Paperwork + Soba Noodles

Today i drudged through hours and hours of formatting hell with my book after i decided to add my photoshop cover to my novel in progress, which, for some inexplicable reason, changed the columns in my dual narrative chapters and created random space in one chapter. i wondered why i suddenly had an extra 10 pages. anyway, this final assis chapter is coming along, but not even close to done yet. i'm looking foward to finishing this and writing my 3rd and final split screen chapter this week, and next week i'll hopefully start the final chapter.

I got an email from lynn nesbit's office a few days ago that said, sorry, we had a misunderstanding. the consensus here--in the new publishing world, god i wish--is that you're a very good writer (chin up kiddo) but we need a complete manuscript before we can decide whether to take you on as a client. in a way, though, this was the perfect impetus to finish my novel cuz now i have someone to write for again now that i'm 3 weeks from graduating and ditching this school cafeteria.

My rejection from 9th letter was depressing. even after i became friends with the cnf editor, Juan Sanchez, who's a cool dude, i still couldn't publish my piece. no luv from the cnf putos.

My consolation? Yakitate japan anime (i'm sad that i only have 6 episodes left--a sure sign of my addiction). Also, I bought these great frozen soba noodles, and with a good miso base and some okonomi sauce, it's really quite something.

Who Is Zis Man?

I just had the strangest interaction. i got this email on my notre dame account from eduardo corral--hi eduardo, como estás?--that said, i've been reading your live journal entries and i totally feel what you're going through. at first i was like, who? who is this guy? turns out, he's a talented latino poet. . . i did some research, found a rad poem of his about frida kahlo on a web del sol chapbook. he has this one image of the curtains moving like honey in a jar, and i was like, yo, this guy's got it going on. he's a really good writer. so far, so good. but there is where it gets weird: yesterday, i got my rejection letter from colgate, and the painfully generic reject letter said: Our fellowship in creative writing for 2007-2008 has just been awarded to the poet. . . you guessed it. . . eduardo fucking corral. okay, they didn't swear, but i'm gonna. what are the odds? the person who randomly emails me is the same dude who ends up winning the colgate fellowship, and i get BOTH letters on the same fucking day. mathematically, let me just say, that's uncanny.

And then the hits just keep coming. i decide to do a little counter e-stalking if you will, and learn more about this Eduardo Corral: turns out, he has degrees from iowa and arizona state, he's been published in some decent journals, and he's a talented, emerging latino poet. then, once i find HIS blog, i find out, not only did he win the colgate fellowship, but he also recently received a goddamn YADDO RESIDENCY. basically, this guy is doing almost everything i wanted to do this year, except, maybe, write reviews about judy garland. amazing stuff.


I walked to the post office today to send my ninth letter submission to juan, the non fiction editor who's slowly becoming a friend of mine since we met at awp. i revised my lyrical essay and now i hope he likes it enough to take a bite.

As i was about to walk back, it started raining and i kinda loved it. i mean, i just stood there under the awning of the post office, waiting for the rain to stop, held captive by that perfect moment, forced, willingly, to stand there and just count the streaks in the sky. it was like waking up in the desert, forced to count the shades of blue until the sun eats away at the constellations: the mistake was more beautiful than the intention, that's what was so great about it.

25 Things I Totally Didn't Need to Number But Did Anyway, because It Looks Cleaner

Wow, the world really is coming to an end:

1. kpg and d split up--well, for now anyway--and i'm still in shock and disbelief about it.

2. hassan, one of my fave novel characters, is about to be killed. yes, it's capital punishment time at the bliss house. sad times.

3. i think about erika alot, and i've only gone on one date with her and i'm trying to understand what that means, especially in light of the fact that em and i are so magical together, and kelly and i hit it off so well. i have my theories about this, but i'll think about them more first before i syndicate them to the world.

4. ND lost to fucking WINTHROP in the first round of the NCAA tournament. ah, like i really care.

5. i haven't gotten a single new story published in 2007 and i'm starting to freak out a little bit. i mean, 2006 was pretty good for me: blazevox, syntax, right hand pointing, the pittsburgh review, 3:am magazine, soma literary review, the taj majal review--i think, writer advice, ink collective. . . but so far, for 2007: nothing, zilp, zilch, nada, rien, nanimo! man, i hope that changes soon. I'd like to add to my meagre publishing history. i mean, as far as i'm concerned, i haven't done shit yet.

6. in two months, i'm pretty much on my own again, and i'm headed either to chicago, atlanta, new york, japan, or possibily to a free-love cult where you do nothing but smoke pot and sleep with hippy twins all day.

7. after seeing kelly's 2 new tattoos, i'm fucking envious. i want another tattoo.

8. i haven't had sex since october. . . at the end of march--if i have to wait that long--it will be 5 months. god, how depressing.

9. related to #8, i'm absolutely, positively, dreadfully sick of porn.

10. part of me wants to move to morocco and work at an orphanage. not joking.

but, i do have faith that ONE or more of the following things will work out:

1. dave eggers will pick up one of my stories, or at least write me one nice sentence i can hang on the wall, right above my bed. hey, look at that, i'll say to my next lover, dave eggers wrote that, i'll say, it says "sorry," she says, i know that, i say, but dave eggers wrote that, i'll explain

2. blood lotus, contrary magazine, tarpaulin sky, wordiot, diagram, narrative, quickfiction, pindeldyboz, the new yorker, miranda literary review, void and lost magazine, hayden's ferry review, greensboro review, indiana review, nimrod, another chicago magazine, puerto del sol, smokelong quarterly, verbsap or the furnace review could pick up one or more of my stories, which would make me feel alot better about the world at large

3. 9th letter might pick up my memoir, if jms likes my story, and that would be awesome

4. 1/4 after 8 could pick up "blank sheet of paper." i mean, it could happen

5. april might be the month that i find out i won the playboy, atlantic or vanity fair contests. . . well, i'm just saying, you never know

6. one of many of my other fave lit journals could surpirse me and pick up a story i just assumed they'd lost, or used as surrogate plates for their annual spring barbecue

7. michael martone could surprise me and say, jackson, this story is so good, i think i've found a home for it. hey, it could happen

8. i could either win the sparks prize, get the colgate writer-in-residence fellowship, get the emory fiction fellowship, or move to japan, maybe osaka, and that would be something to write in my blog.

9. i might get a new tattoo

10. i could get a yaddo fellowship

11. lynn nesbit could finally put me out of my misery and take me on as her agent.

12. i could be getting laid a month from now, or be madly in love.

13. kpg could be getting laid a month from now, or be madly in love, this time, with a gorgeous woman.

14. kpg and i could be roomates, possibly, if we both moved to chicago.

15. the weather will get warmer

Yes, it occurs to me that maybe only #9, #13and #15 will happen, but i still have faith in the other numbers, in my life, and in this universe. even so: come on other numbers! you can do it! every number gets a fair chance in my book, you hear me? i want EVERY number to be a winner!

AWP Conference in Atlanta + Cave Canem

Busy week, man.

I spent 3 days in Atlanta for the AWP convention where i also:

Became friends with the editors at one story, one of my fave lit journals

Became friends with the non-fiction editor at 9th letter

Became friends with the crew at where i might become their online journal critic

Hung out with Tony d'Souza who i admire for his Chicago connections, his impressive work ethic, even if he IS a complete and absolute hustler

Talked to the editors of at least 10 different journals that i have pending submissions at

Became friends with some of the mfa students at alabama

Went and heard Robert Olen Butler read

Met utahna faith in a flash fiction panel discussion, the editor that published my story, "City Lunch" in the fantastic international online journal, 3:AM Magazine

Listened to Lily and the other Chiasmus Press writers (including Lance Olsen) give an awesome joint reading (+ free mimosas, a def bribe for such an early morning reading).

Went to michael martone and john barth's reading in the crystal ballroom of the Hilton Hotel--mm stole the show, man. I bought 2 of mm's novels and chatted with him at the book signing. he even sent me 2-3 emails in the past week. He's a good guy that way.

Talked to one of the poetry editors at Tin House--jc was his name, i think

Played air hockey and won (Holla!) against Pei-Lin Lue, the Managing Editor at One Story

Met Atina, one of the fiction editors at red hen press, one of the better indie presses, this one, out of LA

Met fred ramney, one of the publisher's at unbridled press, who gave me his card after i told him about my novel and the interest that publishing luminaries like Lynn Nesbit has shown the manuscript so far.
--And we take agented and unagented fiction, he explained.

Picked up something like 25 free lit journals from the AWP Book Fair

Smoked 3 cigarettes (bad Jackson!) and drank lots of Heineken--all of which tasted fantastic

I submitted stories to:

Michael Martone
quick fiction
the greensboro review
mid-american review
missouri review
9th letter
dave eggers
cream city review
tarpaulin sky
colorado review
smokelong quarterly
blood lotus
miranda literary review
word riot

Also, i went and heard Cornelius and Yusef Komunyakaa read tonight at the Cave Canem conference reading.

I Hate Rejections!

Well, it's really my own fault. i submit like crazy and so of course i get rejected like crazy, but usually, i get a few rejections letters, oh, now and then, and then i have time to build up hope, and then another rejection letter, but who cares, it's just one little guy, and then i submit again, and then a few more rejections. but i guess this week is like the week of rejections! cuz i got four more rejections today, all of them online. that's almost 10 rejections in 72 hours. what's up with that?

this sucks.

recent rejections from:

1. the miranda literary review (but a good one: your lyrical essay was creative and really interesting yadda yadda).
2. 6 little things (a nice one: fantastic imagery)
3. vestal review (your shit's too tight for our crappy review--okay, they didn't write that, i'm just fantasizing, that's all).
4. brick Magazine. (again, a good rejection: we really enjoyed reading your essay, but we just don't feel like it fits with our mag yadda yadda).

i realize and acknowledge that these rejections were, for the most part, good rejections. but on somedays, LIKE TODAY, i don't want any goddamn moral victories. i want publications, i want bragging rights, i want a longer italicized scction of my cover letter, i want name recognition, i want journal respect, i want all those stupid things i despise in the male writer's ego and i'm not going to hate myself for it, that's just how i feel today. i've been reading these journals. and admittedly, the stories in them are really good, but my shit is just as good, sometimes i think it's better. i'm sorry if that's conceited, maybe i need this unjustified scrap of writerly delusion to keep writing, but i feel like it's true.

anyway, my strategy, as always, is to submit like crazy to more journals. it's redemption time baby. sure, i'll get more rejections, but as long as the bombers are in the air, i feel like i've got as good a chance as anyone. hit me up kid.

i'm submitting to:

9th letter
sentence journal
mid-american review (x 4 flash fiction--holla!)
hayden's ferry review
bellingham review
new orleans review
alaska quarterly (since they gave me a decent rejection)
bryant literary review
santa monica review

nothing would thrill and satisfy me more than to publish the very things william rejected, and prove my publishability. i'm using this as motivation. and nothing would heal my crappy mindset than to get my first big break from a kick-ass li journal. i just don't know how long it takes for emerging writers to do this without a literary agent.

god i'd love to know what's in lynn nesbit's mind these days. if you're good at channeling other people's thoughts lynn nesbit, you really want to make jackson bliss one of your clients, he's hella talented and his work ethic is fucking sick, AND he loves:

old people, animals, children, his mom, his brother, writers (who don't reject him literary journals), japanese food, traveling, kindness, hugs, making out, thai food, a mid-grip handshake, a soy chocolate banana shake, birds, moms who love their kidz, anime.

oh well, it's worth a shot.

anyway, i'll see some of you tonight at the sparks prize reading and valerie's par-TAY, by which time i should be feeling much much better.

peace, joy, health, love to youz,

we out,