Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stories About Nothin'

I've taken as really long--for me, anyway--break from writing. Four days without doing any editing or anything has been sort of extreme for me. Well, I say I haven’t been writing, but I have been doing research. I have this story about an Appalachian kid who becomes obsessed with the idea that he is descended from the Chrysanthemum Throne. So, I’ve been brushing up on my Japanese history.

My sister and I had a nice long talk yesterday. She mentioned how much she liked “Ghosts” and I mentioned how I was having such a hard time getting my serious stories accepted. She said just to keep submitting it. You know, I’ve come to the realization that editors really want stories about nothing. They don’t want catharsis, epiphanies or life changing events in the stories. They don’t want Kurt Vonnegut style writing. And—well, you know—bad things often happen to my characters. I’m getting these super nice rejections with great personal comments about how they like the story but are shying away from death elements.

Even the frogs die in my stories. I’m just not sure where to draw the line.

Pastor Jimmy and Pam dropped by today to pick up some gourds. I showed him the one I was working on with my wood burner. He’s going to do a gourd for me. Anyway, I was moaning to him about all of this, since he is, after all a fellow writer—and a published one. He may only have graduated the fifth grade, but he’s the closest friend I have up here who is a bona fide genius.

“Yes,” I said, “as far as I can tell, they want stories about how you go to the grocery store and can’t find what you are looking for. Stuff like that.”

“You mean like Seinfeld.” he said.


To understand what I found so funny about this, you will need to go back and read my serpent handling articles. I don’t think Jimmy has a TV—and even he gets this.

I’m just dumber than dirt, I guess.

So, I’m going to start throwing out some stories about nothin’.


  1. Jo said...
    It is pretty sad if you ask me, to think that there are x number of people out there that are making decisions for the rest of us as to what we want to read. Personally, I am better able to get into a good gloom and doom story than a Seinfeld episode. I guess if you want to get published though you have to give the half wits what they want.
    MK Stover said...
    I think you're right about nothin' being a popular publishing topic, but what do you like to read? I don't read stories that waste my time. Bring on the Real! (That's why I come over to your site to visit.)
    Anonymous said...
    .... you know, 'nothing' is just about all that I ever DO write about....


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