Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain

I am working on an intense assignment. In order to boost my confidence (procrastinate), I browsed through some of my older work. I found something that is funny, true and pertinent that will hopefully entertain at least some of you, particularly the writers among us.


Rodger Jacobs said...

I've managed to avoid the humiliation you hilariously essay in that piece, Erin, through one simple rule that I've stuck with for 20 years now: No Blind Submissions. I simply don't do 'em. If I don't come to the dance with an invite, you ain't getting me out on the floor. That policy has worked for me but may not work for everyone, of course.

Kirk Jusko said...

The thing that discourages me as both an aspiring writer and aspiring cartoonist is not the rejection slip but the LENGTH OF TIME it takes getting that rejection slip. I mean, waiting two years to find out some publication doesn't want you? At least when a girl turns me down for a date I know right then and there. Can't a magazine show the same courtesy? And maybe send me a slip that says "Sorry, but we can still be friends."

Erin O'Brien said...

Rodger, I've been rejected by Those Who Would Solicit My Work as well. Shitbags.

Kirk, there's just no good answer. It's just plain hard. One thing's for sure: if you don't submit, you'll never get published. But your misery--my misery, every writer's misery--was the whole point of that column.

Rodger Jacobs said...

I've been slowly shopping a novel around for a year or so now, Kirk, and even with an invited submission six months to a year is not unheard of before I get a peep from the publisher. Part of the problem is that publishers are getting smaller while the slush piles are getting larger and larger; there are increasing numbers of people out there who, thanks to the enabling abilities of the internets, seem to believe that they are writers and just cannot resist the clarion call of a submission.

Rodger Jacobs said...

There's a special place in hell for those who solicit my work and then reject it with a simple "Sorry, not for us."

philbilly said...

Sounds harsh, do they ever say "It's not you, it's me."? The best thing about blahging as a rank amateur is there's no quiz, no grade, no risk.

All the vent with none of the rent.

Erin O'Brien said...

This one ASSHOLE contacted me out of the blue asking for something for her new publication. I sent it and she said no thanks.

Then she signs it like this:


Silly L. Broad

She actually used "warmly" as her closing.

Phil? Sometimes these shitbags don't even respond. Sometimes they just ignore you. That happens a lot.

Moral of the story: choose the writing life and you better get ready to be told your a piece of shit, one way or another, again and again and again and again.

philbilly said...

Erin, everybody that dares to get out of bed faces rejection and castigation. No good deed ever goes unpunished. How dare anyone thwart, or attempt to thwart, entropy. To bring order to chaos. Shine light in dark places. You go against the universal decay when you create anything. So each of us in our own world gets told we're insignificant.

I do think that writing bears such a publicly personal imprimatur that it is difficult to slink back into the darkness and lick your wounds privately.

But the upside is recognition, even adulation, that that laboring incognito never brings. I have jammed with musicians and traveled with racers, and I know those people cannot live without the spotlight, even when they wreck on the last lap or there's just two people in the bar they drove all day to get to. They would wither in the safety of a cubicle or loading dock. So we pick our stages, and yet play out the same tragedy and triumph.

Always remember, living well is the best revenge.

Ruth Gordon was on Johnny Carson one night, talking about being viciously panned as a child actor by a Broadway critic in the vaudeville days. After allowing the audience to languish in her misfortune for a moment, she quipped "And now she's dead and forgotten, and I'm on the Tonight Show!".