Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My story at McSweeney's

My story "A Word to the Graduates," came out at McSweeney's Internet Tendency today.
If you're up for it, you can read it here.

And now a humble, mini pep talk on rejection: According to my records, I've submitted 18 pieces to McSweeney's since late 2002. Part of it is figuring out precisely the kind of stuff they publish. But there were some submissions I sent them that I was sure were so incredibly right for them.
Another thing: As happy as I am to finally gotten a piece past them at McSweeney's, this piece was rejected by two other publications and was sitting in piles at four other pubs when it was accepted.
This is all to say that the value of our work and the opinions of others, even "serious editors" are so subjective. We all know this but we need to repeat it to ourselves daily. In fact, say it right now. Go on, say it.

Anyway, here's an excerpt to whet ye olde appetite:

I feel like it's my obligation to make this commencement speech something you won't ever forget, and doing that with mere words and wisdom and funny stories is, frankly, impossible.

And that's why I've decided to release a family of lions into the audience. Granted, some of you will lose your lives and some will be mauled to that icky point where you'd rather be dead. Some will lose limbs but go on to secure respectable employment with reasonable wages, assuming they've retained the use of at least one arm. Others will mark great achievement in the artificial-limb industry—if not for yourself, then as a tribute to a fellow graduate. For the rest of you: Congratulations, you've made it. Welcome to the real world.


DLowe said...

I already emailed you and told you how much I enjoyed this piece, but let me say it again here: I enjoyed your piece! Very good! Also, thanks for the info about your submission history. Now, how's your handwriting?

David Holub said...

This was the first time I submitted to McSweeney's without a handwriting sample. Hmm . . .

ACW said...

David - Again, congratulations! I look forward to reading the piece in its entirety, but at the moment have the challenge of making vortex meters sound exciting.

I especially appreciated your post. In recent weeks I've made some progress on my publishing ambitions, but it has taken patience, perseverance, humbleness, persistence, patience, nerves of steel, resilience, persistance, and...did I mention...patience!

The result you've achieved is a result of persistance and patience. You already had the talent-that was a given.

Keep going!

JohnFox said...

That was hilarious. I laughed so hard. Thanks a bunch. But next time, please include a link in the post, it makes it easier.

NM said...

Good show, and good note, re: rejection. However, it should be noted that not all markets accept simultaneous submissions, and if one gets a piece accepted near-simultaneously by two venues, tragilarity may ensue.

Roz Wiggins said...

Congratulations. I love the stuff that McSweeny's publishes, so well done, so off beat. It is one of my dream publicatios. I look forward to reading the complete piece. Roz