mandag, august 28, 2006

Rejection Monday: Awesome

I’m feeling chatty today, so I’ll divide this into bold-headed sections. Please zero-in on the subjects you prefer. If I see you on the street, say, “I read all of it. Ravenously.” I won’t question that. I won’t.

Life without Pluto

By now we’ve all had a chance to assess our place in a solar system without Pluto. The old girl is still whirling dervishly way the hell out there, of course, but she’s no longer to be classified as a planet. It’s funny, really. I feel I should feel lighter with our solar system suddenly less planet-heavy. But I don’t. Not a bit. I’m guessing I’ll suffer pangs of loss many already have.

At times like these, I can’t help but think of Pat Benatar playing the rebellious teen who’s kicked out of her home in the video for “Love is a Battlefied.”

“We are young! Heartache to heartache we stand!”

A Writing Life

Now, the weekend was welcomed and allowed me to finish my initial 2000-word draft of a story for Christopher and Betsy, who graciously accepted my 1500-word story challenge. We write the prompts for one another. We have two weeks to kick back a 1500-word draft. I, of course, violated our simple rules immediately, very much in that sitcom way of doing the exact opposite of what one has just established is not to be done. Example: “No one answer the phone!” The phone rings. Indelicate pause. Everyone lunges for it.

But I had to do it. Because I’d come up with the rules. So now it is a 2000-word challenge. And the story is horribly incomplete.

After I bite the bullet with the B and C on the incompleteness of the manuscript, I’m adding 800 words and sending the story, “Theresienstraβe,” to the Zoetrope All-Story contest. (Thanks for the prompt, B!) I figure I’ll be the only writer with a German alphabet esset (β) in a story, let alone in a title. Of real note: the deadline is in October, the results in early December. That’s killer turnaround time. I’ll pay the $15 entry fee just to get a rejection that quickly. Seriously.

Rejection is not always a bad thing. It can be quite enlightening. (Seriously.) It invigorates one's creative energy by proving to them they've been using it...even if no one apparently cares. [Eh-hem.] So writers are well-tanned by the positive heat of rejection. We know this in the same way we know we’ll stick lit cigarettes in the eyes of the editors who have rejected us. We know it in the way we know that while immolating the vapid sockets of our oppressors we’ll beat those editors with copies of the tripe they actually chose to publish. It’s just the way we are.

True: Knowing my bumbling manner and total Northern Midwestern reluctance to display displeasure, I’d probably jab their orbs with the filter end and in the process burn my palm.

After that defeat, the story’s going to the Cream City Review, perhaps in time for the December siblings-theme issue deadline. I like the CCR bunches. Also, years ago during the AWP Writer’s Conference in Kansas City I fell hopelessly in love for the 823rd time. That time, it was with Kyoko Yoshida, a writer I’d published while working at Crab Orchard Review. She was there to represent the CCR. I was terribly flustered trying to talk to her. I was probably one of 824 nerds who’d passed her just that day and failed to impress, as we should in those situations.

Academics Falling to Their Deaths

I reread Yoshida's short story “The Eastern Studies Institute” last night and still like it. It’s sweet, if a story about scholars repeatedly falling to their deaths in a library can be sweet. I think it can.

Unintended connection: I’m reading Banana Yoshimoto’s NP right now after staring at its shelved spine for two years. It took me this long to open it because Yoshimoto’s Lizard collection was so terrible, so very very terrible. Only the blind could love Lizard—and that only if they were handed a non-Braille, non-audio version.


1. After a summer hiatus, the folks at my favorite Scandinavian culture ‘zine have new content. Check out the latest at Noisedfisk. And if you live in the Twin Cities and like the Marimeko designs at Noisedfisk (The correct answer is, “Yes! I do!”), visit FinnStyle on Washington in Minneapolis.

2. My friend Bill Dankert and his former band (or is this an indefinite hiatus?) the Real Austinaires have posted online the tracks of their last album, The Past is Not Complete, for free mp3 download. Billy and the boys play solid Minnesota river rock with some sharp inland narratives. It’s easy to just let pleasant tracks like “Fishing with Wayne” play without fully grasping what’s going on in the lyrics. But if you stop and listen further in, you say, “Oh. Wait.” A good deal of the Dankert catalog operates this way. The songs carry some subtle weapons, and I don’t mean derringers in their garters.

At the site, if you left click on a song, it will play in a Quicktime window. But to download, right click on the song and select save.

And all that leads me to the…

Question of the Day

Should I try to find the club at which Britta Persson is playing in Mälmo on September 1? Despite the fact I don’t know the train schedule back to Copenhagen that night? Or the city of Mälmo?

The correct answer here is YES. Please be supportive. I’m hopelessly in love with Britta, my weak-chinned bettie.

My Poor Poor Eyes, Your Poor Poor Eyes, Finally I'm Finished

I really wish I was hanging on in Copenhagen an extra two days, or maybe even an extra life. Why is my vision so poor? My folks land in Norway the day I come back to the US. I should visit them in Oslo. I should visit them in Bergen. Must fix the eyes in this mind. All this distance must be resolved.

Finally, any of you who might ever want to trash a short story (and I mean mine), please let me know. Your feedback would be appreciated.
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