Sunday, November 04, 2007

a promotion of sorts

Yes, my view is beautiful. Yes, this city is gorgeous, and the day reminded me of it. A perfect day for a bike ride, even up the hills to Golden Gate Park. Afterward there was much lying in the grass, and laziness, and conversation. Sandwiches from Dolores Park Cafe, too many attractive women, and a deliciousness to the air itself, how it felt against my skin biking the last few blocks home.

I haven't been talking about work much but that doesn't mean it's not good. At the market this week I bought Pineapple Guavas from the avocado man, Fuyu persimmons from Knoll, apples from my man in the cowboy hat. And while walking around with my lil bag of fruit I ran into my coworkers, so they collected me at the market even though I was due at work in 15 minutes and we puttered around the market collecting the produce they'd picked out and convincing the head chef to buy us lots and lots of doughnuts from Boriana's. My first time eating those delicious spheres. I sort of want to make a black-and-white cookie version of one, with half nutella and half custard...

There's so much delicious excess at the market...all this wonderful food we carted around, and all for the savory chefs I think except a couple crates of persimmons from Blossom Bluff. I left in a flurry of adrenaline after spending the night working on tiny projects (juicing, dicing, chopping) and running up to the station to help my coworker bust through a mass of tickets and there was only half an hour, really, of exhaustion, which was good. I like our menu. I like the new desserts. I like what we're doing and there's a contentment to the quiet buzz of small tasks.

The cryptic offer I alluded to last week? Details are in and it appears that now I will be an editorial assistant for Fringe. I'll have all-the-time access to our submissions inbox and will be responsible for weeding out submissions, deciding what to recommend for consideration by our readers, rejecting authors who don't make the cut, and so on. I always wanted to be an editorial assistant, or ea as we say, but I always thought it's be for Penguin Putnam or Random House or Simon & Schuster. Vintage Contemporaries would have been my preferred house.

It is very exciting to be able to peek one more layer behind the curtain. There's such mythology around publishing. How does it happen? When you send something to a journal, where does it go and who reads it and what happens to your carefully crafter cover letter? If you are taking the time to remind a journal they liked your last submission, does that somehow get you special consideration? If you are highly published or not, do you land in a separate pile? How long is the slush pile, and what does a virtual slush pile look like? How does a non-linear piece or an experimental piece jostle for room next to a screenplay, am illustrated poem, a piece of short fiction, a full length story? Does longer work have a place in online journals? Who reads the journal, anyway? Do we have a sense of place, of the here-and-now, and if not then what replaces place?

I've been reading for Fringe for some time now and I know some more than what I used to about the grisly process of deciding. Sometimes the first comment on a submission, good or bad, taints its journey through the reading process. It becomes hot or cold. Does it get a fair reading if I know three voices before me were not interested and even if I like it, there's not much chance of it going anywhere?

I know that it isn't right to consider audience when writing but still those considerations creep in. I feel a lot more secure, paradoxically, when sending out my work because I can think, oh this or something much like it is what will happen to me. Probably, the person reading my work is on a computer in a cafe, or at their desk job, and is not devoting a lot of time or attention to this. They are engaged initially, or not, they make their decisions based on their sympathy for my tone or subject. They are only reading, after all. {How my boss would likely criticize me for using "only" here, the cousin of "just"...for reading is one of the finer things in life, but still, it is not always done with full attention}

I'm going to get on that writing-thing for the night and will post a word count and first sentence later. I've been thinking so much about stories lately. For any writers out there, a call to submissions for Fringe. Details on the submission process can be found at their site.

We're seeking submissions in all genres that explore the role ethnos plays in viewing the world, in writing, in living. We want to read literature that fosters understanding, that intelligently navigates the complexities of ethnicity, race and identity. Send us your interpretation! Hurry, the deadline for submission is December 15, 2007. Please mark submissions with Ethnos in the subject line.

3 comments:

Meredith said...

I found you! Yes, it was a beautiful day for a ride.

Marusya said...

hey there ..congrats on your "ea" job. I like how you see it as a writer's research project tho I have no doubt you'll be an excellent editorial assistant too!-hungrygirl

Busy all the time. said...

meredith-

yes, you found me. hope those sore muscles are feeling better ;)

maryusa-
thanks! i really enjoy learning about the publishing process in any form because it makes that side of writing so much less scary. don't know if peter told you but i'll be making the torte...