Found Journal: On the Act of Submitting, part A (2014)

I read in the acknowledgments of the book I'm currently fascinated by, the places the author has published, some big magazines, some small, and think, I have to start submitting work to these magazines not because I think mine is better, but that it is just as worthy, even though it probably isn't.

I have spent many years submitting to magazines.  It took a lot of time and energy, to decide where to submit, to research guidelines, to correctly format, to prepare envelopes, to print, to mail, to track.

And that's to say nothing of writing the pieces in the first place, pieces I evidently believed were worthy of publication, even though I now realize were not.

I collected all my rejection notes in a file which got thick.  It was both heart-breaking and humorous.

And then on-line submitting changed everything, just as the copy machine once did.  Now, no envelopes, no printing, no stamps, no cover letters!  And because of the ease and the gross abundance of people like me, thinking our writing worthy of attention, the editors are so overwhelmed that many don't even bother sending a rejection, but simply state in the guidelines that if you don't hear from them, assume that's a no thank you.

How to know if anyone even read it?

And if someone did, who reads the slush pile?  A 23 year old unpaid intern dreaming of discovering the next Hemingway?  What chance do I have of charming that demographic?

When I see in the acknowledgements, all the magazines that have published this author's work, leading to the accolades and prizes and recognition and admiration and even some money, I feel a part of me tighten, thinking, I should really submit some work to those magazines.

But, in some of her pieces she writes about how the attention doesn't make her life easier, but just more complicated and stressful and how with all the requests, all the expectations that have come with publications and awards she now has little time to do what she really wants to do, that very thing that has won her fame: write.

Author's Note:

The book I was reading was most likely one by Lydia Davis, though why I didn't mention what book, is baffling.

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