Then he wrote me again. I've been invited to resubmit my dialog-only story, which he has even, clearly, read:
Thank you for your submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection.
Our readership prefers stories with lots of landscape description.
Clearly as your story stands we cannot accept it for publication.
Should you add something about (e.g.) the hills around Derbyshire into
your story, we would give the story another look. We also accept
bribes, and are almost as trustworthy as the characters in your story;
small bills only please.
My letter back to him:
Dear Dr. Emmons:
It is beyond me to put into words how delighted I was to receive your encouraging note vis-à-vis my story "Done" rather than the swift bona-fide rejection promised me in your Instructions for Authors.
As a writer little could please me more than an invitation to rewrite a story with the possibility dangled before me of being corrected again prior to my pending rejection. Despair and glee war within; never has lack of rejection left me feeling so conflicted.
But I am helpless in the face of editorial whim. Thus please find attached a new version of "Done" which includes a good number of what I hope you will find tasteful and appropriate references to landscape.
I look forward to your reply. Thank you for your kind attention.
P.S. I will, of course, blog about this. You'll be famous. Possibly.
P.P.S. Send PayPal link.