Yeah, I know I stole that title from the poem by the lovely Alice Dunbar-Nelson, "I Sit and Sew." Hers was about how helpless she felt as a woman watching the men she cared about go off to fight World War One while she sat and, as the poem implies, crocheted something. Mine will be about what I'm doing while awaiting Agent Sarah's review of my book.
I'm writing. Yay! And the day before yesterday I sent off a short story to The Genevieve Cancienne Journal of Rejected Art & Letters. It's all fiction and essays as written and rejected by Genevieve Cancienne, and I think my material fits. I'll probably still get a rejection, and the letter will read something along the lines of this:
We thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, your work doesn't fit our needs. Genevieve Cancienne's needs are coffee and a night out, like maybe dinner and a movie, and she doesn't need an essay about how your kids won't eat the pancakes you cook. Try again when you've got something with an actual plot, like the forbidden love story of a zombie and a firefly.
Oo. That's not a bad plot idea. The zombie would look longingly at the bright firefly and groan, "You're so alive!" and as he reaches for her his rotting arm will fall off. The firefly will see this and say, "OMG! That's gross" and fly away, and the zombie will cry, "Rhoda! Come back to me!" And the firfly will say, "No way, Gerald!" This thing is practically writing itself!
Anyway, I sent a short story to The Oxford American. I know. You've never heard of it. No one hears about the names of these magazines except other writers and they long to print in them so that other writers will read it and go, "Damn. I wish I was published," and not to impress actual readers who just read for the joy of it. Ok, well that's why I long to print in them.
The good news is, though, that I'm sending stuff off again. It's good momentum, and it gives me something to do rather than sit and sew and check my email every day waiting to hear back from Agent Sarah.
So what are some other publications that I'll be trying to impress with my unrequited undead love stories? (hee hee, unrequit-dead) Well, I checked out this site called Duotrope's Digest that lists hundreds of publication and these are the titles that appeal to me, that I must look into: "Hobo Pancakes," "Dark Comedy Review," "Laughter Loaf," "Girls With Insurance," "Asinine Poetry," and "Bust Down The Door And Eat All The Chickens." Those I must check out because their titles intrigue me more than say, "The Oregon Review." And then I'll find out which places might actually be interested in my stuff.
There are a few titles I'm curious about, but don't think that my work has a place there. For instance, I don't write murder mysteries and "Short Fast Deadly" sounds like short crime stories to me. Also, I don't write porn or erotica so "Sleep. Snort. Fuck." is out. But "The Rejected Quarterly?" Yeah, I need to check that out.
And now, as a tribute to the lady Alice Dunbar-Nelson, her poem:
I Sit and Sew
by Alice Dunbar-Nelson
I sit and sew—a useless task it seems,
My hands grown tired, my head weighed down with dreams—
The panoply of war, the martial tred of men,
Grim-faced, stern-eyed, gazing beyond the ken
Of lesser souls, whose eyes have not seen Death,
Nor learned to hold their lives but as a breath—
But—I must sit and sew.
I sit and sew—my heart aches with desire—
That pageant terrible, that fiercely pouring fire
On wasted fields, and writhing grotesque things
Once men. My soul in pity flings
Appealing cries, yearning only to go
There in that holocaust of hell, those fields of woe—
But—I must sit and sew.
The little useless seam, the idle patch;
Why dream I here beneath my homely thatch,
When there they lie in sodden mud and rain,
Pitifully calling me, the quick ones and the slain?
You need me, Christ! It is no roseate dream
That beckons me—this pretty futile seam,
It stifles me—God, must I sit and sew?