Monday, July 23, 2007

An Eccentric Orbit

The moon takes 28 days to go around the earth. The earth revolves around the sun in 365 days. These things are comfortingly predictable. But other orbits are harder to plot. Comets, for example, take wildly different paths. Some zing around the sun every few years; some take eons to make their return. My understanding, though, is that all these trajectories still can be predicted, if you do the math. That’s because they rotate around bodies of known mass and substance.

No so objects that have been trapped by the black hole of editorial indifference. Most items that get sucked into this ominous void are never heard from again.

Every once in a while, stories thought lost do return. Whether they’re managing to break free of their orbits or getting sucked in and spat back out through a hole in the space/time continuum I can never tell, but every once in a while it does happen.

The previous record for re-entry was nine months. Today that record was shattered by a piece that had been in radio silence for over two years. A story about Milan that I sent to a newspaper on April 20, 2005 recently found its way back to my mailbox, a round-trip journey of nearly 3,500 miles.

There was no note attached, but I think it’s safe to assume that this is a rejection.

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