International Writers Magazine: On Writing
I started this experiment that has been bubbling in me for a long
time. To submit a legends work and see who rejects it. Partly
because I wanted to feel better about my own stories and to finally
do what most writers have thought about doing but didnt
have the balls to.
So Id had
five big lit journals on my radar for pushing two years, five high cliffs,
five on my shit list.
Ive got all of Charles Bukowskis books except for some of
his beginning works in small lit journals because I cant afford
them on E-bay. I first took one of his short story collections, "The
Most Beautiful Woman in Town", published by City Lights, circa
1967. As I skimmed through those drunk bard stories, I pick one thats
semi -obscure, something all Bukowski, but without the appearance of
the age of when it was written. I picked "Trouble With a Battery",
a story thats all Chuck, where he ends up fucking a girl in a
bed above a bar with her brother alongside them. I submit from a friends
computer under the name of Chuck Bukow so no one will recognize my email
address. The others who dont accept e-mail submissions I strictly
adhere to those guidelines, all those hoops, SASE, title page, some
aloof bio, the works. This is all pushing nine months ago.
The first, Paris Review took the longest, approximately eight
months. I went to the mailbox and the envelope was thin and light. Inside
was the card they always give out, a one-size-fits-all rejection slip.
The second, Iowa Review I always liked because Vonnegut used
to edit for them now and again. But I always had reservations about
them, that workshop cult, that doesnt let the outside in. I get
a rejection letter, but also something in ink. "Too much vulgarity,
you need to learn to say things without expletives". You hear that
Charles, you dont know how to write without a fuck you thrown
in now and again.
The third, Glimmer Train, I submitted to their contest with my
own money in tribute to this dead author whom I respect. They dont
comment, just say that they regret they cant use it and list the
winners. Women editors, they dont get it.
The fourth was Tin House. I dont really know if they read
much of anything. You know how it is, that aura that drips off that
little slip they give out all impersonal and what not. Rejection number
four. The fifth is Zoetropes-All Story, extremely heavy
competition. They give options for films for accepted stories. They
also had given out written comments on the bottom of my rejection slips.
Im thinking film, maybe theyd remember "Barfly"
with Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway, jar their movie archived heads.
Im sorry Chuck, Ive never received a comment like this.
"Too vulgar, dont submit here, not right, if this is an example
of your best," and I quote all of this. Ouch.
So the poet laureate dies in these big modern lit mags. You five are
all indicted. All you writers out there, scribbling in your caves take
heart. Old Bucks been put on the ash heap too.
© Andrea Moser
Fiction in Dreamscapes
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