1.25.2007

Finding My Home

I’ve gone offline and started submitting more pieces to print media. Romping through newsstands looking for a fit is enough to bring a female essayist to tears. I have little to say about make up and diets. Actually, I have a lot to say about make up and diets, but what I have to say would get me banned from women’s magazines. Besides, content aside, I can’t stand the stench left on my hands from touching those perfumed pages. Do these magazines really speak to my species?

I have much to say about the journey of the parent, but so far I’ve noticed that in-print documentation of the experience appears to end before the kid’s age hits double digits. My tales of encountering puberty don’t fit next to toilet training. Parents of teens don’t read magazines geared at parents anyway. We’re so ecstatic to have more freedom that we mostly just drop our kids at the movies and go read a novel or hang out with friends. If we’re feeling especially entitled, we may sneak in a massage. We return to pick up the kids and ask them if they smoked while we were gone. We then practice reading body language. I must find a publication interested in this phase of the parenting journey, the stories that reflect as much about our learning as that of our offspring.

Despite previous attempts, I’ve been discouraged by those in the know from further submitting to the NY Times op-ed page – the paper I read – because supposedly I need a bit more fame in my corner to get printed there, even if it’s fame only in the eyes of the NY Times. Instead, I’ve been nudged to the LA Times, which I no longer read. I will look there again.

I can’t deny my grandiosity. I’ve submitted to publications I’m too shy to confess to here despite my blog title. If they take me, I’ll shout it from the moon so you’ll certainly know.

I’ve been told not to look for a fit for my writing, but to find a place I could imagine writing for. This frustrates me. I’ve spent all this time looking for my voice, and now I’m supposed to tell it to shut up and be someone else. “These magazines have a format,” my ears hear. “Don’t try to get them to bend for you.”

“Why not?” I want to scream. “Isn’t that the point of creativity and originality? If we all speak the same cloned voice, why not just program my computer to write?”

Wait, could I do that? Go spend a week on a tropical island and have my computer write for me?

“But of course not,” you say.

“I know,” I reply, while fantasizing ever so briefly and imagining turning the idea into a tidy short story.

I will keep writing. I will be mindful of publications and what they print. I will send stacks of essays appropriately modified to places that may wish I’d never been born. I will poke and prod and pray and hope. And I will offer a finder’s fee to anyone who points me to a publication I haven’t considered that ends up taking me. Ready, set, go.


11 comments:

Neil said...

Good for you for focusing on what you want to do. I'm sure the act of submitting and hitting some walls will help you figure out where you and your amazing writing talent are best suited.

jen said...

bravo, sister. bravo!

you are doing it. and most importantly you've put the universe on notice that you are here and have something to say.

doors will open. just you wait. can't wait to share in the joy of it.

kristen said...

I can't wait for the shouting I know will come.

madness rivera said...

How 'bout Jane Magazine? It seems to be for the more forward-minded and clever woman. A little over clever sometimes, but shheeett, sure beats Eat Right and Exercise for the duh-billionth time.

But, yes, yes, yes, send it out. Bombard them all. Get in print.

fringes said...

Don't forget the small online lit mags. There are a few listed in my sidebar. They are always looking for new writers.

Thailand Gal said...

It seems the usual inconsistency between commerce and creativity reaches out to bite again. Hope you find a good fit soon so that you can send your message out to those ready to hear it. :)


Peace,

~Chani

Rrramone said...

And I say, keep at it!! You will find your readership. :-)

QT said...

Ugh. I so know what you are going through. I was never a writer of your caliber -I was a reporter for a daily newspaper-which was all about hiding your voice and following a style.

I am assuming, in all of your grandiosity, that you have gone for the obvious big ones -New Yorker, Harper's, etc. Many magazines I get have an unexpected personal essay column, like Real Simple, Outside, Sunset, most of my fitness mags, Saveur and Gourmet. I remember back when I used to get writing mags they always talked about how great the rates were for airline magazines. All you can do is keep sending stuff in.

Don't forget about us out here in the blog world, tho...

Deezee said...

thanks, all. didn't mean to imply I won't be hanging out here because I will. I just want to spend equal time with getting into other arenas.

and thanks for all the suggestions. madness, we were on the same wavelength. I was in the midst of rewriting a piece for Jane when I got your comment.

Emily said...

Send away! Good luck to you! Somewhere there will be a fit...

V-Grrrl said...

Essays are hard to get published. Kudos to you for continuing to stand at the door and KNOCK.