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What moonsongs
Do you sing your babies?
What sunshine do you bring?

I left my wallet at the house today, so I came back during lunch to get it. While I was here I checked my mail and found the familiar self addressed stamped envelope that I mailed with my manuscripts to Tales of the Unanticipated back in August.

I didn't even wait, I opened it as I stood in the entry way of my building, right by the mailboxes. Inside I found a sheet of yellow notebook paper with the first line being "Margaret, I regret that the news isn't better after sitting on your August 30th submission, 'Vows' for six months."


Who belongs
Who decides who's crazy
Who rights wrongs where others cling?

He then followed it with the responses from three editors and himself. The consensus of the editors was that it was good, but it wasn't great. Eric Heideman himself said that the reason for it was because the story, which I wrote in December of '03, cold, lonely and depressed in winter, was cold. VERY cold and very stand-offish, but there was some real feelings in there, some real honesty behind the writing that could be fixed. As Eric says: "I think that this deliberately distanced story aught to maintain its tone over 95% of its length. Softening it, in a single scene, with a brief glimpse of the naked soul of change."

He's right of course.

I'll sing for you
If you want me to
I'll give to you
And it's a chance I'll have to take
And it's a chance I'll have to break

When I wrote "Vows" I was in a very sad and lonely place in my life. I think some of that comes out clear in the writing. During the first few stages, as I was showing and discussing this story with people, one thing kept coming back to my mind. I never gave Johanna a choice. You see the choice presented to her, and you see what she chose to do, but you don't see the human side of her making that choice. You never see the human side of her at all - just the cold and distant personality that she has. I would normally hate a girl so cold and distant from reality as Johanna is.

My writing professor once told the class to write something that scares us. To reach down deep into our emotions and write how we really feel. By showing that emotion, by putting it on paper, we would reach the audiance in a way that connects the reader to the story. It's hard to do, though. Because those are OUR feelings, those are things we want to keep to ourselves, locked in little drawers. Through writing we show glimpses, small releases of how we are really feeling, but we never let those feelings out. We don't really use them.

I go along
Just because I'm lazy
I go along to be with you

"I will cheerfully give the results a no-gaurantee read in a future reading period. I'd say the chances of my ultimately springing for such a rewrite are 50/50 - and if I don't end up taking it I think the prop0sed tweaking will improve your chance of placing it somewhere."

I hate re-writing stories. It's hard especially when the story has been sitting for a year untouched and I don't know if I could go back to the place where I was when I wrote it. It's so easy just to write something, not do anything to it and let it be. If it's rejected, it's rejected - I didn't put enough work in it to be sad or hurt - I could easily just write another story. Or not. But do you see what I'm getting at? Now I have an editor who says that a re-write, even if he didn't accept it, could make it so that it would be accepted somewhere else. That the story is good - but has the potential to be better. Why sell myself short and leave this story as and probably sell it to some no name magazine when I could work on it and have it sell someplace that pays WELL and has a good readership base?

And those moonsongs
That you sing your babies
Will be the songs to see you through

Class tonight has Eric as the guest speaker. I don't know what to say to him, but I want to thank him for taking the time on my story. It may not have been accepted, but out of 162 stories that were submitted to the magazine this period, I made it to the last 57. That gives me hope.

All this that I do - all this writing and sharing that I do - I realize that I keep so much of myself out of it. But writing without real deep emotion behind it, emotion that at times I am afraid to share, is only getting myself half way. The one scene that I could add to "Vows" to bring the reader into the story, to connect the reader to the cold and distant world that Johanna lives in is the 5% of the story I am afraid to tell.

I'll hear your song
If you want me to
I'll sing along
And it's a chance I'll have to take
And it's a chance I'll have to break

I'm in love with you
I'm in love with you
I'm in love with you

Sorry beep, I know you were hoping. It's great that you've gotten *feedback* at least about all of this, and that makes a difference. Leave Vows for now, but don't chuck it, let Eric come back and ask for the re-write if he wants it, otherwise begin anew and try a different tack.


I thought it was good.
At least you got feedback. I have a stack of mass produced rejection letters that don't even have my name on them, and the only reason I know what they rejected is because the pieces came back with the letter. I know you're a big fancy college grad and this is what you do and our situations are entirely different, but I personally would shit myself if anyone ever actually managed to write back about why they rejected my work.

BTW, you need to come to DePere and get some hot froshy lovin sometime soon?
Sharkbait is right, at least there was feedback. I know you are a great writer, and you deserve all the publicity in the known world (and some parts of Mars, I grok)... Keep your chin up, it's normal. Besides, how great will it feel when you get that acceptance letter!? Rabbis used to turn away multiple times the people who wanted to convert to Judaism to test their seriousness... Mind games... Bah... but don't give up!

Love, Dwe