Dear editor: Love, me

29/08/2013 § Leave a comment

I finally finished a submission to a Lacanian academic journal. Lacan was swimming around in my head, analysing everything. It occurred to me that a journal submission is a little love letter — Dear editor: Love, me.

First, of course, we start with Lacan’s dictum that all demands are a demand for love. And what is a submitted paper but a demand? It imposes an obligation on unseen, unknown others. An editor must vet the submission and send it to referees, who must then read it and consider it and render opinions on it. I in my act of submitting have demanded that they respond. Perhaps I stoop to conquer?

A submission is a demand to be read. More than that, it is a demand to be understood, or — in Schroeder’s formulation — a demand to be recognised as a subject. I am asking these august personages to include me in their circle, to say to the world that I am good enough to be in their midst.

Then, inevitably, comes the reply from the Other. Have I behaved well enough? Have I submitted to the desire of the Editor/Other well enough that he/she/it will recognise me? Four outcomes are possible:

  • Rejected — My love will be unrequited. I will need to turn my attentions to a new journal, a new Editor — perhaps that affair will end better.
  • Revise and resubmit — I am making progress with the Editor/Other. The possibility of recognition remains open. All I need to do is learn to submit. I must re-enact my submission, only better.
  • Conditional acceptance — I am recognised! The Gaze of the Editor falls on me and sees me. I must change, of course — the Gaze sees me not for who I think I am, but for what the Editor wants me to be.
  • Accepted — Oh rare joy! To be accepted without condition! I have never known such love.

For the moment, though, I wait in agony, my love letter lying in the Other’s in-tray.

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