At My Desk On A Saturday Night
Most of this volume is made up of poetry. Almost all of it is previously unpublished. This poetry wasn't written on a Saturday night, but dates back decades and laid dormant in the poet's computer email and Submittable files. Two quirky medium-length short stories, also previously unpublished, are included in this collection, too. More
One of the things I've learned by writing and submitting poems, stories, creative nonfiction and even journalism articles is how to handle rejection. If you write and want what you're writing published, it will be rejected. Maybe not most of it, but much of it will be sent back - usually accompanied by a polite form letter. Sometimes the editors of literary magazines and small presses invite a writer to submit again, but other rejections aren't as cheery and no such an invitation is given to submit again.
Believe it or not, most of what lies in this collection met with some nice comments by literary magazine editors, but little caveats like: "The work you're sending really doesn't fit with our magazines' aesthetic" or, "Although we think this poetry has promise and another press will surely grab much of it up and absolutely adore it, it's not the kind of work we publish." And they invite me to submit again in the future, and I oftentimes do. And a little note is thrown back my way in a month or two that reads something like, "We like what we see here and would like to see more of your work in the future. Unfortunately, none of the poetry you've sent made the final cut for Issue #5. Keep writing and keep trying. - The Editors".
Rejection form emails are a lot like fortune cookies. They tend to be hopeful, if not full of promise, but they really don't say much. At one time I tried to read into them but never do these days. At best, they're syrupy and sickening, at their worst, they are dreadfully snarky.
But most are positive, albeit unsung and obscure. Editors of literary magazines are brokers of poems, stories, and other literary work. Their mission is not to critique or give writing improvement advice, although some lit mags these days will offer a bit of such painful rhetoric for a small fee, or sometimes, just if you ask them to give you a bit of advice. But most editors don't want to get into such a quandary, which oftentimes turns into a quagmire of ugly emails being passed back and forth. Who needs it, these poor editors just want to find some really good lit for their next issue. So most feel that keeping rejections noteless and even a bit aloof is a good way to get away from an Internet barroom brawl with a very outraged writer. Normally, such misfits give up the ghost on writing poetry and fiction and get into the martial arts, ballroom dancing, or stand-up comedy. There is actually a bit of money in these other avocations, by the way. . . .
I've never opened a fortune cookie that read "You're going to be run over by a bus this afternoon" and I've never received a canned rejection from a literary magazine that reads: "Bug off, loser. Quit sending us your stupid poems. Get a life and give up on writing. You have no talent and you'd be better suited to getting a job in a textile mill."
Anyhow, this collection of poetry might not be an earth-shattering poetic achievement, but as a collection, taken as a composite whole, I think it's a strong work. The poems and flash pieces that have been previously published have their publishing credits listed after the poems. There are two quirky short stories included, too, off-the-beaten-track short stories, about middle-length. They're both literary and entertaining. I wrote both of these in the past year or so; and the poetry and shorter prose, well, most of it has been lying dormant in old Submittable and email files for a long time now, in sort of "literary cold-case status".
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