Friday, August 22, 2008

Kevin Larimer's Play on Words

Kevin Larimer, editor of Poets & Writers, wrote me a little note about yesterday's post and comments.  He says:

Dear Writer, Rejected,

I noticed your mention of the Literary MagNet piece and the comments that followed -- great to see some good discussion about the issues. I noticed, too, that there's some discussion about that last sentence of mine. I wonder if the play on words would be more clear if the italics that are in the original text were included in your quote. Just a thought.

So let's give it a go with the italicized word:

"Rather than dwelling on the lousy submission or the lame rejection—or even the crummy criticism of the lame rejection of the lousy submission—how about devoting one's time to writing and publishing work that know, good? Isn't it the editor's job to read the bad writing so that his readers don't have to? And isn't it part of the writer's job to learn from—rather than reject—rejection? It's a pretty simple lesson, really: Either your writing needs more work or the offending journal doesn't."



Steve said...

I got it the first time around. Still wasn't particularly clever. Nice to see, however, that nightly-news quality one-liners are now making it into the literary world. Oh, by the way, that was sarcasm just need for italics.

Elizabeth said...

I read it on the P&W site the first time, with the italics; didn't get it. Read it here yesterday, didn't get it. Read it here today, didn't get it.

Either your writing needs more work or the offending journal doesn't. Doesn't what? Doesn't need more work? Doesn't work? The offending journal doesn't need more work if it accepts my brilliant submission? If it rejects my crummy submission? From the writer's perspective? The journal's?



Am I being exceptionally thick? Italicized, not italicized, it's just not hitting my ear properly.

Nice of Larimer to drop by to try to clarify.

Minnie Mouse said...

Yes, that was nice of Larimer. :)

But IMO the comment, italicized word or no, still misses the point of LROD, which is, first and foremost, a place for writers to come together and blow off steam about rejections.

Anonymous said...

Dear rejected writer: this is a really good blog. The pictures are laugh-out-loud funny and always incredibly fitting. It's clear whatever you write must have the same kind of details.

So-- I'm having trouble understanding: why spend any time on this blog? Given that it's not really 'book deal' material, like a regular (but probably less visited) 'writer's blog' would be, where you posted your writing, etc-- what does the blog do for you personally?

You seem talented,and from your descriptions of continuing to support various literary magazines by sending them your stuff, also really hard working.

Why not only work on your own writing?

Why do this blog at all?

Anyway- just a thought.

Take care.

Joe said...

If this man was sent back in time and forced to confront himself as an adolescent, in a period when he's been rejected (probably callously, cruelly) by every girl he likes, I doubt he'd give himself the same coping-with-rejection advice. "Young Kevin. This is older Kevin. Trust me. Stop whining and work harder. Concentrate your energy on getting girls to like you. It's simple really, learn from these rejections to make yourself hotter or cooler."

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, the italics weren't only on "doesn't" but also on "needs more work."

However, it still isn't very clear.

The journal doesn't need more work? Of yours? Or doesn't need more work to get better?

I appreciate the writer asking to be quoted correctly, but honestly, it's still a bad sentence.

Anonymous said...

The way I read it before the italics (and having the italics doesn't change this, although I could be wrong) was that it's meant to be a silly little pun. The first "work" is as everyone understands - i.e. "your writing needs improvement" but the second implied "work" as in "the offending journal doesn't" just refers to the fact that the publication doesn't need any more work as in stuff to publish. Am I right?

But I didn't (and still don't) think it's very good or very funny, as the ensuing discussion about what the hell it even means kinda proves!

Anonymous said...

That's what I meant by nightly-news style puns. Katie Couric couldn't have penned a bigger groaner.

E. said...


Thanks for explaining it to me.

Either my writing is sucky or it's perfect and it's a simple matter of the journal having filled its pages already or the upcoming issue, thanks, but please do keep them in mind in the future, really, they're serious, try 'em again.

Got it.

Punny, in a not-really-a-pun kind of way, which means it needs more work.

Oooh, shhh, Teddy Kennedy's taken the podium.