2nd Story Accepted in 2012

I was at Argo Café, the one near the Water Tower when I checked my email on my iPhone + saw this message today:

Dear Jackson,

I am writing to let you know that Bob Fogarty, the Antioch Review editor, is trying to reach you.  He sent you an email and called as well.  Perhaps you can try to reach him at ***-***-****.

Thanks, M*****

Now, Bob sent me a nice rejection letter last year for a story I'd sent him + also told me to give my regards to Aimee + Tom the next time I saw them since he'd published stories by both of them both in the 80's + also more recently.  So I called him, my heart beating madly in my once-sticky t-shirt (typical Chicago summer, man).  I figured he just wanted to talk to me about my story + tell me the things that didn't work for him, a sort of gracious rejection.  But he was out, so I was left in complete suspense.  As it turned out, he'd sent me this email that never made it to me until a month later (5 August 2012, to be exact), which would have cleared up a lot of things:


Thanks for the call. I read your story and want to take it for AR.  I will call this afternoon.

Bob Fogarty

Later on, he called me + we did talk for a good twenty minutes about David St. Jean, who was the former poetry editor at the Antioch Review (my first year at USC, I took this amazing interdisciplinary graduate seminar with David St. Jean + Frank Tichelli, a class where poets wrote a series of poems, ending in a complete poetic cycle, +  then composers set those lyrics to music + finally MA + PhD musical performance students performed the music with your words--fucking amazing).  Then, we talked about Tom, Aimee, Rogers Park (where I live now, what I called a little Berkeley + Bob called a little Brooklyn), how walkable Chicago is, how great its mass transit is + about how creative programs are slowly being devoured by English Departments (Read:  Columbia College).  And then at the end of all of that, Bob told me he really liked the energy, voice + intensity of my short story "The Blue Men inside My Head," + thought the length was appropriate for the subject matter + that he'd be happy to publish it in the Antioch Review.  Again, if I'd received the above email, the suspense wouldn't have suffocated me so much!  Still, I was so excited I almost came in my pants.  Fortunately, I recovered + told him I was really flattered/excited/happy to finally get a piece in his journal.

To give you an idea of how badass this journal is (if you already know, feel free to skip this part), the Antioch Review is one of the oldest literary journals in the country + has published luminaries like:  Ralph Ellison, John Dewey, Philip Levine, Sylvia Plath, William Trevor, TC Boyle (holler!), Gordan Lish, Raymond fucking Carver, Edith Pearlman, Aimee Bender, Bret Lott, Ha Jin, among others.  It's just such an amazing honor to get a story accepted in this journal.  I've sending stories to this journal off + on for over 7 years. And now, it's all worth it.