It's That Time of Year and a Random Ten
Earlier this week, I asked the grad students in my workshop if any of them had any work under consideration at any magazines or journals right now. I asked for a specific reason-- we're getting close to the end of September. Most magazines that have designated reading periods start reading between August 15th and September 1st. So, I figured, the rejection letters should start coming in any day now. "I predict," I told my grad students, "that I'll receive a rejection letter either this week or next week."
I've become pretty laidback about rejection letters, and by "pretty laidback" I mean I no longer crumple them out and shout, "I guess I'm in the wrong field. Let's get packing, honey-- I'm going to have to go to work for my dad." I guess I'd say I feel more confident now-- since I know that some people have published me before, it stands to reason that some people will want to publish me again. Someday. And I know enough about literary magazines to not take a rejection personally-- many literary magazines that accept creative nonfiction are after a very specific type of nonfiction (usually, memoir that reads like a short story), or don't want to consider certain themes (sex or politics, perhaps), or otherwise have some type of aesthetic quirk that could make any given manuscript unacceptable, despite the quality of writing (some people don't like the phrase "fuckin' what the fuck," which I try to incorporate into everything I write).
I've published eight essays; I've probably received around 100 rejection letters. Some are quite nice (Creative Nonfiction and Gulf Coast are the two best magazines for rejections, I've found-- I've received personal letters from both magazines for the same essay wherein they explained that they almost took the piece, but in the end couldn't for the following reasons...), and others are just the irritating card that says, "Not interested, but would you like to subscribe to our piece of shit magazine, edited by morons who wouldn't know a decent essay if it came up and punched them in the throat?"
As I said, I'm pretty laidback. Honest. At the beginning of the school year, I mailed out three different essays, and I feel confident that at least one will be accepted somewhere this year, and that the other two will get accepted somewhere eventually. And in the meantime, I'll hope for nice rejection letters. Like the one I got from Alaska Quarterly Review yesterday, which expressed its editors' generic, form-letter disappointment that they couldn't accept the essay, but also featured a hand-written note at the bottom asking me to send them more stuff to look at. So the first rejection letter of the season was quite nice; I think it's going to be a good year.
Check out my Random Ten y'all. Hells yeah.
Reel Big Fish-- "A Little Doubt Goes a Long Way"
The Velvet Underground-- "Venus in Furs"
Tom Waits-- "Hang Down Your Head"
Bob Dylan-- "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
Prince-- "Irresistable Bitch"
Elvis Costello-- "Big Tears"
Lou Reed-- "Coney Island Baby"
Shania Twain-- "No One Needs To Know"
Moby-- "Raining Again"
John Cale-- "Movement 3 -- From Kiss"