Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fiction, happy rejections, and a poem

Sometimes an e-mail will bring a pleasant surprise like the one I received earlier this week informing me my 2nd chapbook would be published.  More often than not, the e-mails are the standard rejections with the occasional but increasingly rare, personal note attached.  Yesterday I got an e-mail from Carve ( a literary magazine) announcing the winners in its fiction competition.  At some point I must have sent something to this publication or I wouldn't be on their mailing list.
   First prize went to Liesl Wilke's short story, "Stalled Symphony" which is set in the stalls of a women's restroom in a shopping mall.  It must have been the shock value or novelty of the theme that made it the winning entry though there was nothing the least bit novel about the story except its location.  And because it's a women's bathroom, there is nothing illicit or interesting happening like the footsie or outright sex you might find in a men's room.  Just bodily functions.  Can a writer get away with that?  What happened to the idea of conflict or resolution?  In this story there's a bulemic girl and an obese woman among others in the various stalls though nothing original happens to any of them.  Maybe if they'd gotten together it would have been more appealing.  Maybe the editors thought the theme would be enough to get a reader's attention so I guess in that, they succeeded.  Glancing through the runners up, I didn't find anything that stood out as great writing. 
   Whatever I may have sent to Carve, I'm glad it got rejected!

One of the Latvian ladies- I'm moving past the story...

Apolonia Painted 

We pointed out the flaws,
Look, a dog as big as a house
in the background,
no perspective here,
But Apolonia painted
and danced,
Her wig askew
after vodka shots,
Apolonia painted
and promised love.

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