3.17.2008

Little Pink Paperclips

For no one but me.

These things have been with me since college. I think I stole the original box from a work-study job. New, it contained every color in the paperclip rainbow: cherry, orange, barfgreen, Apple Pucker, ocean, Wildcat purple, black (there was only one of these, very ominous), dumb gray, and, yes--lawn flamingo pink.

When my stapler's been jammed or out of staples (about eleven months out of the year) I've used the clips from this box to bind my submissions. Only I've put off using these particular ones; I dunno, after working for months to perfect a story, it just seems wrong to send it off for judgment bound by a clip the color of anti-diarrhea medicine.

I picture the guys at the Indiana Review deciding whether to publish my piece, reading it again and again, each time removing and retaching that pink piece of metal. Then at the last moment, the editor looks at the paperclip, is reminded of Pepto-Bismol and the accompanying distress, and rejects me.

I recently came across an excellent Canadian lit mag, The Malahat Review, whose submission guidelines include the following missive:

"No submission should be stapled or held together with one or more paperclips."

Loosely translated from the Canadian, this means, "do not bind submissions." Still, though--one or more? It's enough to make a girl send a manuscript bound completely shut, one pink clip on each side.