16 April 2005

slush-pile deflowering.

i was introduced to Brick's unsolicited submissions pile yesterday...prefaced by the discovery of this quote from Russel Lynes in an earlier issue: "Every journalist has a novel in him, which is an excellent place for it."
reading it to Rebecca, her usually demure and mannered self chuckled demonically; "that's so mean ... and wonderful!" she said. Perfect.
we commiserated over the submissions, agreeing that it's so painful to go through. not just because there are alot of bad writers /photographers out there, but because there is so much hope in the submissions pile, and to be the person who has to judge it all and send stuff back unaccepted is a difficult and thankless task.

and yet how does one accomodate all aspiring artists? the 51 year old retiree's memoir about his wife and him moving house, the texan man's haikus about bulldozers, the self-portraits submitted by a profound gentleman in a baseball cap, taken in the reflection of his bathroom mirror...
with every post-it note attached marked "no", or "not appropriate for Brick", i felt my own idealistic self standing at the shooting range, having my own odds and ends subjected to cruel derision and dismissal at the hands of strangers.
more interestingly, was the realization that i have difficulty finding praise for my own work, hence the difficulty finding praise for others'. (sigh) it's shocking and unfortunate, really.

later we all discussed the difference between writing for the love of writing Itself, vs. writing for the purpose of being read. i think the fundamental thing, the responsibility, is when one has decided to submit writing, to open it up to the public for consumption. a responsibility ensues: that of caring for one's audience, potential or otherwise. to respect their time by not sharing impertinent or inappropriate information, for realizing that not every personal drama we live through is relevant or important to others.

writing (indeed all artistic expression) is an act of compassion, where the writer wants to share, whether it beauty, pain, perversions, or unusual experiences in their lives that keep them getting up in the morning. and really, one must consider one's reader. not in a self-conscious "out to please and censored accordingly" kind of way, but more as an editorial tactic for keeping things focused and engaging.

i do know that as a reader i do not like to have my time flagrantly wasted. my nighttable is already sagging with countless books clamouring to get my attention.
it is important to be considerate of one's gifts before presenting them.

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