1. Make kombucha for the first time. It will become an obsession , which you need because of this return.
2. Buy rose petals from a spice shop, just in case you need them one day. The return is now colored pink.
3. Add rose petals to the kombucha, which returns your attention with fizz.
4. Get a pedicure with bright nail polish. It is another gift to yourself, a return to counter defeat.
5. Do not compare yourself to other people because your story was returned; you can still pun.
6. Do not wonder if it was returned because you are fat.
7. Remember that Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream has less cholesterol than Talenti cookie crumble, if the return makes you seek solace in a fleeting thing.
8. Remind yourself how often other writers get stories returned, even if they are no one you know, and thousands of stories get published every year, only not yours.
9. Try not to wear black all the time, though it is slimming. You don’t live in NY, and you are not published.
10. Do not decide your story was returned because you do not live in NY, and by NY you mean the city, and possibly Brooklyn.
11. Yes, though your story was returned, it is too late to apply to law school.
12. Think about Wallace Stevens in the face of your returned story, and his notion of the yes that follows the no.
13. Go ahead, and do the next thing. Your story was sadly, dispiritingly, forlornly, most likely reluctantly, returned, and everyone will cope.