Saturday, March 24, 2007

first complaints, second thanks

some things i need to complain about.

one is... i have been coughing this painful, dry, abrupt cough. the kind of abrupt that means you can't always get to covering yr mouth. & that is just... so rude. & i feel bad about it. but. that's abrupt for you. my back hurts from coughing. i'm working a half-day today because of it all.

also... the second complaint i have is this:

why, & since when, are novels "too literary" for presses to publish?

if we had a dollar for every admiring but sound rejection calling maggie's novel "too literary" we wouldn't need to wait a year to buy a house in Durham.

i mean... in my mind they are actually saying: yr book is too good for us to publish it. is it that way in yr mind? meanwhile... maggie spent over four years of her life writing this "too good" novel... waiting tables so she could do it... & since that F*** GW began his second term... she has been sending it out... only to get these responses...

"too literary"
"above our readers"

it is simply... indigestable.



last night we saw Jack Kimball & Suzanne Stein at SPT. we only went for the readings because of that cough i mentioned. but we went because we really wanted to see both of these poets in action.

and we were not disappointed.

in fact. we were delighted. & left feeling better than we felt arriving.


Anonymous said...

don't give up!

amber said...

i'd like to read it so i hope you get a publisher.

Anonymous said...

I'm leaving this comment in an old-ish post about Magdalena's novel being "too literary" to be accepted by publishers. I got here by googling her name after reading excerpts of her novel here and there in online mags. Personally I think the novel is amazing and I went on google looking for how I could buy the book and landed on this depressing post instead. I don't understand the "too literary" excuse -- was Jonathan Lethem "too literary" for his NY publishers? Okay, Lethem's not exactly a parallel comparison to your novel but my point is these publishers must be underestimating the interest level of actual fiction readers out there. I read scattered bits of contemporary poetry (which I gather is the world you come from); some of the experimental stuff is very smart, but a bit too disconnected and decontextualized for my taste. I mainly read fiction, mostly European fiction (if that editor thinks your novel is too repetitive, try siccing some Bernhard or even Duras on him), occasionally some American fiction too, though I'm unsure of a lot of what passes as avant-garde American fiction nowadays-- I mean, Ben Marcus is interesting but the depth and circumstance just doesn't seem to be there, sure the surface is astonishing and meticulously well-wrought but I have a hard time grasping what the actual emotional/intellecutal stakes are. Same can be said for a lot of what you see in Conjunctions mag, though of course there's always the odd gem. Whereas in the bits of your novel that I've seen, there's an obvious reason for the repetitive format, the emotional investment is there, it's both larger than and just the right size for the format and subject matter, and your writing gives me that feeling of ageless redemption that I look for in fiction and find sorely missing in a lot of stuff.

Wonder if the rejections have anything to do with the urge to resist home-grown originality? With your name, you could pass your novel off as being the English translation of a (Polish?) (Russian?) manuscript; I'm willing to bet these same publishers would look at it then in a totally different context, you'd be one of those artsy Euro writers that American presses like to publish to keep up their cosmopolitan image. Americans have a high tolerance for unusualness as long as it's not American. I think of your other post somewhere on this blog where you talk about being gay but not having your writing understood by the gay community. I'm not gay myself so can't speculate on the reasons for this, but your comment reminds me of a New Yorker essay by Milan Kundera I read recently, where he talks about how writers are often underappreciated in their home country and can only be properly appreciated by foreign readers, in a foreign country. In an odd way, this thesis makes a lot of sense for me, I guess I'm just an American reader who likes American writers that most other American readers (or make that publishers) won't accept.

Anyway, sorry for blabbing on and on in your blog. Just wanted to say don't give up, this book is important and it needs to get out to readers and it must be published someday.


Anonymous said...

great ..thanks for sharing.....

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