Reaching People in Your Writing

I got this email a few days ago, the kind that makes you feel great about being a writer.  I love connecting with other writers + I also appreciate it when strangers do kind things (for anyone).  Something as simple as forwarding my name to Roxane Gay's writers of color project is such a beautiful + appreciated thing.  And as long as there are people reading your fiction, then your writing has cultural resonance, which is what we all want on some level.  It's interesting for me to hear from people who witnessed the LROD scrap I got in (pretty much me against the world).  I can't tell you how many  friends I've made through my website.  Thank god for the digital era!

Jackson Bliss,

I've been following your writing for quite some time (I think ever since your kerfuffle with the Literary Rejections On Display blog, now defunct). I was actually also one of the ones who forwarded your name to Roxane Gay who did that list of writers of color who should be noticed (I saw from your blog that someone else mentioned you as well. Right on). I'd been a casual observer of your work, refraining from messaging you or commenting. However, this semester in the creative writing class I teach, I've assigned my students to do presentations on stories they find from online and print journals. We've just finished up the presentations from stories they picked from an online journal of their choice and are moving on to stories from a print journal. Today one of my students wanted to check in with me over a story she is going to present on, and I looked at it and realized it was one of yours, first published in The Antioch Review."What are the odds?" I wondered, and I thought I should send you this message.  I'm a writer as well. I know what it's like to feel as if the work you're doing isn't reaching people, so I wanted to let you know that your stories are reaching others. 

So, keep going, for what it's worth. Also, good luck with your PhD program. I just started one here in Missouri and jesus christ is it a lot of work.

Take care,


It's A Beautiful Day When People Are Talking About Your Fiction

I really love emails like this.  To be honest, this is the kind of email that I dream about as an emerging fiction writer.  For a split second, I get to remember how good it feels to publish something + have people read my fiction.  Even if it's just a short story in a literary journal.  Here we go:

Hi, Jackson,

Our library hosts a short story discussion group. At our meeting this morning, we discussed “The Blue Men Inside My Head” (as well as Nabokov’s “Symbols  & Signs” so you were in very fine company!) Anyway, had a very lively conversation about your work, especially the ending. Opinion was divided equally about whether Xavier actually got back at the muggers or if that was just inside his head (to go back to the title.)  We were wondering if you had any thoughts about it that you might share.

By the way, our group read T.C. Boyle’s “Tooth and Claw” last year and really enjoyed it as well. I’ve recommended Drop City and Tortilla Curtain to quite a few people over the years.  It is easy to see, from your writing style and subject matter (and humor!) why he must be such a great mentor for you. 

Best wishes for all your writing projects!


L**** C*******
Adult Services Librarian
West Wyandotte Library
1737 N. 82nd St.
Kansas City, KS 66112