On the Premises Rejection

On The Premises

If you haven’t heard of On the Premises, you’re not the only one. It’s a small, literary ezine, and what I thought was a pretty good shot of getting a story out there. Here’s what their Writer’s Guideline says: On The Premises aims to promote newer and/or relatively unknown writers who can write…

So, “newer and/or relatively unknown” that sounds a lot like me, “who can write,” that’s questionable, but could be me. But as you can see it was not me the magazine was talking about. They really managed to rub it with this form letter though. Let’s look beyond the fact that the didn’t even take the time cut and paste my name (Real magazines take the time to do this, but OTP can’t take the time). The thing that really got me was listing “We received 232 entries.” That’s just kicking a man when he’s down. They’re telling me I couldn’t noticed in a crowd of no one. 232 is nothing! If you can’t get yourself noticed in that small a talent pool then you might as well just hang it up.

Then I remembered the crappy story I sent them – a tale of love and lunch ladies. “My Dorris, My Love, My Lunch Lady,” not my finest work. Of course, that’s why I sent it to On The Premise and not The New Yorker. In my arrogance, I figured they would love my table scraps. Also, the way this ezine works is they give you a premises and all the stories in that issue fit the premises, thus the name. This issue’s premises was “One or more characters encounter something, someone, or some place for the first time, either by chance or design.” The story is kind of about first love, but it’s a little bit of stretch.

A bad story that doesn’t fit the premises, but still the rejection smarts.

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I’m not getting Enough Writing Done

So, I had another sleepless night. Well, not entirely sleepless, but that weird sleep dreaming sort of state. And in this state, all I could do was lament on my writing. Of course, if I was that upset I could always have gotten up and actually done work, but that would be productive and that’s not something I do. Besides, I had to get up to go to my menial job the next day to do menial things.

But in this sleep dream haze, all I could do was mumble about my lady friend not letting me do my thing. Meanwhile, she pretty much always lets me do my thing. What was the big offense that sparked such sleepless rage? She changed the channel, while I was writing. Yes, I write with the TV on. Do I really watch it? Not really. Does it need to be on something I like. Hell, yes, it does! I shouldn’t get weird about it, but I do. But the Tv really doesn’t matter either. What I was really tossing and turning about was a stupid power point presentation I had to do for work. The second I finished, I was no longer angry, I was no longer lamenting.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not writing enough. The particular puzzler I’ve been working on involves the fast paced world of embroidery. Every book should have an embroidery scene, I learned that from Mrs. Dalloway. Where is this novel going if I’m talking about cross stitching?

Robot Stab

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Flash – Man and Spider-Man

Man and Spider-Man

I took two tabs of E at a party in Wheeling. They were small, hard, and blue, and looked much like pills I have enjoyed before. They were not them. The little blues were liberally laced with coke or acid. We danced, Martha and I, and I felt an itch in my right hand. That’s where it started. I noticed webbing between my fingers, not a vestigial duck webbing, but like a spider’s web. Martha danced away, sucked into the crowd, as I hyperventilated. Little Moosie asked if I was OK. I fingered my palms, fat with an inflated gland and said, “Webs.”

The webbing splurged from my wrist, thick gray gobs almost hit Moosie’s shoulder. She sucked deep on a sour apple Blow Pop and let it rattle off her teeth. “Ha,” she chortled

I shot string after string, it hurt but kind of felt good like a burnt cherry on my wrist. I swung from the ceiling and felt the breeze lick my scalp. Thwip and swing. Thwip and swing. The weight of my entire body all on my right arm, both cracked my shoulder and burned my armpit. Then there was that moment of weightlessness, that moment with no web at the apex of the swing, just you and the air and the criminal elements below.

“Just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” I shouted.

I swung from wall to wall, clung for a second, the heavy bass of the techno beat vibrated my fingertips. Martha was deep in a crowd of Green Goblins, surrounded by rubber smiles and her red hair thrashed from side to side. A look of kidnapped joy on her face. Did she want the Goblins? Did she need the Goblins’ pumpkin bombs pressed up against her?

Before I could swing down and reign my spider fury, I noticed Moosie dancing like an Egyptian, all arms and hips, and arms and arms. Moosie wasn’t so much a moose, named for her thick hips and dark mascara, but an octopus with metallic tentacles. I squeezed and scurried through the first wave of tentacles, but the fourth hit my face hard. No Spider Sense sizzled, just stars and blackness. My nose was bleeding and I choked.

Doc Moosie said, “Sorry, I think I got you with my bangle… INSECT.”

We fought. I dodged, I ducked. We danced. I dodged, I ducked. Then we kissed. Doc Ock’s thick German lips were cold, but became tender. I could still taste the apple and failed fission experiment that left him a wreck of a man. Moosie’s tentacles wrapped around me, not hard clutches, but eight soft strokes, and my Spider Sense finally tingled up and down my body.

Martha shouted, “What the fuck!?”

There was blood on my chest and blood on Moosie’s large cleavage. I wanted to tell Martha about the ceiling and the webs. About great responsibilities. Instead I aimed my wrist, cross haired at her furrowed brow, and said, “Thwip, pwip, pwip.”

Read more »

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Line from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

This is my favorite line from Oscar Wao so far:

In the real world girls turned away in disgust when he walked past. Changed seats at the cinema, and one woman on the crosstown bus even told him to stop thinking about her! I know what you’re up to, she’d hissed. So stop it.

As an accomplished stalker and people watcher this is one of my greatest fears.

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Writers Block, Maybe

I would appear to be blocked up. I’ve been staring at the same page for a week, and isn’t really getting any better. A couple of sentences here and there, but nothing concrete. It feels like I’m taking on bits and pieces, that almost go together, but not quite.

Best sentence so far:

“You know that I can’t charge you $20 for a handy, right?”

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Finished Inking my Comic

I finished inking my comic! It took me forever to draw and ink this thing, and it’s barely a step above stick figures. Although, now comes the hard part. In lieu, of using a T-square, I decided to not draw borders by hand and use a computer instead. I’m also doing all the word bubbles and text in the computer. I know word fonts look crappy in comic books, but trust, it’ll look much better than my chicken scratch (at its best it looks like 3rd grader’s, at its worse someone mentally challenged). However, what this means is now I have to scan everything and manipulate it on the computer (which I am terrible at, as one has probably observed from my photoshopping abilities. So, it’s at least a month away from complete.

As for novel, that’s going far worse. I currently have lots of bits and pieces that don’t quite add up to a climax or an end. I must be halfway in and as someone pointed out is kind of the “point of no return.” Fewer than halfway, you can easily just junk it and start over. At this point, it needs to get finished.

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The Lone Samurai Review

The boat slowly sails to Gangryu Island, a small Japanese island sandwiched between Kokura and Nagato. It is cold this day. This is where they agreed to meet, Sasaki Kojiro and Miyamoto Musashi, for an exhibition of samurai skill. The two greatest samurai of the 17th century set to have the greatest battle of either’s life. This moment becomes a major focal point in William Scott Wilson’s The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi. Kojiro has been waiting for three hours and watches Musashi’s boat with intensity. Musashi is late. Kojiro unsheathes his overly long sword dubbed the Drying Pole; for Kojiro “the soul of a swordsman was bound up in the weapon he carried at his side.” Musashi is half asleep as the boat limps to shore. He is filthy and unkempt, he pulls out his weapon, recently carved from a wooden oar. Musashi jumps into the water and wades toward his opponent. Kojiro thinks to himself this is the legendary Musashi?

Kojiro yells insults at Musashi. Musashi ignores him. Out of anger, Kojiro throws his scabbard at the water. Musashi laughs and says, “You’ve lost, Kojiro. Would the winner throw away his scabbard?”

In The Lone Samurai the reader stands on the shore and watches these two warriors trade blows. Wilson wants us in the thick of things and for a while he succeeds. For the first fifty pages he does an incredible job of blending story with history. With the popularity of Japanese lore, and so much myth still resonating with us, it’s refreshing to go back and get this image of the samurai at the height of his profession. Musashi is still relevant to modern culture. His book The Book of Five Rings has often been compared to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and discusses discipline, knowledge, the every day mind, fluidity, and psychology. Because of this The Book of Five Rings became briefly popular with American business in the 80’s.

Wilson’s career has been primarily that of a translator, but he demonstrates a surprising ear for prose in this first English biography of the man whom many consider the greatest samurai that ever lived. Still he demonstrates his translator roots when he defines samurai; Wilson strips away the warrior connotations and gives the true meaning as “one who serves.” Wilson has translated many samurai books, and his publisher Kodansha International was so impressed with his translation of The Book of Five Rings they gave him a chance to do this biography.

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Flash – Nobody Understands a Dungeon Master

Nobody Understands a Dungeon Master

Amy was very concerned about noses. Shape, width, nostril size, subnasion, and whatnot. She said her nose, while not perfect, was spectacular. “Just right,” she said, “like Goldilocks.” As her twin, she had told me, that my nose should be a reflection of hers. That strangers would judge her nose on the quality of my nose, flat and undistinguished as it was. Amy rated Beatty’s nose, our older sister, as the worst. Long and crooked and in proximity of a ladybug mole, definitely minus 20 HP.

Amy didn’t know Figwit, but if she did she would gasp. Figwit had a wonder nose, carved from Italian marble. Romanesque but in a feminine way. Of course, he’s a half-elf with 17 Charisma Points, so such was to be expected. Was he a charmer? Just ask the wenches of Wendigo Manor.

Figwit the Daring. Fidwit the Brave. Might? Naturally. Figwit with his Bag of Infinite Holding, his Cloak of Invisibility, a Vest of Dolemite, and, of course, the dagger of Lynnette (+2 damage). Lynnette sliced easily through Zackinator’s chain mail, scored to the gut and loosened his intestines on the lunch table. I swear there was a tear, a twinkle at least, in Zack’s eye. I sat back and drank my juice box, and basked in the accolades. “Cold blooded,” said Dustin Chen. Amy was unimpressed two tables over. She rolled her eyes and turned up her nose as the 20 sided die clackity-clacked.

20-sided Dice

Instead she drank a Diet Pepsi next to Doug Reinhold who looked vaguely like an overfed ogre. Doug had a pug nose, but it fit perfectly on an ogre face. Amy swam in his letter man jacket and puckered up on a bendy straw. She whispered something to Lynne Wilson, who laughed in turn and smiled with her overly large and lovely teeth. I crapped out on a dexterity check and took a battle axe to the shoulder. “Motherfucker,” I yelled. Mrs. Feldmen gave me a stern look and I buried my head in my character sheets.

Like all good characters, Figwit would eventually meet a grizzly death. There is no retirement for the weary adventurer. At home, I fiddled with a new character, a Ranger with a long slender nose that lined up perfectly with his bow. string Beat stormed into the Family Room huffing and puffing. I ignored her, but she paced.

“What’s up, Beatty?”



“She’s dating Doug Rhinoceros.”


Beat screamed, “Why am I even bothering! You don’t get it, you don’t get anything! Nose in a Virgin’s Master Guide. Get real!”

I turned back to my character sheet and wrote in the margin, “Here lies Figwit. A gentleman, kept his nose to himself. Still so much left to learn.”

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