A Very Deppressing Praise…

Just in case you (may) have been wondering where the heck I was for a while (whom am I kidding? : I’m completely forgettable ), it seems the brown fudge has finally hit the fan in my home country; there are student protests all over the Mighty Kingdom of Aleveznue (again, I’m hoping you’re smart enough to decode this little anagram) and people are looting supermarkets and electric appliance stores. I’m also having a lot of problems accessing the Internet, too…

People are constantly telling me that they’re praying for me and that they wish they were able to do something to help me. Too bad I’m too well mannered to tell them that they can really help: buy one of my books, already, doofus. Want to see me out of this place? Buy a million of the damn things and I’ll strap an Acme rocket to my back in the best Wile E. Coyote fashion and I’ll do an escape that would make the headlines of the New York Times (or the Albuquerque Gazette, for that matter).

Anyway, I was away mostly because someone really hurt me with a nice praise to one of my short tales. Someone (again: names withheld to protect the terminally idiotic) told me a few weeks ago that she loved the amusing short story in Aftermath, “The Day Zombies Roamed in Aleveznue” (once more, that funny little word I’m cautious enough to scramble here for my personal safety), and she remarked that “surely this sort of stuff will soon be picked up by a big publisher so it can get its due justice!”

You may ask: well, what’s wrong with that? How can such praise give me a case of the blues? Well, I’m about to tell you. First, I loved the praise, but I wish she left out that comment about the big publisher. That was the depressing part.

My first reaction to her remark was like this: I wanted to grab this woman by the throat, raise her four inches above the ground in my best Darth Vader-style and slam the back of her head against the nearest wall, and I’d tell her: That. Will. Never. Happen. Mainly because it doesn’t sell.

I wish I could illustrate the point by showing you the folder of rejection slips I accumulated during 25 years while trying to be noticed by the publishing industry, but I burned the damn thing over a bonfire when I started self-publishing about seven years ago. (It was taking a lot of space because it wasn’t really a folder but seven… each one as thick as a Yellow Pages phonebook).

Many of these slips were your standard rejection slips, so aptly worded to avoid telling the aspiring writer that “we really didn’t read it and /or your work sucks”. But one was very special to me; there were about 25 words on the top corner, personally scrabbled by a submission reader working for one of the Big 6 Publishers: “I loved your book and tried to push it in a board meeting… but this f%$#& thing isn’t just COMMERCIAL. Sorry. Best of lucks.” I also burned that. Ashes to ashes.

Then.. after a couple of days of being royally pissed off with this person who made the Big Publisher comment… I just let it go… I shrugged the whole thing away and I uttered the magic words: “What for?” This woman will never understand the extent of what she caused.

Just let it go… and then my deppression started.

Is there a point to this rant? Well, maybe. I’ll muse over it for a few weeks and then I’ll tell you. Perhaps.

Edwin Stark

Signing Off

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