Friday, March 1, 2019

No U-Turns

Tapco R3-4 High Intensity Prismatic Square Standard Traffic Sign
Life is long enough for most people to accommodate a certain amount of acceptances and rejections. People who are free-lance writers will remember the age of the SASE. The ominous self-addressed stamped envelope rarely if ever brought good news. Today, many magazines use a site called Submittable which allows writers to see the fate of their work on line. For others the experience of acceptance and rejection relates more to early romance and then college. After that they go on to careers in which the playing field is usually more level. But there's a certain thrill akin to gambling that one begins to miss when the old outlets dry up. Unless you're unfaithful in your marriage you're not going to experience the thrill of that first kiss or the disappointment of the slap in the face and ditto once your performance on this or that standardized test is evaluated. Writing is an interesting case actually. Since the literary world has become so moribund, there are less and less magazines in existence and the few that continue on more often than not appear in an on-line format which doesn’t pay much if anything for a writer’s work. The thrill of acceptance, when it does come, brings fewer rewards. In the  face of this some writers have begun to seek other outlets--for instance the emergency rooms of their local hospitals. They may even try to fob their work off as evidence of this or that kind of aberration. You might for instance send a poem with a dark theme to The Journal of Forensic Psychology and Psychology. There is also The Journal of Irreproducible Results that runs parodies of scientific papers; there is even an Ig Nobel prize awarded each year by another satiric magazine The Annals of Improbable Research. Economics changes culture and the dearth of outlets for writers' work has even led some eager beavers to try to make their work perform a dual function. For instance, remember the no U-Turns sign? Who knows but couldn't that have resulted from a poem anonymously submitted to the DOT?

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