Regular readers of this blog know that self has been sending out her stories like crazy: at one point she had no less than 38 stories in circulation. Right after she announced that figure on Twitter, however, rejections began coming thick and fast. Now she only has about 21 stories wending their lonely way across editors’ desks, all across America.
Of all things, a few days ago she had one story picked up by two publications. OK, egg on her face. She absolutely lives for these two words: SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS. It’s just never happened to her before: two magazines wanting the same story. She must be in some kind of zone.
Then there was a new message yesterday, from Café Irreal. They’ve published her once before: that story was “Appetites.”
The one they will publish this August is “The Secret Room,” an odd little story which she wrote last year, and begins with these lines:
For years the Queen had tried to learn what was behind the locked door in the east tower of her husband’s castle.
The locks were intricate couplings of brass and silver.
Self loves writing fables.
And, in a last-ditch effort to storm through her Pile of Stuff, she picks out yet another New Yorker. Appropriately enough (given the subject matter of “The Secret Room”), it is an article on Death Certificates, written by Kathryn Schulz, from the April 7, 2014 issue. Apparently, the Death Certificate had its start in “in early sixteenth-century England, in a form known as the Billy of Mortality. The antecedent of the Bill of Mortality does not exist. No earlier civilization we know of kept systemic track of its dead: not ancient Egyptians, for all their elaborate funerary customs; not the Greeks; not the Romans, those otherwise assiduous centralized bookkeepers.”
One would have thought the early Christian church would have stepped in here, but no: “the church was interested in the fate of the soul, not the body. If the goal of life is to gain access to heaven, and death is in God’s hands, there’s no point, and no grace, in dwelling on the particulars of how we die.”
Alas, self can blog no further. 7:46 a.m. and she’s still got to prepare a manuscript to send out today, to yet another literary contest.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.