Saturday, April 30, 2005

A D.C. State of Mind

Yeah, I'm lame, I've been reading Gargoyle for months now. My reading rate is so slow between work, my iPod, and now some friends of mine have gotten me into a multiplayer game on the Internet... and I told you guys before that I'm trying to squeeze working out at the gym into my mostly sedentary regimen so I guess reading has fallen by the wayside. I know, for a writer, that's pretty awful.

But I have to say, on an overall level, one of the things that tickles me with Gargoyle is how these DCisms creep in. Mostly in terms of place -- like one story mentioned DC watering hole The Fox and Hounds, which is where my roommate spends most of her Friday afternoons/nights. (Happy hour? Bah! Hahaha.)

Anyway, it's nice that not only is Gargoyle such a grand lit mag, that it highlights the DC experience a little bit -- and not in that whole Beltway, politico type thing.

I mean, it's weird... DC is so well known for politics but I realized quite recently that I manage to stay really, really uninvolved in that aspect of things. Screw the Hill. Ha.

Anyway, it's just a thought for a rainy Saturday, where I am actually waiting directions for the events of the day. I feel like taking a nap, though. (Ugh, more sedentary behavior!)

P.S. I did submit a story this morning and work on one that's still being kicked around on my desktop, so I'm not a complete writing failure lately! Haha...


Thursday, April 28, 2005


Well I know we have all manner of writers who stop by here either regularly or on occasion. So my question is, to reveal your best acceptance of a piece of fiction. I would love to hear any or all stories in that regard, but I am particularly curious to hear from those of you who have been published by some of the big names, like The New Yorker. Did they call you about the acceptance? Write to you? Were they timely in paying? How did it feel to get a nice big check for a piece of fiction?

Hoping to hear from some of you about that. So far, since all of my publications have been for online magazines, all of my communications have been via email. Which is, of course, great -- I would never complain. But I have yet to be sent a check... or even copies of a magazine I've been published in. So I'm curious for some stories!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Oh, To Be a Poet

It never ceases to amuse me the silly things I get in the mail because some lit mag I've subscribed to or ordered copies of has sold my name to a literary mailing list. it isn't altogether bad, as sometimes I get something halfway interesting that I consider, but yesteday I received a solicitation to be an associate member of The American Academy of Poets. It included an added letter from the poet laureate of the U.S., no less.

Small problem. I'm not a poet and never have been. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I'm not even a voracious reader of poetry.

Ah well, I can't help but laugh. Bark up another tree. At least it wasn't one of those pieces of junk mail that invites you to publish your work in an anthology as long as you pay for a copy of the volume.

Nah, this seems to be on the up and up, and says it's for the higher cause of advocating poetry and that's fine. So I have to limit my amount of snarkiness now. I read it a little closer and found myself feeling a little bad. But, still, not a poet. Maybe a version for writers would score higher with me, obviously.

In other news, though, a dear, dear friend of mine -- who was an excellent poet years ago but has not written anything in recent years -- told me yesterday she had written a poem for the first time in ages and sent it along. It was great! I am hoping that she will get back into the process of writing poetry -- and submitting it! I always thought she could do great things with that talent.

thanks for reading,


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Great Article

Please read this excellent article,, courtesy of Jen. It addresses a lot of the issues surrounding online publishing that we've kicked around, right here on this blog.

It features interviews with several editors of some prominent online literary magazines, and at times, the observations are mind blowing (and at other times, the observations reflect our own).

Despite all the admissions that online fiction is a great force for good, the money word (the c for career word) came up a few times. Although I am more than willing to get my fiction published my non-paying markets, I do have a fair amount of concern about the idea of payment becoming the exception to the rule (actually, it may already be that way, truth be told). As selfish as it sounds, I would like to see monetary compensation for my own fiction writing. But for the time being, it's good to know that online fiction is gaining more and more credibility with the literary world, regardless of what argument there is for whether writing fiction should be a career or simply a labor of love.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

The SuperEgo

So, this is just a funny factoid because I know a few of us have done this (and because it's late and I'm tired and going to bed soon, haha). But the act of "Googling yourself" can also be called "ego surfing."

I do it all the time (well, not all the time but probably more than I'd like to admit) and I know many of you do. I have also had a few writers and editors email me because they have also done it and found themselves on my blog. It's so funny, though, we all seem to admit to it sheepishly but I think it's part of the whole writers thing. If you're published you want to know what people are saying about you. It's a natural impulse but I always get nervous right before I hit that enter button.

Anyway, I thought that was funny, and with that, I will close. Happy surfing! :)


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Double Header

Oh hey look, two in a matter of two days, I haven't been this good in about a month. Phew, maybe I'm getting a bit back on track. Ha.

So, a few weeks ago, I saw through Barrelhouse's email notifier that they have gotten some press recognition, which is cool. Very cool. And I've already blogged about how I enjoyed the inaugural issue, and had wanted to go to the reading, but was out of town that weekend.

So anyway, back to those press mentions. Dave Housley, one of the editors, made a comment about the whole process of vetting submissions, and said that he got inundated with "relationship stories" and said something to the effect that he got to the point where he was so burnt out on them, that if Flannery O'Connor herself had risen from the grave with a relationship story he would have rejected it. (Total paraphrase but that's the gist.)

Maybe I got a little annoyed because I had sent a "relationship story" to them (and got rejected handily), but I kept thinking about that concept. Are there too many relationship stories? My mind raced. Should I stop writing stories that could be considered "relationship stories"? Actually I kind of chafe at even considering my stories to be "relationship stories," per se (God forbid chick lit of the Bridget Jones variety, although I know a lot of people are finding that term to be downright controversial these days) I still think they're more dysfunction stories, hahaha, but still. I just kept thinking about how relationships are one of the most common conflicts that humans face. And that in 2005, I am pretty sure that Gen X and Gen Y have very different versions of relationships, gender roles, commitment, and the like than previous generations. Relationships say a lot about our society -- and resonate with a lot of people. And some of the greatest pieces of literature of our time have been about something as elemental as, well, relationships. And of course, I could just go on and on about this, as you might imagine.

I guess it shouldn't have chafed at me so much and I can see how very similar stories submitted could get very tiresome. In the end, though, I still have to write what the spirit moves me to write or whatever. (I'm quite proud that one of my stories was rejected by an editor who said my characters were unlikeable characters doing unlikeable things -- I'm contrary that way. I've also had raves about that story, which reminds me of a recent Hebdomeros post about contests and the ultimate question of tastes.) I just thought it might be an interesting point to consider. I'd welcome any comments here -- the idea just got under my skin and I couldn't shake it, ha.

Thanks for reading (and sticking with me while I've been a bit dicey with the posts!),


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Yes, I am alive, despite rumors to the contrary. In addition to the iPod addiction problem, my roommate and I had a party over the weekend, a bash as it were. Just kidding... we decided it was the most sedate party we've had in years, but the truth is there was a good selection of people and it was very, very enjoyable. Slightly disturbing was everyone had cleared out at 12:30... we have decided it seems people are leaving about a half hour earlier every year. hahaha. But it was good, and now it's back to real life!

Well, sorta. There is still the iPod addiction, ha... and the fact that I have made the resolution to start working out again, which is having varying levels of success. I haven't really made it to the gym more than once or twice a week so far, but let's hope I can start getting that going so it's more than that. I suddenly realized all the computer work is turning into a sedentary lifestyle and realized that I am also not feeling very well -- some combination of inactivity and a little weight gain. So I hope you guys will forgive me if I'm not quite as prolific as I once was!

In other news, I saw the ironic news report that The Atlantic won some awards for its fiction after having announced it will discontinue fiction.

In purely personal news, I have received another form rejection -- it appears I am on a roll, and needless to say, overdue to send some submissions back out. I've got to find some time to do a little market research sometime soon!

Hope you all are well and happy spring-like weather!


Friday, April 15, 2005

More Apologies

All right, I really apologize for being such a no-show lately. My birthday was Wednesday, and I guess the last week and a half have been busy, what with birthday events. Lord, it just goes on and on, right?

Plus, I got a 20 GB iPod for my birthday. Loading up CDs and then loading them onto my iPod has been eating into my blogging time! So I'm sorry... it's ridiculous really.

I'll be back soon with some literary thoughts but just wanted to put up a post saying I am alive and all that good stuff...

Hope everybody's well!


Friday, April 08, 2005

The Lit Blog Movement's Moving

Check out The Happy Booker if you get a chance... she's reported on a really cool innovation in the world of literary blogging. Which, it seems to me, is exploding, and with good reason... we are all writers and readers, and where better to express this than on the Internet? Cool stuff.

Meanwhile, the entire Internet is acting like a bitch lately. I don't know if anyone else has noticed it... but I am having a hard time posting, commenting, and even emailing people back through Yahoo! (Maktaaq, I'm trying!).

I'll be venturing down to Richmond (about an hour and a half south of here) tomorrow, so I wanted to extend happy weekend wishes to everybody before that happens.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

What Gives?

First... kudos to Hebdomeros for scooping the story that Richard Peabody's poetry and article was in USA Today on Monday. That was such a cool achievement for one of our local literary notables -- a little national acclaim! That's great!

In other news, what gives? I saw a news article today that said The Atlantic will no longer publish fiction in its issues. It will have one August issue that is dedicated solely to fiction.

I don't know -- it's line about how quick, up-to-the-minute journalism is everywhere now but in-depth journalism like what it can offer will take up more pages sounds like a load. Or something. I mean, with all the current hoopla over the state of journalism now that bloggers are stealing some thunder, I guess this could theoretically be some weird knee-jerk reaction.

On the other hand, The Atlantic is one of the oldest and most venerated sources of fiction in a monthly magazine that gets more than your usual niche of readers. It's also one of the markets that pays the best. What happened to the feature in the most recent issue of Novel & Short Story Writer's Market that claimed that the main editor at least glanced at all the submissions?

Lame, lame, lame. I guess I haven't been too terribly impressed with a lot of the mainstream magazines but this isn't an improvement, it's a much worse turn of events.

Anyway... interested to hear what others have to say. I know that the chances of many of us struggling writers getting into The Atlantic is about the same as being hit by lightning, but still... it was one of those markets that you might hate, but you always kind of hoped to get into.

Here's to August... sigh.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 04, 2005

A Quick Minute

All right, I can only make a very quick post. A friend took me to see David Sedaris read at the Lisner Auditorium. I can't say I was already a David Sedaris fan, I haven't read his stuff, but I guess I can say that I'm a fan now, because he was hilarious!

I also ran into an old friend of mine from college. I haven't seen her for 10+ years, but we have been in touch by email recently, and it was just soooo wild. She recognized me and I have to give her extreme kudos for that. I thought she looked familiar but literally thought, what are the chances, and then didn't give it a second thought. You know? Until of course she said my name, and I was like, huh? And then jumped up and hugged her in an explosive show of shocked surprise. (She probably immediately regretted having said anything, I made such a spectacle, ha.) What a strange and good night.

Anyway, interestingly, he did a Q&A at the end and someone asked the very good question about his writing habits. He said he writes every day -- gets up, writes, has lunch, answers mail, then writes more at night. Then he said that while he writes every day and does not give himself a break from that, that 80% of his writing he ditches. I'm sure that's quite the quick and dirty breakdown for how much of his writings he just slashes, but I thought it was interesting.

He also gave the impression that diary writings, while embarrassing, often log away some of the best bits of day to day life.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, April 03, 2005


Hi everybody,

I've been extremely remiss. Last week was a tough week with work, and I was pretty exhausted every day. It wasn't too conducive to blogging whatsoever. On Monday at work I found out that a monthly task was due this past week, and of course, it would have been nice to know it was coming the week before... but in a way I guess it's good because the knowledge would have sort of ruined my 3-day weekend because I would have been either stressing about it all weekend or working on it during my time off. But that also meant that this past week was overly busy.

In the interim, that issue of Black Clock I complained about did arrive, so that was good. Folio rejected the story I had in to them. Form rejection. I like it when they give you a subscription slip with your form rejection when they don't even sign a name to the thing. That's some killer marketing. Haha.

Next up, I found out on Matt Kirkpatrick's site that there will be a launch party for Barrelhouse at the Big Hunt in Dupont Circle in D.C. He will be reading along with other writers whose work appeared in the first issue of the magazine. Unfortunately, I will have to miss it, because I will be out of town that weekend. I'm visiting with some good friends who are about to have Newborn #2, and once Newborn #2 comes, of course it'll be a while before they can receive guests, so I can't really reschedule. But anybody in the D.C. area might want to consider checking it out.

Meanwhile, The Happy Booker has been having some great mystery guests recently -- unfortunately, I haven't been able to keep up with all my blog business too well recently. She also pointed me in the direction of yet another D.C.-based literary blog.

Okay, this is of course the sound of me trying to catch up. More to follow, but a friend of mine is taking me out Monday night for early birthday celebration, so it might be a day or two, but I'll try to be better!

Hope everybody is well,