I just finished my last final, which was for an Intro to US History class and ugh whatever it’s over. Time for summer.
I haven’t been blogging about my DAILY LIFE because honestly I’ve been so fucking busy it’s not worth it. However, that doesn’t mean interesting things didn’t happen to me. For instance, about a week and a half ago I went to wash my hands in the dorm bathroom and the water came out boiling hot, so I spent the night in the emergency room because you would not believe that pain goddamn. Apparently there had been a problem with the pipes the day before and campus maintenance thought they’d fixed it. Anyway, I got all the blisters popped and even though it was only second degree burns I had to visit a plastic surgeon to make sure the healing process wasn’t going to do something weird, since my fingers were burned and I guess finger burns like to heal by webbing your digits together.
But things are fine in that regard now, I’m off the bandages and the dead skin on my hand is falling off in horrendous sheets like some disgusting snowstorm. I’d post pictures but that would be totally gross!
In other news, I’ve hit 22 rejections, almost all of which gave responses that were generally unhelpful. Here is something I will outline that frustrates me about the speculative fiction market at the moment: There are form rejection slips (which I understand completely) but they do nothing in the way of telling you why something was rejected. I do not feel like counting the number of form rejections I’ve received that run along the lines of “Thanks for the manuscript, it was really great, but no. Also, please submit again in the future!”
What the hell do you want from me, people? Of course, I’ve received a few personal rejections that also ran along these lines, but that was less infuriating. That was at least some human contact. A form rejection implies my story wasn’t good enough for special attention — okay, I get that — but why. I have no idea where I should be taking my writing if I want to sell based on these responses alone. The only assumption I can operate on is that my fiction is bone-crushingly fantastic in every way, but I’m not submitting the right stories to the right markets.
The few responses I’ve received with actual critcism (even if it was a few words, like “Fails to hold interest”) have been the most helpful. Of course, criticism can sometimes be inscrutable — an sf story I wrote was called a Bat Durston rather pejoratively, for instance, but weirdly enough that was what I wanted. That was why I wrote the story, because Bat Durstons are hilarious! And I submitted it to a venue specializing in comedic sf! But, well, you win some and you lose some.
Incidentally, I also had something of an acceptance recently. My campus literary journal, Crucible, accepted a piece of flash fiction I wrote entitled “A Measure of Weekend Minutes for a Penny,” making a total of three pieces of mine to appear in its hallowed pages. Well, three pieces I know of. (The other two were in my freshman year.) I didn’t even know this was accepted so I didn’t attend the release party, I found out from a friend later, and I think that’s pretty hilarious. Anyway, here’s the story.