Filed under writing

Beautiful Sentences: David Gilbert

I knew it was heading toward a dark place, but the way he twists the reader into being an accomplice, like you’re the voice in Edgar Mead’s head, that was pretty cool, like the reader affects what’s being read, kind of a Schrödinger’s cat-and-mouse game.

David Gilbert, & Sons.

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2017 in rejections (and acceptances)

I’ve upped my submissions a bit from last year, but still below last year. Once again, I fell short of my goal of 200 rejections, but came closer than last year with 160 vs 144. I did manage to set a couple records with my highest ever acceptance rate (4.2%, up from last year’s previous record 3.3%) and highest ever personal response rate (36% up from the previous record of 27%). This year’s publications were “Bartholomew L. Bartholomew” in Masque & Spectacle,  “An Outsider” in Dear America: Reflections on Race and “In Extremis” in Valparaiso Fiction Review.

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Query rejections were again mostly form although I did get one full request which ended up with no further communication. My first novel is officially trunked.

Poetry has been grim this year with, despite a much higher submission rate, no acceptances and only a handful of personal rejections.

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Beautiful Sentences: Ron Hansen

Mariette gazes around the oratory. Each nun stares at the prioress in common. Each stares at her separately.

Ron Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy.

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Beautiful Sentences: David Gilbert

Adolescence seems to open a small hole in which the rest of our lives drain.

David Gilbert, & Sons.

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Beautiful Sentences: Beth Ann Fennelly

I want to paint in a foreign language.

Beth Ann Fennelly, “Berthe Morisot: Retrospective”

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Beautiful Sentences: David Gilbert

He seemed a veteran of—I don’t know, adolescence, I suppose, which like all wars is particular to the combatant.

David Gilbert, & Sons.

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Beautiful Sentences: Kevin Sampsell

Those teen years are when the scars happen. The scars you have to tend to the rest of your life, hoping they heal or fade away.
Kevin Sampsell, “I’m Jumping Off the Bridge”
 
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Beautiful Sentences: David Gilbert

She had reasonable good looks, like many a reasonable girl at Exeter, the product themselves of reasonable mothers, always with dark hair never cut too short and surprisingly bad teeth—if not crooked, then yellow; if not yellow, then with large gums—and with naturally UV-protected skin, glasses almost mandatory but stylishly framed (their most overt fashion choice), bodies solid but never fat, athletic from those reasonable genes that had survived past feminine hardship and now chased field hockey balls instead of wayward sheep, this type of reasonableness not necessarily smart but often very focused, and not guaranteed plain Janes because there was plenty of sex appeal and humor in that reason, a sharpness that stood in contrast to the groundless swell around them. so that these girls, these women with their chunky jaws and dirt-brown eyes and honest opinions of themselves, held the secret of their own common sense, which, if discovered, would shock you blind. These women often work in publishing.

David Gilbert, & Sons.

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“An Outsider”: The Story Behind the Story

This is another story which has been kicking around for a while before it finally was published, Back in the ‘90s, I submitted this to Story, received a hand-written rejection letter and didn’t realize that was a sign I was onto something and didn’t do anything more with the piece for years.

This story has gone through more rounds of revision than anything else I’ve written (other than my ill-fated and now-trunked  novel). For a while it began with a dodgeball game, the count of players in which I was never able to get right despite my best efforts. Then one workshop participant pointed out that the story really began a bit later and that “I don’t know how the story about the witch began” would make for an awesome opening line.

I was on the verge of putting this story aside one more time when the call for Dear America came in my e-mail and I decided I’d toss this one out to see if maybe with such a specialized call it might find an audience and it finally did.

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Beautiful Sentences: James Wood

The acceptance of this kind of writing is dangerous not because anybody will confuse it with life, will think, “This is what life is like,” but because readers may read it and think, “This is what literature is like.”

James Wood, “Tom Wolfe’s Shallowness, and the Trouble with Information.”

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