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2006-03-25 - 6:46 p.m.

Yes. I always forget how much energy, of the nervous kind, it requires to package a single piece of writing for delivery to five journals for consideration of publication (conpub?). This may very well be incredibly boring, but I just did it:

1. Write personal essay. Any topic is fine. A Girl, for example, will do. This step is a formality and should not be overly bothered with.
2. Print copies.
3. Staple.
4. Go on internet and find five mailing address for five journals.
5. Write short cover letter.
6. Copy and paste mailing addresses into cover letter.
7. Print.
8. Write own name and address on five letter-sized envelopes.
9. Stamp.
10. Put cover letter, essay, and envelope inside manilla mailing envelope.
11. Address envelopes.
12. Return address envelopes.
13. Stamp.
14. Burn.
15. Put ashes into another mailing envelope, address, stamp, and mail.

The best rejection I ever got was from The Georgia Review. It was when I first started sending stuff out and I'd put a lot of time into an essay about my grandfather. I use the word "camouflaged," but in this draft, I'd spelled it incorrectly. Most journals will send back a photocopied rejection letter or an index-sized card. Nice ones will write something like, "Good writing but not for us," something like that. But the Georgians didn't do any of that. Inside the self-addressed envelope, they'd inserted the page that had the misspelled word on it, which they'd circled in green felt-tip marker. There wasn't a note or card or anything else. Just this page. And it was, like, page four out of twelve, which means that somebody ripped this one free from the staple, circled the word, and sent it back to me. I didn't think it was funny at the time, but, you know, all right.

Seeing The Oranges Band tonight. I probably think this of many bands, authors, movies that I relish but which don't get much recognition, but these guys need to be bigger than they are. They're nothing fancy. They write and sing incredibly easy-to-listen-to, head-bouncy songs about apartments and girlfriends and getting into fights. All my female friends--including my girlfriend--have crushes on the songwriter/singer/rhythm guitar player. His first name's Roman.

I meant to write something here about my trip to Austin. I went to a conference. Summary: hot, pretty girls, sunglasses, writers everywhere, poet who taught me a Harlem Renaissance class in grad school crashed in my room the first night and we talked until 3 a.m. about politics and Brazilian women and J.J. Redick, got some publishing leads, wrote a poem about pretty girls, got inspired by Tony Hoagland and Walter Mosley, and on the plane ride home sat next to a crazy 16-year-old girl who told me about how she was anorexic and crazy and once homeless and who also ate a package of ramen noodles, straight-up dry, after sprinkling the seasoning packet on top of the chunks of noodles she'd broken up with the flat of her palm. After she'd eaten, I said, "I've never seen anyone do that before." And she said, "Really? It was the thing to do for a long time and then everyone got bored with it, I guess, and now no one does it."

If I could only divide
I mean, if I could only decide.

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