Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hire Me to Do Your Literary Bidding

I am up for hire.

I will write whatever you need me to: lists, manifestos, jokes, song lyrics, break-up letters, kids books, directions to a made up place, campy dialogue for a satirical film, poems, post-it love notes, rants/raves, declarations, eulogies, essays, commencement addresses, one act plays, grant proposals, tankas, blurbs, blog posts, re-imagined bible verses, test questions, explanations of paintings you have not painted yet, acrostics, sermons, your course syllabus, screenplays, obituaries, speeches, you get the idea.

Prices negotiable.

Can this be a job please.

P.S. I’m totally serious.

Wandering Around Mankato

Yesterday Will and I drove an hour and fifteen minuets to Mankato, partly because we had never been there, and partly because we found a review of a great used bookstore on Front Street, which turned out to be closed. We did find a couple of strange gems on our trek, though.

For one, we drove by a weird "flea market" in Waseca:

If you're looking for tattered copies of Baby-Sitters Club books (who's not?), porcelain cats, porcelain boots, porcelain tigers, packages of Depends Fitted Underwear, or pieces of dilapidated sewing machines, this place is your jam.

Sidebar: just waiting for Will to chastise me for using the word "jam" and not meaning something spreadable and, preferably, raspberry, that you can put on toasted bread products.

Aside from that, wandered around looking for (closed) bookstore, found my building...

...(don't know why I'm making that particular face), then withdrew from the dead college part of town to eat sushi and to find this little gem tucked away in the laughably small poetry section of Mankato's Barnes & Noble:

Now we're Memorializing stuff, this Monday, day of no school. There was a tiny two-or three-minute parade rambling down our street earlier today: a few nice cars, two floats, some marching guys in fatigues, and six drummers from Albert Lea High School. Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks also to Memorial Day for providing two acceptances in my inbox this morning! I'll have two poems coming out in Neon Magazine sometime in the future (not sure about dates yet), and one poem up at Everyday Genius sometime, I think, next month.

Now back to celebrating Memorial Day the best way I know how: sitting around on the couch and complaining that I don't have anything to do. And, of course, preparing for these purported tornadoes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

No More Pencils, No More Books...

No more children's dirty looks.

Head Start let out for the summer, so I won't be cleaning up any pee from now on, unless it's my own. As much as I complained about it while I was there, it was an experience, to be sure. I now know tons of things that only kids can teach you. For one, I know that being in a preschool classroom definitely isn't for me. I also learned how to quickly identify visible diseases, and how to cope with mono (sleep and be lazy).

There are a ton of little scraps of construction paper scattered around my desk and in boxes that are full of little things the kids said throughout the year that I thought were funny or interesting. For instance:

"There's that noise again! It sounds like EVERYTHING!"
"Fish like water better than air."
"U is for Uniporn!"

Etc., etc.

I am working on goals for the summer, mostly writing-related, but also moving-my-legs-more-related. I only have to get 14 more rejections before I make my quota for the year.

Will and I plan to write and illustrate a kids book about ducks, which will probably not be as cool as this kids book about going to sleep. My Uncle Mark emailed me a pdf of that book earlier today with the message, "I think you are completely capable of writing kids books when the poetry isn't kicking in..."

Of course I'll try my hand at garnering some more acceptance letters during the summer.

And during these vacation months, some of my writing will go live into the deep abyss of the interweb. Right now I have a poem up in the current issue of elimae. In August, you'll be able to find one of my poems at Right Hand Pointing. And in July, I'll have something up at decomP. AND I just got news that one of my poems will be published in next year's issue of RHINO poetry. But that's not for, you know, another eleven months. So don't bust out the streamers and confetti just yet.

If you have a kids book or poem idea you'd like to commission, my whole summer is wide open, and I'm already practicing complaining about how bored I am. Shoot me an email. We'll make something awesome happen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Post About Dolphins

Today Will and I went to the Minnesota Zoo. We watched the dolphin show (they were doing a dress rehearsal for the real show, which will start after Memorial Day), and I saw a 47-year-old dolphin.

Did you know dolphins lived that long? I didn't. My mind is blown.

Here's a picture of a dolphin kissing a dog.

Friday, May 6, 2011

1 Year, 100 Rejections: 75% Done

For those of you who don't know about 1 Year, 100 Rejections, I will explain: My friend Tanya Jarrett came up with the idea last August. This could be false. I don't recall the month, but August seems like a good enough one. The idea was this: to send out good poems to good journals and try to get 100 rejections in a calendar year, starting September 1.

So on September 1, 2010, I set out to achieve this goal. I kept writing poems to submit, and put in the long wait. Finally some rejections came pouring in. Few acceptances came, but they did come.

As of today, I am 75% done. Seventy-five rejections from sixty- or seventy-odd magazines. (Some mags rejected me more than once! Fancy that.)

So here's the roundup:

1. Third Coast: Sept. 9: Form letter
2. Sycamore Review: Sept. 10: Form letter
3. Crazyhorse: Sept. 12: Form letter ("manuscript... number 23072")
4. Mid-American Review: Sept 22: Form letter
5. Rattle: Sept 23: Form letter
6. The 2nd Hand: Oct. 10: Personal letter (a non-fiction submission with "lack of pronoun clarity")
7. Copper Nickel: Oct. 10: Form letter
8. Indiana Review: Oct. 28: Form letter
9. Bat City Review: Oct. 31 (SPOOKY REJECTION!): Form letter
10. Catalonian Review: Oct. 31 (ANOTHER SPOOKY REJECTION!): Personal letter (a "close call")
11. West Branch: Nov. 1: Form letter
12. West Wind Review: Nov. 4: Form letter
13. Failbetter: Nov. 4: Form letter
14. Smartish Pace: Nov. 18: Personal form letter: ("your submission was competitive (if it hadn't been you would have received this notice sooner) and was in the mix until the end.")
15. Fugue: Nov. 26: Form letter
16. AGNI: Dec. 6: Personal letter ("...lively and interesting...")
17. Beloit Poetry Journal: Dec. 13: Personal letter ("How to Die is the most successful. Glad to have seen your work again.")
18-20. GUD: Dec. 13: Form letters (they require you to submit individual poems as opposed to one document)
21. A Public Space: Dec. 16: Form letter
22. Memoir (and): Dec. 27: Form letter
23. Boxcar Poetry Review: Jan. 10: Form letter
24. POETRY: Jan. 14: Form letter (duh)
25. Crazyhorse: Jan. 16: Form letter (rejection #2 for the year: "manuscript... number 25054")
26. Hayden's Ferry Review: Jan. 18: Form letter
27. West Branch: Jan. 20: Form letter (#2 for the year)
28. Cream City Review: Jan. 20: Form letter
29. Ninth Letter: Jan. 26: Form letter
30. Black Warrior Review: Jan. 30: Form letter
31. Rattle: Jan. 30: Form letter (#2 for the year)
32. Third Coast: Jan. 31: Form letter (#2 for the year)
33. Beloit Poetry Journal: Feb. 10: Personal letter (with advice for edits on a poem which later was accepted with those edits)
34. Linebreak: Feb. 10: Form letter
35. Versal: Feb. 15: Form letter
36. Ninth Letter: Feb. 15: Form letter (#2 for the year)
37. West Branch: Feb. 23: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
38. Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art: Feb. 25: Form letter (masquerading as a personal letter "We really enjoyed this piece, but we didn't feel it was quite right...")
39. Redactions: Feb. 28: Form letter
40. New Orleans Review: Mar. 6: Form letter (happy birthday to me!!)
41. FIELD: Mar. 8: Form letter
42. Green Mountains Review: Mar. 12: Personal letter ("Our readers loved your stuff, as did our poetry editor...")
43. Puerto del Sol: Mar. 16: Form letter
44. The New Yorker: Mar. 25: Personal letter (I will say that it contained the word "admirable" though I won't say much else, lest I faint again)
45. Kenyon Review: Mar. 25: Form letter (after being out for a LONG time and having been on the editor's table, not that I'm bitter...)
46. Mid-American Review: Mar. 26: Form letter (#2 for the year)
47. Rattle: Mar. 26: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
48. New York Quarterly: Mar. 27: Form letter
49. Threepenny Review: Mar. 30: Form letter ("please accept our apologies for the automated message system.")
50. Alaska Quarterly: Mar. 30: Form letter (with a sloppily hand-written "RE: Your Poetry Submission" and "Many thanks" on the bottom)
51. Nashville Review: Mar. 31: Personal letter (a bland personal note about how they enjoyed my work, no doubt spurred on by the fact that they had had my submission for a long time and they felt bad)
52. AGNI: Mar. 31: Form letter (BURNED! A form letter after a personal one... ouch!)
53. Valparaiso Poetry Review: Mar. 31: Form letter
54. Foundling Review: Mar. 31: Personal letter ("some nice lines" also my fourth rejection on March 31st)
55. Catalonian Review: Apr. 1: Form letter (with my first name misspelled "Bret")
56. The Southeast Review: Apr. 3: Form letter
57. Ninth Letter: Apr. 10: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
58. Foundling Review: Apr. 12: Personal letter (with my name totally gotten wrong: "Some nice lines in there, Elizabeth. '[QUOTE FROM POEM]' We have finally decided to pass this time." What a strange rejection.)
59. The Missouri Review: Apr. 12: Personal letter ("warm, candid...")
60. Boulevard: Apr. 13: Form letter
61. Catalonian Review: Apr. 15: Different Form letter than before ("going to pass for the time being." So I should send the same batch to them again in five weeks. I think.)
62. A Public Space: Apr. 15: Form letter (#2)
63. Gulf Coast: Apr. 16: Form letter
64. Black Warrior Review: Apr. 18: Form letter
65. jubilat: Apr. 20: Form letter ("Dear Writer:")
66. DIAGRAM: Apr. 23: Form letter (one of my favorite form letters: "We get a lot of submissions and can only use a fraction of them, so please understand that this No most likely means "Not Quite the Right Fit," not "No Good." But in a few cases it does mean No Good or they wouldn't have said "most likely"!)
67. Boxcar Poetry Review: Apr. 25: Form letter (#2 for the year!)
68. Graywolf Press: Apr. 29: Form letter (on my manuscript submission)
69. Word Riot: Apr. 29: Form letter
70. Kill Author: Apr. 30: Form letter
71. Third Coast: Apr. 30: Form letter (#3 for the year!)
72. decomP: May 1: Form letter
73. ABJECTIVE: May 4: Form letter
74. West Wind Review: May 4: Form letter
75. Cincinnati Review: May 5: Form letter (also included in the envelope was a paper asking me to give them money for a contest I won't win)

So that's it so far. Lots of places rejected me, some two or three times! One day I got four rejections. But take heart! I have also received six or seven acceptances. I have already posted about most of those, so I don't need to tell you that again.

I got lazy and stopped putting in links to these journals, but they are all highly Googleable.

Ha! "Googleable."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Developments (Not Arrested)

There have been some developments on many fronts in the Jenkins-Braun household.

We finally are getting around to getting rid of the books we have doubles of, including our Norton Anthologies, and we have had arguments over whose marginal notes are better and for what reasons; most of my notes were argued for because they made jokes about the authors or had funny drawings on the upper righthand corner of the page, etc. Will's notes were generally found thoughtful and possibly helpful for understanding the text. You can see why such arguments occurred.

We're also not wasting any time in replacing the empty spaces in the bookshelf. Just yesterday I purchased Vita Nova by Louise Gluck and Lucifer at the Starlite by Kim Addonizio, both books which I am pretty excited to read. I read the first few poems of Vita Nova last night before I went to bed at 7:30. Which brings us to another development:

I have mono, and have had it for several weeks. It's nice to finally know why I have been a lazy sack of blood lately.

Sidenote: there's a dude outside walking down the sidewalk and he's wearing a skirt. Not like, a kilt either. It's definitely a hippie girl skirt, flowing, earthy, lady skirt.

Okay. Some other things:

Robert Lee Brewer, a blogger for Writer's Digest, held a contest for a poem in form. The poem had to have ten lines, with ten syllables in each line. I submitted my poem and it won first place. So that will be featured in Writer's Digest's September issue.

One of my poems got picked up by Thunderclap! Press today, and will be out in their sixth issue (possibly soon?). It's so weird to get so many acceptances right in a row like this.

ALSO! The May issue of elimae went up yesterday and you can find one of my poems there.

Anyway, the only other news is that I'm going to Applebees now and going to get looked at strange by the waitress again when I order a house salad with no bacon bits and a side of garlic mashed potatoes.