Sunday, August 21, 2011

Forget to ink your work in blood?

Recently, I approached one the writing darlings of Burlington, Vermont to review my work. I cheerfully warbled away a friendly e-mail.

Mistake One.

I asked if they would take a look at my work, free to download!

Mistake Two.

And I sent the link.

Bad, bad Jenny Dreadful.

      Lest anyone skew my stance - I'll make it clear. I own no T.V., no camera phone with gadgets, do not twitter, would rather typewrite if monetary circumstances allowed.  I get my news from the radio driving to and from work, and get the weather from co-workers or simply looking outside. It works for me. I'm 26 - so this stance is not very popular among my generation - unless you're growing dreads and bike to work in -30 below to save the environment - neither of which I do.

So. What mistake did I make when approaching this local writing collective I stare through the glass at, like a little Oliver Twist outside a bakery?

 I was quite simply told: I was courted by that monster, that whore of Babylon, lulu. Maker of free downloads and print copies. I was seduced. BY CORPORATE BOOK MAKING! AHHHHHH!!!!

     I should have sent them a chapbook, bound with my hair. Duh. And made the cover in a darkroom at odd hours while subsisting on a trust fund. Never mind my working poor roots (and bills) that demand both a full time and a part time job. I should have cured the pages of my chapbook with my sweat. I should have printed the copies off the printer I don't own.
    Idiot. If possible, I should have used my own hide to carefully mark down those wrought words, mixing blood in with ink!

     Needless to say, I was given a very lengthy e-mail on the evils I hath committed, and very succinctly put in my place. Nor would they use my (eww!) dirty chapbook, a virtual whore coming to infect their computers and very way of life!

Thank *insert deity of choice* for people like R.S. Bohn. Thank fucking god. She agreed to view my chapbook and write a review. And she lived to tell the tale. Right here: Look!!! And she didn't even get scabies.

I leave you with a little piece I nattered off today. She's been haunting my insides, so I let her out to peek around.

The long haired Jewess of Morning

Fills my cup with bitterness, and keeps
loneliness as a kinswoman. At the coffee shop
with my clasped cup I am not the only
supplicant whose throat works for the
hot punishment of roasting beans, but oh,
Sweet Jewess, mine is the only throat who
works to simply breathe you too. 


  1. How am I supposed to direct my righteously righteous anger when you finish with "mine is the only throat who works to simply breathe you too"? I almost want to tell you Fuck you! Jenny Dreadful! For writing that! And also for some other things! My god! I want to be the coffee that burns the middle of your tongue so you can't taste anything else for three days!

    But, alas, I have returned to my senses. And so, the cold analysis:

    This whole self-pub/indie press/"traditional" pub threesome, complete with petty jealousies and snark, is reaching a crescendo of late. You got caught in the crossfire, and unfortunately, one of the little snobs decided to make themselves feel bigger. So be it. You know the truth of what you've accomplished, and yes, I not only witnessed it on the page but somehow escaped without scabies. I didn't even get cooties. There's a bit of eczema on my shin, but I'm not sure that's your fault. Could be the start of zombification.

    Loved the chapbook.

    And that's all that matters.

  2. Hey there Jenny -- self-pub /indie press/ "traditional" pub -- who cares. Write it on lead plate and I'd read it.

    For some reason a bunch of folk out there think you shouldn't go seeking money for all those long hours you put in. They want it for free, or they have a misplaced, 'starving artiste' aesthetic to uphold. But ever wondered why rockers are supposed to put two fingers up to the cash, but gangsta rappers gotta love it? Convention. So who says we gotta be different by all being the same?

    My guess -- your first, abortive reviewer hasn't been as successful as they'd like.

    TBH I'm excited you've gotten something else out there and I'm keen to check it out. I've read fragments, but I want to read more.

    I rather suspect I'm going to like what I read. St.

  3. Oh, you two.

    Thank you. Quite simply.

    @ Bohn - I wondered what that whole mess was about! I knew some hipsters were up in arms about starting small presses, but you've explained the vitriol from said darling of Burlington.

    And a huge thank you for the review. Incredible words from a writer I truly respect.

    @ Stephen - the funny thing is, I'm not even making any money. Just paid in copies, but I understand the whole convention dealio. Go ahead, give the chapbook a read - Bohn said she didn't even catch anything!

    (results pending on zombiefication)

  4. My copy dispatched from Lulu today. If zombification likely, (bizarrely) Brad Pit filming 'World War Z' in Glasgow just now, so I'll be able to fit right in. Either way, going to read me some chapbook ;) St.

  5. Hi there Jenny -- No Zombification, in fact, quite the opposite. I really loved it. Mentioned a bit more in my reply to your post back on my blog, but as I suspected your 'writing darling' really missed out. What is there not to like? St.

  6. Wow. That is completely absurd. I cannot possibly imagine someone in the communities I am in sending an email like that. What is wrong with people?

    Did you respond to her in any way?

  7. I did e-mail him, and despite our differences - and the strong urge to grab his neck via interwebs - I sent a neutral response as I could, explaining why I could not self-create my chap (he had even included some blow-by-blow instructions, which was very kind *watch my eyes roll*).

    When I think of the writing community, a miasma does hang about my head. And surprisingly, it is tough to break in down here. Burlington takes it's art very seriously. Dressing a certain way, hanging out at certain places, those are major stepping stones to knowing and meeting certain people who are 'in'.

    Regardless, I'm an easy target for these sorts of things. A relative no-name, with no major connections. A writing buddy of mine from college (one of the very precious few, if not only) suggested I take such a lengthy explanation as a compliment, since I could have received an outright form rejection.

    I'll likely not reach that point anytime soon. At least, not without a lobotomy. Thank you for your curiosity! And glad to know not all writing communities are like this. Like R.S. Bohn said, I may have been a casualty in the print vs. electronic war that is waging. :-(

  8. You mean you didn't lick every page of your chapbook to impregnate it with your muse-saliva? God damn, woman. THANKS FOR KILLING BORDERS. It wasn't because they stocked their shelves exclusively with Sarah Palin autobiographies and wretched romance novels.

    You killed books, Jenny, with your luluing ways.

    You killed them.

    Thanks for your comment on my "Short, Fast and Deadly" submission! I'm not hugely psyched by blogspot at the moment, as tumblr is SO MUCH BETTER for wasting time, but it was so lovely to hear from you!