Saturday, July 14, 2012

Guilt and Sin

Father I have committed a sin. No really. A sin of omission but a sin nonetheless. A sin so grievous that for years I lied about it, to others and to myself. Until very recently I had never read ANYTHING by Faulkner. NOTHING. I lied to others by implying and saying outright that I had. I lied to myself by convincing myself that it was not my fault. It must be the world's fault--how could I have grown up (ostensibly) in the South, yet never be required to read any Faulkner at school? And how could I major in English at an Ivy League university and be able to avoid Faulkner completely? It's outrageous. It's obviously the fault of the educational system. Although, now that I think about it, I'm not sure I was every required to read Hemingway or Fitzgerald for high school or college, but I read them on my own. Could this be right? Can I trust my own memory? If I read them, why not Faulkner? Was I scared? Was  his reputation too intimidating? Why could I read Joyce, Woolf, James, Eliot, Pound, Mann, Kafka, all the modernists (as well as the usual classics, Shakespeare, classics in French, "Great Books" up the wazoo, something from every century of English literature from Beowulf on, plus literary theory plus reading Garcia Marquez and Kundera in my spare time plus dadaists, surrealists, post-structuralists, postmodernists, pop fiction AND Jay McInerney) nonstop in college, but never any Faulkner? Where can the blame be laid? Is redemption possible?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another Step . . . Backward?

My story was not accepted for publication. Obviously, this means that:

My story is terrible, I am a bad writer, and I should never submit this or any other piece of writing ever again.

Or, the person who read my submission was ill-equipped to recognize my genius.

Or, I need to workshop the story and revise it to be more appealing in the current publishing atmosphere.

Or, I should continue to work on it unaided as to keep my vision pure and unbesmirched by commercial considerations.

Or, I should take this failed attempt as a sign that my efforts would be better directed toward another realm of endeavor. Dogwalking, for example.

Or. then again, weren't most of the best writers throughout history rejected at first? Wouldn't it be ridiculous to give up after the first try?

Or, this judgment of my story means that no one would ever want to publish it in any form.

Or, I picked the wrong journal for my story; I just need to find one that fits my style better.

Or, I should ask people I know in the writing/publishing world for help, because obviously I have no idea what I'm doing.

But, I'm not ready for anyone I know to read the whole story. I'm only comfortable with total strangers doing that.

But, I did let a friend read the first section.

But, that was a friend I knew would be encouraging and not critical.

But, isn't the point of publishing anything to make it public, which means that anyone, whether I know them personally or not, would potentially be able to read the story?

But, if I publish it in an obscure enough magazine or journal, no one I actually know would read it because they would never come across it, but I would be able to say, yes, my story was published!

So, the way forward is plain: Find a little-known, unheard-of, insignificant journal (edited by a heretofore-unrecognized genius!) that will be only too happy to get any submission that they will have absolutely no choice but to publish my story, which will then be anthologized everywhere and make me famous, thereby putting the little journal on the literary map as my first publisher! We will make history, and everyone will envy me so much it won't matter if they actually like my story or not! It's obvious!

It's so obvious.

Or, maybe I should work on my story some more, research some other journals, and submit the story to several decent-sounding ones, and while I wait to hear back, keep writing.

Yes, it's obvious.

Or, I should consider self-publishing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A First Step

Last Friday, December 30, I submitted my story to a literary journal. First submission! It will be about two months before I hear anything. It feels as tiring as if I had done something very physically strenuous. Of course, as soon as I sent it in, I thought of about nine revisions I wanted to make. I will continue to tweak the story and get it ready for future submission if this one doesn't work out.


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About Me

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New York, NY, United States
Overeducated mom, addled by constant interruptions due to demands of family and dog, trying to read books and write coherent sentences about them. Luckily, yoga keeps me centered. Sharing my love of yoga through teaching helps make sense of it all. I have a yoga blog at Since 2015, it has been my pleasure to serve as a reader for Epiphany, a literary journal publishing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art; on Twitter as @epiphanymag.


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