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Monday, December 14, 2009

Dear Poet Who Sent Us a Manuscript During Our Open-Submission Period





Not much time for blogging these past couple of weeks, what with the great American gingerbread-house- decorating-extravaganza, the numerous trips to The Seattle Center for obligatory carousel rides, and the pilgrimage to the Bellevue Goodwill (which is actually in Redmond; a bit of a trek but worth it), but we could not resist posting this poem by Marjorie Manwaring as we were just now thinking of rejection slips and how we'd like one right now, anything but this unbearable editorial silence that rolls in like a great, chilling fog each mid-December and does not lift until just after New Year's (just around the time, come to think of it, when the Great American Christmas Season Holiday Hangover begins to lift), though I did hear from The Kenyon Review last week--a kind and warm rejection email that said I almost hit the bull's eye until I sullied things up with a Tombstone Pizza (no need to shed tears for me; I've already sent it off to elsewhere). Oh, and this Un-Christmas-y greeting (see post title) from a press that will go unnamed.

Happy wassailing to all our followers and admirers (and heck, even those lukewarm); please be assured we do not ever regret you.

Rejection Letter from Gertrude Stein

Dear Poet Dear Author Dear Someone

We are pleased very pleased

To regret sir.

Regret to inform you the list for

Talents selected not you dear.

So many many and many

Many talents not you dear.

Received many fine not you.

Thank you extremely fine thank you.

Keep us I mind please keep us.

Please keep

Your submission in mind.

Entries so fine many fine

Winners selected not you.

Not you. Not quite

What we need

At this time not quite.

Keep in mind best of luck next time.

Editors wish you this guideline.

Best of selected regret.

Not chosen you were not able.

We inform our regret.

We reject your receive.

We receive we regret. Inform you we do.

We do as we do.

Today: To do: Don’t forget.

Difficult choice we regret.

Space an issue weren’t able. Limited

Space unable.

Please

Accept this issue

Our complimentary

Gift to you.

Letterpressed gift in which you

Do not appear we regret you.

We regret to reject with respect

Please accept. Do

Not not accept

This reject

If you do

If you do

With respect

With respect

We reject you.

-by Marjorie Manwaring


Monday, December 7, 2009

Sandra Tsing Loh Sings the Bad Mother Blues



She's at it again in this month's Atlantic. She's all self-flagellating about her affair, her bad mother status, while at the same justifying her behavior because we are all "exhausted and resentful by a role or set of roles that we don't recall deliberately choosing." Because "the 21st century mom's life is actually far worse than that of her 1950s counterpart."

We should all be running out and having affairs, she seems to be saying. If you're not having an affair and walking out on your marriage, something is clearly wrong with you because "the very success of the modern American family . . . surely depends on spouses not being in love." We're all on a Baton-death-march-style hike in the wilderness and, as she asks so brilliantly, "how can you compare tan lines on the Appalachian Trail?"

Okay, so sometimes it's tough to put your sexy on before soccer practice on Saturday morning, but that doesn't negate the chance for a quickie after lunch, does it? (Hasn't Tsing Loh heard of Cinderella III?).

It's clear that Tsing Loh feels really, really bad about getting tossed out of the house on her ass; it wasn't what she intended at all, I'm sure, when she started fucking the guy she didn't have the domestic partnership with (maybe that's part of the problem, calling our booked asses and hot babes partners, calling our love-shack unions partnerships; it's like leaning into your lover and cooing baby, will you have sexual intercourse with me?), she had no idea she was about to step into a Class VII rapid without a paddle, a set of oars, or a life preserver.

But why does she need to justify herself? A recent article in The New York Times Sunday magazine (Women Who Want to Want by Daniel Bergner) shares how 30% of women experience at some point in their lives the "feeling [of] no wish for sex whatsoever." This seems to be the result of at least two things: (1) the way male clinicians have historically imposed their perception of desire onto women (that is, women experience a slow-burn desire, and these less urgent flames are deemed abnormal), and (2) inept/emotionally disconnected partners. According to Bergner, the one exception to the slow-burn school of desire is at the beginning of a relationship. It almost makes you wonder why any wife would remain faithful!

But I'm not the one labeling Loh bad. She's done that all on her own.

What exactly is a bad mother?

Before I had kids I thought it unconscionable that ocassionally I'd return home from elementary school to a locked front door, no key, no note, and an hour to kill in the backyard.

Now that I'm a mom, hey, no biggie, you should have paid better attention when I showed you where I hid the key.

Then: I'm unhappy and depressed and it's all your fault!

Now: Hey mom, help me decide: should I make pecan sandies or pecan crispies?

Then: A good mommy is June Cleaver. When the Beav clocks Wally or steals big bills from her patent leather purse, you can't hear her screaming from two blocks away because she is happily vacuuming or dusting.

Now: A good mommy only sometimes let's out a string of expletives, and usually they're only audible from one block away.

Then: A good mommy plays Candyland, house, and dress up.

Now: A good mommy's best friends are the microwave and the DVD player. Sometimes the good mommy says "please go play with your brother; I have to finish this email."

Then: A good mommy is happily baking cookies. When she's done she lets you lick both beaters.

Now: A good mommy (according to Tsing Loh) is one that does not put her head in the oven, and on most days I would have to agree with her.