I had a nice time recently. I had the opportunity
to read some of my writing to a paying (and paying attention)
audience. I've read out in public before, now and again, mostly
on subways or from the inside of dumpsters, but this time was
important to me for reasons that could only be explained in a
proper diary, which this is not. (I like you plenty, but do you
really think I'd let you read my personal diary? I mean, honestly:
The reading was something I'd pictured in my head
for a while, with a spectrum of imagined results, ranging from
being french-kissed by a literary/film/television agent to wetting
myself 5 seconds prior to hitting the stage. Turns out I got really
drunk beforehand, tried to french-kiss a production assistant
on Daddy-O, then wet myself 5 seconds after hitting
the stage, so it seems all of my neuroses were unfounded after
A lot of friendly faces attended, obscuring my view
of all the hostile faces. And I pronounced everything clearly
and correctly. (Unlike a recent reading, during which I pronounced
misanthropy like this: "miss-en-THROW-pee." This is,
unfortunately, 100% true.) I haven't felt that good about my writing
in a while, actually. I even carried a tape recorder to capture
the entire event for posterity and for downloading at tremble.
And then I forgot to hit 'record'. (Did I mention that I was a
In lieu of that, here is the first half of what
I read at Luna's 'Eating
It' series on Monday night, Feb. 12th. The second half of
my reading was a piece I've already published
on tremble, although I basically re-wrote it from scratch for
the performance. And, as an online-only bonus, I've included
additional pieces that were written for this part of the performance
but weren't read, for reasons of forced brevity or inferior quality.
Or were they?
As it sort of begs for a proper title, I would like
to call it, tentatively:
REJECTION LETTERS FROM VARIOUS PUBLISHERS
IN RESPONSE TO WRITTEN SOLICTIONS FROM ME REGARDING THE PROCUREMENT
OF FREELANCE WRITING WORK AND/OR PUBLICATION OF PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN
MATERIALS OR, "THE DAEDELUS PROJECT"
(from READER'S DIGEST)
We are returning the "campus crack-ups" you recently
submitted for our consideration. We have considered them - we
consider them poor. Your story about the freshman student who
discovers his roommate has been tranquilizing him with Ether gas
each night to have sex with him doesn't really fit our definition
of "crack-up." Moreover, I question the originality of your story.
I mean, the incident you described totally happened at my school
- except it was nitrous oxide instead of Ether.
(a duplicate of this letter was sent to me, in
Thank you for proposal but we have no immediate
plans to institute a monthly horoscope column in SCIENTIFIC
AMERICAN. It's just not our thing. Perhaps your suggestion
would be more suitable in another publication, such as TIGER
BEAT or THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.
(at this point, the editor or copy assistant
went into great lengths detailing the publishing mission of SCI
AM, including buzzwords such as "recombinant genetics",
"string theory", and "gnome clothes." then
the tone of the letter changes significantly:)
Oh my goodness. It seems we've mis-read your letter.
You were not proposing traditional horoscopes - you were proposing
'horror-scopes.' Sounds spooky. Still, not really for us what
with our dedication to the pursuit of the rational, but please
do not give up the 'ghost' ; ).
(this letter was directly from the editor of
MODERN CAVEMAN U.K.)
(the envelope for this letter also contained some old chicken
bones and gravel. this rejection letter hurt more than the others,
mostly because i actually know the music editor at MCU.K. and
believed my writing was practically guaranteed a place in this
(from the UTNE READER, after sending them over
15 pieces of fiction and one piece of creative non-fiction. i've
excised most of the letter, which contained detailed advice for
future submissions, but i've kept a particularly salient point
that was made in this letter, and one that has been most helpful
...not sure whether your choice was for purposes
of personal style or actual content, but it is advisable that
for future submission you make a more serious effort to end fewer
of your stories with "TA-DA!"
We appreciate your enthusiasm about MAD MAGAZINE
- the 9 months worth of completed Mad Fold-Ins, Xeroxed and clipped
with a note that read "See? I totally get it!!" was
an act that was both generous and completely unnecesary. However,
we cannot accept your submission, no matter how fully storyboarded
it was. (again, unnecessary) A parody of One Day in September,
the documentary about the hostage crisis at the 1972 Olympic Games
in Munich, entitled, "One Day In Schleptember" is in
rather poor taste, don't you think?
In fact, this marks the first time in the history
of MAD that something has been rejected based solely on
its questionable taste.
P.S. "The Lighter Side of Spinal Menengitis"?
For shame, Mr. Levin. For shame.
This article contains almost zero monkey poop. We're
sorry, but our hands are tied.
Monkey Poop News & World Report
(from TV GUIDE)
Jeers to your grammatically sloppy, profanity-laced
profile of Seventh Heaven.
And Cheers...is televised weeknights at 11:30pm
on Channel 9, WUPN.