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Return My Brain, Please

The intense heat in Philadelphia, combined with the fact that I have a very young, fragile baby, means that we're essentially trapped inside, hanging out in the living room, which has the best air conditioner in the house. I've watched Titanic but don't have the energy to write about it today. Instead, I'll share some random musings.

  • My niece is fascinated by Kung Fu Panda. When she saw him in person several weeks ago, she kept asking to hold his hand. "It's so little," she'd exclaim, but I couldn't help noticing how relatively big it was, compared to her 3-year-old hand. He's a growing baby!

  • My neighbor Adele is back, and now she wants to talk about the baby every time I pass her. She keeps asking me, "What are you feeding him?" I don't know if that's so that I have to keep calling "Breast milk" across the lawn to her or if she really is forgetting. Apparently, although I thought she had moved, she was actually in a home recovering from a stroke. Yesterday, she showed me a kitten she just brought home. I urged her to make sure she gives it plenty of water in this heat. Hopefully, she'll remember to feed it.

  • Thumbs are great! KFP has gained enough muscular control to be able to self-soothe by putting his fingers into his mouth. Where before he might have fussed, now he goes for the thumb. It is truly a blessing, because unlike a pacifier, it doesn't fall out!

  • I'm in the process of putting together the Summer issue of Wild Violet. I know, I know, it's September, but technically, it's still summer for a couple more weeks. While sorting through the submissions, I came up with some new pet peeves:

    • Writers who show disdain for their characters. If you write about your main character as if s/he is an idiot who deserves scorn and is destined for disaster, it only makes me wonder if you have a deep-seated inferiority complex. I have no interest in watching you torture your hapless prey.

    • Starting a poem with a description of the sky. About 95 percent of all poems I receive that have the moon or the sun in the first stanza are indigestible pablum.

    • Simultaneous submissions that have clearly been bulk-mailed to more than five literary magazines. Even though we accept simultaneous submissions, that does not mean I want you to spam me. I actually created a special filter for one poet who continues to do that, despite my warnings. His work now goes directly in the trash.

  • I'm very glad we have developed the new format for Wild Violet. As soon as my rundown is complete, I'll be able to start plugging the text into pages and work on the graphics when I have time.

  • Every time I see a story about hoarders, such as this unfortunate woman, it makes me want to clean and organize. As soon as I get finished with the WV summer ish, I'm going to do some serious sorting and reorganizing, including finally donating or selling the items I've already separated out, which have been sitting in boxes on the porch since before KFP was born.

  • Nothing beats a baby smile on a hot day. Kung Fu Panda now smiles easily, and he gurgles and laughs when I speak to him. It does help to get my mind off the hot weather!

The heat bakes brains.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
I've come to the realization that many, many writers are simply unaware of, or choose to ignore, rules about simultaneous submissions. I, for one, don't allow them. I understand why it's a common practice -- who wants to wait around several months, without a backup plan, only to have a story or poem rejected? -- but it makes my life just that much harder as an editor. Reading submissions is not an insignificant investment of my time; it's annoying to invest that time, only to learn that a piece was already accepted elsewhere. But it still happens, despite my guidelines being pretty clear.

I've also come to the realization that many, many writers don't actually read guidelines.
Sep. 1st, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Very true. This is evidenced, also, by the number of people sending books to my post office box for review, when it clearly states that you should query first.

What's more distressing: many of them don't even seem to read the magazine! That's somewhat more understandable for a print mag, but you're telling me they couldn't spend a few minutes perusing the later issue of WV before sending me something? If they would do so, they might realize that what they're sending me is not a good fit. Then again, I think many people just are unfailingly optimistic and believe that, even though it is very different from what we publish, we'll take THEIR story.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Concur with this. I used to administer Otakon's AMV (Anime Music Video) contest, and it always boggled me when I'd get a submission that had nothing to do with anime (or even manga or anime/manga-derived videogame footage).

Another one was video codec. I asked for submissions to be in only two of the most-widely accessible codecs, but invariably I'd get submissions encoded in some obscure & unplayable video codec I'd never previously heard of.

That and the number of e-mails asking questions about issues that were clearly enumerated in the rules.

TLDR, I guess. The motto of our attention-fractured times.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
Speaking of Otakon, I had the same problem with Press Relations this year. For the first time, we had both a written Press Policy and an FAQ that addressed all of the concerns that come up each year. Based on some of the questions I received, though, some people lied when they clicked on the box reading, "yes, I've read the press policy."
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
just as an fyi, you missed a KFP substitution for the little guy's name ;)

hope you're all keeping cool in this horrible heat - the weekend is supposed to be quite nice!
Sep. 2nd, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
Whoops! Thanks. I'll fix it.

Weather.com says we'll be getting cooler weather after the coming storm. I'm hoping that we can take him somewhere this weekend and have another family outing. Have fun yourself!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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