A Vast Public Collection of Literary Rejections
Did you finish the rewrite of your novel? I missed that piece of news. Do you have something new to write? I find that it's crucial to plan ahead when you are finishing a big writing project.
p.s. Did you hear that your beloved Rosemary Ahern is no longer at The Other Press?
congrats on finishing the rewrite (if indeed that is what you are saying). balzac had a great technique for avoiding post-novel ennui -- after he put the finishing touches on a novel, he'd immediately start writing another one.not that i've actually done that.
Yes, yes...finished. Thank you. I actually was speaking to some students recently and a few other writers, and when I mentioned that I finished my novel after many, many years, they all clapped. I was sort of surprised, but delighted. We should all have a group of people clapping for us upon completion. As Kurt Vonnegut always said, novelists are his fellow war vets; the act of completion is as awesome and difficult as fighting a war. Of course, I finished up exactly in time for Rosemary Ahern to be no longer positioned for reading it. Just my luck. But the new agent is reading it, as are a couple of other editors. So we'll see. Fingers crossed.And, I did anticipate this empty moment. I started about three novels during the course of writing the ten-year epic opus, now finished. Two of them seem overly ambitious to me (I'm just not ready for that kind of life-long loyalty at the moment), but one seems possible. So, I'm diving into some chapters already roughly drafted. Though at the moment it is raining, and I'm mostly standing on the diving board, feeling the chill, hesitant to jump again. Maybe I need a few more days. Maybe tomorrow.
Students, other writers . . . I've long wondered -- are you in the literary academia that is so often criticized on your blog?
No. A friend who is in THE ACADEMY asked me to talk to his class about what it's like to live a writer's life. I reside in a community where there are many other artists and writers, some of them academic to make a living, a choice with which I have no beef. Though I do not have an MFA, I have taught writing to undergrads in a few fine institutions. That's about it. As for the criticism of literary academia on this blog, I welcome it, along with any other critical thought about any other topic, including the blog itself. I think a lively exchange of ideas is healthy, don't you?
No. Not if you're criticizing academia. Without it there would be no journals, nowhere to publish fiction or poetry, no awards or support of any kind for writers. Remember that. How dare these uneducated (and probably unpublished) writers criticize the MFA, the academic system, and journals? Probably because these journals reject their work. There is no substitute for paying your dues and learning. Go back to school, work your way up. You'll be happier, and in the end you will be published.
The government is a fine institution in principle, too. But this is America, lady. We get to criticize the things we need to exist. Relax a little, will you?
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