Mean Monday: The Barcelona Review (again, half-assed mean, cause I like their stuff!!!)
I really like the short stories and book reviews that Jill Adams publishes at The Barcelona Review. And so it is with some mixed feelings that I speak of her literary journal on Mean Monday. But then I did some thinking: she doesn’t give a rat’s ass what I think of her! Nor should she! I posted my ass on the internet! So- whooosh, letting the bitterness flow, people. Bitterness is a huge embarrassment, to say the least, but here it goes.
They do not accept simultaneous submissions and that is fine, in my opinion, if your turnover time is in the three month range. The last submission I sent them (and yes, I did not send it to anyone else), was there for ONE YEAR. I then withdrew it.
Also, I feel they publish an unnecessarily generous amount of “reprints”. Here are three of the many: a Benjamin Percy story from the Paris Review (oh, thanks Jill! I would have never read the Paris Review myself!), Douglas Coupland and Irvine Welsh.
Here is a lovely line from her submission policy: “Work previously published in any form – online or print – or submitted simultaneously to other reviews will not be considered.” Now, I am confused. But you publish reprints??!! Anywhoo, I DO like the work you choose! I like the translation stuff (although I am not sure how you choose what to translate, but that doesn’t matter. Translating and sharing English/Spanish is all good.) I like Barcelona! That is where I met my husband! And did you know that Nadal speaks Mallorcan Catalan with his Uncle Tony? All goood. Good, good good. But here is another thing that pissed me off: your “encouraging” rejection letter, which I will quote below:
I’m afraid it didn’t quite hit the mark, but for what it’s worth, our reader offered a comment:
"...And what is this story really about? A girl has a crush on her female
teacher so volunteers to read to a blind girl in the class to impress her.
Nothing new is explored, learned from the interaction; the teacher is
always in the background and then (the protagonist)gets dumped by her boyfriend
and becomes a slut... But honestly, this blind/not blind thing has been mined so often, it really needs to do something new."
I’m sorry it didn’t click with our reader, but it should be encouraging that he took time for a comment.
Actually, Jill, these lines are not very encouraging and “it should be encouraging that he took time to comment” is profoundly condescending. And – you have to believe me- it is not the rejection itself that irritates ( I’ve been in this game for nearly 20 years and get all sorts of rejections) but the details, Jill, the details! The fact that you happily admit to not reading the story yourself is just something I don’t relate to! As someone who was an associate editor for a literary journal as well as a managing editor for a small press, I would never, ever respond to a writer and let them know I didn’t read his/her work. What the fuck? It is not that I read everything- that would be preposterous– but I wouldn’t have it in me to write a writer a personal note where I flat out let them know that I hadn’t looked at the story/novel. I would lie! To be kind. Ultimately, it is not just the quality of the work a journal publishes, but whether or not they also exude “soulfulness”. That is my thing. Not everybody’s.
Before posting this, I did this thing I do with my shrink with my husband and asked, “What is the worst thing that could happen by posting this?” He looked at me and said, “She could have you killed.” (He’s funny. I love him.) But really, wounded pride (which is Pride, Hi Lucifer), rage…all sorts of non-Christian bile. For some reason, I’m OK with gluttony and sloth. But pride and wrath? Yuck. Oh well.
Tags: the barcelona review