Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Telling Our Stories

Editors are an unexplained lot these days. I think there used to be a rigid protocol to follow by both the writer and the editor. Now days many editors do not even acknowledge receiving a submission. But you can’t be sure it is rejected just because you haven’t had a response in six weeks. It can be many months and then you get maybe a question or inquiry back so when you answer you can wait another six months to hear more! Alas, I submitted Sunday and already have a rejection today so there is no rule for time.

I recently got a rejection that was most unusual. They were sorry because my poem did not fit their issue. However, they were impressed and would like to see more. The editors (more than one) rather picked apart the first stanza of said poem although they liked the rest. I have not visited the poem again yet. After all, the editors’ opinions are just that--opinions. Someone else might not agree. However, I do appreciate ANY feedback at all so I can consider it.

My opinions often differ from others. For example, the rave reviews of Gone Girl did not include one from me. I hated this book. Oh, I thought the writing was very good, kept me reading. It was fast paced…snappy and read like a Facebook post in brevity. But the ending…a surprise, but I also felt duped as a reader. Maybe I was just not a sharp reader! Now it is a movie…maybe that will be a good venue for the story, but I do not intend to watch unless it appears at the local video store for a cheap price.

We rarely go to the movies anymore, but this is birthday week so a movie with theater popcorn! was on my week’s list. Very little draws me to pay the price and inconvenience of our local theater, but I chose to see The Judge.  I am glad I had seen few reviews as they say story leans on clich├ęs and is poorly told. Not so in my book. Here were real people, suffering human faults, portrayed by very good actors. Duvall as always shows his stuff; Downey is not a particular favorite of mine, but I was mesmerized by his work in this film. Yes, some of the points are melodramatic, but so is life with real people. I found the relationships painful to watch because I know people living them. The ending was about ten minutes too long in that it would have been more poignant had it stopped in the boat scene. Enough said until you see the movie for yourself.

Telling our stories, preferably without vampires and space ships, is what I love to do, to read, to contemplate. This month’s Country magazine carries an essay of mine, a scene from my “story”. You can read it online if you wish—or not. http://www.country-magazine.com/short-stories/nostalgia-stories/grandpas-dx-a-true-old-fashioned-gas-station/

I hope your story today is a good one.


Terra said...

Now I want to see The Judge. One sad thing about Gone Girl is that Maureen Dowd and other feminists wrote about the movie with no "spoiler alerts." The best part of the book was the surprises, which are now spoiled for movie goers! Like you, I was not thrilled by the book, it was ok.
I find that editors often send no reply to submissions. And book publishers often say no simultaneous submissions and they take up to 4 months to ponder the bp and then never answer. This means by their rules I could only submit a book bp to 4 publishers a year. That is nonsensical! Ok, enough of a rant.

Linda O'Connell said...

I completely agree with your take on Gone Girl, the book. I was so aggravated with the ending. I do want to see the Judge. Claudia, your story was fantastic!

Patricia A. Laster said...

I won't read the book OR see the movie. But I read your "story" about your grandpa's station. Great work. Re editors, alas, I find myself in the editor's shoes since I agreed to take on the poetry editor's job for CALLIOPE. The submissions go first to the general editor who forwards them to me. Sometimes, she puts 5 different poets' works in one email. Sometimes, she's two weeks late getting them to me. It is a HUGE (time consuming) job to keep up with things. Guess I need a better method. Anyway, keep submitting. Send the non-answering editor a sweet email about your long-ago-still-unheard-from submission. Surely you'll melt his/her heart/will by doing that. xoxo

Sioux said...

I love the idea of putting flowers in an oil can. So clever, Claudia.

I recently watched the movie "Belle" (you can get it at Redbox). It's a true story, is historical, and a moving tale. (I love Duvall AND Downey--have you seen him in "Chances Are" with Cybill Shepard?--and look forward to seeing "The Judge" and I agree--the ending of "Gone Girl" was a cop-out.)

Sioux said...

Oh, I almost forgot. Thanks for the link. I read your story--it brought back so many memories. We used to go to a family picnic every year, and they had a giant chest-type cooler full of ice and water and 16-oz. Vess sodas floating and bobbing. (It doesn't take much to make a kid thrilled.)

Donna Volkenannt said...

Before I pop over to read your story, I want to tell you that your photo with the bright flowers perked me up on this dreary day. My sister saw The Judge the other day and can't stop raving about what a wonderful movie it is, so I will definitely check it out.

And, Happy Birthday this month!

Marylin Warner said...

Oh, this post is right on target, Claudia!
I once sent a short story to four publications. Two rejected it, one purchased it...and the fourth offered to purchase it TWO YEARS after I had submitted it!!! The editor sounded genuinely offended that it was no longer available.
I have a poet friend who once sold a children's poem to a small publication for $35. She made over a dozen revisions--some just a word here or a word there--before they finally decided it was ready to publish. Editors. Whew...