"To Dave Clapper: I'm an anon who has nothing against you, sir, and I have no problem with you or any other editor publishing your "friends" or even soliciting. In fact, I think that's a GOOD thing. It certainly is natural, normal, pure human nature -- and, in fact, to DENY it is wrong, I believe.
Naturally, as a writer, I also want to be "friends" with good editors. And I believe that if I write well enough, and send the right editors the right kind of things, that I will of COURSE become their "friend."
However, I do have a problem with this. A big one. And that is that the editors of commercial magazines, web sites, and all other publications do not WANT good literature. None of them publish it. And of course there is the fact that the commercial short story market is almost completely extinct. But Dave, honestly, I have no beef with you and I do wish you the best -- but I do not read Smokelong nor do I submit to it, simply because I don't believe in these journals where the authors are unpaid. I'm not an academic, not an MFA rich kid so I don't have the luxury to submit to such journals. I am a working writer. I have belonged to the National Writers Union (which recommended its members to NEVER write for a magazine that pays less than a dollar word).
There was a time when fiction was relevant. And when there were good editors. And when you could make a living as a writer, and didn't have to become a professor instead. I want that world to come back, that world where fiction is popular, is read by many people, is commercially available -- and is something that good writers can make a living off of.
So my beef is not with you, sir -- your journal, although I don't read it, I do wish it the best -- but my beef is with the editors and publishers of the commercial magazines. The ones I've learned about on LROD, the ones whose work records have been detailed time and time again on this blog. The ones that killed the short story, and subsequently killed literature.
You know the ones. Someone posted on here before, suggesting a boycott of all Hearst and Conde Nast publications. Yes! That's it, those are the ones. From Redbook to Men's Journal, Details to GQ, Vanity Fair to the Saturday Evening Post, these commercial magazines are terrible, filth-ridden rags. Very base, very stupid, and poorly written, too. But I took up an LROD suggestion, and sought out an antique issue of one of my target magazines. (Actually I found a bundle of them at a book sale.) And I began to read. And first thing I thought of was how REFRESHING it was to read articles that didn't have that smarmy tone that every magazine seems to have now. And articles that were SINCERE about living, even the simple things. And I also thought that most college kids today couldn't even PARSE a 1960's copy of Saturday Review or an old Esquire or Cosmopolitan. That's so absolutely pathetic.
I write for a living. And I can write an article for a magazine like Vogue about something with a third-grade mentality (but graphically sexual), and be paid two dollars a word for my "efforts." But when I do that, I feel like I'm a drug dealer on a playground or something -- it's disgusting. And I am paid obscenely well for stupid, stupid non-fiction "profile" pieces, "trend" pieces, and all manner of fluff. Again, up to two dollars a word for this stuff.
But these editors have zero interest at all in fiction. Most of them no longer print any fiction at all. If you read a GQ of today, you'll never ever realize that even in the early 90's, they used to print serious articles and serious fiction, 7,000 word short stories. The few that do print fiction, like Esquire, print only the basest, dumbest crap you've ever seen put into words. Some of it was featured here on LROD. Look in the archives and follow the links. Please, READ this stuff. Read that "story" about Heath Ledger. The sad thing is, we'll have more and more of that kind of crap from these magazines.
So I'm angry about this, and I want to do something about it. I voice my disgust with it. I say, "Voice it loud. Let the world hear it. (Especially their advertisers.)" Get them where it hurts, let everybody know that we don't think they are cool, we don't think they are smart, and we don't want to be seen TOUCHING their filthy magazines. Yes, I call these editors to task. I think it's time to name names, to call these people up, invite them to discuss -- let them defend their positions. Let's hear it from them. Why do they shovel out this crap to the world, when so many people are obviously hungering for something more?"