• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Wise Men Say Only Fools Rush In

When I was a young poet (though god help me I never called myself that), I sent my work to literary magazines with the required self- addressed stamped envelope. I typed my little cover letters on onion skin paper and dropped them into mailboxes with a small prayer. I went to the Gotham Book Mart to discover new magazines and the monthly calendar of readings around New York. Sometimes, I’d spring for a new book of poems, get a falafel and find a place to park myself for a half hour or so. Were those the best days of my life? Far fucking from it, but tonight I feel nostalgic for no reason except it’s raining and the house smells of a soup my husband put up a couple hours ago. And I sent something new out.

How do you feel when you send out work?

9 Responses

  1. What a romantic aesthetic! I still feel terrified whenever I share my work anywhere. I’d be stress-eating the falafel.

  2. Relief! I did it! I’m on my way….

  3. When I send out work I just feel relief that the annoying chore is done (researching sites, reading samples, tweaking the MS to fit precise format guidelines, composing the cover letter, keeping a record of the submission). I hope that @midnightquillsds soon takes comfort in the fact that very, very few people are enthusiastic about even great writers’ work, so the odds of an editor liking your stuff or mine are minuscule. So rejections are highly likely, just to be expected. Not your fault. Shakespeare should not stress-eat a falafel just because nearly everyone would rather watch bad reality TV than a Shakespeare play. Every rejection is an affirmation that you had the energy and business sense and belief in your writing to send a submission, while some other writers were avoiding the task.

  4. hopeful and fearful and expecting it won’t work.

  5. “How do you feel when you send out work?”

    Now, it’s just part of the job, I been doing this so long. Part of the work, part of the calling. I feel, “Okay, on to the next.”

    Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing it, and I think to quit. I think, “Vain old man, get off the field, your game is over.” But I stay in the game. Maybe I’ll hit that grand-slam homer yet.

    When I first set out, I wrote poetry. I never called myself a poet. I never even called myself a writer. I’m from that vast swath of American petite bourgeoisie where what you are called means how do you make money. I called myself a guy who wanted to be a writer.

    Now, at the other end of my life, I’m still a guy who wants to be a writer. Well, best get to it, then. On to the next.

  6. Totally cocky. The fall comes later!

  7. I have mixed feelings. It’s usually a project I’ve spent at least 18 – 24 months with, so letting it go is like opening the kimono. I’m letting “you” in, to have a peek at where my head went for all that time. There’s angst. Is it good? Is it bad? There’s a big sigh, a beer, and me, staring at the stack of pages printed out. I feel celebratory, and relieved.

    Until the middle of the night when I wake up and start to think.

  8. In the early years when I had dreams of publication, after I’d typed my piece sixteen or twenty-seven times to get it just right, I’d send it off in a cloud of great expectations. After several letdowns, I decided to just live my life: work my job, raise my kids, mow the lawn. I didn’t have time to type stuff over and over and get supper on the table.

    I didn’t realize until many moons later when a friend talked me into joining a writers group that I had been sending out pieces that weren’t exactly what these magazines were looking for, that my research needed to be better than, “OMG, I’m so clever they’ll be dying to publish this.”

    Note to self–don’t send a Christian leaning magazine something titled “I Want to be a Born Again Mother.” They might find that a little offensive.

    These days I’d say it’s like buying a lottery ticket. There are feelings of hope and excitement, But if I don’t win, it’s not going to kill me.

  9. Filled with hope.

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