Monthly Archives: November 2006

strike 4

Yucky. This story I wrote, this story I really liked…has now been rejected by 3 literary journals and 1 contest. I never EXPECT my story to be embraced, but I always HOPE it does. (There is a difference). Today I got rejected by the venue that was MOST unrealistic yet the one I MOST HOPED for. It was a contest with a big ass prize. A longshot for most people including me.

I am being more honest with my desires these days. I am not going to poo-poo the contest. I really wanted to win, I hoped to win, even though I didn’t expect my story to win. How’s that for desperate optimism? Bleah.

There are 3 more literary journals left to respond. Then, I’ll have to regroup. Revise the story, send it out to more journals or more likely, toss it into the purgatory pile of “stories I can’t bear to look at again.”  Keep on submitting.

Yes, I do simultaneous submissions–I learned this from a publishing panel full of agents and litmag editors. Send your stories out simultaneously. Doing it in parallel (one after another) is going to take a year you’ll never get back. And unless you’re John Updike, the realistic chances of all litmags accepting you are slim. If they all accept you, or you get multiple acceptances? Well, as they say in business, that’s a “high class problem.” In other words, let’s hope for such a problem.

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post barf

so now that I’ve done my confessing, I’m remarkably back to normal. my normal being: just focus on my road, my path, myself.

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“…& A”

A few days ago, I posted about questions writers dread. How to answer them? I’ve posted some suggestions below each question. I’m not an expert at this. I’ve been known to bite my lip, take a big bite of wedding cake, and say stupid things in real life scenarios.

And, because I’m in quite a snarky mood tonight, half of these answers are probably not useful. You’re welcome.

  • So, have you been published anywhere?
    • Since your reading consists of People magazine and The Sharper Image catalogue–nowhere you’d know about. (amend, if you do write for People or The Sharper Image catalogue).
    • YES.
    • Fuck off Have YOU?
    • *peer at them suspiciously* Why do you want to know?
    • NO. *start crying*
    • How are you doing with your weight loss plan?
    • So HOW long have you been trying to have a baby?
    • When are you getting married?!
  • So, do you have a literary agent?
    • I need to finish my novel first.
    • Fending them off!
    • Fuck off Do YOU?
    • *peer at them suspiciously* Why do you want to know?
    • How are you doing with your weight loss plan?
    • So HOW long have you been trying to have a baby?!
    • When are you getting married?!
  • How long have you been working on that novel? (Once, someone asked me that question and then followed up with, “How come it takes so long? I have a friend who wrote a novel in one month! Like *snaps her fingers* THAT!”)
    • YEARS.
    • As long as you’ve been trying to have a baby!
    • As long as you’ve tried to lose those twenty five pounds!
    • When are you getting married?!
  • Is there really a point to getting an MFA? What do you DO with an MFA?
    • What I like to DO with an MFA is talk about it with people like you
    • You could teach at community college with it.
    • It’s not the piece of paper–it’s about the 2+ years you spend sitting in workshop talking about your writing!
    • WA-WA-WEE-WA! Let’s make sexytime!
    • So how long have you been trying to have a baby?!
    • How’s that weight loss coming along?
    • When are you getting married?!
  • I could write a novel.
    • Great–why DON’T you?
  • Why would you want to be a writer?
    • It’s just what I want to do. It makes me happy, it fulfills my soul, it’s my DESTINY
    • Why would you want to be an asshole?
  • So, does your husband support your hobby your writing career?
    • Yes.
    • Yes. As you know, he married this nerd who’s always attached to her laptop because that’s what you think of when you hear, “Trophy Wife!”
  • Are you going to write about me?
    • You have NOOOO IDEA, I’m thinking of my next villain right now. Yes.
    • Yah, and I bet you won’t recognize yourself when I give you a big zit on your face and give you diarrhea in my next story. Yes.
  • What do you do all day at home?
    • Masturbate to fantasies of you, is that what you want to HEAR?
    • Stare at the blank computer screen.
    • Hit the delete key a whole lot
    • Write
    • Do all the errands because “I’m home all day”
    • blog.
    • How’s that weight loss going?
    • So HOW long have you been trying to have a baby?!
  • Do you make any money?
    • Yes. Just not on writing.
    • No.
    • How much do YOU make?
  • What’s your novel about? (followed by glazed eyes–if you are really interested, this can have a very cool outcome).
    • Well, you see it’s about this guy who…
    • That’s for me to know and you to pay money to find out!
    • Only if you tell me something about YOU.
    • Can I talk about your fetus before IT’s born?
    • I’m not ready to talk about it.
  • What have you written that I would have read?
    • What paper did you push at work that would make a difference in my life?
    • *cast eyes downward and sigh* Nothing.
    • If you have to ask….
    • What question is this on your checklist of judging questions?
    • You READ?

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Filed under Funny Shit, Life, Writing

“Why HER?!”

I try to be the kind of writer who wants to help others succeed, especially friends. I think that, coming from the business world, I see a lot of people mentoring others and helping people move forward with their careers (despite the widespread perception that people in biz are backbiting, backstabbing cretins).  It’s inspiring, and a model I like to replicate.

Besides, I like it when my friends succeed. I think we all help each other get to the next level, somehow, like hobbits making the trek to throw the ring into the fire of Mordor.

But–I hate myself for this, but there is ONE person I HATE seeing succeed.  I hate it, I hate it.

I have thought long and hard why I burn when I see her succeed, and it’s because she’s mean, mean, mean.  Without even bringing up the topic myself, I’ve learned from others that she is mean to THEM, too.  And that THEY don’t like her either.  So I am not alone in feeling the cruelty of this person.

That is my evil thought of the day.  Thanks.

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After Dark, it’s not just screen savers

I checked checked Amazon.com, and discovered that Haruki Murakami’s book, After Dark, will be released in the U.S. in May 2007. Something to look forward to!

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my “50” favorite fiction books

I’m no book critic, but I’ve got my favorites. Here are my 46 favorite fiction books, in the order in which I remembered/thought of them. (I tried to think of 50, but I couldn’t, not in one sitting). These are not the “best novels” of all time, as I have yet to read many of those purported books. What are your favorites? (If you want to read my running log of books I’ve been reading it’s here).

1. Murakami Wind Up Bird Chronicle (also like his Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore, and After the Quake)
2. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby **favorite of all time
3. The Plague (also, The Stranger) by Camus
4. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky
5. Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex
6. Victor Hugo Les Miserables
7. Madame Bovary Gustav Flaubert
8. Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis
9. John Steinbeck East of Eden
10. World According to Garp (and A Prayer for Owen Meany) by John Irving
11. Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
12. Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
13. Lord of the Flies William Golding
14. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
15. Roots Alex Haley
16. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
17. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
18. A Room With a View E.M. Forster
19. Watership Down by Richard Adams
20. The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
21. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
22. Great Expectations (A Tale of Two Cities, too) Charles Dickens
23. Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country
24. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
25. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
26. A Gesture Life by Chang-Rae Lee
27. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
28. Wonderboys by Michael Chabon
29. Portnoy’s Complaint Philip Roth
30. The RedTent Anita Diamant
31. Winesberg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
32. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
33. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
34. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
35. Nick Hornby’s About a Boy
36. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
37. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
38. Native Son Richard Wright
39. The Twits by Roald Dahl
40. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
41. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
42. The Curious of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
43. Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
44. All the James Herriot books about being a vet in Sakatchewan
45. The Roald Dahl kid books
56. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

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it’s time for lists

end of the year–time for lists!

starting with The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year. just in time for holiday shopping and reading. (I’m definitely looking forward to spending my winter break reading non-required books!).

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