1st Wednesday of April (2013)

Self had just pulled herself together enough to revise two very short stories (1,500 words each) and send them out, and seat herself in front of the TV in the living room to watch “Bones” while having her lunch (It is 3:21 pm, that is how busy she was today), when she decided to check her e-mail (which she does almost every hour), and there was already a rejection for one of the short stories she’d sent out today.  Honestly:  this was the fastest rejection ever.  Faster even than anderbo.com!  She hopes they’re still considering the other story (They allow two stories per submission.  Don’t ask self to name the magazine:  self has decided that discretion is the better part of valor.)

Then she decided to —  Holy Cow!  This rice that she is having with her stir-fried boneless chicken thigh fillets is absolutely yummy!  It’s the first time she’s tried this Elephant Brand Thai rice (from Marina Foods in Hillsdale:  she would have preferred to drive across the bridge to Island Pacific in Union City, but has been feeling quite pressed for time) and does it ever go well with stir-fried chicken!  Especially with stir-fried chicken in Hoisin sauce!

Her eye wanders over to the TV and —  Wow!  Cute shirt the African American supervisor is wearing!  Lime green, with beaded keyhole neckline!

Back to self’s lunch.  She is washing all down with a bottle of beer.  And —  Holy Cow!  This is absolutely a fantastic beer!  Self peruses the label:  California Lager, Anchor beer, founded 1896.  She wonders if this is from Trader Joe’s, or from Draegers.  It’s definitely not Safeway or Whole Foods.

It has turned into a very hot day.  Self knows she needs to water.

Sweet-smelling Bella is wiped out from the exertion of climbing the kitchen stairs in the heat.  She’s on the kitchen floor, because the linoleum feels cool. (Self is tempted to carry The Ancient One here, there and everywhere, but is realizing that The Man’s insistence on making the poor li’l crit walk as much as possible is why Bella, at 17 1/2, is still ambulatory.)

And —  Self!  What are you doing!  You have just downed your third serving of Thai rice with chicken fillets stir-fried with green onions and Hoisin!  Aaach, aaach, she can’t help it, the rice and the stir-fried chicken and the hoisin sauce and the beer are such a perfect combination.  Not only that, self must be allowed to drown her sorrows regarding last night’s Justified season finale.  When might Season 5 be occurring, self wonders?

She finally got to the last page of the San Francisco Chronicle of precisely one week ago.  The bottom of the last page is the Dear Abby section.  Here is one of the letters:

Dear Abby,

I am a plus-size woman.  I am loud and boisterous, and I like to surround myself with similar women.  However, there is a problem I am now facing.

Many of my friends have made amazing transformations and gotten fit.  I am fully supportive and impressed, but I see the price they are paying.  They are no longer confident and vivacious.  They have become timid, approval-seeking shells of their previous selves.

Why do newly thin women forget how awesome their personalities used to be?

—  Big Beauty in Illinois

*     *     *     *

Dear Big Beauty:

Not knowing your friends, I can’t answer for them.  But it is possible that having become “transformed and fit,” they no longer feel they need their loud and boisterous personas to compete for attention.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Self on the First Monday of March (2013)

Oh, the rejections keep pouring in, just pouring in.  They’re a veritable avalanche.

Self was on a great, epic send-out binge for several months, at the end of 2012.  Every night, she’d stay up late, sending out.  Inwardly, she’d be thinking:  Come ON, people!  Don’t you know I’m just brilliant?  Yoo-Hoo, I’m over here!  Still in Redwood City, California!  Anxiously awaiting discovery!  Like the Native American tribes before Columbus!

But alas, self’s voice seems to have gotten lost in the great Slush Pile of First Round Submission Hell.

So, now, all her friends are talking about Boston.  AWP Boston.  What?  How did self let that one slip by her?  She loves Boston and furthermore hasn’t been there since her twenties.  What a travesty!  She completely missed all the advance announcements, registration deadlines, etc

Nice, though, she did just get a check from Akashic Books for the story that’s coming out in Manila Noir, sometime this summer.

So, tra-la, tra-la, tra-la:  Perhaps self will wend over to Bell’s Books in Palo Alto today.  She did notice that they had the most excellent, heavy book-ends.  The kind that look like they weigh a ton.  Made of brass.  Antique.  One-of-a-kind.  OK, OK, self is going.

Self is still perusing the San Francisco Chronicle of 27 February (last Wednesday).  On the very last page of the Datebook is a series of illustrations.  Just to show you how addled self’s brain has been lately, she actually thought such headlines as CNN:  VATICAN TOLD POPE HE COULDN’T WORK FROM HOME:  HE WATCHED HIS STORIES ALL DAY and RUSSIAN METEOR CONTAINED HORSE MEAT were true!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Self’s 2012 in Pictures: # 12

Her First Personal Rejection From the Paris Review -- Put Self on Cloud 9!

Her First Personal Rejection From the Paris Review — Put Self on Cloud 9!

Most Recent

Word Riot is publishing self’s piece “Devotions” in the Oct. 15 issue!  Will send along the link shortly.

Since self had to send a bio in which she listed her most recent publications, she thought she’d make that the subject of today’s post.  So here they are, m’dears!  A short list of self’s most recent work.

Self got a rejection from One Story today.  She likes to think it was an encouraging rejection.

In 10 submissions to One Story, she’s only gotten two of these encouraging ones:  the first one was for, self thinks, “Magellan’s Mirror.”

She began submitting to them in 2006, and thereafter managed to submit — on the average — about two submissions a year.

Here’s what her “encouraging” rejection said:

Dear ______:

Thank you for sending us ________.  Unfortunately this particular piece was not a right fit for One Story, but we were very impressed by your writing.  We hope that you will feel encouraged by this short note and send us something else.

We look forward to reading more.


The Editors of One Story

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Rejection Monday

Sent Jennie a cute pic of herself and SFOSL (Translation:  Sole Fruit of Self’s Loins), but that was days ago.

While down there in southern CA, self learned during a dinner with their friends that son and Jennie are famous for “having two or three jobs,” or something of the sort.  Not content with that amazing reputation, son had even volunteered to bring meat skewers to a barbecue at a professor’s house, that very weekend.  Self intervened and said no one would expect son to be preparing skewers of meat for a barbecue if it was known that Visiting Celebrity (oops! self meant:  his MUM) was down for the weekend, and furthermore self expressed great interest in meeting this professor.  Result:  Son or Jennie or perhaps both of them extended his/her/their regrets to prof and said that he/she/they would be unable to attend.  Oh, boo.  Self was dying, simply dyyyyiiiing to make professor’s acquaintance.

True!  She even offered to meet son outside his classroom on Monday afternoon, but since son had already expressed extreme reluctance to have self meet ANY of his professors, she should have known he would suggest some other place to meet:  such as the Ontario airport!  Since self was leaving that very day!

Anyhoo, c’est la vie, c’est la vie.  Self is back in good ol’ Redwood City, lugging around dozens of buckets of water.

Why oh why does the weather have to be so extremely hot, in late September?  And why did self — today of all days — receive messages from Hawthornden Quidditch Team, giving hints, notes of another life, a life fragrant with the productive labor of writing or traveling or anyway experiencing something other than lugging buckets of water around a garden?

And why were there three SASEs in the mail today:  one from New Letters — nice, but no signature (Must have been an intern), one from Harper’s (A real signature, but an unfamiliar name:  Oh of course, the signer typed “Editorial Intern” under her signature), one form (absolutely no hand writing of any sort, anywhere on the form, not even a scribbled initial, or a Try us again!) from Michigan Quarterly Review.  About MQR, self shouldn’t be so crabby, as she’s actually received SASEs back from them in less than a week.  Since it must take at least two days for a snail-mailed manuscript to get there from California, and maybe one day for intern to open mail, and maybe another day for intern to read self’s story, and two days for the SASE to travel back to self (See, self has worked the sequence all out in her head — at least a dozen times!) she can honestly say:  Her writing is not the sort to summon excitement from anyone in MQR.

But there are things for which self should be grateful.  Such as:

  1. She is alive.
  2. She is alive in a hot place.
  3. She is a U.S. citizen.
  4. She likes Redwood Nursery.
  5. Her dry cleaner is polite.
  6. She had Chinese Chicken Salad for lunch.
  7. The Ancient One (i.e. Bella) is alive:  whine-y and incontinent, but very much still able to crawl on two legs if presented with a sliver of meat.  Especially if the meat is grilled.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Since returning from Hawthornden (early July), self has:

Sent her stories out (not including contests) 66 times (including one small press publisher) . . .  Of these submissions, 13 were by regular mail.

She’s received, so far, 10 rejections (all form)

and one acceptance

Most of these submissions were sent late at night —  very late, when she loses herself in the worldwide web.  Using Submittable, of course.

The fastest rejection was from anderbo (1 day).

July already feels like another country . . .

Evenings are chilly.

Stay tuned.

A Super-Duper Nice Rejection

Now, this is what self considers a truly nice rejection!

It’s from the Paris Review:

Self was on Cloud 9 for days after getting this in the mail.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

“Literary Rejections on Display”

Self recently looked at this site, which she’s known about for — oh, let’s see, maybe two years now.

She is always delighted by the fresh examples of writer-ly humiliation.

So, self thinks back over the past year.  Along with a higher-than-usual number of acceptances and “nice” rejections, there have been some doozies:  from failbetter.com (“We really liked your work.  On second thought, we’ll pass.”), and one in particular, from A Press To Remain Forever Un-named, that went:

Dear Writer:

We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s chapbook contest.  We received close to 100 entries, and named twenty-five semi-finalists.  Unfortunately, your work was not among the semi-finalists . . .

etc etc etc

Then:  Please consider donating to our worthy site.

Notwithstanding the fact that self had already donated, when she paid the contest entry fee.

(Self, why must you always be such a whiner?  Did you or did you not today taste the most fabulous things on skewers at Source, 11 Division Street, San Francisco?  A thing that tasted for all the world like chicken but was actually “soy-based product”?  And didn’t you also, for the first time ever, ingest quinoa, which has a really, delicious, nutty flavor?  And weren’t you in the company of those two fabulous friends, Stella K and Tina B?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Probably Twentysomething, Published in Most Recent Indiana Review

Self loves the Indiana Review.

She’s subscribed for years and years, ever since she found a poem by Conchitina Cruz, the one with footnotes longer than the poem itself (BTW, dear blog readers, self is proud to say she edited Ms. Cruz:  she’s one of the contributors to the Filipino women’s anthology published by Calyx in 2003, Going Home to a Landscape)

She sent them “Alex,” her Moby Dick of a story (written at a time when none of self’s stories were over 15 pages), and someone was kind enough to send her a personal note, to let her know it “came close.”

That was yeeears ago.  And still self feels compelled to submit, twice a year.

And sometimes she forgets that she already submitted twice in a submission period, and she’ll send (inadvertently) three stories, and then all three rejections will appear simultaneously in her e-mail.

People!  Self is not over-the-hill!  Not by a long shot!  Just because she hasn’t gotten anything more than 24-hour-turnaround rejections from anderbo.com!  Just because her latest “Bridge the Gap” entry for Camera Obscura failed to, as it were, bridge the gap!  Just because ZYZZYVA no longer publishes people who they’ve published before!

You will not find self supine with despair, oh twentysomething author of Indiana Review story that caused self to laugh aloud (that is, until she read the contributor’s notes)!

Adversity only makes self stand up taller!  Taller!  Taller!

For, as Nietzsche once said or did not say:  “What does not kill me makes me stronger!”

(This was the philosopher, self believes, who once came between a cart horse and a man with a whip.  Didn’t he, however, die soon after that incident?  Actions speak louder than words, dear blog readers.  Now, if only self could find her way back to the main topic of this post, which was — ???)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Summer, 2012: Reading

A particularly single-minded raccoon got into the garbage last night, spreading the remains of several days’ dinners across the front lawn.  The Man either:  a) was too sleepy to notice as he left for work this morning; or b) assumed self would have plenty of time to clean it up.

Self is currently reading —  and going ever so slowly through — The Miracle at Speedy Motors, by Alexander McCall Smith (The recently concluded Connoisseur’s Marketplace in Menlo Park was a huge distraction.  Huge)

On the night table:

  • The Silver Swan, by Benjamin Black (recommended by Marilyn Stasio, NYTBR)
  • A Death in Vienna, by Frank Tallis (recommended by The Economist)
  • The Bin Ladens:  An Arabian Family in the American Century, by Stephen Coll (recommended by The NYTBR)
  • Ghost Wars, by Stephen Coll

(On TV —  self includes this just because — a re-cap of the Tour de France)

*     *     *     *

In addition, today self has set herself to write a story about vivisection.

*   *     *    *

A second rejection for a story she sent out before Hawthornden has arrived in her “in” box.  The first rejection was semi-nice (Editor made note of the story’s “sprightliness” — !!!)

This second one, self can’t decide whether it’s nice, semi-nice, or boilerplate.  So she includes it below, in its entirety:

Dear M,

Thank you for your submission THE ________  and your interest in ________ .  We read your story with interest.  Unfortunately, despite the evident merit of this piece, it didn’t feel quite right for us.  We wish you the best of luck placing this elsewhere.

Please do try us again.


The Editors

Which means, you know, that —  at least with regards this particular story —  self is close.  Very, very close.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

« Older entries Newer entries »

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon


welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through fashion and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.


fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other