Sunday, September 08, 2013

How To Become Infinitesimally Richer And Entirely Not Famous In Only 56 Years



That's going to be the title of my self-published autobiography unless I suddenly begin receiving all sorts of wonderful letters from editors telling me that they love my stuff and want to shower me with gold coin.

This writing gig is such a drag at times. I'm as grateful as I could possibly be regarding those editors who have already bought some of my stuff. Those sales have kept me from throwing myself under a train. Little compares with looking at the mail and finding an acceptance. It's like being a virgin teenage boy and having a girl you've been feeling up give you a signal that it's OK to keep going when you slip your hand under her waistband; an incomparable thrill.

[Unless you're a writer, you probably have no idea how wonderful these nonsensical words made me feel.]


I find the utter lack of response from some editors puzzling, though. Receiving a rejection is one thing, but never hearing at all from someone to whom you've bared your literary soul is so damned disheartening (and confusing, considering the fact that I've been published elsewhere) that I begin to believe that perhaps my talent is entirely polarizing, thrilling some and disgusting others, like John Holmes or Miley Cyrus. In any case, it makes a fellow doubt his own existence, as though I said a cheery "Hello!" to someone, with a big smile on my face, and had the person walk by without a glance. I've come to the belief that being told "You suck!" is preferable to being ignored, which is not a fun way to approach life.

I'll soldier on, though. I have 18 pieces out there for which I'm awaiting replies. I'm currently looking forward to the publication of four other pieces (and to receiving the checks for three of those. One is in the bank, thank you very much.) Whenever I see an actual hard copy of my stuff, it bolsters my spirit for four or five days and spurs me to become creative again. It also gives me a chance to brag on myself here, so rest assured I'll let you know where and when it next happens.

In news you might actually care about, MY WIFE enjoyed Jaws.



It was great fun sitting next to her and hearing her sharply draw in her breath when the shark made an appearance or whatever. Neither of us will be going swimming at the beach anytime soon, but neither of us has been swimming at the beach the entire time we've been married, so no big deal.

What else can I tell you? Oh, yeah. Sorry about the imagery I put in your head of naughty bits being snipped off. It was just so damn disturbing to me I had to talk about it. Thanks for listening.

Finally, how about some nice softball news?

We began our playoffs at M Street with a corker of a game.

SOUTHSIDE TAVERN - 1  The Warehouse - 0  (9 innings)

The living legend, John Gregorio - 33 years in the league as of this season - tossed an extra-inning three-hit shutout for us. We scratched out a run in the top of the ninth.


 Johnny G delivering one of his nasty filthy pitches. Notice the position of the arm and the strain on his face. This ain't slowpitch.

Oddity of the game? John threw to four different catchers during his masterpiece. I was number three. Due to injury and other unusual circumstances - pinch hitters, etc. -  I had to make three switches to the man behind the plate. I caught four innings (the 5th through the 8th) and didn't record an at-bat for myself because of pinch hitting for myself twice (in fast-pitch softball, unlike baseball, there's a re-entry rule, and I was able to pinch-hit for myself in the 7th and then reinsert myself as catcher in the bottom of the inning. I pinch-hit for myself again in the top of the ninth, but that made it impossible for me to re-enter, so a 4th man was behind the plate for the final three outs.)

The series (best two out of three) continues this coming Tuesday at 8:10. If you're in the area, come on down. If past performance means anything, it promises to be a great game to watch.

Finally, here's a photo of my teammate's dog trying to pick up what sort of pitch is being thrown to me as I make an appearance at the plate earlier in the season. If the pooch had somehow been able to relay to me that it was going to be a slider, I probably wouldn't have popped up to the second baseman.

  
Soon, with more better stuff. Woof!



32 comments:

Chuck said...

Wow, I certainly wouldn't want to meet your pitcher in a dark alley. Congrats on the win!

Anonymous said...

CM - So who was that awesome note from?

Suldog said...

It was from the tremendously terrific and humongously humorous FUNNY TIMES, which everybody should subscribe to as soon as possible so that they don't miss out on those pieces when they see print. http://www.funnytimes.com/

Michelle H. said...

Great to hear your professional writing dreams are coming true! And congrats on the win.

(FYI- Hang all the printed stories up on the walls of your room (or office if you have one). Every time you don't hear from an editor, look at all the printed pieces hanging around you and soak in the accomplishment.)

Suldog said...

Although he looks like he could chew bricks, John is one of the nicest guys on the planet.

Suldog said...

That idea certainly appeals to an ego like mine. I think I might do it.

Pearl said...

I actually paid, at the age of 12 or so, to see Jaws, in the theater, eight times.

Eight times in a week!

I can no longer swim in open water, but I still think it was worth it...

Pearl

p.s. I save myself the heartbreak of rejection by very rarely submitting. :-) Probably not the smartest thing to do!

messymimi said...

Congratulations on the win and on the acceptances. Editors who can't even send a form letter saying, sorry, we can't use this at this time, are rude.

Lil said...

Congratulations on the win! Now I feel like I have to see Jaws again!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Hey Jim,
Sorry I've been MIA for a while over here. Hang in there on the writing, remember most rock stars who "made it big overnight" had actually been out there trying for years - your time is coming. Congrats on the pieces that have been published - great news. Love the title, BTW.

Never saw Jaws and don't plan on doing so anytime.

Congrats on the softball win! All good news is good.

It's a very rainy day out here in the desert S/W (hooray!); hope you are enjoying some nice fall weather back East.

Peace and hugs, Judi

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Makes me kind of wonder if some publishers even open unsolicited manuscripts?
Do you ever wonder how many they receive in a day.
That said, it seems it would be simple enough to acknowledge receipt by sending a simple email (to those writers who provide an email address for such purposes).

Jaws is not one of my favorites, though it is memorable and has a favorite line:
We're gonna need a bigger boat!

Glad your team prevailed and you were a participant.
The one thing I remember most about fast pitch is being able to see the ball all the way from the time the pitcher took it from his glove and still not being able to hit it.
Good luck tomorrow night.

Suldog said...

Pearl, you are one of the funniest people on the planet, and a writer of vast talent. Anyone who rejects you is an idiot.

Suldog said...

I agree. I owe a great debt to one editor, whose encouragement and good advice gave me the courage to continue traveling this path to possible success. He knows who he is, and some of you may know him, too (but don't give away the secret, if you do, because the last thing he needs is to have his name linked to mine. If I did him that disservice, it would be foul payment for his kindness.)

Suldog said...

You should. It was 37 years between viewings for me and I found it quite enjoyable, most especially when viewing it with someone who had never seen it. Try to do it that way, if you can.

Suldog said...

It has recently changed from 80 every day to 65 or so here. Delightful!

Suldog said...

I am not without pity for the editors. They must have to read some entirely execrable stuff. And I'm not saying that everything I submit is a gem. I've taken a couple out of circulation myself after receiving rejections (or no word whatsoever) and then re-reading the pieces with a fresh and more critical eye. I can honestly say, though, that I've always at least answered any legitimate (that is, non-spam) inquiry sent my way and I'd like to think I'd do the same if I found myself in an editor's chair. It takes so little time to dash off an e-mail.

(If someone now comes forward and proves I'm full of shit by presenting an e-mail sent to me that never received a reply, I plead computer crash that day. Or drunkenness. Or both.)

Joanna Jenkins said...

High Five on the won!!!

I agree, not hearing back from an editor stinks. I write press releases with story idea pitches for a friend's retail store. It makes me crazy when there is no response-- Not even an emailed "no thank you". Grrr! Hang in there though-- Your stuff is good.

I remember the first time I saw Jaws. Scared the daylights out of me. Now I see the mechanical shark every time I go to Universal Studios. Cracks me up!

jj

Suldog said...

I've heard it doesn't pay to look too closely at the shark in the movie, as one can occasionally glimpse a bolt or screw or something. Or maybe that's just rumor :-)

Daryl said...

i have never seen Jaws thats not stopped me from not wanting to swim in the ocean ....

Buck said...

I agree with Michelle. The "I Love Me" wall is a great tradition in the military and there's a good reason for that. Do it!

(Well, except in my case... I never did an "ILM Wall," coz I never had much to put on it.)

Suldog said...

Yeah, MY WIFE wasn't a beach person before she saw the movie. There's absolutely no hope of her ever becoming one now :-)

Suldog said...

Buck, some folks are just so comfortable in their own skin they don't NEED one. I have the feeling you're one of those.

Lora said...

Never seen Jaws. Never going to see Jaws. Never want to see Jaws. That photo is going to give me nightmares!

Suldog said...

I'm sorry! Scroll down and look at the cute little dog!

ethelmaepotter! said...

Just dropping in to see what you've been up to, and it seems you've been quite busy. What kind of "pieces" are you submitting for publication? And where can I find the ones that have been published?

Jaws...I did NOT want to see it when it came out. It was probably 10 years old by the time I finally sat down in front of the tv, turned it on, and became instantly captivated. (Or was I just too lazy to change the channel? I can't remember now.) Anyway, Jaws is now one of my favorite movies. It's a brilliant character study; the stories of the three "hunters" are far more intriguing than the special effects.

But I could have done without that particular shark-eating picture you posted.

On the other hand, it's better than a picture of Miley Cyrus.

ethelmaepotter! said...
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ethelmaepotter! said...
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Suldog said...

Hi, Ethel Mae! Good to see you! If you want to find some of my stuff, try Funny Times, The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, and upcoming issues of Discover magazine, among others.

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

So... I heard somewhere there's a playoff game tonight that may be rained out

I'm hoping you get the game in and have the result you want

lime said...

i think that's an awesome name for a memoir. i'd totally buy it when that's published...hint hint...

Hilary said...

May you haver far more acceptances than rejections. And may the rejections have valuable information that you can use to improve your craft.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Hang in there with your writing my friend. The old adage is even more true for us freelancer types - you can't please all the people all the time! I remember when I was querying for my first book I'd send off the letter with the SASE as requested. Some of those I've still never gotten a response on. Or maybe I did and I just moved and never got it. I'd like to believe the latter but know in my heart it's the former. All part of the process.

A term you must have heard as an athlete - only the strong survive. Editors do these things to thin the herd, weed out the timid. This business is a gut wrenching slog of rejection and hysterical cackling right in your face.

Then you get that one...the one who gets it, gets YO,U and wants to publish everything you've ever put on paper. That's the best feeling in the entire world. :-)