England! My England! can the surging sea
That lies between us tear my heart from thee?
Today I received notice that I have been accepted for my college’s off-campus program in England for Spring of 2010. This was something I was anticipating and part of my reason for starting this blog — in addition to my desperate attempts to get published, I’ll probably be keeping something of a journal of my experiences. In keeping with the theme of my site the series, I have decided, will be called An American to Mother England, after the Lovecraft poem linked above. If you do not bother reading the whole thing, I don’t blame you. Lovecraft was a pretty terrible poet most of the time, and I picked the title for this because I mostly think HPL’s Anglophilia was absolutely hilarious.
Anyway, I suppose this exercise might prove enlightening. Students keep journals when they’re staying overseas pretty much all the time, like my friend Ross who is in the lead-up to a year in Japan, but I figure England is boring and unpopular enough that I can be my own unique self. Being in the UK also means I will have less of the “OMG GUYZ THIS FOREIGN COUNTRY IS SO GODDAMN WACKY” that stands a serious chance of contaminating a Japan blog. At most I will probably end up with “OMG GUYZ THIS COUNTRY IS SO GODDAMN RUDE TO AMERICANS” which at this point probably applies to all of Europe.
So here is, I suppose, the first official entry in AtME: I have to scrounge up the time and money to obtain a passport and a deposit. It’s not due until September, thankfully. Also, in the papers I received, there is mention of obtaining a Visa. I’ve never traveled outside of the country before, but I am under the impression that the Visa is a new development for this program. Back in the good old days no one had to have Visas, but the UK has apparently tightened up some immigration laws and as a consequence people without Visas can’t hold jobs.
This means that students in my college’s England program couldn’t have the staple job placement/exposure portion. I hear this was circumvented by calling the job placement something other than job placement, but that fell through recently and I’m not sure what the students currently there are up to. The last I talked with a friend in the program she said something about having to pick out a random person on the street and shadowing them to see what the life of a normal Londoner is like. While that seems wildly unlikely, I also think it is a good way to become embroiled in a Guy Ritchie movie, so I am torn between wanting to believe her and calling bullshit.
More on this as it develops. Oh, and the rejection counter now stands at a healthy 18.
Over on Esme’s blog things are taking a sour turn this April Fool’s Day. No fiction excerpt this time, unfortunately but May should see that problem remedied. A friend of mine remarked that he always thought “Esmeralda Sinn” was a pen name, though today’s entry seems to prove otherwise. We’ll, he’s half right. I’ll tell you right now that the “Esmeralda” is the pseudonym; I find the idea of a Sinn family much too hilarious to pass up.If you’ve been following the blog then perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve begun to insert continuity and an overarching plot into Esme’s entries. I am definitely building up to something big, and as today’s entry shows, it is probably going to be the end of Esmeralda Sinn. This has been met with some outcry, but I assure you that I have good reasons.
First of all, writing an Esme story, though quick and easy, is formulaic as hell: “Unlikely type of lycanthrope fucks tenuously characterized female protagonist, plus puns.” If you remove the pun, then you basically have a normal supernatural romance story. And if you think those things are by and large boring and derivative (as I most assuredly do) then you can imagine what it must be like to write them. (And, probably, for you to read them.) That’s why since December Esme’s entries have been dominated either by her daily life, excerpts of other authors’ works, and even… The Metabrophosis. We haven’t had a good old-fashioned Esme entry since November, and it’s kind of awkward. This is because essentially there is not a good way for me to make Esme’s blog not insanely predictable, so I’m shaking things up while it still matters.
The other reason is that writing from Esme’s point of view is becoming steadily more depressing. While she is certainly a figure to be mocked, the more I write about her the more I realize she has reasons for acting as she does. And while the reasons are melodramatic and ridiculous and laughable, it’s also just the tiniest bit tragic. But I’m getting ahead of myself; you’ll all know more about that this October.
Here we are at Correlated Contents. After participating in the creation of two blogs for fictional characters, one on indefinite hiatus and the other still running to some degree, I have finally decided that if I want to establish a web presence I should at least have a blog of my own for realz. Here at CorCon I will be writing entries about writing as a practice in general, I guess, and also the epic struggle to publish fiction in a crumbling economy. I’ll also probably post, like, youtube links or something? Is that what blogs are used for? Whatever.
They say it takes an average of 100 rejections before any writer makes a sale. This means that for every golden child who sells on the first try, some other schlub has to go through 200 rejections. I was not fortunate enough to make a sale on my first try, but there’s still hope that I’m batting at the average. I currently have a small stable of a dozen or so pieces of short fiction and the manuscript for a novel, Brutal. Many of these things (including the novel) have been rejected at least once by a publication, giving me a current figure of 17. 83 to go, right? Right.
To those curious, the background image is a collage of photos I took in the basement of the St. Louis Art Museum. The menagerie of creatures depicted are statues and idols of Mesoamerican gods, and for some reason the best way to exhibit these is in tiny poorly lit rooms. They were creepy as hell but also somewhat funny (they kind of look like Muppets, don’t they?) so I suppose to that extent they embody certain principles of my writing.
What the hammer?
what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
Jerusalem builded here,
dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land
Now like a mighty wind they raise to
the voice of song,
the seats of Heaven among.
Beneath them sit the
, wise guardians of the poor;
Then cherish pity, lest you
drive an angel from your door.