We’ve been watching episodes of a PBS show called My Grandparents’ War, where celebs like Helena Bonham Carter and Kristin Scott Thomas trace the histories of their grandparents’ experience in WWII. Tonight we saw one featuring Mark Rylance, and there were a couple quotes that stuck out to me. I wanted to record them before I forget them.
Mark Rylance, walking in a cemetery for war dead in Hong Kong (where, but for the grace of God / random chance, his grandfather might well have ended up), mused that he keeps hearing people talking dispassionately about war, as though it’s some kind of natural event. But, he pointed out, war is fought by people. Just people, like you and me.
Later, he met with a Japanese historian who has studied the POW camps that the Japanese ran in Hong Kong. He asked her why she chose to study the camps—a heavy question, considering some of the atrocities that had been explored earlier in the episode. She responded, “History doesn’t repeat itself. People repeat it.”
Just people, like you and me. Let’s be careful, OK?
I received this in the ol’ email inbox this afternoon.
Thank you very much for your story, and for letting us hang on to it for as long as we did. The piece has received more than one read, as our first reader enjoyed it a great deal. Due to our current (thematic) publication needs, however, we are unable to place this story.
Although we can’t use your work at this time, we thank you for thinking of us and encourage you to submit again in the future.
The funny thing is, they didn’t tell me which story they were rejecting, and I couldn’t remember what I’d submitted to their market. (I also couldn’t find my initial submission in my outbox, but that was less surprising; a lot of markets these days are using Submittable or Moksha or some other online submission gateway.)
Thank heavens for The Submissions Grinder. I did a quick search on the market name, and found that, yes, I had submitted a piece to them, wa-a-a-ay back in June 2020. Their submissions page said that they don’t generally send out rejections, so if you didn’t hear in about three months, assume you were not one of the lucky ones. I had assumed that, since September came and went with no word, that I was not one of the lucky ones.
Turns out I was right, but it seems I came closer than I thought.
Oh well. Once more unto the breach and all that. At least they liked the story; with form rejections it can be very hard to tell.