?????

I got rejected, again, and it’s feeling a lot like that time this guy Kevin told me he didn’t want a “serious” girlfriend after I let him feel me up at that party in Bickmore Hall junior year.

This past week I sent out a short piece I wrote titled “Buy the Cow, Even if You Can Get Robot Sex for Free.” The next day, I received what my blogging friend Ross Murray from Drinking Tips for Teens would call a “kind rejection.”

Thanks for your submission and interest in our site! Great post, but not a great fit for us right now. Sorry about that! General humor is always in demand, so feel free to submit additional work.

Samantha A.
Senior Content Manager

I read and reread the rejection email, parsing each word, the same way I had parsed Kevin’s statement on girlfriends. He said he didn’t want a serious girlfriend. Samantha A. said great post. Surely there must be a way to interpret their words to mean something other than what they apparently meant. I just needed to stare at this email a bit longer, grasp at more straws, the same way I had held out hope for Kevin when he appeared to look my way in the dining hall, before he headed back into line to get a second slice of pumpkin bread.

“He didn’t have to look in my direction,” I remember thinking. “There are any number of visual routes his eyes could have taken to find that pumpkin bread, but he did, sort of, look toward me. That’s got to mean something!”

I kind of wish that both Samantha and Kevin had been more heartless in their rejections. I could have been spared several weeks of pining after him if Kevin had told me straight out, “Look, thanks for letting me touch your boobs, but I’m never going to ask you out!” Likewise, maybe it would have been better if Samantha said, “Karen, go die in a fire and never, ever, ever send out crap like this again!”

But she didn’t. She said “great post” and that got me thinking, just like all those years ago with Kevin.

“She called it a ‘great post,'” I thought. “Maybe it’s good enough to be published somewhere else.”

So I got it into my head to send the piece somewhere else. I made a few changes, and sent off “Buy the Cow, Even if You Can Get Robot Sex for Free” again, on its way to another editor’s inbox.

And that’s when I got what Ross Murray might call an “unkind rejection.”

We appreciate that you took the time to share your work with us and that we had the chance to read it. Unfortunately, the piece is not quite right for us.

No “great post” here. No “feel free to submit additional work.” Just a whole lot of “Die in a fire!”

Or at least that’s how it felt.

Rationally, I know that my piece is probably not a good fit for a website that’s publishing

Lesson 1: Drink out of the toilet.
Lesson 2: Sniff everyone’s crotch.

articles like, “Was I Wrong to Force My Child to Play the Cello? Or Should I Have Made Her Play the Oboe, Too?” and “10 Parenting Lessons I Learned from My Golden Retriever” and I kick myself for submitting it there, but I was awash in Samantha A.’s rejection compliments and not thinking clearly.

By the time I publish this post on Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please, it will be 24 hours since I got that second rejection and perhaps the sting will have worn off some. Perhaps I’ll feel better and I’ll be able to drag myself off the floor and out of the fetal position.

Perhaps I’ll even look up Kevin on Facebook to see if he ever got serious with a girl.

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14 thoughts on “Should You Force Your Child to Play the Cello or the Oboe?

  1. Karen says:

    So I made up those two titles (“Should I Force My Child To Play the Cello . . .?” and “Ten Parenting Lessons I Learned from My Golden Retriever”) but I’m seriously thinking about writing and submitting them . . . 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. BroadBlogs says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it so much. I’ve worked with some publications were they like some of my stuff and post it, but I also send them other things that aren’t quite right.

    A lot of times that’s all it is. The particular piece doesn’t work with their blog/magazine.

    Chin up! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      Ah, thanks. I’m not really as discouraged as this post might make me sound. I told a friend that I’m quite pleased with myself for even working up the courage to submit my work. It’s a major victory for me 🙂


  3. acflory says:

    I really enjoyed this post except for one thing…where is the article that was rejected? After such a build up I was dying to read it and…zip. 😦


    • Karen says:

      I’m still deciding whether or not it’s salvageable to send out for publication, so it’s not going to appear here until it gets rejected a few more times, I think. Thanks for reading. 🙂


  4. Allie P. says:

    How did I miss this post? I am beginning to suspect my WordPress reader is intentionally keeping me away from some great content. Wait, now I am beginning to sound like some of those random (yet exceedingly complimentary) spam comments. I should mix it up so as not to get flagged. How dare you attempt to publish such scandalous drivel. Cows having sex with robots? Where can I sign a protest petition? There that should do it.

    For the record – I love your posts. Both publications are missing out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      Eh, I just sent off another piece this morning. I’m an absolute masochist. My posting schedule has been haphazard of late. Too much working at my job that actually pays me money. 🙂

      And thanks for the kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jay says:

    I get where you’re coming from. We need more honesty. Sugarcoating is helping anyone. That said, I think ‘not a good fit’ is probably not a rejection of you or of your writing. Editors miss a lot of good stuff from having too narrow a focus.


    • Karen says:

      Thanks for commenting. Yeah, I’m trying to keep from being too devastated by the rejections. In hindsight, I can understand why the editors turned my work down, and I’m hoping I’m learning something, and my next pieces will be more carefully crafted and more appropriately targeted.


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