There are moments that feel like real triumphs, and my essay on "Return to Oz" being included in this book is among them. Who would have thought as I watched this movie from some German guy's VHS rip on YouTube, in seven parts, with the sound often not matching up, scrawling notes on a series of Post-Its, that someone would say, "Hey, we want to publish this in a book." Now that it is in a book, I sort of regret not fitting in there that the director of the movie is the sound designer for Apocalypse Now! I have been published on several websites, and in (fewer) print literary magazines, but this is the first thing I've had published in a book. So, I'm going to drop the air of detached professionalism and just admit that when I get my copy, I will probably lie in bed next to it, and while it rests on my pillow I will touch it with my fingers and attempt to use astral projection to share the moment with my 15-year-old self while he cries about something stupid and writes a bad poem. You can read about the volume, or buy it, here.
Chain reaction: Duotrope went paid, which means I've spent more time than I'd like reading through individual web sites of journals for their submission guidelines. (Not exactly a laugh riot, but better, I assume, than the days when you'd have no recourse but to sift through Writer's Market or go to the shelf and look at the back page of individual journal issues). For the most part, this stuff is so standardized that it would probably save journals time and effort if they just linked to one web site with a unified set of guidelines. Simultaneous submissions, check. Cover letter optional but encouraged, check. No genre, check.
There are always exceptions; the occasional journal that mixes things up by being particular strict or particularly open. (Tin House has annoying little requirements about how to format the manuscript--but then, they're Tin House, so they get to do that. PANK has no submission guidelines whatsoever, leaving it up to you to send them what you want). But in all my submission guideline travels, which are usually accompanied by a glass of whiskey and something brain-meltingly stupid on Netflix, the only journal whose guidelines have ever really surprised me---and I should give the little milquetoast reassurance that I like and admire the journal, blah blah blah--is Ploughshares. Check out their guidelines here. Anything strike you as...weird? I'm talking specifically about this:
Very cool write up at ArtsATL on the Solar Anus reading series, and specifically the reading with Aaron Belz that I was lucky enough to be included in last month. They have a few kind words about my E.T. piece:
Matt Sailor, editor in chief of New South, read two prose works. The first, an essay filled with long, running sentences, addressed the “crash” of the video game industry in 1983, which was topped off with the failed “E.T.” game. Sailor smartly interpreted the crash as “a holy purge, the clean burn that leaves the forest smoking, but ripe for the taking root of fragile seeds.
You can read the full write up, including some background on the impetus for the Solar Anus series, here. Thanks to Scott Daughtridge for writing the piece, ArtsATL for running it, and of course to Jamie/Amy/Blake for including me in the event.
Matt Sailor puts words here.