Thursday, September 20, 2012


I've been writing with an eye toward publication since I was twelve (more than 40 years now), and I received my first paycheck for my writing at the age of eighteen.  But I have yet to figure out why some of my best work goes unnoticed by publishers.  Naturally, this is a common theme among writers.

For example, although I have had a wide-array of poems published in 2012, a casual reading of my backlog led me to ask why several other poems (what I consider my best) were rejected, when less-stellar verses were accepted?  This is a hazy mystery:  a riddle wrapped in a Twinkie, perhaps, or a villanelle wrapped in a sonnet.

Among my short stories, I'm flabbergasted that no editor has picked up "Steiner the Violinist"--a story I wrote nearly twenty years ago, but nevertheless consider one of my best. Every time I re-read it, I try to be critical and objective, but I'm still moved by it.

Every writer has his/her oddball assortment of unpublished pieces that, in fact, are quite fine, but just can't land a home.  I've got hundreds of these orphans (I think) . . . but every now and then one of them is adopted.  I guess persistence and sustained effort is the key . . . but after thirty years, even some of the best work needs to be shelved.

Looking back, I also have some very funny material that will probably never find a home.  Pieces with such illustrious titles like "How to Work Your Butt Off" or "How to be a Politician" or "Sanitized for Your Protection" (yeah, it's about hotel toilet seats).  My wife thinks some of these are the rudest and crudest pieces I have ever written . . . so I know they must be good.

I rarely give up on a piece of writing, but sometimes it's for the best.  I write too much as it is.  And I know I should be engaging in other fun: such as amorous activity, or deep conversation with the wife, or cooking Lima beans for breakfast.  But, well, somebody has to write all this material for the rejection pile.

I guess that's me.  I should know.  I've been doing it a long time.


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