Random Bits of Sunday, Now with Morals

Today I went to see Thor: Ragnarok, for the second time. DH and I saw it a week or so ago, as a date; today, I took Middle Boy (MB) and two of his buddies. The movie is great! It’s really funny, on top of all the expected cool action and the always welcome displays of Chris Hemsworth’s musculature.

Seriously, whenever you feel bad, borrow someone’s kids and go do something fun with them. It’s amazing how much joy kids get out of pretty much anything, as long as they are doing it with their buddies. Perhaps the biggest benefit of public education, accessible to everyone, it that kids get to choose their own friends, without parental meddling. They pick the people who are good for them, not necessarily who you as a parent might imagine would be good for them.

Moral: Kids are awesome. Thor: Ragnarok is awesome. Watching Thor with kids is awesome squared.

***

As I picked up one of the kids, his mom was in her pajamas and all apologetic about it… But I had only changed out of mine 5 min before I started the kid pickup, so now I think I want to be her BFF…

Moral: One person’s slob is another person’s pajama-clad kindred spirit.

***

You know that story for which I was soliciting people’s input on the sound of kicking a heavy bag? Well, the story turned out freakin’ amazing—I mulled it over in my head for weeks, sat down and wrote it over two days, edited on the third, and submitted to a very cool literary zine that had previously rejected three of my stories. The magazine took it after only four days, with a glowing comment below that may or may not have gone into my head:

[…] is a wonderful character, and her story is really feel-good-making, without ever slipping into sentimentality. It’s an awesome balance.

As I abhor sentimentality and try hard to purge it from my writing (and life), this praise struck me directly into my Grinch-sized soft and gooey center. Darn you, feelings that are not rage!

Moral: Sometimes, everything aligns. Also, write the stories that only you can write. The weirder, the better.

***

The sparkly speedy acceptance was on Friday. Of course, lest I get a gigantic head, I received a rejection on Saturday, and then another one on Sunday, both for the same story (many magazines allow simultaneous submissions). That story is good, but might end up getting retired if three additional submissions I have slated for it don’t work out. I fear it’s topically not different enough from much of what my demographic writes.

Moral: Sometimes, everything aligns. And sometimes, you give something your all, but it simply isn’t meant to be. Or you are a boring, middle-aged woman, with middle-aged thoughts and experiences. No one wants to read that. At least not without a really fancy package that makes it look like you’re far more hip and crazy than you ever were.

Addition: Of course, I got an acceptance of this story first thing this morning. That’s an enthusiastic acceptance in a cool literary magazine, after 12 rejections. 

Moral 1: (Mostly to self.) Do not whine on the web about your stories before it’s been far more than a dozen rejections. Do not whine on the web, period.  

Moral 2: It really is about finding the right home for your story. Or your technical work. If the piece is solid, someone out there will love it. 

Moral 3: Number 13 doesn’t seem to be such a bad number. Today is the 13th and the 13th try was an acceptance for this story. (I also got a great acceptance last month, on Friday the 13th.)

Also, a link: 

http://www.advicetowriters.com/home/2014/2/28/rejection.html

***

As you know, I am editing for a flash magazine, mostly to learn and improve my own writing. Usually, if I get a story and really like it, I will accept promptly. Also, there are some that are a clear no, which I reject promptly. But there are many that I am not crazy about, but I can’t really put my finger on what’s wrong (and I need to, as we are committed to giving personalized feedback), so I leave these for later. I have noticed that I am considerably less grumpy and more likely to be favorably disposed toward a story early in the morning than later in the day; it is really hard to impress me after a long day of work. The short flash pieces make it easy to read each several times over several days. However, if others are like me, and there is no reason for them not to be, this means that trivial consideration like what time of day your manuscript or proposal gets reviewed, is it early in the morning  or before lunch/dinner etc., results in drastically different fates of your intellectual products. This seems so unfair. So much effort, so much noise in the process.

Moral: Don’t rush to negative judgement, especially when a lot rides on it for people. And get enough sleep.

5 comments

  1. Did you see the research that said the likelihood of someone getting parole was directly related to how long it had been since the panel had eaten? The longer it had been, the more likely it was that the parolee was denied their request. So, it’s not just stories that are affected by what time the review happens!

  2. Just dropping by to say that I really enjoy it when you post daily! Gives me something to read with my tea in the mornings, when I’m procrastinating on analyzing data. 😉

  3. First off, you sure you’re a scientist and not a humanist in disguise 🙂

    Congrats on all these acceptances! I don’t do flash fiction but I’m amazed at the turnaround here; most journals I submit to keep my work for 4-6 months….I have one going on 10 at this point.

  4. Gwinne, some top flash places (like Wigleaf) will indeed keep your work for several months (about 5 for Wigleaf). There are many reputable collegiate presses that will do the same. But there are many very good markets that have brought their response times (at least for rejection) to under a month (e.g., Smokelong Quarterly or The Forge will say no in about 3 weeks). The yeses may take longer. I admit that average response time is an important criterion for me when I choose where to submit. Now that I have a few under my belt, I feel I am OK waiting longer.

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