Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Was it Something I Said?

Twice in the past months I have submitted to an online publication only to see them go out of business shortly after. These were not fly-by-night zines; one was in business for 4 years and the other for 6 putting out 36 issues. I’m starting to wonder if it’s me. Here is my cover letter to the first publication:

Dear Sirs:
I have included 3 poems for you to consider. They are brilliant and most likely beyond your comprehension. If you do not publish them I swear to God I will find where you live, sell tickets to the neighbors and let them watch while I burn your house to the ground. Have a great day!

I was direct and to the point, didn’t waste the editor’s time and wished him well at the end. I think this was the perfect introduction. Here is one I sent a few weeks ago:

I have attached a file containing several poems for you to consider. Work this transcendent cannot not be showcased properly in a publication as low brow as yours but I still believe it’s in your best interests to print them. Good luck in your future endeavors. You’ll need it if you reject my poems.

Again, I think I did an admirable job and this time a threat was only implied. I don’t see the problem, but the magazine decided to stop publishing days after I submitted.

I went through my records and noticed a disturbing trend back as far as 1993 when I had a story called “Taking Jenny Seriously” accepted but the magazine went out of business just before they were to print it. I found this note I wrote to them:

I see you have finally come to your senses. I will now release your cat Pipsy.

Hmm. I guess I should have held onto the cat a while longer. The following year my story “Magic Hands” was accepted, but again, the zine in question went out of business right before my story was to be printed. I had written this to the editor:

Sir, it is with profound disinterest that I accept your acceptance of my story Magic Hands. I have accepted that being accepted by a publication such as yours is a necessary step to acceptance by a higher class of magazine for which I would like to be accepted.

I was drinking a lot of cough syrup at this time. A particularly maddening example happened in 2000. Three of my poems were accepted by a small zine. Before the publication date arrived I had to withdraw one of them. This angered the editor to the point where she decided not to publish any of them. I won’t reprint here the whole letter I sent her but it included the phrases “drop your ashes back down into the pit of hell” and “if you regain consciousness”.

I’m beginning to think it’s something I said.

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