Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The rolling thunder has begun, just as it did last summer--the summer when springs dried up and hay became scarce and horses were set free in stranger's yards. We have gotten a bit of rain, but it's so hot that the moisture rises off the dirt like tarmac. It was so warm this past winter, my lawn tractor's battery didn't die. That's the first time that's happened. But I'm looking forward to blackberries. At least we didn't have the double whammy of a killing freeze while all was in bloom.
I was researching through literary journals the other day. That's part of what I do--try to find journals who publish things sort of like what I write--or who seem open to the sort of stuff I write. Or if not--do I have an atypical piece they might like. I do have a few of those. I can write very arty clever literary things--but mostly get so carried away by things like two-headed calves I can't focus on being too clever.
And I think this is the considerate thing to do. Fiction editors have to go through a gang of crap. I've read the horror stories on their blogs. And you know I'm sort of a stickler for civility so I cringe when I hear a writer has been less than polite. So, I try not to send them stuff they wouldn't use in a million years. Sometimes I get this right--sometimes I fail miserably. But I do make the effort.
So, the other day, I'm going through a few online journals because I'm looking for places for a few SNOWs (stories no one wants) that have gotten excellent reviews but can't seem to find homes. One of them hit the top three on Zoetrope this month. They are not shabby stories.
I start going through the archives. Story one is a penis story. Oh, well, I think--don't have any of those--so I continue to browse and I'll be damned if every single story I pulled up randomly on this one journal didn't feature penises engaged in all sorts of penile activities. This is a literary journal, mind you--and I'm left to conclude that the fiction editor has some sort of monumental johnson fetish. It's not like there was a note in the guidelines that said, "Send your best penis stories," or "All penises, all the time."
It's not that I'm a prude or anything--I just don't have any good wanger tales to tell at this time that don't involve goats and urinary calculi. And I did spend an awful lot of time reading his sausage party stories--so I did rather feel entitled to get something out of it.
And you all know I'm a HUGE Python and Cook & Moore fan. So I wrote this. Enjoy.
Mrs. Snodderly's Letter to the Editor
Dear Fiction Editor,
Whilst perusing journals, I came across your website and read with interest your guidelines and recent entries of the story type.
I find myself fascinated by your distaste for the term “flash fiction”, and the irony of that aversion combined with your publication’s focus upon stories dealing with lady parts and dangly bits. You must admit, there is something flashy about a ripping good dangly bits yarn, particularly coupled with liberal descriptions of lady parts.
While I have nothing against such tales dealing with bits and parts, my own work focuses more on moist cicadas emerging succulent from slitted shells, trout sliming across palms to plunge into dark wet spaces, spears of asparagus thrusting from loam, the swell of ripe squashes, farmer’s hands greased black fondling tractor pistons and the rumps of slaughter cattle dancing through chutes. I think we can both agree there is nothing of bits or parts involved here.
As I said, I am not in the least disturbed by collections of stories dealing exclusively with dangly bits or lady parts, indeed, I sometimes browse the internet looking for just such stories, though I’ve rarely found them presented in such a literary fashion as in your journal.
I will refrain from submitting at this time, since my current work is at odds with your journal. But I think I may have something for you in the future, perhaps with both trout and lady parts.
Mrs. Wilma P. Snodderly