Dear Writer: We don't know of anyone who hasn't had work returned at one time or another, but that certainly doesn't make it easier. We hope you will find consolation in the individuality of editorial tastes and in the assurance that with persistence, good work will be recognized as such. Thank you for trying us. The EditorsYou may note that never once in this missive do the editors actually reject my story. They're just speaking in generalities. Matt suggested that I reply with "So when can I expect payment? This doesn't explicitly say my story was rejected, so that must mean it's an acceptance, right?"
I swear, I swear, I swear this is not sour grapes. Since I started thinking about rejections as returns, I tend to shrug about them and try for the next market. This market in particular was a shrug, the story kind of a long shot. I just find it weird that they couldn't say outright that my work wasn't a good fit for them. Or something. Something other than platitudes.
Last week I wrote a story that I'd describe as "supernatural noir." I wrote it in overbaked Raymond Chandler voice-over, which was just a barrel of fun. The story has to do with a voodoo lady who sets zombies on our hero and his client. I got the idea from this dream I had: I was at a party where someone had hired a shoegazing emo band, and after midnight, two members of the band suddenly turned into zombies and attacked us. When I woke up, I thought this was hilarious, because how could you tell the difference between shoegazing emo musicians and actual supernatural zombies?
In other news, I took a trip to Barnes & Noble recently with the intention of buying a couple of children's books, this book by Jess Fink, and a new blank book. I left with none of these things. Everything just seemed so overpriced, and I couldn't find Jess Fink's book. It's probably the first time ever that I went to a bookstore with the concrete intention of buying things and left with nothing at all. I'm a little troubled about what this bodes; if someone like me can resist purchasing at bookstores, I begin to understand why they're going under. Because I went home and bought what I needed on Amazon instead. Saved about $6 on a Moleskine.
Of late, I can't stop listening to "Radioactive." I admitted to Matt that, when something happened the other day that made me feel terrible, I clamped my headphones on, turned the song up as loud as I could stand it, and even tossed my arms over my head to push the music closer to my ears. As I was listening I let the images that came to mind play in my head. I let the music make me feel better. I told him, while explaining this experience, that I felt like I was too old to be listening to music like this. Headphones and Nirvana, or headphones and Garbage, or headphones and Green Day, made me feel better when I was 15. But I'm not a teenager anymore. I'm not even a twentysomething anymore. Am I not too old to let music be the soother of my angst?
On the other hand, it kind of makes me sad the way people generally seem to stop taking joy and solace in music, stop feeling music with seriousness the same way they used to, as they get older. Graduating to Jimmy Buffett and Mahler? Uh, I'll take immaturity, thanks.
The image I saw while listening was of a woman walking through fire. The chorus of the song evokes invincibility to me, and listening to it so close made me want to make a film of it - the first time I've felt this urge in years. Of course, the song already has the best, most delightfully freaky video anyone could ask for, so oh well.