Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Down, Ten To Go

Well, my first rejection has reared its ugly head. Harper’s Magazine politely told me to eat shit in a SASE (that didn’t contain my short story by the way) I received Saturday. In a way, I’m glad I heard from them so quickly. Of the 11 publications I submitted to, around three are major magazines. Had a smaller one immediately decided to print my short, I’d have always wondered if a larger publication would have scooped it up if given enough time. Regardless, my reflexive response to instantaneously being jilted was, “Dicks!” How could they have given my story “careful consideration” in such a short amount of time?! My obsessive mind immediately broke down the US Postal timeline: I dropped my bundle of envelopes in a mailbox on Saturday the 17th (where they laid patiently until Monday morning); Sunday the 18th goes by with no delivery; there’s no possible way it could have arrived on the 19th; it’s likely the envelope to Harper’s arrived mid morning to early afternoon on Tuesday, October 20, where the editorial assistant “Julie” read the first two pages, realized my story was a self-indulgent piece of sexist literature, trashed it, and happily dated a rejection form letter for the 20th and mailed it back to me.

That was my immediate response, but then I got to thinking. I didn’t submit to Harper’s Magazine because I’m a huge fan of their work. In fact, I’ve only ever skimmed the magazine. A smart writer would have cased out a magazine and whored his or her style in order to match up. But then what’s the point of writing? I like the way I write. I’m hyperaware myself and how you, dear reader, might be reacting to the words “shit,” “dicks,” and “whored,” but still, I make controlled decisions to use them, and I sneer with vulgar accomplishment at the thought that you’re tastefully averted. I’ve said before: there’s virtue in being awful. Perhaps I’m just a sore loser. Perhaps I’m just a troll. That doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t perform any quality research on who exactly might be interested in my literary themes. Oh well. One down, ten to go.

 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Without Motivation, You're Just a Jerk.

I was "shopping" at HEB, holding a 40oz Corona, a lime, and a frozen pizza under my arm when my radar eyes fell upon Austin Monthly and the gorgeous folk singer Erin Ivey on its cover. Naturally, I looked closer and found that there was a section naming Austin's most beautiful women. Being the consistent creep that I am, I leaned comfortably against a mound of produce and fanned the magazine's pages until beautiful people started appearing. Most of them were overly done-up cougars, fives on my chauvinist's scale, but one of these demi-beauties was my age. More importantly she went to my high school. Holy crap, she graduated in my class. My, how she'd blossomed. I remember when she was a skinny geek who was shot in the leg when a hillbilly named Dale accidentally fired a gun in class. She's a real estate guru now. She's also an entrepreneur. And a philanthropist. And a model. Oh yeah, and she's featured in a magazine for her accomplishments.
Which brings me to my greater point: what do I do? I make dick costumes for myself on Halloween (See previous post. Or don't. I'm ashamed). I'm in serious need of something to be proud of, folks. Sigh. Don't think that I'm completely wallowing in self-pity. I mean, I am, but a wonderful positive to this whole deflating ordeal was that within ten minutes of leaving the grocery store, I was buying fourteen sets of postage for the seven short stories I'd been meaning to submit to publications across the United States. Seven for the stories, seven for the victory/rejection SASEs. Four more were submitted electronically. I've been putting that off for months, but it took one moment of loser self-actualization to spur immediate action.
I feel better already. I'd rather fail than wonder if I could have succeeded. Know what I mean, Vern?
I'll get back to you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When Creative Minds Go Bad

I’ve been working on a Halloween costume for a couple days now. I call it “The Smug Prick,” and since I’m the Martha Stewart of filth, it promises to be amazing. The materials I’m using are as follows: a pair of balloons (balls), papier-mâché, cardboard, wire, and hangers and burlap (the shaft). This is really happening, folks.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Austin, a Pictorial

Three things in this pictorial: the 360 Bridge, sagebrush, and cedar trees.
This is the 360 (Pennybacker) Bridge, shown from a favorite vantage point that most Austinites have seen overly reproduced on murals, photo galleries, and genius blogs. I’ve affectionately dubbed it (the vantage point), “Hold My Cowboy Hat So I Can Drink Sixteen Cans Of High Life And Fall To My Death Peak” since I’m not aware of any official title for it. Notice the spotted homes among the green hills in the distance? That’s Westlake, where rich people live. I try to avoid going there because local lore has it that most of them belong to a sodomist sect, founded by none other than Texas’ own Stephen F. Austin. I made that last part up. But, they are rich.
From the same perspective, this is our lovely, drought-resistant sagebrush. It’s wild and native and fragrant, and it’s a pleasant opposite to the also native rattle snakes and cacti with which most of us are more concerned. It's purple. Just trust me. If you follow the Colorado River, it’ll cut through downtown Austin. True story. See the buildings?
I like this picture because it captures these gnarly cedar trees, sagebrush, and that orange monster in one frame. Cedar trees as well as high humidity, molds, and pollen combine year-round to make Austin a kind of allergic nightmare for people who first arrive. I couldn’t breathe out of my nose for the first 15 years of living here, but my manliness overcame and now I eat a bowl of cedar chips with pollen sprinkles every morning. Notice the tree roots breaking the limestone? That’s called mechanical weathering, kids.
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