Tooting My Own Horn: I Got a Piece Published on the BREVITY Blog!

Did I ever tell you about a guy named Dinty W. Moore, who edits an amazing journal called Brevity? Did I ever tell you what a class act he is, along with being an amazing writer and editor? Did I ever link to his Amazon author page and tell you that his memoir Between Panic and Desire is one of the most inspiring pieces of creative nonfiction I’ve ever read, especially for the sheer amount of possibilities his work opens up in the ways we can tell true stories?

Well, now I’m humbled to report that Dinty chose a mini-essay of mine to feature on Brevity’s wonderful blog. Thanks so very, very much, Dinty, for giving me the opportunity to be part of your publication.

(Of course, if I divulge which of the posts on the Brevity blog is mine, then all you Fickle Readers out there will learn my Super-Secret Identity. Oh, what the hell? The post is here. Enjoy!)

And Now: Homemade Animated YouTube Videos about Writing and Academia!

[WARNING: Some of the language in the following clips is NSFW. Also, much of this material is extremely funny and painfully true. Or possibly painfully funny and extremely true.]

Oh, Dinty W. Moore, how do you always know how to cheer me up? Here’s what he posted the other day on Facebook. Apparently, it’s an old favorite:

And here’s another video about the job-hunting process for English PhDs. The fact that one of the characters is in a cage is actually a plot point. Get ready:

Brevity Now Open to Submissions

Hey, all! It’s submission season again! I just wanted to let you know that one of my favorite web journals, Brevity, edited by the fabulous Dinty W. Moore, is now open to submissions of creative nonfiction pieces of 750 words or less. Brevity tends to favor narrative nonfiction but does publish some experimental stuff. Check out their back issues for an idea of what they like.

Another reason to choose carefully what to send off this year: Brevity now charges a small reading fee for every submission. Their rationale for doing this is laid out here. To my mind, this seems like a solid explanation. Time was when reading fees were anathema to publishing and were associated with vanity presses and other ugly operations that preyed on naive writers. However, times are changing, and a two- or three-dollar tip or donation toward a journal’s operating costs–especially a free online journal–isn’t that unreasonable. Twenty years ago, you would have had to pay about as much for paper, ink, envelopes, and postage, anyway.

Also, according to Moore, some community colleges have been requiring freshman English students to submit to Brevity as part of their coursework, without adequately preparing students for how to put together a submission package and, indeed, what the editors actually want. Honestly, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening. I’ve required graduate students to submit to journals in the past, but we as a class always discussed the proper way to, say, write a cover letter and look around for appropriate markets. A word to all you fickle readers who are also freshman English instructors: NEVER do this! Ever! Never even be tempted! It stresses out editorial staff and generally craps up things for everyone.

On Rejection: Can I Just Say I Love Dinty W. Moore?

I know I’ve said this over and over and over again–so many times, in fact, that I’m sure some of you fickle readers out there think I’m on the payroll of Brevity, the online magazine of brief creative nonfiction that Moore edits.  I can assure you I’m in no way affiliated with this fine journal, nor have I ever been brave enough to submit anything, although someday I’m determined to begin a long, distinguished record of Brevity rejections.

But this isn’t about me.  This is about the plum awesomeness that is writer, editor, and human being extraordinaire Dinty W. Moore.  I was catching up on the Brevity blog tonight and discovered this post about a kerfluffle that developed when Triquarterly unwisely sent out a rejection letter claiming they did not review the rejected submission.  (As far as I can tell, what really happened was that Triquarterly was unable to review a giant backlog of submissions, but that intended message was lost in poor wording.)  Moore comments on Triquarterly’s breach of etiquette, and then adds a bio to his post that says:

Dinty W. Moore is editor of Brevity, and has been for 18 long years.  Some days his eyeballs feel as if they’ve been punched. Full disclosure: He has published work, both print and video, in TriQuarterly.  He has also been rejected by them, and by many other fine journals.

I love this bio.  Can’t we writers all say we’ve been rejected by “many other fine journals”?  Don’t those passes from major magazines forever sit in a Vault of Shame in the back of our minds, even as we write up the short list of our publishing victories? Thanks, Dinty, for your humility and for reminding us (because many of us out here, such as me, always need reminding) that writers everywhere, including those who are Known and Widely Published, get rejections.  To paraphrase my son’s kindergarten teacher: That’s just writin’.