There’s a fraction of a page article in the new Entertainment Weekly, about a book written by longtime New Yorker receptionist, Janet Groth. One tidbit tells of Truman Capote’s days spent there sorting through submissions. Seems he got rid of the envelopes and hid the submissions. No wonder he ended up writing a book titled In Cold Blood!

I’ve had a few random submissions to random magazines go missing, with both sides opting for the Ockham’s Razor approach…most likely the simplest answer is correct. In other words blame the postal service.

So my often too vivid imagination provided me with visuals straight from a horror show–writer’s edition. I’d picture a mail truck in some lurid, metal crunching wreck, bursting bags spewing their contents like brightly colored, paper tailed comets. A lone manilla envelope, pitifully torn, lying on an isolated road while dirty, ragged sheets of once pristine paper with their delicately etched lines of black ink words blew like leaves into a dark and scary woods. The horror movie version of slush fate.

Now, however, my mental image is forever changed. The next time a submission disappears, my mind’s eye will play for me the farce slush scenario. The strangely fascinating little man who both charmed and slightly repelled me from Johnny Carson’s guest seat will star in that imaginary sitcom wrapped in minor tragedy, as with unleashed glee he furtively disposes of his day’s prospective work and along with it the unfortunate authors’ hopes and dreams.

I truly love some of Capote’s writing. Particularly the stories through which he wove childhood memories of his grandfather and cousin Sook. So much so that I’m sure the image of his slush shenanigans won’t taint them for me. Well, almost sure….

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