[Matchup #18 in Tournament of Bookshit]
Let’s tie these together.
1. Don’t worry about it: your story/novel excerpt with the talking animal dream sequences is not going to get published in The New Yorker.
2. This might be why you have to talk shit about The New Yorker. You know you will never be published there.
3. This might be why you talk shit about God. You know he doesn’t exist.
4. But still, you submit.
5. But still, you pray.
6. Don’t worry about it: it’s okay not to know who you are. Every rejection will move you closer to some knowing.
7. When you come home late from some place, some place where you’ve talked a lot of shit about The New Yorker, you sit in your fetid chamber of screenglow and look at your talking-animals-dream-sequence story. You figured the talking animals dream sequence would make it a better story. You say to yourself, by way of wan justification: “I wanted to tap into the talking animals dream sequence tradition.” You know you didn’t invent any wheels. Knowing this is important, to your future as a writer published in The New Yorker.
9. Briefly you picture yourself sandwiched between Mary Oliver and Seamus Heaney. There’s a vague stirring in your pants that you’re going to attribute to the tab you’ve just opened.
10. You revise your story, channeling Murakami. You revise your story, channeling Updike. You revise your story, channeling Jennifer Egan, whose work you’ve never read.
11. Now what you have is a shitty, anxiety laden orphan of a story. No mother. No father. All its hope resting in the whims of Uncle The New Yorker.
12. Talking shit about The New Yorker while submitting frequently to The New Yorker is the winner. It’s too human/stupid to not look tenderly upon. Maligning a piece of commodified culture while living within that culture, subscribing, maybe literally, to the culture–we do this in 38290 other ways every day, every time we feed ourselves, every time we purchase. Shhh. It’s okay. You are large, you contain etc etc. There can be no hypocrisy in art.
13. Dream sequences with talking animals is most probably just lame and lazy and I feel bored thinking about it. Whereas I feel excited by the idea of talking shit about something and desiring it badly.
14. Bonus item: here’s what you do with that going-to-be-rejected-talking-animals-dream-sequence story: print it out. Put the pages in the freezer. Don’t worry about it, for a couple of days just forget. Do other things, be a person in the world, see if you can refrain from talking shit about anything and anyone for 2-3 days. Then, pull your pages from the freezer. They will be cold and you will confront them coldly. Forsaking all thoughts of this shitty story’s publication future, rewrite it, pleasure-choked by your own bravery.Then submit it to an equally courageous journal.
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WINNER: talking shit about the New Yorker while submitting frequently to the New Yorker