Thursday, October 10, 2013

those old submission blues

Been submitting my novel to presses. Sent out to another contest today. Already $55 dollars in the hole. Feels like gambling, but I lose more money, or something. Gathered a bunch of presses from the 'about' section of &NOW2 award anthology. Most are poetry/multimedia et c. so it was not very fruitful.

Feel this tearing conundrum where, you know how on the submissions page they will say 'please read our books to find out what we publish' or something like that? And there are a number of presses that publish stuff that I like (Dalkey archive, two dollar radio, tyrant) but all the presses that I like, that I admire that I (this is going to sound weird, but I believe it) feel a sort of aesthetic resonance in, are all relatively elite. And the ones seem to have even the slightest chance of publishing me are pretty small, relatively basic, mundane (whatever the opposite of elite is I guess) but do not publish books i have yet come into contact with. Many of the presses I like are closed to unsolicited subs. too so I have to go scour the internet for all these other presses (I guess the 'shotgun' approach seems like the only way though I may be wring here...) but I don't have the time (or the motivation really) to read all the books form all these small presses. It's so selfish, and yet I feel this driving motivation to do it. Like blowing dandelion fluff into a volcano, like trying to spread my creative seed (gross) into this giant, uncaring, incinerating maw. And I know I just need to write more, and I've been getting published little by little...and still.

Feel pretty hopeless at this point, finding it hard to write more. And this is not just from the presses but in general. Last week wrote something like 3000 words total, just a silly story about 'lying down machines'. Feel like there will come a point where I will meet a bunch of people writing a lot like I do. Not sure if this will be a good thing or a bad thing. Good for connections, feedback, publishing; bad for competition, self-esteem, in-fighting (I guess?).

Guess I'm just super lucky that I do not have to have a job now, nor in the near future. Can write as much as I want, when I want et c. Figure that the pressure of having a job will make me write more efficiently. Hearing about there people who have thrown away three, five, ten novels before they published their first piece make me worried. Just not sure how many novels I have in me, whether I can sustain the energy I had earlier this year for the amount of time it will take me to do this.

Funny, talking with b., who has been doing art for 4-5 years, sells pieces for ~$100 each and was able to quit his job to do art full time, and was complaining about all these other people being more successful than he is. He seems really successful (and talented) to me. I guess it's all a cycle, or a spiral maybe like the less successful always looking up at those who are a little more successful and feel jealous/envious.

Feel like I sent BA out just to get feedback or to get my name into some heads, don't really expect it to get published, but then will have these little flashes of like Dalkey Archive being like 'yeah we loved it we'll take it' and getting prematurely, hopelessly optimistic. 'Optimism as disease', like rushdie said. Hate to quote him but it seems a propos. Expectations are awful, try to squash them as much as possible. Also feel like I may have exhausted my current publishing contacts (few and generous as they are). Sort of weasled my way into these people's views, shoved a piece on them then had them move it forward. Wish I could get a piece put through by someone I have never met I guess, would make me feel much better about my writing (for some reason)

Wanted to submit to jaded ibis and they asked for an aesthetic statement. Put one together but it felt thin, like they would have looked and laughed. Everything else about the press seemed admirable and interesting though. Over my head maybe, need to develop a BA app.

Have been focusing (sort of) with the interaction with that writer. Feels very narcissistic. Want to focus on letting criticism et c. (negative criticism, not critique or positive criticism) roll off my back. Don't want to be one of htose shitty people who wallows in other criticisms.

There are two things that I think would be cool and interesting for literature:

1. A subscription based database similar to 'web of science' where all literary journals and magazines are cataloged and each store is indexed with year, author, location and a number of qualifiers like length  topic style etc. then authors, genres and styles are connected so that you can find similar writers to those you like. Sort of like a pandora for short stories or poetry. There is already the search function I guess but the connections (especially for personal, academic and institutional connection) might add a lot, allow someone new to literature to find a lot of good stuff pretty quickly.

2. A fully funded institution that was sort of like an invitation only MFA program: nominations made by whoever where entry level writers who seemed dedicated to the craft in the long term but either did not have the means to get further education/immersion in a full writing environment or something like that could just write for a few year (or do research or whatever). I guess the crux here would be invitation only, which sounds elitist and to a certain degree it would have to be, but it would allow this no pressure environment and lot of writing. or something. Maybe it would devolve into a nepotistic circle jerk, probably would.

About every month or so I'll wake up to some guy screaming outside my window. It will be the middle of the night and I'll listen for twenty, thirty minutes as every minute or so there is just this little scream. Different thing, they get garbled through the window. Sometimes it will stop for a few minutes then come back. That's all.

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