"I know. You're supposed to kick the tires.
(Globe & Mail Caption Contest winner)
It was 2005.
It was a time of great insecurity.
My novel, Light Over Newmarket had long been remaindered, by my friend Aaron Braaten gave it new life by putting up links on his own blog, GRANDINITE and saying he for one, really like the book and listed me as one of his favourite authors. The list included Hemingway and Faulker and Orwell!
I wasn't getting too many reader responseson my blog, was working with a really clever guy who consistently solved the New York Times puzzle faster than I could. I was frequently asked, "if you're so smart why aren't you rich?" and generally shat upon by the farmers-turned automobile parts salesmen.
"If you're so goddamn smart, prove it."
So I did.
Entered a Globe and Mail Caption contest.
Got my entry in.
Pasted the results all over the office wall.
Heh. The killer instinct takes many forms. :)
I boasted about these small successes to BERNITA, with whom I was developing a pretty good rapport, and she gave a very gracious answer, as she had had a slump in story acceptance at the time. Said Miss B, "Holds index finger to bridge of nose..."
Nose out of joint.
I thought it was a pretty cool response.
Then I added a few bits of what I thought was humour to her blog.
"Stop showing off, " she snapped back.
Things got progressively worse from there.
Oh well. You can't win 'em all.
Gotta till our gardens. Got to cultivate our own fields.
But lately, I've been sending what I thought was pretty cool stuff to the Glob& Mail.
Wondering what happened.
Sent a note to Moira.
"We won't be using it.
"Do you want a formal rejection letter, or what?"
Says correspondent Heather Eigler.
"...Now is the time to use your ingenuity..."
I've to write another story.
Here it is, the first lines on my antique Smith-Corona:
Now is the time for
(Nope. Try again)
Now is the time
Now is the time for all good men....
Jesus, I'm coming out with some really orgiginal stuff!
I don't get mental blocks, but I think somebody, very likely another writer, has put the blocks to my stories. I have been outdone!
Moira gets 500 submissions every week, of which one is printed.
I used to be good at beating such odds.
Now it seems I just beat up myself.
I can see myself as being Melvin Mole, the little criminal in MAD Magazine.
YOU SLIPPERY LITTLE RAT! his keeper grates with some admiration.
"YOU'VE DUG YOUR LAST HOLE, MOLE.
"YOU'RE UNDER CONTROL!
It's DIG! DIG! DIG! all over again.