A friend recently described short stories as “heartbreaking.”  I thought she meant that stories themselves — at their best — can break your heart.  It turned out that she was really talking about the difficulty of placing stories, even good ones.  And she’s completely right — the process of placing my first story was at times so dispiriting that I was reduced to devoting an entire page of my  blog to the tales of my submission efforts just to keep my spirits up.  When you’re getting floods of rejection slips for what you’re pretty sure are good stories, it’s quite possible to conclude that there must be more short story writers than there are readers.  And you might even be right.  That’s not really a reason to stop writing stories, though, but it does make you see your stories in a different light — they’re like the beloved child who’s charming, handsome and witty, but can never seem to get a job and move out of the house.

Well, the news today is that one of my stories (it’s called The Centerfold Club, and yes indeed it’s about a couple’s visit to a strip club) actually found itself an apartment — an astonishingly fine one, in a decent neighborhood in Alabama, with some truly exemplary roommates.  It’s my first such child to do that — I won’t go into how many are still lying around the house in the equivalent of their underwear playing on the x-box because that would increase the heartbreak quotient too much for such a happy day.

So here’s what I’d like you guys to do, if you are able:  e-mail the really terrific Karen at Southern Humanities Review.  Subscribe to the journal — you’ll get my story, but you’ll also get the stories, poems and essays of some really amazing writers, including poet/essayist/blogger Emma Bolden, who’s been known to make an appearance there  And you’ll be supporting Story Independence and diminishing writing heartbreak in one fell swoop.

You can e-mail Karen at:  shrengl@auburn.edu or give her a call at  (334) 844-9088 or fax:  (334) 844-9027.  Tell her I said hello and hope the story is behaving itself.


28 thoughts on “Heartbreaker

  1. Jade, it’s been enormously helpful to have you as a fellow traveler on this rocky road — your encouragement means a huge amount to me. xoxo

    Cam — thank you! I love short stories and there are so many fine ones out there. It seems like something of a miracle to me that anyone would want one of mine.

    Hello Charlotte — Hugs back! I’m looking forward to buying your book, you know — can’t wait for that day.

  2. Good show! Hope you get some feedback (… such an ugly word, ‘feedback’ … like what a dog does when it loses its dinner the first time).. .shit. bad association, I’m such a klutz. I wanna say something nice and look what comes out!

    response.. readers. who read your story and tell you about it.

    there. better

    I gave up on submitting short fiction. After 20 years and more than a thousand subs sent out, a nice handful published, but most still going out and back out and back… yo yo fiction

    Not entirely cause I gave up on subs. I don’t write the same. The stories I have don’t represent me now. Not how I want to be seen. So I put some of them on Writer’s Cafe. Gets ’em outa the way. Nobody reads them, but I have an excuse not to keep sending them out.

    Newer stories… I’ll put up myself or send to e-zines. Same with the poetry, though with that I’m seriously looking for an indy to take a MS for a chap book.

    Went over this in a post on Barking Dog.,


    May your story in print bring a passel of invites from other good venues!


  3. Pauline — That’s such a lovely thing to wish! Thank you. (And I’m so glad you’re my facebook friend now; I love seeing photos of cute babies– not to mention their mothers.)

    Thank you dear litlove. Can you believe we’ve been at this blogging enterprise for almost four years? Here’s to many more! xo

    Nathalie — How fun to see you here! Don’t be a stranger, okay?

    Why thank you, Thaisa! My debt to you is huge, you know — you have been so helpful and inspiring and clear about how good fiction works and I can’t tell you how much that’s mattered to me.

    Thanks dorothy. It’s not a 76 mile post-Thanksgiving bike ride, but it’s something, right??!

    Dear Ben, Looking forward to doing some cheering soon when you’re out there doing readings from your new book!

    Jacob, Thanks for the heads up about Imani. (Jamaica — sounds great.) I went over to your blog yesterday and read your very thoughtful discussion of how your thoughts about writing and publishing have evolved over the years. I’m pretty new to this, but I do agree that the current system for distributing good writing isn’t all that terrific. That’s why Virginia and Leonard Woolf started the Hogarth Press, I think, and why, in the 21st century, people are looking to the internet and maybe other places I don’t even know about, to get good writing into the hands of serious readers. I applaud you for looking in that direction and am glad you brought this subject up. It’s an important one.

  4. Paul — Thank you! And congratulations, once again, on finishing those 50,000 words!

    Rhian, I’m so glad to hear that. There’s something about that form that is so beautiful and satisfying.

    Hey Imani — so glad to see you here (and to see that you’re back writing in your blog, too)

  5. Bloglily, I am so thrilled and delighted. It’s such an accomplishment, and it’s such a great story! How wonderful that the world will be able to read it now. And what a good idea for people to go and subscribe to the magazine. We must keep these good neighborhoods thriving for our future stories! Congratulations!!!

  6. Pingback: Running Late, Running Around, Running Dry « Smithereens

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