This is the tail and testicles of a 1,400 lbs. prize-winning boar at the Iowa State Fair

Hi – Thanks for submitting. I think if you were to substitute the proper nouns, change them completely, transplanting Buddy Hackett for Condoleezza Rice and James Garner for Angela Davis, I might be more interested in posting this . . .


I like this one better, since it's nonpolitical, pop-cultural etc. I understand the basic idea of it, but I think for Eyeshot I'd prefer to post things that were a little more performatively fluent. Some parts of what you sent seemed translated from the original French or German, and I would bet you read a lot of theorists and philosophers and such, right? If so, I think the tone and general flow/spirit of your language might possibly perchance benefit, especially in terms of getting something on Eyeshot, from a little more forward propulsion, i.e., "swerve." What I mean is that you present a nearly academic take on things, which is fine, but I'd prefer, for Eyeshot at least, that the tone and sentence syntax be a little more adventuresome or quick or seem very much unlike something you'd ever hand in for a grade. Again, I like the idea of what you sent, but I think I'd prefer if the formal execution, especially for something about Dana Plato, were more performative, more virtuosic, and maybe a little more far-flung and maybe just a touch more incomprehensible / weird, like if the whole thing seemed like a serious comparison of the works of Dana Plato and the Philosopher but really wound up being about their shared love for eating Playdough or something like that . . . What I mean is that all the ideas can get into the piece, but wrapped in other clothes.


I think I'd like what you sent a little more if it were rapped. It seems like a poem from which you extracted the line breaks, which, of course, according to the submission guidelines, is cool with me. I like a lot of the language, the general instinct of it. But the sensibility, that sort of perspective on the urban etc you present, isn't really something I want to post on Eyeshot. Cities, at least good ones like NYC etc, just seem so much more deserving of something more than what you present. So much more is going on, right? And maybe I'd prefer more details, descriptions, specific reference . . . And maybe I misinterpreted the story. Anyway. Send something else!


You misspelled the word "about" in the first sentence, and there's a lot of sloppiness throughout the first paragraph, plus I wasn't totally interested or compelled to scroll, but I was, as I said, distracted by the misspelling and sloppiness. Now you might think that my harping on the misspelling and sloppiness is lame, and I might agree with you, but I would also say I think it sort of alerts me to the fact that you haven't spent much time revising the fucker or polishing it or even freaking REREADING it once or twice to attend to your (totally freaking required) copyediting chores. And since you didn't really take the time to reread and clean the fucker up, I'll admit to not really taking the time to read the fucker all the way through. Sorry. But I'm glad you decided to submit and maybe if you want to work on this one or another a little and resend it, I'd be more than glad to give it a good look. Otherwise, fuck off. (Insert devilish-grin emoticon)

Eyeshot's White-Sky Day


I like the basic situation and all, but I think it went on too long, and I didn't laugh out loud, the sole requirement for accepting pieces that seem intended to make people laugh. For Eyeshot, I'd maybe suggest making the steps of the numbered-list thing get progressively improbable until they really have nothing at all to do with the main subject, i.e., dog barking, at all. For example, #10 would be: "Buy some shoe polish and apply it to an aluminum baseball bat then see if it slides down the steps better than a traditional wooden bat, corked or not with shredded lasagna noodles or chocolate coins." Etc etc etc. (I did like the inclusion of the number 37, however)


First of all I think this is just too damn long for the web. It'd probably do better at a print journal. Second, I read the opening sections with the three characters and enjoyed them somewhat, but not enough to suggest you break the story up or that we run it as a serialized thing -- althought I like that one of the characters is from the planet Clog. But I didn't really feel like the story kept me from being distracted by the loud-mouthed dickwads on the street who are currently screaming and blasting 50 Cent. And I think they might be responsible for my failure to get sucked into the story, or it could be the story's fault that they weren't tuned out. I have no idea which. Anyway. Thanks for sending this and maybe try sending it to print mags. And also try sending something else that's considerably shorter. Thanks again and sorry.

Eyeshot’s Editorial Alien


I'm not really sure this is a story -- I mean, you could call it one, if you wanted to. But still. It's like a really short short-short. And it seems more like editorial than art, I think. I could see it mixed in with a lot of other super-short testaments from today's work force in a magazine or newspaper. The so-called "literary short short" I think maybe might require more poetics, maybe might need to seem more like a prose poem, more dense, with more associative meaning, etc. Not that it "needs" but that that sort of thing seems more "successful" when it's more "poetic" etc . . . I really like the thing about college kids aggressively breaking down boxes – that could be a good story – but you'd have to wrangle it sort of all artistically and shit, right? When I've written about shitty jobs, I think I realized that close reportage of the actual doesn't really do it for the reader -- you might satisfy yourself, but you have to think about the reader's expectation, as you would a sexual partner. As it is, what you sent seems more like a few half-conscious auto-erotic strokes of a semi-erect member, maybe while watching TV -- by which I mean the autoerotic or self-serving element isn't really all that exciting for the viewer, not even from a voyeuristic perspective. Anyway. I hate it when I write rejections that are longer than the submissions. Good luck though and definitely send something a little more developed some day --

Eyeshot’s Voyeuristic Vacuum


Thank you for sending this thing about goat milk. I liked the chain of tastes toward the beginning wherein milk tastes like sperm and sperm tastes like IHOP but then it gets confused with the IHOP tastes like the LAST RAPE SCENARIO -- see: I don’t understand, why the last? So that slowed things down early on -- and then I liked the bit about the milk hierarchy but that broke down pretty quick and then it just got random, or more so, it continued to jump and stray and didn’t really do much (entertain, make laugh, etc) to make me want to post it. But very little time has been wasted so you can submit this elsewhere ( right now and it'll almost be like none of this ever happened. Thanks again for sending, and sorry -

Eyeshot’s Coco Milk Squirt


I know that area of town, around 53rd and 1st -- there's a big Starbucks across from a bagel store, I think. And a few diners. A nice pub. Definitely a wine place. Not that that matters . . . So this was very readable. I was able to read it all the way through. It was clear. I liked the confrontation with the drunk, how the narrator came off sort of shy or beaten and sick of it but not necessarily too able to talk down a table-standing drunk. But after the diner scene, I didn't particularly go for the bus ride way up to the Royal Tennebaum's part of town or the intimation that she slit her throat -- just a little too melodramatic for the good ole carefree Eyeshot. But as I said, the story reads well and you should be able to get it accepted somewhere else, I'm sure. Thanks again for submitting and please send something again soonish -

Eyeshot’s Falling Sky


I sort of like this, but it seems sort of like you've provided two slices of bread and the whole point of the story is to induce the thought of the lunch meat in the reader, which is a cool thing -- the fact that the woman killed herself . . . Ok. So. Then. What? It's a fine little short, but I think, as before, I'd prefer a little more realistic life, descriptions, etc. This guy in the trenchcoat etc, the subway straps . . . It doesn't feel real -- as before, I have that aversion thing to things that opt for a sort of "traditional real" or a "cliched real" than either a hyper-real or surreal reality. Not sure if that makes sense? What I mean is I'd like to see something that seems less explicitly like a sandwich.


Thanks for submitting and thanks for the nice words about the site. I think what you sent reads clearly and makes sense (more than some submissions) but I think it might read a little too clearly and make a little too much sense for Eyeshot in particular. I like what you sent more or less, I guess, although it's difficult to gauge in terms of readerly enjoyment. You present a sort of nostalgic pleasure-principle best-case scenario alternative, and although I liked the bit about the Pirates and would love to post something all about the late-70s team with Dave Parker and Stargell and how they meshed with the Steelers (L.C. Greenwood, Rocky Bleier), etc, but I think for me to accept this for Eyeshot, it would have to veer and swerve a lot more, like instead of getting a job at the paper, he'd work on a farm but the farm would be no ordinary farm, it'd be directly responsible for the success of the 1978 Pirates season, and then due to a particularly dry winter, the next season, the Pirates would do terribly and you'd have to fight day and night to milk the cows and pour the milk into particular furrows that corresponded to particular positions on the diamonds, like a voodoo farm in western Pennsylvania or something -- it would start out normally and then get stranger and stranger, entertaining folks along the way with witticisms and observations etc. So . . . That being said, I think I won't accept this but I will thank you for submitting and I hope you keep reading the site.

Eyeshot's Dale Berra


It’s interesting to get a submission from a Canadian about Canadian mediocrity. Many times I get submissions from Canadians, with their crow’s caw web extensions (ie, ca) and I think to myself - goddamn Canadians!!! But thanks for sending this submission -- it's always nice to receive submissions from Canada, the land to the north with a population twice that of NYC. So . . . I think what you've done here is you've created a character. He's a pretty good character, but he's not particularly much more than a stereotype, really. The particulars, the humanizing details etc, don't really make him all that clear, at least for me, who just woke up, a little yawny but otherwise fresh-headed. Also, I kept waiting for the "And then one day he ..." sentence that would announce the start of a story. You've written a character sketch with only an intimation of a story -- that’s ok, I like that, but the degree of difficulty soars for "stories" like that, you really got to freaking write the shit out of the story is you want to write a story without much story, and you write well, it's easy to follow and the sentences are nicely and seemingly carefully constructed, but they don't seem to me like enough to serve the thing as a whole, and by "serve" (which is sort of a cheesy word I guess but a word people use when talking about the elements of a story and how they relate to the whole) I mean "entertain" or engage the reader. So I guess I'm gonna thank you and say that you might be able to get this posted elsewhere, and that I wish you luck, but I don't think I'm going to post it. Thanks again and sorry -

Eyeshot’s Canadiac!


Oh sorry! I just sent a blank e-mail, mistakenly . . . . Well, here's what that one would have said if I hadn't hit send just now, accidentally. The first one reminded me a little of Kafka’s meditations, like the ones about when on a rainy night you are despairing you should walk through the city and knock on the door of a friend. But this one involved elephants and subways, nicely, and explicitly mentioned Cambridge, not so nicely, which colored it for me a little since I used to live in JP and have never really been much of a fan of Cambridge or Boston in general, mainly for personal association reasons that have little to do with the city's infrastructure etc, which actually, come to think of it, does sort of suck . . . . But overall, I liked the first story quite a lot really, except for the bit about Cambridge, which really, beside my personal thing, didn't really seem necessary, seemed to limit the cool elephant/subway/city associations more than extend them . . . The second one, I can't quite remember -- it was sort of about unrequited love, right? The pathologically hopeful guy, the girl, the marriage, the baby, the joke about smothering the child and winding up in jail for 99 years: I liked that one too, although it sort of didn't really mesh with the first thing that much, meaning the first one sort of cooly focused reality and then the second was just a game and therefore a little disappointing , a little too whimsical maybe? . . . The third one I really can't remember, not even five minutes after reading it. What was it again? (I peeked) Right. The laundry and dishes thing, then winding up in jail. This one really didn't do it for me. Sorry. Sort of mundane and, although also pretty clever, it seemed a little too much like the sort of thing someone musing outside Au Bon Pain might scribble on their laptop. (insert smiling emoticon) . . . So I think if the third one were really much stronger, if the middle one were a little shorter, and if the first one didn’t mention Cambridge, and if it had more of an interesting title -- anything at all -- I would accept it. But I think I'm gonna thank you for submitting and tell you instead that I'm pretty sure this has a pretty good chance of getting accepted somewhere, but not here, not right now - who knows why? I’m a lot hungover, the Yankees lost 11-1 to the Devil Rays, I’m listening to Dvorak, sleepy, it's gonna rain, I have gas from too many post-lunch sunflower seeds . . . Who the hell knows why I reacted the way I did when I read it just now -- but at least no time's been wasted and you can easily gussy these up and send them off elsewhere without missing a motherf*ckin’ beat. Thanks again and sorry for my long-winded response – on top of sunflower seeds, I’ve also just polished off two pint glasses of Coca-cola classic.

Eyeshot’s Elephantine Rumble Bum


Why call this flash fiction? or sudden fiction? Those are sort of silly things to call something you wrote, right? Regardless, I don't think this bit of writing is right for Eyeshot. The length is good, but it involves childhood and we're really trying to stay out of that area – but the good news is that there currently exist eight dozen websites willing to accept nicely rendered stories like this and so you should have no trouble finding a home for this one. We realize we're probably sort of like that neurotic kid who runs away from you because your shoelaces are white. Sorry. We just get lots of well-written submissions involving childhood and we sort of think that people should try to write something other than that, unless such people are children, or maybe a teenagers, y'know? And we're particularly talking about the sort of thing we'd like to post on the site: we like it odd and quick and rangy and funny . . . But thanks again for submitting – you’ll have no trouble posting this elsewhere.


Thanks for submitting. So I think I like what you sent. I like the language of it, particularly. But I don't think it's really right for Eyeshot -- how would it be right? I guess if the whole take on it were more a prank, less honest, more absurd, y'know, like a set-up for something silly -- it would start as it does and then when it got to pop-culture examples it would swerve into absurdities, not mentioning anything anyone ever hear of -- instead of Kate Hudson, it would be primarily be about the narrator's experience discovering the nascent hasidic/talking fish video porn business, sort of suggesting pop-culture (talking fish thing = recent news item, e.g.), working everything at a way more obtuse angle -- not that what you sent is bad or stupid or anything at all like that -- it's fine, just I think I'd like to post things that don't make as much sense, that aren't quite as sane. I guess what I'm saying is that the gist of what you sent is more or less understood early on and so there's opportunity to play with the reader's expectation, if you'd like . . . Good luck with it -- I'm sure you'll have no trouble getting it posted somewhere, someday -- And sorry Eyeshot ain't that place today.

Eyeshot’s Snobby Doorknob

[Forever after at]

[For more rejection-related postings, click here, here, and here.]

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The first fiction of the '03 fall season will appear on Monday.