I am excited that Jasmine DJ, at What the Writers Wrote Podcast, has accepted my horror story, “The Pussy Hat,” and will be reading it on May 31st. I really like this story, but it has been hard to place, and I’m not sure why, though politics and feminism are not exactly staples of horror.
I did get some unsolicited feedback from a place that gives that with its rejections, and I found it somewhat flummoxing. The editor alluded to the protagonist as “an ordinary guy,” when I was under the impression that he was quite horrible–that is, if he was “ordinary,” our “ordinary” has gone horribly wrong. Anyway, the editor thought the basis for the monster was flawed. I can understand that because the basis for the monster is its manifestation of the protagonist’s horrific flaws. Obviously, if you see the protagonist as “an ordinary guy,” you will not perceive any basis for the monster and will flail around guessing and blame the story.
Suffice to say, I don’t think it’s any accident that a male editor rejected the piece, and then a female DJ/curator accepted it. But I would be interested to hear what any listeners to the May 31st podcast think about this or other issues connected with the story.
In the meantime, here is the first of our reviews of Lupin, which we liked a lot.
A few weeks ago, when looking through a drawer of old stuff, I came upon some writing I did in college. A poem struck me as tolerably good, so I submitted it, and it has now been accepted by Right Hand Pointing. I was probably eighteen at the time I wrote it, which means it is from 1983! Talk about evergreen content.
The poem is Asian-inspired, in more ways than one. When I was growing up, my friend’s mother translated Chinese poetry, and I was interested by it. And at the time I wrote the poem, I was taken with a Chinese violin student at Oberlin. We were never more than friends, but I enjoyed his company, learned from his teaching–he would burst into my practice room and help me phrase better–and appreciated the mug he made for me, shown above. My poem uses the mug as a metaphor for how I felt about him.
The mug still makes me happy when I look at it, and the prospect of sharing the poem is a joy.
And now, for something completely different, a review:
I am pleased to report that Third Estate Art, “a group of artists and activists living and working in Chicago,” has selected my poem, “Poll Watching: Alabama, 2020,” for its online magazine, Quaranzine. According to the submission guidelines, poetry is an especially competitive category, so I am especially honored and grateful.
The poem is about my experience as a poll watcher last November, and I was driven to write it by my observations. On the one hand, the polling place was well run, and there were no untoward incidents or behaviors. On the other hand, the proportion of whites to Blacks I observed roughly matched the ratio of Republican to Democratic votes, and the whites seemed to feel much more free to express their support for the fascist yam than the Blacks did to express theirs for the Democratic candidates. The almost palpable attitude seemed to be, “Sure, you can vote, as long as we win.” I can only imagine the shock and horror in certain quarters over on the other side of the line, in Georgia, where patrons of a symphony I play in have posted racist libel about the Obamas, told me climate change was a liberal lie, and explained to me that slaves were happy.
I am not sure when the poem will come out, but I will post about it then, and you can read it. In the meantime, I will leave you with this joke that was making the rounds the day after Raphael Warnock, who is Black, and Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, beat yam-adhering COVID profiteers in two Georgia Senate races (Ossoff later confirmed his win in a runoff):
A Black man and a Jew walk into a bar in Georgia. “What’ll it be, Senators?” asks the bartender.
And, of course, a review. No one makes insensitive remarks better than Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook:
Minor trigger warning for Bernie fans. To be clear, I agree with many of Senator Sanders’s views. I felt a moderate would be more likely to win the election, but I may certainly have been wrong about that. The reason I don’t care for Bernie is his weak support for Secretary Clinton once she was the only candidate standing against the toxic yam. I do think the inaugural mittens were adorable.