Georges Borchardt Reads Half of the Ninjas of My Greater Self + Outline

I will not read into this whatsoever. I won't expect anything to come from it. I won't let myself indulge in daydreaming (well, not any more than usual). I won't let this fuck with my mind or raise my hopes because the fall will be too precipitous, the ground is too rugged + bony, + while my backbone is really strong, stronger than it's ever been, my skin is still soft. I'm hoppa after all.

Even so, even so, I wrote Georges Borchardt after TC Boyle sent him an email telling him about me (+ mentioning some of my publications--I only know that because Tom asked me in his office to repeat some of my pubs to him so he could tell his agent). I wrote Georges + asked him what he wanted from me + this was his reply:

Dear Jackson,

Yes, three chapters would be fine, or better still all the finished portions; and an outline of the as yet unwritten or unfinished portions would be helpful.



So, for the past three days, I've been polishing chapters, figuring out which ones were too rough to be sent + which ones showed promise. Then I wrote an outline of the entire novel (both the finished + unfinished chapters), which has helped me a lot in figuring out the endgame of this novel, how characters will intersect, shit like that. The exact same thing happened to me with Lynn Nesbit, who asked for the same thing, giving me the perfect excuse to work on + work out the plot of BLANK. And while obviously, she didn't pick up BLANK (her daughter, Priscilla Gilman, did seem to respect it though), Lynn Nesbit's request became the perfect excuse to figure out what the fuck was going on with my novel. This time, I have some pubs, I have the support of a famous writer, I have a small but direct contact inside the publishing world with someone who actually publishes authors with whom I share some aesthetic, literary, intellectual, socially-conscious + creative kinship. More than anything, I've got a--miniscule, but nevertheless tiny little--chance now.

I have no fucking idea, on the other hand, what's going to happen. But at least I've got hope. At least something's happening.

Anyway, stay tuned for more details.

After A Year of Hope + Possibility, BLANK is Rejected by Janklow + Nesbit

It's devastating, man.  Priscilla Gilman (Lynn Nesbit's daughter) from Janklow + Nesbit associates, rejected my novel. Here are her words verbatim:

[Jackson,] I wanted to let you know that I have now had the opportunity to read your novel and will with some reluctance be passing on the chance to represent it. I think you are a very talented writer with lots of important and interesting things to say. But the evident merits of your work notwithstanding, I don't feel strongly enough about the material to justify taking it on. Best of luck in securing the
passionate representation you deserve.

Getting Buzzed with Dave Griffin

Well, i'm kinda buzzed. i met Dave Griffin for some drinks at joe's. no, wait, it's not called joe's, it's called frank's. anyway, we had a fucking awesome conversation about:


teaching at a university (DG just recently scored an awesome tenure gig at Sweet Briar College in Virginia for 50k a year, can you imagine being paid 50k a year as a writer? that's practically unheard of)

lit v commercial writing

Bakhtin and Chris Isaak

giving readers treats

the value of entertainment in writing

self-promotion and the hustler

dg's time at the university of memphis where he kicked it with Richard Bausch, author of 9 novels and 5 short story collections

the importance of writing for an audience instead of writing for one's self

rick moody's demonology, writing the preface for John Cheever's collected works

the PLA punks from phillie

Lynn Nesbit

being able to buy copies of the VIRGIN SUICIDES at urban outfitters

Sofia Copola and David Lynch flicks

It was one kick-ass conversation.

Working on Last Chapter of The Amnesia of Junebugs

Well, i'm def not done at all, but i'm now officially working on the LAST CHAPTER of my novel. i can't fucking believe it. i've been working on this little bastard since first semester of my first year (August 2005). a few things i've accepted about it:

1. it's gonna be around 400 pages. there's just no way around it.

2. it's cooler and much more flawed than i thought it was gonna be.

3. once i'm done with this draft, i need to sit on it for a few weeks, and then revise the hell out of it.

4. and then, send it to lynn nesbit.

5. writing a novel is simultaneously the most natural thing i've ever done--far more natural for me than writing a short story which reminds me of someone trying to fit all of his clothes into a tiny suitcase--and by far, the most demanding and intense thing, artistically i've ever done.

6. writing a novel, even more than a collection of short stories, is the very definition and essence of h. bergson's theory of élan vital, no question about it.

7. this novel is gonna be fucking big man.

Now, i really need to take a shower and think about something else.

Finished with My MFA

I can't believe it, i'm all done with everything. go aji go!!!


my mfa thesis reading
my japanese oral exam
my written japanese final
my mfa thesis
a gazillion quizzes and tests
a 100 kanji later

I'm all done with everything. i'm gonna graduate and everything. i'm so stoked about this. i can't possibly tell some of you how excited i am to have closure on grad school after having to leave yale when i was too poor to finish, this really means alot to me. and i had to work so damn hard to get here, to get accepted into a mfa program when i was a americorps volunteer living on 700 bucks a month and foodstamps in chicago, and to graduate, and it's been worth every moment and i'm so grateful. in two to three weeks, i'm gonna sit down, look at my diploma that came in the mail, and say, yo, i have a masters degree now. and that's so fucking rad for me. it means the world to me. and if there's truly a spirit world, it means everything to my obaasama too.

Now, i just have to pack, and work on my novel. i have 2 weeks to pack, 2 weeks to finish my book, and around a month or so--give or take, well, another month or so--to revise before i send lynn nesbit my finished draft. i think this summer is gonna be rad. i can barely contain my joy.

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.

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!

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,