Wooing Brevity

May 16, 2014 § 6 Comments

imagesSandra Gail Lambert, author of the recent Brevity essay “Poster Children,” talks about the long process of wooing Brevity‘s fickle editors:

It all began with a piece called “Horror in the Okefenokee” which I thought was irresistibly funny what with that part about my butt looking like a bad comb over.  Brevity didn’t laugh, and in 2006 our relationship began with a straight out rejection.  I was undeterred and in 2007 submitted again – this time with an essay immersed in loneliness and exhaustion.  My angst was rejected.  What the heck did these people want?  It wasn’t until 2010, after dallying with other journals and taking a few writing classes, that I wooed Brevity again.  And this time my essay “made the final rounds.”  I imagined a future for us.  I saw our names printed together in Helvetica, sometimes in Trebuchet.  2011 – another “made the final rounds” rejection just made me impatient.  When was Brevity going accept our shared destiny?  Then in 2012 I received the best rejection ever.  It had editorial advice.  It said I could resubmit.  No one getting dressed for a first date dithered more than I did on that essay.  I pulled out sentences and left them spread out at the bottom of the page.  I rearranged paragraphs.  I put sentences back in but with the phrases reversed.  And in 2013, after seven years of pursuit, the e-mail said “yes I said yes I will Yes.”  (Okay, maybe that was just in my mind, but it did have “yes” in there somewhere.)

On Stubborness as a Writing Tool

October 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Well, we wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it is comforting to us nonetheless (and we hope to other writers) to hear that even the likes of Pulitzer winner Junot Diaz suffer that moment when writing just seems too damn hard.  Here is an excerpt from a very honest essay on writing that he wrote for Oprah’s O Magazine.

Want to talk about stubborn? I kept at it for five straight years. Five damn years. Every day failing for five years? I’m a pretty stubborn, pretty hard-hearted character, but those five years of fail did a number on my psyche. On me. Five years, 60 months? It just about wiped me out. By the end of that fifth year, perhaps in an attempt to save myself, to escape my despair, I started becoming convinced that I had written all I had to write, that I was a minor league Ralph Ellison, a Pop Warner Edward Rivera, that maybe it was time, for the sake of my mental health, for me to move on to another profession, and if the inspiration struck again some time in the future…well, great.

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