Monday, August 1, 2011

Failed Zines

Literary magazines come and go all of the time. My own zine, Widowmoon Press, was among the online zines that couldn't last. Not even a year. Offering (IMO) a fair mix of traditional lit fic and genre pieces, poetry, prosetry, ect., WP had a decent readership. However, the last month or so was difficult on account of a very low number of submissions. There wasn't a lot to choose from, so I had no choice but to abandon ship.

For whatever reason, a couple of the first zines in which my work appeared faded as well. The first to go was Bloody Bridge Review. It had a ton of great stories from a variety of talented authors, but there was a vague indication of a dispute on the guidelines page. Something along the lines of: We're not really sure who runs this thing anymore. I don't remember exactly what it said and I can't tell, because the zine was completely removed from public view-- again, for whatever reason-- I don't know why a free zine should be removed from public view in any case (a blogger domain).

Another site I'd been taken in by--Barrier Islands Review--had a strange demise. Not exactly similar to anything I know of. The editor apparently went nuts and decided her work was better than any of the stuff she'd published. The only thing the public could see was the home page. The editor changed the title of the zine to "You Suck Review" and the subhead said something along the lines of: Quit trying. You'll never be anything. So anything inherently bad I have to say about the editor is probably deserved. The only kind of people that feel this way about their own work ARE in fact the bitter ones who become stuck and never progress/never try to learn from their mistakes.

It's ironic that the editor had a fair number of accolades to begin with. Accolades--in my opinion--is sort of a stupid synonym for "accomplishments", but the zine actually had a section entitled "accolades" on the About the Editor page. I remember this quite clearly. Now that I think about it, I don't know why I ever decided to submit work to her in the first place.

It might be Duotrope's fault. It's a great website, wonderful help for writers looking for zines and journals to place their work. The acceptance rate was extremely low with a high number of reports; maybe that's the reason I was so interest in submitting. Sort of a challenge, I guess.

Self-Renown is a villianous position to be in, I think. It doesn't seem to lead us anywhere good.

Anyway, below is my Bloody Bridge Review accepted piece. Like I said, it's early work for me--not at all my best work--but my first publications made me happy simple because they were my first publications. And apparently someone else liked it, so that's a plus.

Garrett Ashley

            "And how does it feel to be a winner?" said the man in a gray suit. He held a microphone inches from Otto's lips and wiped beads of sweat from his pulsating forehead.
            "It feels good to be alive," said Otto. The crowd went wild.
            Otto breathed hard. He had never been so excited in his too short life. He watched his fans with sympathy through a thick glass window ahead of him. Each wore a smile, each held the other's hand.
            A machine lowered and Otto's gray host gave him the microphone. "Here are your flavors," he said. "Red, green, and yellow."
            Little neon lights flickered in Otto's glazed eyes. "I like strawberry," he said.
            "Strawberry, he said!" The fans on the other side of the glass loosened their grips on one another and clapped until they cried.
            "Any last words?" said the gray host.
            "I'm just really nervous," said Otto. "More now than ever before." His esophagus shook with the words. A gentle strawberry needle pierced his grainy neck. Yum, he thought. The crowd had never been such an animal. A young woman tried to tear through the glass so that she could be with her greatest hero.
            Sir Otto the great. The man who did it all.
            The strawberry flavor surged through his veins and gushed into the mourning temple atop his brain. Tears fell onto the floor. Tears of the man of the hour. The man who saw it all.
            "We have a winner," whispered the host.
            "I've never been a winner before," Otto whispered back.
            "What's that?"
            "I've never. . ." His head tilted and Otto fell asleep. In his dreams there was a dead girl who wore a strawberry red flower in her hair. A little smile and little dimples on her cheeks. Her eyes beamed. Otto ran with her forever.

On a side note: I realize you can't see the scary naked giant in the background. I assure you he's very scary and very naked.

Also: A lot of what I say on Scary Naked Giant will be fairly (more or less) sloppy. It's currently 3 a.m., and I've very very tired. I don't plan on polishing any of my blog posts like submissions. A lot of good bloggers do, but I'm not a very good blogger and I probably won't ever be :)

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