Friday, July 14, 2017

Wow. Just, wow (or: the summer intern and me)

Of course. Of course. It's July. The season of summer interns.

Now it may be the essay wasn't very good, and it may be that summer interns also have strict instructions: we don't do personal spiritual journey stuff, that crap is a dime a dozen.

Which is fine and perfectly understandable. However, a response time of 48 hours is a new thing for me, even in this age of submissions by email attachment only. Remember the fun of manila envelopes, and the hand-writing of an address of a magazine or book publisher, usually including an exciting New York zip code? You waited ages for a reply. A thin little envelope meant no. Once in a great while a thicker SASE -- self-addressed stamped envelope -- held better, held most exciting developments. Yes, I have seen "galley proofs."

A no in 48 hours tells me that the essay was not read. (Can't you hear every amateur huffing just that complaint?) Perfectly understandable. No summer intern building her resume is going to forward anything from an uncredentialed person like myself. Or an old one -- I slyly mentioned that her very magazine had published me in 1992! I can almost see the "face palm" and the "eye roll." Before she was born, perhaps. I can almost hear what they have each been told. "You're the gatekeepers. It's summer.  Keep the crap off my desk and only send me stuff you can absolutely get behind." And I was honest in my "short bio," admitting to a day job in retail liquor and to blogging because that made me more productive than carefully composing obedient things for gatekeepers. I didn't phrase that quite so rudely.

And I was obedient, too. I cut amusing anecdotes, and a great deal of junk, to bring the word count within required limits. I had already learned a fresh lesson all on my own. Sometimes you have to write very badly to purge from your system topics you are not competent to write about.

So my options today are to put the essay here, a little at a time, or to hunt for another publishing platform. That means to unearth its unsolicited manuscript address -- they are devilishly harder and harder to find -- research "our needs," and present myself again to a summer intern. All the while they get younger, and oneself does not.

The thing was about religion. On a related note, I was reading St. Augustine on my Kindle at lunch yesterday. Do you know he went on and on about the pears he and his friends stole "from the tree beside our vineyard" (in North Africa?) when he was sixteen? I mean, seriously went on and on. I don't compare myself to him in the slightest, I only note, he perhaps would have gotten a face palm/eye roll from a summer intern too.  

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