Chedva Sterling was going to pave her own path, make her own way, and inspire the masses!
hedva grinned. Finally, this was her moment. Her hands trembled as she waited for the page to load. Why do things take so much longer when you need them to be quick, she wondered. She shook the laptop, as if that would wake it up. Eventually, after what seemed to her like hours, the screen came to life.
Finally. Fingers poised on the keyboard, Chedva began to think about what to actually write. Hmm, what was that idea she had thought about in the shower last night? Or how about starting with a bang? Maybe she was just better off sending a letter to Perfect Publications. Letters would show how eidel she was. But was that the impression she should give? Who wants to listen to some eidel kneidel?
She thought about asking her mother for advice. But… that was just so childish. Anyway, her mother was likely to give her some sensible idea. That was exactly what Chedva did not want. No way, Chedva Sterling was going to pave her own path, make her own way, and inspire the masses! Hmm, now wouldn’t that be such a good title to her email? Or was it too cliché? Probably.
She wondered how to get her message across. I mean honestly, she asked her bedspread, why would they want to listen to me? I’m just a kid to them, even if I don’t feel like one. But I must believe in myself. What was it that my teacher always used to say? Oh yeah — if you have something to share and you don’t, it’s like you’re stealing. Yikes. I had better do something about this, then. Anyway, I exist as much as other people even if I am only 17 years old. I still exist! Hey, wait. That would be such a good email subject.
Subject: I exist!
A sigh of relief escaped her lips. Okay, subject done. Now what should she write in the email? Maybe she should just send off her article? Chedva pursed her lips and wrinkled her forehead as she always did when she was thinking. This time, though, it didn’t help. Which was not a surprise, since this action never really seemed to help. Chedva decided to leave the body of the email blank. The subject title was enough to keep them wondering. I mean, come on, she reasoned. If they see this email and ponder the meaning, they’ll at least be thinking of me. Once I have subtly planted my name into their heads, they are more likely to read what I have written. Aren’t they?
So she pressed send.
There was no reply. It was a most depressing feeling, thought Chedva to herself two days later as she glared at her laptop screen as though it were at fault here. But then again, it was natural for people not to respond to weird emails from strangers. Maybe she should try again?
Subject: Hi there again!
No. That sounded too weird. She needed to present a bit more normal this time or they would never take her as a writer. Maybe she should start on the letter first? Chedva deleted the subject line.
I appreciate that it must have seemed a little strange to you that I sent you an email saying that I exist. Obviously, most people don’t do that. However, I believe in originality. The way to get a job is to write a good resume, one that will grab people’s attention. I wrote this, of course, to grab your attention. Not chas v'shalom because I am strange. So please just like forget the first email and just remember, you know, the concept of it? Like that I exist? Thanks.
Anyway, I have an article that I think you would appreciate. Please let me know if you would like to print it.
With much gratification and appreciation,
Chedva read over what she had written. Hmm, it wasn’t bad at all. Actually, she surmised, it was pretty good! Pleased with herself, she pressed send.
Then it hit her. Chedva bit her lip hard. She had such glorious dreams for being a great writer, but now it looked as though she had missed her chance. She had forgotten to add a subject! Which normal person did that? What a mistake! Chomping on her lip, Chedva decided that it was just too terrible to forgive. She would have to write a new email and explain that she was sorry.
Wait. Now what should she write? Subject of this email or of the previous email? Probably both.
Please excuse my terrible blunder of sending you an email without anything in the subject line. I am truly apologetic, and I assure you it will not happen again when you decide to include me as part of your team.
The subject of the last email was supposed to be: Request to join magazine as a writer
She pressed send again and hoped against hope that they’d reply.
This time she took no chances and waited a whole week. But by the end of seven days, Chedva was getting tired of all this waiting. Obviously, she knew that they had many emails to read concerning numerous articles with varying degrees of importance, but seriously, did they not have the time to respond to her email? Was she invisible or something?
Just to be sure, she waited another two days. However, by the next morning Chedva was fed up with the waiting game. She decided to send another email.
Subject: Did you get my emails?
I trust that by now you have received my emails. I have given you long enough to read through them and they were definitely not as long as they could have been so you should have been able to read them by now!
Chedva read the words she had typed so far. Hmm, maybe that was a little too strong and pushy? She knew she needed to sound more polished than that. She checked the thesaurus and tried again.
I have awaited your inspirational response to my words for some time already. For several days I have held my breath in great anticipation. Nevertheless, the reply has not been forthcoming. I pen these words as an attempt to reconcile the contradiction within myself. For I am quite certain that I do exist, along with my laptop, and therefore I urge you to reassure me of this fact of life. I will then certainly be most grateful for your heartening words. I promise I will hearken to them at once and at great haste for I await your reaction with faith.
I beseech you to reconsider if you perhaps may have made a slight blunder in not realizing my great potential. I endeavor to forgive you with a full heart as long as you respond with alacrity.
With an indebted heart I remain yours truly,
With a flourish, she pushed the send button once again.
Two days later the reply was there in her inbox.
Dear Miss C. Sterling,
We thank you for the entertaining emails that you have sent to us recently. The reason why no reply was forthcoming was simply due to no writing being sent to our Publication. Please send us your work. We are intrigued.
C. Gold, Editor
Chedva gasped. She could not believe she hadn’t even sent the story she had written! Oh, how embarrassing. At least no one could see her as she blushed tomato red! Chedva replied immediately.
I was most dismayed to find that I had not sent you my perfect story that would of course be just perfect for a magazine which is as perfect as you are, of course.
I have attached it now. Thank you for your incredible patience!
Oh, and by the way, how do you know that I am single? Happens to be I am, but you shouldn’t assume.
Eagerly awaiting your response,
The reply was not long in coming this time, but it was short and to the point.
Dear Ms. Sterling,
Firstly, Perfect Publications does not wish to offend by calling you Miss; it seemed as though this was an appropriate title. We assure you that we will be conscientious and not allow this to happen in the future.
Thank you for your work. While we at Perfect Publications appreciate your enthusiasm, we regret to inform you that we do not publish stories on this subject written by unmarried women.
Disclaimer: Perfect Publications retains the right to keep any submitted work whether written or digital for further research or reference.
What? Chedva reread the email three times just to ensure she had understood it correctly. She closed the laptop with a bang. Seriously? Not accepting such subjects from unmarried writers? What had she written about already? Okay, so it was about a couple with shalom bayis issues, but why shouldn’t she write about that? Isn’t that discrimination? Is that even legal? For all they knew, she could be 30 years old, or a single mother. They didn’t know that she was 17. Seething, Chedva hurried down the stairs to wail about the injustices of the world to anyone willing to listen.
But on the way downstairs, a glint caught in her eye. Suddenly a plan began to formulate. It would be her revenge. Chedva did not go downstairs again that night. Instead, she began to type a new article. Something entirely different from the story before, something she knew did not connect her to the previous article. This one would be a “holy” article, as she liked to call it. She, Chedva Sterling was about to take the world by storm… undercover.
The article was completed a mere two days later. Proudly reading through her masterpiece, Chedva dreamed of the day she would become famous for her writing. Now all she needed was a pen name and then they would never know it was she! She knew it could not be anything too similar to her real name, so she decided to go for something Yiddish. Names whirled around her head in a dizzying vortex. Eventually the name “Breindel” struck her. But Breindel what? Chedva stared up at the sloped ceiling and let her eyes come to rest on the skylight. Never mind, the name would come to her eventually, she decided as she slowly prepared for bed. Perhaps an idea would come in the night. Just in case, she laid a notebook and pen on her night table. As she snuggled under the covers, she considered and rejected name after name. Eventually deciding it was no use and that the name would have to wait till the morning, she dimmed the night light and was asleep in minutes.
Bialaglowski! That was it! Alliterative, original, and just perfect. “Breindel Bialaglowski, here we come!” Chedva sang as she brushed her hair the next morning. But she would need to be a rebbetzin to sound more credible. Looking through a stack of recent issues of Perfect Publications, Chedva saw that the magazine printed many articles by women with the title “rabbanit.” That was fine with her. What’s the difference between a rebbetzin and a rabbanit anyway?
Rabbanit Breindel Bialaglowski. It had a nice ring to it.
After davening and a hurried breakfast (who could think on an empty stomach?), Chedva raced back to her trusty laptop.
Her fingers tingled with excitement.
Subject: Submission for your worthy publication
My name is Rabbanit Breindel Bialaglowski and I humbly believe I have written something worthwhile sharing with you.
It has come to my attention that your Perfect Publication would perhaps be more perfect if I could modestly suggest that you include the following article, which would benefit your readership and staff members alike.
Please read the attached article on growth and self-development. In my experience, this is a subject we can all use some guidance on.
Should you decide that my words will enhance and perfect your magazine, I would offer my services, where, bli neder, I will contribute an article every week on this very topic. Obviously, I am talking to myself as well, since we all need to grow in every way we can.
May we only have brachah v’hatzlachah in all of our future endeavors together.
Rabbanit Breindel Bialaglowski
Chedva checked the tone of her letter and that she had remembered to attach her article (she wasn’t going to make that mistake again). The letter needed to sound rebbetzin-like. Not only rebbetzin-like, but rabbanit-like. The tone was positive, and it communicated her message subtly. Excellent. Rubbing her hands together in anticipation, she pressed send.
A reply was not long in coming.
Dear Ms. Sterling aka Rabbanit Breindel Bialaglowski,
We at Perfect Publications are amused at your continuous attempts to join our staff. Unfortunately, if you send us an email from your own email address, although using an alias, we can still see who you are.
May we suggest that next time you try this you use a different email address? Additionally, may we humbly advise you to use a different alias, since someone called Breindel Bialaglowski would probably not be a rabbanit — they would more likely be a rebbetzin. (Just a suggestion.)
However, we are certainly intrigued by your writing and we at Perfect Publications know potential when we see it. Therefore, we would love for you to send us some more of your work.
Please reply to this message as soon as possible and we will send you details.
May we only have brachah v’hatzlachah in all of our future endeavors together!
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 947)
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