At the beginning of class this semester, I've taken to ranting. They're not really rants as much as they're things I feel strongly about, things that I want to tell students and feel that others won't tell them, even if they don't agree, even if my logorrhea makes me seem like a bit of a sludge. So for a few minutes, I go off on the necessity of microplots, the anxiety of ambition, or how much I abhor the word "as" when not used in a simile: "he lit a cigarette as his corgi limped sadly down the hall."
TWO THINGS I WANT TO RANT AT:
1. Fiction editors: if you are never going to accept experimental fiction, then take off the "Experimental" part of your listing on Duotrope. If you haven't published something in the past three years you would call "experimental," if you can't articulate a preliminary hypothesis as to what "experimental" means, take off the "Experimental" part of your listing.
2. People who don't like AWP: hush. I don't care if you think you're surrounded by ass-grabbing, misogynistic, libidinal fen-bogs who only publish a) work from their friends, or b) the most boring shit in the world (what Sterne would call glutinous prose). You're still surrounded by 10,000 people who care deeply about the same thing you care about. One good reading, one good panel, one good communication with a new friend or an old friend is worth the price of admission.
A REALLY IMPORTANT THING I'M THINKING ABOUT IN THE ONGOING DIALOGUE OVER FEE-BASED SUBMISSIONS:
Editors of the planet Earth, especially those of you who charge submission fees: I call for you to make readily available the percentage of pieces you take from the Slush Pile. Because if you charge submission fees, and take only one piece a year from the slush pile, then you're basically just taking people's money and withholding the fact that they have a minimal, minimal chance of having a piece accepted. As a start, if a writer is to make an educated decision about where to submit, he / she should be able to easily find out how much work you take from people you don't know.
Disclosure: We at Versal haven't made this info available yet. Off the top of my head, we've solicited three pieces in the last three years, or about 2% of what we publish. We'll let you know if that's significantly off.
Versal X is so good. So good. I am so, so pleased. You will be too.
AND SOME HAPPINESS
Congratulations to my mentor, Lance Olsen, for receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship this week. Well played.
To Lawrence, Kansas, where I've lived the last three months, for having such an awesomely disproportionate number of readings and totally great, cool, committed writers.