The Dice are Cast: 3

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 3:07 am

A tram in Sarajevo. Which is in Eastern Europe. Where I might spend a month writing a play.

Bakeless Literary Prize: I sent a book-length manuscript of poetry to the Bakeless Literary Prize, which is sponsored by the Breadloaf Writers Workshop, and the winner receives book publication by Graywolf Press. Crazily, the Workshop is located in Middlebury, my hometown.

Carnegie-Mellon University Press: I sent the same manuscript to CMU Press, which only accepts submissions in October for some reason.

Six Gallery Press: And just for good measure, I sent the same manuscript to Six Gallery Press.

Henry Holt Publishing: After reading my first column in McSweeney’s, an editor at Henry Holt Publishing sent me a letter of interest, asking whether I might have a novel lying around. I wrote back immediately, explaining five different projects I’ve been juggling, all kick-ass and sellable. He’s pondering this. I have literally bitten my nails to their nubs…

Quirk Books: After weeks and months of negotiation, auditioning, discussion, waiting, I have, for the second time, been ultimately rejected by Quirk Books. My friend is one of their editors, he’s one of my favorite people on Earth, and he’s rooting for me, but my manuscript just doesn’t quite work for them. The stress of almost being accepted has nearly caused me to explode into individual molecules.

The Baltic Writing Residency: This would allow me to live and work in Latvia for a month. Part of the former U.S.S.R., stunningly beautiful, full of characters and possibilities. I would write a play and monologues based on my stay. Totally awesome.

Crab Orchard Review: Sent some poems to them. Who knows?

AWP Conference: This is the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. For most people, this means nothing. To MFA people, the AWP Conference is El Dorado and Shangri-La mixed together. This is where dreams come true. I am attending, but if they accept my pedagogy paper, the trip will be subsidized with 300 buckeroos.

American-Scandinavian Foundation: Also dead in the water. I wanted to write articles about Iceland after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, but it required an inscrutably complicated paperwork process, plus tons of letters of recommendation, and at this point, my advocates are exhausted from writing so many compliments about me. They deserve a freakin’ break, already.

These are the basics, and they don’t even include the countless queries, pitches, submissions, adjunct applications and book proposals I’ve sent out over the past few months. Fifteen agents have not responded to me in any way, even to decline. I also won’t bother to mention the dozens – scores – of grants and fellowships that I started to apply for, only to realize at the last minute that I am ineligible (not a woman, not transgendered, not a “person of color,” not from a “disadvantaged community,” not a resident of South Carolina). I fervently support all these special-interest grants, because there are lots of talented folks who could use the funding. But these parameters could really be more prominently displayed.

Now we play the waiting came.


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