I was asked recently (hi Mom!) what a slush pile was, so for the uninitiated:
a collection of unsolicited manuscripts submitted to a publisher. (dictionary.com)
This got me wondering why it's called a slush pile, so I did a little digging on the etymology (not entomology!) of the slush pile. (It's amazing the bizarre results you can get when you google the wrong thing. I really wasn't looking for information on people trying to publish books on insects, or on how a certain variety of Scolytid beetle larvae can look like slush when floating in the tree sap that nourishes them. Yuck!)
At any rate, I largely came up blank. But I did find this website:
where someone, far more well-versed than I in etymology, recently delved into this same question. I learned two new words from this: semaphorist (One who manages or operates a semaphore. Semaphore: a system of signaling, esp. a system by which a special flag is held in each hand and various positions of the arms indicate specific letters, numbers, etc.) and inchoate (1. not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary. 2. just begun; incipient. 3. not organized; lacking order.)(also dictionary.com) At any rate, it makes for amusing reading, and his theories work as well as any.
I hadn't really thought too hard about the derogatory nature of the term before; though I did always picture someone wading through all the illiterate work before being wowed by my magnificent story (though the being wowed part hasn't seemed to happen yet...) Well, I just need to keep slogging through, because once my cover letter has a credit or two on it, I imagine I'll have more sway. Perhaps then I can graduate to snow or ice. (Or would graduating go the other way? Would I graduate to water? Ice water? Hmm....)
I think that's going to be my motto:
Keep slogging through the slush!