Friday, September 16, 2011

The Publishing Map Challenge

Back in the 1990's I belonged to a writer's group that enjoyed coming up with challenges for its members. One of the founding member's promoted the idea of getting laminated wall maps of the United States and writing all the names of journals and anthologies where our work has been published. The first person to get published in all 50 states would be the winner.

I, of course, never believed anyone would reach that goal, but it was a fun proposition. Ironically, the very founding member who came up with the idea was able to get his poems published in 49 of the 50 states. This was back in the days when people had the time and money to establish literary journals, so there were plenty to pick from. However, this man could not get published in one last state, because it only had one literary journal that published poetry, and it only published women's poetry.

Undaunted, he began submitting his poetry under a female pseudonym. The editors were not fooled, and continued to reject his submissions. Eventually, this friend and I lost touch and many years later I was saddened to read about his passing in the paper. I've always wondered if he ever reached that goal of getting published in all 50 states.

I started recording the literary journals where my poetry, short stories and essays had been published, but eventually forgot about my map, despite it hanging on my office wall for 20 years. Recently, a writer friend came to visit, saw the map and asked what it was about. I told her this story, and now that she has reminded me of this lost goal, I'm telling the story to you.

Somewhere in a file cabinet I have a plastic bag filled with rejection slips. I kept every one thinking I'd make a mosaic out of them some day. My favorite three notes from editors and contest judges that I use for encouragement hang from the map on the wall. They are curled and wrinkled now, but the words written on them are nourishment for the soul, so I suspect I will keep them in plain sight until I can no longer see them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In the Line Up

Sadly, we all know of Borders Bookstore's demise. Our local store is down to its last week of being open. I picked up all the books in the picture at a rate of 70%-80% off. I think the grand total was around $25. I felt a bit like a vulture picking at the bones of a carcass while people wheeled bookshelves out of the store on dollies.

Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think?