With shaking fingers, I tore the Fed-ex envelope open. The next moment I was lying on the floor, laughing hysterically.
It was March 13, 1987, just two weeks after I mailed in my contest entry to replace the most popular advice columnist in America, Ann Landers. She was leaving the Chicago Sun Times for the Chicago Tribune. Then-editor Matthew Storin informed me that my entry had made the top 111 out of eleven thousand contestants from across the nation. Woohoo! This letter would be framed and hung on the wall.
My vanity showed me pictures of myself appearing on television interviews, speaking, lecturing, and writing books that publishers would cry for. Maybe the Sun Times would even send a limousine to pick me up and drive me from Rockford into Chicago every day. I’d wear a stylish hat to match my coat and gloves.
On April 5th, Matthew Storin sent out letters of regret. I received one of them and promptly tossed it in the trashcan. As a free-lance writer, I have had some experience with rejection (very, slight experience). It was quite devastating (the one time it happened) but I soon realized one editor's rejection is not the final word. There is no end to hope...unless Hope wanted to be the next Ann Landers.
Dear Editor, One happy writer will soon be sitting at Ann Landers’ former desk. Does she use phrases such as, “you know” and “goes like” in her sentences? If so, perhaps the editors have chosen the wrong person.However, it’s not too late. I will be available until some time after 2025. After that, I’m sure I’ll be very busy, so please keep my number handy. –Signed Opportunity Waits But Not for Long.