Really this is supposed to be my Friday activity, but here I am a day late, working on submissions on a Saturday when I should be grading essays from my creative nonfiction class. Today I'm spending time on my own creative nonfiction instead—two longish essays I'd really like to see published. While I'm working a rejection comes in from SWEET. I love SWEET, which publishes flash creative nonfiction. I had two pieces published there a long time ago. The acceptance from Ira Sukrungruang came immediately, from his phone, with such a nice compliment. I haven't been able to place anything there since. Ira (whom I met at AWP later—love him, love his writing, love the Sweet "Contributor's Copy" t-shirt he gave me) is still the editor, but no longer the primary reader. They take months and months (these flash have been there since August 1). It was a nice rejection, asking me to send something else. But they like to see two or three flash, and I only have one nonfiction flash at the moment, so I made a note to myself and filed away the rejection with a sigh. Turned back to my creative nonfiction, trying to decide which essay to send where. It's a time-consuming process, reading guidelines and sample essays, trying to figure out what work of mine (if any) would be the best fit.
I didn't open the email from CHANGE SEVEN, since the first line looked like all rejections ("Thank you for sending …"). When I got around to opening the email, it was exciting to find that it was an acceptance of my flash "Florida."
The editor Sheryl Monks invited me to do an optional blog entry on what change means to me, and because the flash involves violence against women, and my chapbook involves violence against women, and #MeToo seems to have precipitated a tidal wave of stories in that area (and at least some change, I hope not temporary), I feel like I should do that. I'm glad for the opportunity, but also don't know when I'm going to find time for it.
I also spent a lot of time this week on a very unpleasant exchange with a literary magazine (not one that I knew before, but a good one affiliated with an mfa program) that wanted to interview me about the chapbook. The questions their grad student fiction editors came up with were so devastatingly misogynist they took my breath away. I declined the interview. The faculty advisor asked me to explain what had offended me, and I spent a long time spelling it out. We parted by mutual agreement. It reinforces my sense that violence against women, sexual harassment, victim-blaming, and silencing are crucial issues, and also left me uncomfortably aware that once you publish something, anyone might be reading your work, and you are open to misinterpretations you never anticipated.