The other day I received a rejection letter for a short story I’d submitted to a major publication. I assume the editor was being kind when he reminded me that regardless of the merit of my work, I was competing with world famous writers for a single slot in that monthly periodical. In sum, being an unknown author, I had as much chance of appearing in his glossy as a rooster had of being invited to La Scala to sing the lead role in Aida.
I knew the odds were astronomical when I sent in the piece. Sadly, just as wealth in this country is unevenly distributed so, too, is influence. Regardless of the merit of a work, generally speaking, to break into the major leagues, one needs to be related to or know someone with clout. There are a few exceptions, of course, enough to keep hope alive. But the odds do not favor the man in the street.
This morning, over cereal, I was reminded of the power of influence once again. I was reading a piece in the May edition of More magazine written by Delia Ephron. Delia Ephron is the sister of the well-know playwright Nora Ephron, author of You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. The sister’s essay was a light piece about the way a pair of boots or a pair of silver earrings could make the author feel invincible. The writing was literate but not wildly entertaining, nor even fresh in its perspective. Except for co-authoring a play with her famous sister, Delia Ephron’s credits are few. Yet she landed in the pages of a major glossy with an essay thousands of bloggers could have written.
Am I indulging in a feast of sour grapes? You bet I am. But that doesn’t diminish the merit of my question. What happens to art when success is narrowed to those happy few who have a famous sister, friend or lover?
(Courtesy of hpc40dayfast.blogspot.com)