I want this blog to be a place to share my ideas on the world, publishing, art, writing, literature, history, Chicanismo, Nativismo, half-breedery, laser guns and zombies, all the bright things of the world rather than as with the blogs of many others that attempt to claw at your eyes with their branding and self-aggrandizing announcements of publications and awards or mouth-gaped following of the workshop advice to write on how to write a book, though as with most of them, they haven't written one or published one. (Drop this sad sack in the latter).
Well that day, that blog, isn't here yet!
I got a story published!
Always make inquiries kids
Editors are overworked and busy. (Don't I know.) Stories fall between the cracks. A couple weeks ago I sat in my Captain Kirk chair in the living room/office/plague bunker of my life, watching multiple shows and reading websites like Elvis did televisions and I saw the Unity acceptances were being sent out. I assumed my story was rejected and asked if they could send me comments. I mean, I've heard all the comments on the story, not given half a chance since it's second person and some box wine drinking wannabe snob high school teacher told everyone that second person is weird, a crutch, gimmicky. And unfortunately most people need to be told something is good by someone else, so that kinda killed most of the chance for this story to be published. Most comments I've heard start with, "First off second person..." rather than seeing it was used pretty much for the same reason the only second person novel people know used it (Bright Lights Big City), to show dissonance of self. Unity replied the story, indeed fell through the cracks and sent me this lil' announcement image. So thanks to Unity editors for giving "Moms" a shot.
I wrote "Moms" a long time ago. At the time I was working on a flash novel Black Button, to get my feet wet in the genre. Second person gave an idea of the dissonance of self and an expression of alienation. I thought about the elements of the novel, the usual workshop bs of knowing everything about your character (Nabokov has a great saying about how characters were just means to an end, they don't take over as most with sensitive artistic sensibilities say). My character, You, in Black Button already had mutations, was ripped to shreds, stopped time, and had a literal mystery box that seemed it was part of a jet or spacecraft or an arcade cabinet. A bit of a weird cat, You.
I was about to head to grad school, but was deep in the woods of Washington State in a creepy ranger station to help my girlfriend at the time set up meteorological stations in the woods. I thought of presenting the flash novel to a class and what the usual platitudes one hears about writing. "What is their favorite food?" "What drives this character?" "Who were their parents?" My experience with workshops, school, college, etc. was for white professors to encourage me to include their east coast notion of the barrio STREET into my stories for their elucidation and entertainment. Add in my own opinions about the Latinx minstrel show many authors put on in their work to make it in the mainstream publishing world and this all caused me to think, "Yo, this story is about his moms!" Thus, You solves the arcade mystery box and finds it leads to his parentage, not his mother, but his many moms.
It's not been well received. The reason I share that, this, yes, this story, has been one the favorite thing I've written. It's succinct. Experimental. Goes to the Chicano experience though I didn't know it when I wrote it. Expresses alienation and confusion this special sausage has dealt with his entire life. A little darkly ridiculous and fun. And (almost) impossible to publish for said reasons.
This isn't a blog post about endurance, because it takes a ridiculous amount of effort, fees, and spirit crushing perseverance to just to get a few stories published, the ones you believe in and don't find embarrassing juenvelia or means to write other stories. The line from "Speedway" by Morrissey about nothing left to break anymore comes to mind. What it really takes to keep going, to satisfy some of my former STREET loving professors a bit, is love of the game. Even if it destroys you.
Scott Russell Duncan