Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I received a rejection letter for a short story yesterday. I was expecting it; it was from a publication out of my league (i.e., they only really print solicited stories from "name" authors) but we were given the opportunity to submit through a workshop taken with members of their staff. I sent the story in back in May, and almost forgot which one I'd sent. He said some positive things, then added, "yet, at times, the story relies too much on our collective grief at 9/11." Irony of ironies - the letter is dated 9/11/06.

I don't know, maybe he's right. It's not a 9/11 story, really, although it's about a woman whose husband dies in the towers. However, he had just left her for another woman, and she's still hurt and angry and then suddenly, he's gone (as is his paramour, a co-worker.) So she's struggling to deal with her anger, guilt, sadness, and inability to mourn - all against the setting of a huge tragedy where she's publicly (local newspapers, etc.) "the widow," expected to be a certain way, and without having the physical release of a body, a funeral, a chance to face and accept what's happened. The latter is a family theme - we lost someone years ago who died suddenly overseas, and his body did not come back, so there was a memorial service with nothing to grasp onto, and a lot of reverberations that have plagued our family for over 30 years. So part of it was that.

I workshopped it a few times and some suggested getting rid of the 9/11 slant, just making it a sudden accident. But it didn't feel right to me - maybe it is a cheat to "borrow" the emotional resonance from that particular unfathomable tragedy.

I'm still sending it out though, and who knows, it might get picked up somewhere.

* * *

I'm on a business trip, staying in a hotel, and to get to our meeting room we have to walk past exhibits for a very odd conference: the vaginal surgery conference. Their exhibits feature big colorful graphics and videos and frightening-looking medical equipment. And one, I swear, had a slab of raw steak sitting on a piece of plastic wrap. I averted my eyes from a surgical video and found myself staring at a piece of bloody meat. If I think about it, which I try not to, I guess it must be to demonstrate some kind of surgical equipment? No, I'm not thinking about it again.

* * *

It's just a one hour time difference but I'm beat. My recent days of hectic activity are catching up to me. I need a break. Maybe this weekend will be mellow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, rejection. i've gotten used to it. every so often, things go right, though.

my brother, late of tribeca, now of soho, has the same kind of view of brooklyn. living in brooklyn is, to him, a sign of some sort of failure. i have always preferred brooklyn. it is human, diverse, bustling. i never even considered moving into manhattan, even when it was still affordable back in the day...

9:50 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

ring logo
Writing Desk Webring

Join | List | Random
Previous | Next
Powered by RingSurf
Locations of visitors to this page