Sending out more submissions

Last week in Bobbie Louise-Hawkin’s class we watched a monologue with Spalding Gray, where he talked about getting a part in the movie: The Killing Fields. He said that he went through a period of time of magical thinking, where he thought he could control the future by snapping his fingers or only turning off the radio when he heard a positive word. He tried to talk himself out of it, but he persisted. And eventually he got the part.

I’m not there (yet). But I am sending out seven more submissions this week. All are for the same story: July 5th which I think is one of my best. But I know it might be a hard one to sale. The opening paragraph is:

I want to be dead. I am not thinking about divorce or child support payments or mothers crying to God as their sons and husbands are taken away or the two guys in my company who were killed driving down a thousand year old street. I am thinking about my life and all the life that surrounds me and flowers and sunshine. I want to be dead.

And I can imagine a harried editor reading those first few sentences and tossing it in the reject pile. But what I’m counting on is that somewhere, some editor (or associate editor, or associate editor’s assistant) will continue reading and discover that the story is not the first paragraph. The story is about a man making an emotional journey from a naive perception of mortality to a mature understanding of life and death. It is also a story about a returned Iraq War veteran having a nervous breakdown. And it is a story about a man missing the bus.

The first time I workshopped the story a friend said, At first I didn’t think I was going to like it but then I saw that that wasn’t what it was about. ? Exactly. Now all I have to do is hope that someone at one of these publications reads it far enough to see that also.

Here’s where I’m sending to this week:

And I’m sending this to the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Contest (no entry fee).

Wish me luck.

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