Writing = A Viral Delusion

Recent rejections from Missouri Review,which is my fave university-affiliated literary journal in the states, as well as from The Atlantic, Smokelong Quarterly, and from Elise Proulx, a lit agent out of San Fran, has made me pensive. Not snarly as I sometimes get, but pensive. My rejection from Missouri was a fantastic one, so good in fact that I didn't understand why it got rejected, but I can't help but wonder sometimes why any of us write. why we spend so much time creating something so few people get the chance to appreciate. It's funny, sometimes I feel like being a writer is just a viral delusion. We're infected with this idea that we have something important and interesting to tell the world, even if no one else sees it, not workshop morticians or journal editors, not lazy readers or family members, not consumers of glossies or random strangers. Really, so much of what we write never reaches anyone but we refuse to accept the blatant rejection of our art that is so universal and frequent, almost conspiratorial, but not that efficient. If you took away our stories, we would be, in a word, insane. We insist on a reality no one else sees or conforms to, we tell ourselves that we are writers even if we can't live by it, even if no one reads our stories, even if journals won't publish our fiction, we insist--correctly might I add, even necessarily--that everyone has it wrong, and someday, they'll get it right.

Being a writer is like playing make-believe, trying to get everyone else to play along. But even when they do, we think two things: what took you so long, and what's wrong with you?

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!