Category Archives: Quotidian

A Tale of Three Christmas Crises

Outstanding Submissions: 12

Rejections: 2, 1 form, Jubiliat, 1 personal, Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura enjoys my writing but felt too much distance from the narrator–definitely something to think about as I take another look at the story in question. Jubilat acknowledges my writerness by addressing me as Dear Writer and letting me know my submission just wasn’t a good fit. All this bad fitting lately is really getting me down.  I need a writing tailor.

PSA: Elizabeth Hildreth, I saw that you e-mailed me while I was clicking Delete All Forever in my Spam folder where your e-mail had hidden itself and just as I released the trackpad button I recognized your name (if I’m thinking of the right person/poet) so, can you please resend your message because I am an obsessive e-mail organizing freak? I love e-mail!

Friends, I wish I had something witty to share today but I don’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you the story of one of the most annoying, depressing and pathetic holiday weeks in the history of holiday weeks.

I realized last year I would not be able to spend the holidays with my family this year because, in the best of all worlds, I would have at least one interview at the MLA convention in Philadelphia. I was kind of bummed because I don’t think I’ve ever not spent the holidays with my family but I’m an adult. I was able to maintain a fair amount of composure and I also consoled myself by landing several interviews.

As an aside, how inconsiderate is it to have a convention two days after Christmas for like 40 years? In 2011, the convention will start toward the end of the first week in January which is a vast improvement but I am shocked it took this long for MLA to make this change.

Anyway, I had made my peace with the necessity to prepare for my interviews and travel to Philly. That said, this past week was quite the bummer. Most of the people I knew were out of town. The weather was miserable. I had to deal with three crises.

The Clothing Crisis

I ordered a suit from an online purveyor of clothing and when it arrived, it was too big because as those who know me know, I’m involved in a weight loss situation where it is difficult to gauge the sizing of new clothing beyond the technical term of a little less fat than before. I couldn’t walk without the pants falling around my ankles and believe you me, the sight of my pale brown thighs is not a sight I would subject a non-paramour to.  Given that I was buying the suit for my interviews, I knew I had to take action.

As an aside, I do recognize the run on quality of that sentence.

There was no time to return the suit and wait for a new one to arrive so I took the elephant garb (which is, fittingly, gray) to a tailor who took the pants in so I wouldn’t look completely ridiculous and the whole affair irritated me because if I lived in a place with appropriate retail options, I wouldn’t be subjected to all this online shopping and ill-fitting clothes which are much like all the ill-fitting stories I keep sending out into the universe–a universe which hates me, I think.

The Retail and Dining Crisis

On Christmas Eve, I realized it might be a good idea to travel with a garment bag suitcase so as to better preserve the unwrinkled nature of my newly dry-cleaned suit. I went to Shopko, Walmart and JC Penney, the only stores in town (and half-assed versions of those stores, believe you me), but I had no luck–each store had a sadder selection of suitcases. By the time I stood in the back hallway of JC Penney, not even in the main store but rather, the dimly lit and shabby walkway between the store and the salon and customer service area, looking at these off-brand, flimsy suitcases that the TSA would likely destroy with their half-assed attempts to “screen” my luggage, I realized the futility of my project. Now, you might say that this was a matter of poor planning but I will ignore you and blame the town instead. I was going to have to use one of my regular suitcases and iron my suit in Philadelphia. I was bereft not because this was a big deal in the grand scheme of things but because it was Christmas Eve, and I was in hell, alone, while my family engaged with one another convivially in sunny Florida. I stood in the (s)mall parking lot, and it was raining, creating a potent parking lot porridge of slush. If my cheeks weren’t so cold, I could have cried. I raised my hands to the sky, threw my head back and shouted, “What more do you want from me universe? I give up.” There were a few uncomfortable stares from passersby but one woman, getting on in years with a hitch in her step, walked over to me, patted me on the shoulder and said, “I hear you, honey.” It was nice to know someone did.

I rendezvoused with my friend B, and we agreed to go out to dinner only not a single restaurant (of the four or so) in town was open save for The Library, a restaurant whose service is generally quite abominable. As an example, I once ordered a steak. They brought me a Black & Blue steak, which was covered in Blue Cheese which I am allergic to. I said, and quite politely, “look, I’m not trying to be difficult but I cannot eat this.” The server took the steak in the back, scraped the cheese off and brought it back to me less than two minutes later at which time I said, “So, you’re trying to kill me?” We were both quite sad about this turn of events. Not even Perkins was open. Dinner was not to be. I went home and supped on mini-pretzels and a Lean Cuisine Panini and tried to drown my sorrows in Diet Cherry Pepsi. A gentlemen friend offered me some venison but I was not that desperate. I told him, “Venison is not the answer to everything. I hate venison.” Then he looked sad because he is a hunter gatherer who had procured said venison himself and I felt bad so I gnawed on some venison jerky which made me want to hurl.

The Car and Travel Crisis

Plane tickets out of Houghton, were, as usual, exorbitant, so as usual I decided to fly out of Green Bay which necessitated driving there on Christmas Day. The weather had been quite strange for the previous 36 hours–rainy and slushy and at times snowy and blizzardy, like Mother Nature had forgotten to take her Haldol. On my way out the door, a friend surprised me with a phone call (sexy voice, sir!) and we had a lovely brief chat that I had to cut short because I needed to get on the road. It was a little after 1 pm. I put my bags in the car, and backed out of the garage only to find myself stuck in about 2 feet of slushy snow because the landlady had not yet had the driveway plowed for the day. I was shocked because I drive a very big 4WD SUV. In my mind, nothing can stop me. This very attitude is why I’m always surprised when I receive a rejection.

Not yet realizing the severity of the situation, I did what any moron with no understanding of cars would do and slammed my foot on the gas creating a lot of spitting snow, exhaust fumes and useless commotion. The car did not budge but I did create some ice slicks beneath each tire that were very slick indeed. After five minutes of this absurd behavior, wherein my panic increased exponentially as I tried switching into different gears and 4WD High and 4WD Low, probably breaking the transmission in the process, I took a deep breath and put the car in park. I got out and in a fit of insanity tried pushing a huge SUV, still in “Park”, alone. The car rocked gently and the grill mocked me with a bit of a sneer. I got back in the car and stared at my reflection in the mirror. A sad, sad girl looked back. I didn’t want to call my gentleman friend or anyone else I knew because it was Christmas Day and I didn’t want the probably contagious misery plaguing me to infect their holidays as well.

Then I did what any sensible person would do and called AAA. Now, as I understand it, they provide roadside service in the case of an emergency. The woman on the phone (but the word I am thinking of is not woman) was real snippy and said that their tow truck drivers cannot provide assistance to people stuck in unplowed driveways. I said, look, this is the UP. The tow truck driver will help me. I lost it a little because I was holding on by a very very thin thread. I said, isn’t this the point of AAA and I swear to god, she said, AAA provides roadside service so I said, look I AM ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN MY DRIVEWAY REQUIRING SERVICE DURING AN EMERGENT SITUATION.  I thought, please, let me not get all girl and start crying. I really tried to maintain my composure. She got all huffy and said she would call the tow service and they were like, of course we’ll help because they know the deal around here, only they wouldn’t be able to show up for 2 hours because they were backed up. I said, ok, that’s fine, and I continued to sit in my car as if my inertia might somehow magically free my car from the death grip of the ice slicks and 2 feet of snow within which it was trapped.

While all this was going on, my 86 year old landlady who is… special, was watching from her window. She called me on my cell phone and said her son was coming to help and sure enough, a minute later, he was tapping his fingers on my car window. He, his wife and I all got shovels and literally began digging my car out. We were super tough. We even had to shovel snow from under the car. Then we put down kitty litter and Jimmy (son) got all butch and said he would drive the car out of the predicament as I was now calling the snowbank, which he did. He pulled the car into the garage and said, “You didn’t look at the end of the driveway, did you?” I shook my head, feeling a profound sadness spreading to the rest of me from the core of my soul because I knew exactly what the next obstacle would be. The snow plows had plowed us in. A snow blockade, about 5 feet high, was effectively preventing any vehicular entry or exit. I threw my hands up again and this time, shouted, “SERIOUSLY???”

I called to cancel AAA in the interim.

Jimmy extracted the snow blower from the garage and went gangsta on the snow blockade while I went into my apartment and tried to compose myself and ate some more mini-pretzels. About fifteen minutes later, he knocked on my door, and told me a path had been cleared. I thanked him profusely, offered him a picture of my first born child and went on my way.

As I drove the 220 miles to Green Bay, the weather got progressively worse and the sky got progressively darker. I fishtailed at several points and reflected upon how fitting it would be to die, alone, on Christmas, driving on an unplowed and depressing stretch of rural highway. It was a very long drive. Normally, I am not fond of Green Bay but yesterday, I was ecstatic to pull in to the Airport Radisson parking lot and check in to my room where I ate some depressing room service and promptly fell asleep at 8 pm or so which is the earliest I have ever fallen asleep.

Good news! I was refreshed when I woke up at 4:30 to catch my 6:30 flight.

That’s all I have to say about that.


What Wishes Are Worth

Rejections: 1, form.

The Virgina Quarterly Review likes to make wishes. They “wish we could respond more personally to your submission, but the number of manuscripts we receive makes this impossible. Please know, however, that we’ve read your work and appreciate your interest in our journal.”

It is nice to be appreciated. I appreciate appreciation. I wish VQR appreciated me enough to publish my writing. I wish writers didn’t send me angry e-mails for responding to their submission within 48 hours. I wish search committees were more forthcoming with information about the job search process. I wish I knew where I was going to be living in seven months. I wish I may, I wish I might.

The 90210 episode where Brenda goes on a date and falls for Dylan is playing. It’s such a fantastic episode–90s music, 90s fashion, earnest Brenda, bad boy Dylan.

Are you tired of all the year-end and decade-end lists? I am, I admit. I am weary of this compulsion to quantify the best of all things over a given period of time. And yet, I’m sure in the next two weeks, I will do some kind of compilation–I’m thinking the best stuff I’ve read online this year.

How do I explain how much snow has fallen in the past week?

Is there anything fun to do in Philadelphia? Should I ring the Liberty Bell? I haven’t bought my plane ticket yet. The price of plane tickets is alarming.  Brenda and Dylan are making it on the couch in her living room where anyone could walk in. Now Mr. Walsh is home and yelling at Brenda for dating a loser like hot, rich Dylan. I could handle a loser like Dylan.

One of the most charming things about 90210 was that there was a moral to every story. The show was full of soapy drama but particularly in the early years, there was a charm to the show and its desire to aim for some greater good.

Crystal Chappell, the soap opera actress, is always working. Guiding Light gets canceled? No problem. She’s back on Days. I think that’s so awesome. I don’t watch Days anymore so I need to know–when did Stefano rise from the dead, yet again?

I have nothing important to say today. I am reluctant to send work out. I am doubting everything I have in the queue. I need to slap myself in the face and get over that now that the semester is over and I have some free time with which I can write, revise, submit, wait, and then blog about rejection.

I have a story up at LitSnack.

I watched The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty. It was sad.

I wrote about the Publisher’s Weekly cover and was so angry that I don’t think I make any sense. But to sum up:  that cover is crazy. C R A Z Y. I actually laughed quite a bit when I first saw it.

This little thing at Big Other is so fun and Tim Jones Yelvington is a man after my own heart. Long live One Tree Hill!

When You Aim for the Sun You Burn Brighter

Rejections: 2, form.

Yet another form rejection from the Los Angeles Review. I  also received a form rejection from Indiana Review. Aim for the sun, burn brighter. I am really starting to develop a complex or rather, the complex that has been developing is now flourishing. I water it twice a day.  At least I am writing through the carnage. I have several stories in progress and when they’re done, I hope they find good homes. May false optimism become true.

I’m reading Laura van den Berg’s short story collection. It is better than the buzz which is big. It is….perfect. I mean, no it isn’t a perfect collection but it is perfect, you know? The book is such a satisfying read; the stories are so rich and beautiful and human and I just want to crawl between the words of each story and build a new world there. I will write a review this weekend but suffice it to say, if you have not picked up a copy of What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, you should. Between that book and Lori Ostlund’s The Bigness of the World I am humbled and just so happy to be alive in a time and place where people who can write so exquisitely exist.
There has been a discussion about race at HTML Giant, one that is interesting, frustrating, painful, sad and useful, I think. I want to be able to participate in such discussions more productively. At some point, I lose my shit every single time and my argument devolves. This time, I did lose most of my shit privately and I’m proud of that. My poor friend J. He heard an earful but it was nice to be able to just spew all over him because he’s not a writer and he’s not online and he thinks all of you are imaginary. I feel alone. I really do. I feel like I am the only sane individual in a world of crazy. The older I get, the less I want to participate in these kinds of discussions. People will not change their minds. People will not acknowledge their racism or privilege. Perhaps it is that they cannot. Every single discussion about race follows the exact same depressing trajectory. I do not exempt myself from culpability. I am no more equipped to be graceful about difficult conversations than anyone else. I am a broken record. I have said all this before. I will say it again.

I take pictures sometimes. I will tell you some little stories about them.

Continue reading

These Things I Tell You Now

Outstanding Submissions: Who cares?

Rejections: 1, but if I wait long enough before clicking Publish, another will come along.

This time from Lee Klein, from Eyeshot. There was a mention of Caddyshack and something being thrown up but landing heavily due to the forces of gravity and a couple paragraphs were too meaty and Thanksgiving was last week (because T-giving is mentioned in the piece but it’s not meant to be like timely). It was a nice note. I will keep trying.

I’m going to make a list now because I like lists.

1. I love that people read this blog and then send me awesome e-mails. Thanks, seriously. I get such a kick out of correspondence, mostly because, well, I live in BFE and I love e-mail in a way that’s a little weird.

2. I do have perspective. I love writing, always have. It remains the most fun thing I do, other than, OF COURSE, watching such classy televisual fare such as Bad Girls Club. Hello season premiere. That was bananas, right? I am not particularly enamored with sending work out and yet, I am vain. I am terribly vain, friends. I like when my writing is read by someone other than me. I have absolutely no shame about that. It’s such a vicious cycle.

3. This current flood of rejection is cutting a bit deeper than it normally would because I’m currently on the academic job market. Being on the market is like this:

a. Walk up to a stranger. Ask them to punch you in the face as hard as they can but make that request in a 1200 word cover letter carefully crafted just for them. Also hand them your vitae, which you have painstakingly assembled to show off your intelligence, potential and collegiality, and three or more letters of reference that you haven’t seen.

b. After you have been punched in the face and are reeling about disoriented, ask the stranger to punch you again and when I say hard, I mean, really hard. You want them to feel the bones of your face crumbling beneath their fist.

c. Thank them, very politely. A little bowing and/or scraping couldn’t hurt. Stand idly by while 150 or more other people as qualified as you, ask the stranger to punch them in the face. Inspect their bruises for color, size and tenderness. Look in the mirror. Wonder if your bruises are as pretty. Find God.

d. Repeat step A, approx. 50-80 times.

e. Wait, nervously, for the stranger to offer you an icepack (request for more materials, phone interview, MLA interview, campus visit) to numb the pain. When the other 150 people get icepacks and you don’t, try not to jump off a bridge. Lose God/faith/hope for God hath forsaken academia.

Being on the market is stressful and essentially a full time job and I understand that it is a process and a ritual and I’ve worked very hard for five years and I know my stuff and if one school just put me in a room with their search committee, I would rock so hard, it’s not even funny. In the meantime,  I am happy to send out 53 personalized cover letters and writing samples and vita and dossiers only to hear nothing back but a vast echo. Thank you sir, may I have another.

4. I almost forgot that this was a list.

5. I am presenting at four conferences between now and April. The cost of this travel will be staggering given that I am a, you know, graduate student.

6. My tolerance for bad television is pretty spectacular but Eastwick… that show has shown me that there is something so bad I will not watch it. This is a sad day. Let us mourn.

7. At HTML Giant this week, I am interviewing Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, an awesome poet and friend.  I am too lazy to post individual links but if you go here, you can find all my posts and the most recent ones will be the interview. Start with Part 1; Parts 4 and 5 go up tomorrow. We talk about raping giraffes. That’s just plain awesome.

8. A proper list should have ten items but alas, I do not have ten items of information to share.

I’m Sorry I Cannot Meet Your Particular Needs Because Your Needs Are Particular

Outstanding Submissions: 17

Rejections: 2

For the first rejection, I think a visual is in order:
photo

As you can see, my work has been evaluated by the fine people at Conjunctions and it does not meet their needs.  That gaping expanse between their address and their note approximates the vast distance between my writing and their publication. Symbolism! Awesome.

I also received a personal rejection from ML Press for my collection-y thing, Ayiti. JA had some very nice things to say and some interesting feedback that I think I’m going to heed with regards to some of the stories (traditional) I included that perhaps don’t mesh well with the more nontraditional narratives also in the collection. Crisis.

I feel like the work I have circulating is some of my strongest writing and yet I am meeting with rejection constantly so perhaps the writing isn’t as strong as I thought? Crisis.

Now, for a story about laundromats. I live in a very small town. Across the bridge is another small town where I teach and go to school. There used to be three laundromats–two sketchy and one moderately less sketchy. The moderately less sketchy laundromat closed and now, only the sketchy laundromats remain. One, in the town across the bridge, has no floors. THERE ARE NO FLOORS in the laundromat. Just thinking about that place makes my skin crawl. The other laundromat is two blocks from my apartment and it is filthy. Just being in there also makes my skin crawl. There is a gross bathroom that has a serious “I could get raped in there” vibe and also some very weird individuals hang out there. One is a guy who sleeps in the corner and he’s nice and it’s very sad that he has to sleep in a laundromat. The other is this  black guy with a creepy lisp (which, let’s face it, is WEIRD because I don’t know him and that means he’s off the grid. There are like seven of us here. We know each other.) Anyway, this guy wears sunglasses at night, yes, like the song but that’s not the point. The point is this–he panhandles. Every single time I’m there he’s asking for a cigarette and money to help him out, while wearing designer clothes and shades. Times are rough but I’m a graduate student. I live below the poverty line. I am not your target audience.

Wherever I end up next year, I need to find a home that has two things–a laundry room and a disposal, even if its a tiny house with only those two things I will be happy.

I Have Been Carefully Considered And Even Still…

Outstanding Submissions: 19

Rejections: 1, form, AGNI.

The good people at AGNI were kind enough to say: “Your work received careful consideration here.” I love when rejection letters say that and then you go t

o Duotrope and see 50 other rejections from that magazine on the same day. We are all carefully considered, friends. The Editors were also kind enough to offer a discount subscription. Is that tacky? Is it okay to say, we’re not going to publish you but we certainly encourage you to buy our magazine even though you’re still in that difficult, emotional place where you try to grapple with being not good enough? Or is it brilliant to pounce on that vulnerable moment? Quick Fiction also offers subscriptions in their rejection letter. I find it a curious practice but I do not judge.

I saw New Moon. I wrote about it for Barrelhouse. There’s a new feature at HTML Giant, if you have writing or publishing questions, ask and some folks will offer some answers.

At the gym yesterday, my trainer introduced me to planks and bridges. As I drove home I felt like she had introduced me to pain and suffering.

I am not going anywhere for the Thanksgiving holiday. I have somewhere to go but I have so much to get done and it’s nice to have nowhere I must be (except the gym) for a whole week.

One of my students e-mailed me today and asked if he would be missing anything important this coming Monday because he won’t be in class. After ten days of break. I took a deep calming breath before responding. Rhetorically speaking, that kind of statement indicates a lack of understanding of context or audience. I turned my response into a teaching moment. A teacher’s job is never done.

I am working on several new stories right now–one about a sprawling Haitian clan and one about an orienteer and one about baby teeth and one about a guy who goes on game shows for a living and one about an Italian girl who recently broke up with her pawnbroker boyfriend and on and on it goes. I keep starting these stories and then moving on so I will have something to come back to. Yes. I ended a sentence in a preposition. Deal with it.

From the Dreary Dark Damp Depths, a Message: Send a Canary

Outstanding Submissions: 18

Rejections: 1, personal, Camera Obscura. They said, “I’ll tell you that this came close. I enjoyed the voice, but I wasn’t sold on the heroin angle.”

If I had a dollar for

every time I heard that line… Ha!

I am at the bottom of a deep dark mine. I feel like the miner in Ryan Boudinot’s story The Mine in Monkeybicycle 6. I just dig (write) and dig (write) and dig (submit) and dig (submit) and never see any light and still, I persist, not for the sake of persistence but because there’s nothing else I know how to do, because there’s no other reality of which I can conceive.

That was a bit dramatic but it felt good to write.

The great thing about having a blog about rejection is that I can write about rejection over and over again. There is truth in advertising, after all.

Let’s talk about Project Runway. Why is it that Althea’s models couldn’t walk. It was tragic. Team Carol Hanna all the way! That last dress? Fierce. Also, her models could walk. They walked like they weren’t as hungry as the average model. Grudgingly, I will admit that Irina’s clothes were fierce too but she’s a real [[insert noun beginning with b (5 letters) or c (4 letters)]]. Irina’s dad is pretty hot though and so is she. I’ll try to be gracious in defeat because she displayed a bit of humanity at the end. Be honest, though. Heidi looked like an insane person when she was addressing the finalists. Did you see her eyes? One was bigger than the other. I think there was a clump of mascara on the eyelashes of her right eye. HDTV— like you’re right there.

I would talk about Grey’s Anatomy but it was a sad, dreary little episode where the writers clearly decided to throw eleven dramatic, silly things at the wall to see what might stick. Unfortunately, it all stuck. At a blistering pace, the episode ran from before Thanksgiving to just after the new year. Families were reunited. Fingers were cut. Drinks were imbibed. Miracle surgeries were performed. Passion was unrequited and declared and consummated. All in an episode’s work at Seattle Grace.

I believe in messages in bottles–in saying things and knowing the intent will be understood, in saying anytime, any place and trusting you’ll find me there. I just made that up. I like it. I will use it some time.

Lots of great books in the mail this week–Easter Rabbit, Now Playing, The Bigness of the World, DOGZPLOT Anthology, and What the World Will Look Like When the Water Leaves Us. I’m so glad that this coming week is Thanksgiving Break so I can read all this deliciousness. I’m also making great progress on my dissertation. It’s going to be killer. Yes. You heard it here. A readable, engaging dissertation. It’s like a Unicorn, only you can’t ride it.

Before I click Publish on every blog post I think, “What would my mother think if she read this?” Today, she would think, “My child is crazy and has too much free time.”

And On and On it Goes

Outstanding submissions: 19

Rejections: 512,342 x 10

First I received a form rejection from pax americana. This wouldn’t really be noteworthy save that it was a rejection for a story I had withdrawn a couple months ago. I responded before thinking it through and told them that. I know why this story was rejected. It was completely inappropriate. I’ve read the magazine and enjoy it and next time, I won’t send them something ridiculous. I’m a bad writer. I deserve to be rejected for a withdrawn story.

Then I was rejected from the Juked 2009 Fiction and Poetry competitions. Juked eludes me. It makes me sad. I must try harder.

I don’t have anything witty to say. I know I’m very blessed as a writer but I will say that this current stream of rejection is getting pretty darn old. Universe, bring me an acceptance and make it fabulous.

I did see 2012 this weekend and I loved it. It was an absurd spectacle and a vulgar display of CGI abuse but unlike most disaster movies, 2012 was fairly well-acted. Like many big movies, it was 25 minutes too long. Still, I really enjoyed the movie and cannot wait to see it again. What I particularly appreciated was how completely shameless the movie was as it played to the various tropes inherent to this kind of movie.

For those of you who have seen the movie, when did Danny Glover develop a lisp?

I also think its pretty hilarious that in many disaster movies, the president is black. Deep Impact=Morgan Freeman. I am forgetting the others.

And now, with a real black president, everything is all better.  (If I had a dollar for every time I heard this sentiment, I could retire before the age of forty.)

Wish I May, Wish I Might

Outstanding Submission: 19

Rejections: 3

These are dark days, friends. Today I received a personal rejection from Willow Springs whose editors enjoyed the story but passed. I received a form rejection from Los Angeles Review. They read my work with interest which I think is a funny thing to say but I get it… a very polite way of saying we respect all submissions but yours was excrement. I may be exaggerating that last bit. Finally, I entered one of my short story collections for the St. Lawrence Prize. The semi-finalists and finalists were announced and I was not on either list. It would have been nice for the publisher to actually notify entrants but I guess the $25 entrance free doesn’t guarantee a response.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not, really. I’ve just received many rejections as of late.

I’m at a real loss as to what to do with my short story collections. One, Ayiti, was recently rejected from Rose Metal Press. They were so kind about the rejection—it just wasn’t quite a good fit. Ayiti is a collection of stories and poems about Haiti and the Haitian diaspora so I think it might have been too… ethnic for them. (I don’t say that with any bad feelings. Rose Metal is a wonderful press.) I don’t know. While I don’t think it is a perfect collection yet, I do think it has real potential. I need to figure out how to fix it but there’s nothing I can do to make it less ethnic, you know? Are there any independent publishers who don’t mind such intensely thematic writing? When I see what’s being published, I really worry that there just isn’t a place for a collection like this to find a home. It’s a real bummer. This is temporary. I will shortly gain perspective but right now, I feel defeated.

My second collection, There Are Things I Need You to Know, is my more mainstream writing, short stories and very short stories and I love this book, I do. It’s about 60,000 words long. I have no idea where to send it.

I am lost. I need a compass or a bright north star.

It’s Not You, It’s Us

Outstanding Submissions: 20

Rejections: 1, personal form

Today, I was rejected from Cream City Review who really enjoyed my story but didn’t feel it was right for CCR. I know this rejection quite well as PANK uses the same submission manager. We like you, just not in that way. Still, they encourage me to continue submitting work to them in the future and I shall. It’s not me, after all. It’s them.

Writer, promote thyself! Super Arrow is a fine new publication. They fly straight and true and have been kind enough to include my work in their debut issue. I was also interviewed by David Erleweine at the JMWW blog.

I like to go grocery shopping late at night when the store is  sparsely populated by people who work third shift and college students buying off brand frozen pizzas and resupplying their alcohol stores before the 2 am cut off.  I love watching couples at the grocery store. More often than not, the man pushes the cart and the woman walks just behind him, her chin practically resting against his shoulder as if she’s peering through that empty space in the curve of his neck to see what’s ahead. Sometimes, her hand rests in the small of her back, or he’s holding on to the hem of her coat. When I see couples like this, I want to cry.

Sometimes, when I’m in the grocery store, I pretend I am an alien and walking through the grocery store is my first experience with the foodstuffs of the human creatures all around me. The array of food options at the grocery store is bewildering. Does not compute. The variety of pretzels makes no sense. Do we really need that many different kinds of pretzels? Tonight, I saw pretzels in the shape of tiny footballs. The sight of them made me sick to my stomach.