Dinos 1

Trying to write on the day when you’re holding a twilight garden party is probably not the best idea, but I somehow managed an hour of working on my book. A character I had mentioned in passing appeared again, this time with a betting game he liked to play. I was surprised – I thought he was just a name in the middle of a sentence. I didn’t write much in that hour but I liked what I wrote.

The party turned out just fine. Even the mosquitoes noted the occasion and stayed away, although it could be that we’re in debt to the bat colony next door.

Rejections: Plague or pestilence?
Today’s cartoon looks at the number-one killer of writers: rejection. The elite writers always seem to skip this stage, but the rest of us have to learn acceptance and humility pretty quickly. I had 64 rejections on the day I sold my first short story. I remember that because it’s the number of squares on a chess board. I stopped counting in the mid-1990s, because by then my total had surpassed 500 and it was way too depressing.

I don’t know where I am now, but I do know that the two magazines that have rejected me the most are The New Yorker and Fantasy & Science Fiction. I’m guessing they’re tied at about 50 each. Many of their form rejections came with a “Sorry” scribbled by a human. I take some consolation from that.

How do you survive rejection? Everyone says not to take it personally, but of course you take it personally. What else can you do, alone at your desk, with the vision of your byline in your favorite magazine suddenly gone kerflooey?

Well, you don’t get angry at the puny editor who couldn’t detect your brilliance if they gave him the Hubble Space Telescope. The editor might be myopic, or has maybe seen 15 stories this year with the same plot, or maybe you’re still not good enough. All you can do is send your story off to another place and keep on writing. Yes, I want to be successful. But being successful is beyond my control. The only thing I control is the process of writing. So I keep on writing. It’s taken me years to learn that.

Weird places where I’ve been published
American Window Cleaner
Classic Toy Trains
Computer Games Strategy Plus
Postcard Collector

Random Pick of the Day
Lords of the New Church, Killer Lords (1985)
You would’ve expected Lords of the New Church to be a vicious punk band, as everyone in it came from a vicious punk band, particularly singer-songwriter Stiv Bators, who started life in The Dead Boys, who made The Ramones look like the cast of Glee.

But Lords of the New Church were nowhere near vicious. Their songs are about freedom, same as punk, and while they are played with urgency and sincerity they are not played with anger or to gross you out. “Dance With Me” is actually danceable, as are their loving covers of Creedence Clearwater’s “Hey Tonight” and The Grass Roots’ “Live for Today” (almost a hit for them), and even “Open Your Eyes,” though its lyrics are straight from the Gang of Four playbook:
Video games train the kids for war
Army chic in high-fashion stores
Law and order’s done their job
Prisons filled while the rich still rob.

This is my Saturday, June 29 post, BTW. Our party got out of hand, by the clock, and I couldn’t get this in until after midnight. I’ll be back this evening. Thanks for following along!

  1. “Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?”

    Weird places where you’ve been published:

    Am currently reading one of your poems published in “Pig Iron #9”, not exactly Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage but maybe it will make you just as famous – one day.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Now I remember Pig Iron, a literary zine published in Pittsburg. They published my poem (such as it was) after I withdrew it. Please don’t remind me again!

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