My Reponse to a Writer Suggesting I Close Down Blue Mosaic Me

I received this email a few hours ago from someone with a fake, brand-new gmail address:

For a long time I've been checking your blog, just to see how things are working out. I've been accepted by agents and magazines where you've been rejected, and we've been rejected by the same places too. We have other shit in common. And in some ways you have huge advantages over me - but let's not go into that. Can I give you some advice? Don't chronicle your every rejection on the website. Don't write about your private conversations with well-known authors. Be discreet. Be professional. Shut down the blog. You seem to have a nice life. Your girl is beautiful man. So fuck the artist manque blog. Just write. Peace.

And here's my response:

dear J***,

i respect your opinion completely, but there's not a chance in hell i'd shut down my blog, so dream on. first off, i don't post every rejection i get. in fact, out of the 100 or so rejections i receive every year, i only post a tiny fraction of the good ones + the snarky ones because they both affect me intensely but in different ways. if i "chronicled" every damn rejection i got, my blog would be fucking depressing, but i have no intention of reminding myself or my readers of how tough this industry is, which leads me to my third point: you have no idea how many aspiring writers thank me all the damn time for writing my blog, not only because it primarily helps them to believe in themselves--an easy thing to lose in this profession--but also because it gives them an honest but brutal understanding of how tough it is trying to get published, which is very grounding. also, so many writers have thanked me for opening up my life with/to them, because it's allowed them to get advice and learn things from some prominent fiction writers without having to actually be in a prestigious MFA/PhD program/residence/whatever. beyond that, i'd say that my conversations with authors are mine to do with what i what. i'm not revealing state or family secrets of the authors, i'm mostly sharing their thoughts on craft, writing trends + authors, which is useful shit. and writers like TC Boyle, i know for a fact he doesn't give a shit what i post on my blog because he's told me point blank that he doesn't. it's a blog for christ's sake, not a rant column + tom understands very well that writers have to create their own audience/readers + nothing is gonna curtail his prodigious writing anyway. lastly, my blog is ultimately for me because it helps me historicize my publication trajectory: it helps me plot out when i sent what story to which journal, helps me decipher between a form and personal rejection, gives me self-confidence on rainy days, helps me connect with other aspiring writers, reminds me of all the bruises i've gotten scrapping like i do, but at the same time, my secret hope has always been that my blog can make a difference in other writer's lives too, + so far, the evidence has been overwhelmingly positive, so i know that i am + that makes me feel good.

i understand why you might feel that my blog--or least what my blog does--is unprofessional. i also understand why you encourage me to just write. but these two comments imply a number of things i take issue with: one, that blogging isn't writing, + it absolutely is. two, that if i'm blogging, i'm not writing, which again is patently untrue. yo, i write all the fucking time + let me tell you, blogging + working on my second novel are in no way mutually exclusive. they're actually interanimating in an important way. three, that conversations with famous authors shouldn't be divulged, and yet not only do i know these authors don't have a problem with it (you do, not them, let's be clear about that), but i'd argue that in my blogging about those authors helps in a miniscule way in keeping them in the blogosphere. beyond that, i'd never post something really fucked up because my intention isn't to bring down great authors, but to primarily help me remember what we talked about before i forget that shit, and secondarily, to deprivilege + open up my experience as a PhD student at USC to anyone who wants to be included in that, which, as it turns out, is a shitload of people. BMM, above all things, is an emotionally honest blog, but it is overwhelmingly positive in that it affirms an indomitable belief in art, hard work, the kindness/intelligence of talented writers + the million baby steps it takes to really make it as a literary fiction writer. you don't have to agree + obviously don't, but it's empowering, not a work of egomania. it's brutally honest, not nihilistic or snarky. it's an act of determination, not a work of complete industrial defiance.

i'm genuinely happy for you that you're getting published in great journals, even ones that i've been rejected from. that's awesome. you've obviously figured out your own path to getting published. but i'm working on my own shit out in my own way. and while i think your email wants to imply that you've had greater success in publishing than i have because you're not unprofessional the way i am, i don't think that's true at all.

i hope you're well.

peace, blessings, love,