Thursday, May 8, 2008
Ellipsis Magazine & Why Most Days I Don't Eat My Own Dick
I have a thing in the new Ellipsis. I got it in mail today. My thing in it was published as a poem but it was written as part of a story, a section of the last one in my collection which is eating my mind less than it was two months ago. I still think about it every day. This Ellipsis is full almost entirely of people whose names I do not know. I love this in a journal, esp. one with a name like Ellipsis. Too many journals these days focus on packing out names everybody knows. I like reading things by people I know, but when I see a journal with more names I don't know than names I do, it makes me believe in the journal a little more. I don't know what belief in a journal is exactly, though I have some idea. I've thought a lot lately about the past year I've spent doggedly sending submissions out. Last year I went end over end to make sure I had words at so many doors: bound to get in somewhere. I had good luck last year. I began to think about the process where different journals were different kinds of locks and I had to fashion keys to make them open. Maybe that is stupid. I think about who reads what when. Literary journals are a fleck in America's eye. I went to Borders tonight. I went to a Borders that I used to like going to because they were like the indie Borders. They always had a fuckton of lit mags, big ones like All Story and Poetry and they had good younger journals like Ninth Letter and Black Clock and Columbia and they had journals I'd never seen elsewhere. This time they had I think three journals. They had Tin House and American Short Fiction and like one more. No one I know besides my writer friends online reads these journals. My friends do not go to the store to buy the journals if I tell them I am in them via Myspace bulletin (if they do they do not tell me). My mom buys them if I send her a link to the website and she reads them. My mom's friends sometimes buy them sometimes. My mom one time read a thing I had in something aloud to her sewing group even though it contained several curse words including 'fuck'. My mom said her sewing group liked it. She said one of her sewing friends after hearing the line with the word 'fuck' in it said, 'Well we all feel like that sometimes don't we?' Most of these mid-sized journals have a print run of like 200 (or 400 or maybe more, I don't know, I am talking out my ass all day). Many of the journals go unread mostly, even by people like me who buy and read more journals than almost all of the population. I buy and hold as many as I can and read as much from each as I can and often feel motivated to do more and/or feel better and/or worse about things in life or just anything via certain people's words or just by holding the journal and seeing the cover and the words and sometimes I still feel it's not enough. Sometimes I find myself thinking, why am I devoting so much time to sending work out? I've sent a lot less work out this year. I've felt tired and less urgent. But even still, beyond all of this thinking (I tend to get negative mouthed and brained I can't help it its in my blood) it feels like there is something to it. It feels like even if the only people who ever read those printed words were the ones who edited them in there and laid them out in the layout program and the people who helped and who got handed them around at the free readings where a lot of people come for booze, even it was just them, even if it's just an idea of writing and reading that in the end gets promoted, the process of encouraging and making available the idea of reading, the idea of putting words even out to nowhere that someone could read it one day sifting through stuff they didn't know they had, even if they read a couple of sentences while shitting and think something slightly different than they were going to whether they realize it or not or whether it changes them or not, that is worth it. The idea is worth it. The change in myself is worth it. The process keeps me sane. Keeps me from wanting to not live and I have never been suicidal but most days feel stretched to all fuck and if I did not write I don't know where I'd go or why I would continue getting out of bed. Rick Moody said something much like what I'm getting at here when he spoke at the graduation of the class before mine. He said it so well I swear my eyes got bigger in my head. (INSERT: Rick Moody is not overrated, he is underrated, I swear to god: how many of you Rick Moody shittalkers read the Black Veil or Purple America (two books with colors in the name who gives a shit, he can make a fuckyoureyesout sentence) I didn't think so, do). I am maybe sounding like an uncle about all this 'why I/we do this thing', but I feel okay. I don't know what I'd do if there were no writing and/or no journals. I might rather write and read than eat and fuck. Maybe not. You can buy Ellipsis at their website for I think $7.50 which may or may not include shipping.