I write extremely short rejection letters: no.
We are literary fundamentalists when it comes to capitalization. Sorry.
My advice is to take two months off from writing to read the Briggs translation of "War and Peace" -- thanks for sending this, though.
The title reminds me of this song - but I don't think this one really did much to me, so I think I'll kindly pass on it and hope that, at the very least, you become a huge Galaxie 500 fan.
If this didn't involve big cats it wouldn't be all that interesting, and the inclusion of big cats doesn't really push it too far toward interesting, actually, I think. Sorry. My only advice would be to not think that the inclusion of an oddity is all the work that needs to be done. But thanks again for sending it and sorry.
Someone needs to tell you that this sort of writing is not so hot. Someone needs to tell you that you need to read better lit and then emulate it and then gradually discover your own style. Someone needs to tell you that what you sent has no basis in anything that's been published before, but still this sort of stuff is not original. At best, if I were to post it, it would perpetuate the idea that the web is a repository for amateurish work. It's readable and maybe similar to what clever undergrads write who haven't read nearly enough and don't have a knowledge of or respect for any sort of literary tradition. A worthless editor would wait three months before sending a form rejection. I send a next-day challenge to humble yourself, read a lot, and raise your game. Read at least thirty pages a day of good lit. If you need recommendations, I've got some. You write very clearly and your stuff is readable -- major advantages -- but that's only the first rung up a never-ending ladder of complexities. Keep at it and read, read, read, read, read. Then look at what you sent again.
Eyeshot tends not to post dialogue-heavy pieces - check out the archive - but the good news is that tons of sites welcome dialogue-heavy stories, but not nearly as many prefer balls-to-wall exposition, as we like to call it. We are the home of the brave, that is, in terms of balls-to-wall exposition, and the land of the free, that is, in terms of balls-to-wall exposition. I've never described Eyeshot as the home or the land of anything, especially not balls-to-wall exposition. This is the first time I've used that phrase to describe the sort of balls-to-wall exposition we prefer to post. Why do we do that? Because we prefer it, simple as that. I realize this isn't approaching thematic feedback re: your submisssion, but, re-reading it now, I see there's a lot more than just dialoguey form. It's amusing and inventive and proceeds associatively and insanely, which we like - I particularly like the fourth paragraph. But I think for Eyeshot I'd prefer a little more balls-to-wall exposition, of course! All this I write in order to encourage you to keep at it and read Russell Edson and send more whenever.
Hi - thanks for sending this. I'm a big fan of breasts, of course --
who isn't? For the first part of this I was into it. I really liked the
bit about raw cabbage, about rubbing garlic on the unfavored nipple. At
that point I was thinking I might post this, but then the yoga instructor
thing seemed a little too exagerrated, and then when we meet Bill from
South Carolina, I started to lose interest a little, and soon after initiated
my editorial skimming capacities till I reached the end, then I hit reply
and wrote "Hi" etc above. So now we're here. What now? I like the way you
write, mainly. It's energetic, if sometimes a little too much so maybe?
Maybe all sentences feel as though they consist of between ten and 25 words?
Maybe sometimes drop a fragment in there, or shorter bursts, if just to
I guess the problem I have, or the difficulty, the CHALLENGE here, for me, for you, is that I like language that's maybe a little less pungent, a little less in service of itself than a story (no matter how screwed/strange), YET I also like the language to look lovely and move quickly and unpredictably. I mainly like language that relays intelligible (clear) meaning and sensory information, doing so with pace and unpredictable movement. What you sent is very attentive, but it feels to me too much like pinned butterflies -- the sentence with the semi-colon at the end, followed by a word, particularly. It's a sense that you're really paying attention to writing "beautiful" language but the meaning is too elusive, the train of thought too trackless for me? And that's why I pass despite admiring the attentiveness of the language - it's ultimately just one reader over on this end and thousands of others out there who will surely respond more favorably, though again I'm not responding unfavorably, just that I don't think what you've sent is exactly the sort of thing I've tended to post on Eyeshot over the last 9.5 years.
You write believably from the perspective of a woman, which is pretty good. But maybe I'm not so sure if the language, which is really nicely attentive and worthwhile throughout, sufficiently serves an explicit story? By which I mean to say: the language is good but also distracted from the story and seemed unclear that way and therefore maybe you could tone the language down a bit to serve trying to tell something to another person as clearly and awesomely as possible, to affect someone, or infect someone, more so, with some sort of feeling - this doesn't quite do that now - all I did was sort of look at the language and respect your attention to it but rarely actually see past it, which is sort of required to a degree of even stylist-type prose, I think . . . Anyway - thanks for sending this one, sorry, but definitely send more whenever.
Hi - thanks for sending something - I honestly started to check out a little bit when the word "mien" showed up and then never really reached a point where I was engaged or cared for these people or the way they're expressed in prose. I don't think you're putting enough pressure on the language or the story. It all feels sort of like a chunk of coal, unsaturated with lighter fluid, untouched by fire. Squeeze that shit tight with maximum imaginative/editorial pressure till it's a bright-burning diamond.
Hey - thanks for sending something again - it's sort of hard to consider
Thanks for sending something again, so promptly -- determination should always be respected and rewarded with semi-prompt, in-depth responses. I guess my semi-prompt, in-depth response is the same as the last one I sent. You seem really admirably aware of your language, but I honestly think it's overdone and not as generous in terms of creating images in the reader's mind (this mind, at least) as you might hope? For example: "hope gulped whole" is a pretty sweet phrase, but it comes after "caressing with teeth like fangs and her mouth drips with agony's soft splashes," which to my Pro-Overindulgence eye and ear seems like way too much -- more so, it's over-the-top but not self-aware of its over-the-topness or using its over-the-top energy to get at something outside itself ("Any book worth its salt points up and out of itself" -- Bohumil Hrabal). I guess that's the thing, the difference, the rub in our sensibilities? I love overindulgent, over-the-top, essentially overwritten language (Mark Leyner always, DFW often, Phillip Roth sometimes, Nabokov/Updike to a degree) but only when it's having more self-aware, flight-of-fancy fun? And maybe I like when it serves a character or a clear idea, more so - when it's channeled in a more discernible direction? This seems to serve a character who's maybe way too much inside her head for me to follow and dig in there and come away with the glory? Maybe at first you need to build a bridge to the reader with some easier language, some simple suggestion of situation and setting to orientate folks at the beginning before dropping the rungs off ye olde language ladder? But, again, what you're doing, focusing so much on the language, is admirable as an instinct and as practice, but I think, as part of the execution of that instinct, it just needs to maybe have conciliatory textures that reach out to more rational reader folks on the other side of the aisle. (I'm obviously overloaded with election lingo.) Anyway! Thanks again for submitting this and keep at it and good luck and send again whenever!
Hi - Thanks for sending this. Maybe read Huxley's The
Doors of Perception? I
This is sort of textual halloween, what with the word "guts" appearing, a word I've never allowed on Eyeshot. Sorry.
Way too fucking short, my friend: http://eyeshot.net/archive.html
I think that for what you're doing to be considered "legitimate" by editors, you really need to master things like the hyphenation of compound adjective and also copyedit your stuff till it's totally perfect. For example: "self induce myself into a comma"? That's the first battle, without which you'll never proceed to much more difficult battles, like imprinting an image in a reader's brain, then modulating that image, dragging it from their head to their loins to their guts to (very importantly) their heart. My not-really-professional editorial opinion of your writing is this: you have a wonderfully unpredictable, nonconformist instinct, something that can't really be taught, but you're maybe a bit too confident right now that a reader is going to follow you, is going to keep reading after the fifth sentence about 37 erections, right? I think you need to be more anxious about the appearance of your text and also about losing a reader almost right away. Maybe always picture that, on the other side of the page, is an impatient person who's read and lived way more than you have. Let a little bit of old-fashioned standard editorial work serve your instinct and thereby improve the language you're apparently sort of maybe a little too easily excreting right now. Essentially, I'm saying there's more to writing than having fun composing -- there's also a super-serious aspect to it called "editing" -- I'd suggest, as a exercise in disciplining your instinct, try to devote 90% more time to editing than to composing right now -- that is, if you give a shit about this. If not, don't bother. If you're half-assed about it, consider whether your time could be better put to use or if you want to devote a little more of your ass to it (meaning: read as much as possible)? Anyway - sorry to rant - Just trying to help.
Hi. Thanks for sending this readable short piece involving a bat that
Hi - thanks for your note and taking the time to submit and caring about
Thanks for sending this but I'm sadly gonna pass and not even offer
Thanks for submitting but I think I'm going to pass on this but not really tell you why. Feel free to reject my rejection, it's really a pretty worthless one. Really, I'm just looking for something to hold my interest and this one, like the Spurs against Kobe, couldn't contain me.
Thanks for sending this - the meta stuff, to me, sends up unnecessary interference - meta stuff was maybe sort of cool thirty years ago, but Scream and Teen Movie killed it dead. If you use it, you got to figure out some clever new way to pull it off, not just ape it and think it inherently cool. It's inherently distracting and annoying, actually - the challenge is to make it work really well thematically. Check out the first story in Nam Le's The Boat, which just came out - "Love and Honor . . . " is a good meta story about writing ethnic fiction, for example. But the way you've used it, it just sort of confounds any clear image for a reader, I think. Anyway, I respect the experiment though and think you have a pretty solid sense of rhythm, so don't hate me. Thanks for submitting and sorry and send more whenever you feel like it.
Thanks for submitting this. It's a little longer than what I tend to post, but I liked how it started and you dropped some serious names in the bio note and maybe it's time to start posting longer stories? This one's footer says it's for the Zoetrope All-Story contest. My guess is you didn't win, huh? Sorry. It's a very clearly written story, reliant on exposition, and the narration is intelligent and insightful, but about 1/3rd of the way through, for me, the narrative tone/tact got a bit burdensome, and then it kept going on like that. It opens with a suggestion of a scene, but then goes into the character's lineage and description, for example. I guess it seems like, for a story so reliant on exposition, that the dramatic situation, the story's "engine," could be revved up some more, started earlier in a way that energizes the reader to cruise through all the backstory about mama? The problem, for me, was that after about 1/3rd of the way through, my attention was wandering a little, so when I got to the part about the grave and then got more exposition about him, I sort of wanted to come up for air in a dramatized present? By which I mean I was sort of swamped and maybe didn't catch everything in the story after that bit or make all the connections by the end, largely because I was sort of bored, ultimately, so why bother going back to reread etc? That's about as honest a response I can give you for why I'm passing on the story you kindly submitted to my pissant website. You really write well, but I think maybe you might want to consider another draft or two on this one? Also, maybe consider occasionallly varying the syntax, or more so, the sentence length. After a while it seemed like every sentence lay out to exactly the same distance, and that gets a little hypnotic sometimes . . . Anyway, thanks again and definitely send something again soon, maybe something a little shorter? Or longer if it totally rocks.
Thanks for sending this. Here's what I'll say: "These are the ingredients of cooking shows on TV." There's too much significance seemingly embedded in every sentence. Every sentence feels "weighty" because of the syntax. But when you look into each sentence and read the whole thing, it's more a sensation than something with real heft. Which is another way of saying that, formally, this feels false to me (ie, fictional -- to quote Twain: "The only difference b/w fiction and non-fiction is that fiction must be absolutely believable -- but your syntax, your "fictional" approach, for me, undermines believability, I think). Second, the second person distracts me unless it's used to deal with a major, massive events or some scenario that's absolutely unfamiliar. Otherwise, it makes me want to reread Lorrie Moore. Third, despite the fish symbolism (men, messiah), the story is weighed down by what a teacher of mine called "abject naturalism," that is, the overdescription of every movement. This sort of thing so often manifests in kitchen scenes, and it kills readerly interest. So: that seems to be enough -- it feels false formally and it's overly symbolic content-wise. It reads cleanly, though, which is certainly a plus. But I think something you might want to think about is love. Readers want to love. They have this great storehouse of love waiting to be requited. So try to give them something to love! But what's that mean? Meet them halfway, entertain, enlighten, enliven brains, stir hearts, stab guts, fondle loins, make 'em run, and finally let 'em stand tall and think they've seen something in their imagination that casts a real shadow.
Norman Mailer wouldn't even bother to squash you like a beetle beneath his boot. There are literary battles, actually . . . but I guess we're at war or something? Anyway - thanks for sending this - maybe read more than worry about writing about literary battles? Sorry - but thanks again for sending it
Hi - thanks for submitting. You write very cleanly but I'm not sure what you write about, or more so, I'm not sure too many people might come away from reading this feeling like they've been infected with some new perception, a sharpened sense of the world, or even just feeling that their love for lit has been temporarily requited. That's the thing, right? People love reading, the love is out there, it's waiting for you, you just got to give readers something loveable to love! Something that stirs them. That differentiates itself among the unloveable minions. Readerly love is very much unlike motherly love. It's absolutely conditional. I've never thought that before, wrote that before, heard it before, but it's semi-perfect, maybe? Don't expect that readers who are protected by a computer screen or page won't sneer, roll eyes, get bored. The idea is to hypnotize them, woo them . . . Anyway. I'd suggest you put more pressure on your language and characters and dialogue and read 20 of these books before 2008 is up:
40 Stories by Donald Barthleme
Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
Stoner by John Williams
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
War & Peace and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt
A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Coeteze
American Pastoral & The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
Underworld & White Noise & Libra by Don DeLillo
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia by George Saunders
The Elementary Particles & Platform by Michel Houllebecq
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
A Sport & A Pastime by James Salter
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
The Emigrants and The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald
The Loser and Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard
2666 by Roberto Bolano
Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
Garden, Ashes by Danilo Kis
The Trial and all the stories by Franz Kafka
Light in August by William Faulkner
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
The Collected Stories of John Cheever
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Box Man by Kobo Abe
Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
Molloy and Murphy by Samuel Beckett
Rabbit, Run by John Updike
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
The Atlas by William T. Vollmann
Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware
The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog by Dylan Thomas
Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Doestoevsky
“The Overcoat” and “The Nose” (short stories) by Gogol
My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist by Mark Leyner
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Old School by Tobias Wolff
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
The Weight of the World by Peter Handke
Thanks for submitting and good luck.
Seven previous volumes of rejections are accessible starting here.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/rejection8.html]
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The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Stoner, Samedi the Deafness, Exit Ghost, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, The Road, Last Night at the Lobster, Netherland, Time and Tide, Anna Karenina, This Side of Paradise,
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On Being Blue, Correction, A Sport & a Pasttime, I Am Not Jackson Pollock,
Whatever, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, Signfiying Rappers,
The Beauty of the Husband, Out of Sheer Rage,
The Rings of Saturn, Libra, and
"What Happened to Us These Last Couple Years?
An Anthology of the Bush Years, 2000-2008"