Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: magazine of fantasy and science fiction

In which certain things, which may or may not already have been obvious, are, if not revealed, at least made explicit

(the story so far)

where I found waiting for me a letter. The envelope addressed to me in my own writing.

Crash course: back when the events of this story took place time, aspiring writers would query their aspiring manuscripts (whose dreams are to be bound into real, honest-to-goodness books that will be shipped to real, honest-to-goodness bookstores, where they will be placed on real, honest-to-goodness shelves from which they will one lucky day by plucked by real, honest-to-goodness readers) to prospective agents by mail. As I record this at this very moment, many agents have switched to using e-mail, and who knows what tomorrow will bring (hopefully this very story will have something to do with whatever happens next)? The first time I wrote all this, nobody’d ever heard of Kindle or digital distribution.

Nowadays, I can read books on my Android-powered smartphone.

Back then, however, was different. Back then, writers had to use the good ole’ United States Postal Service to send literary agents query letters, and given that many agencies received hundreds, if not thousands, of queries every week, they simply couldn’t possibly keep up with the price of return postage, so writers had to include self-addressed stamped envelopes with their paper queries.

(Quicker crash: a literary agent acts on behalf of authors to negotiate publishing contracts with publishing houses.)
I mention all this so you understand why I was so excited to receive a letter addressed to me in my own handwriting; I’d included that very same envelope in the query I’d sent to Merrilee Heiftetz only a week or so before.

It may not be possible to open one of those letters calmly. Too many of us writers associate too much of our identity with our words and the possibility of the publication, and each new letter brings with it the blackjack rush of a gambling high: not the euphoria of winning but rather the uncertain glee of going all-in on a straight flush. That gut-clenching, icy feeling of knowing how much rides on the current hand.

Me, my hands have always shaken. Every time I have one of those moments—which don’t come often—I try to remain calm but never succeed. I know they shook, then, as I withdrew from the envelope a single, twice-folded sheet of high quality paper, thick and off-white. Fountain pen letter head, business address, and, below—

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Lately, and mainly because of the new WordPress “Press This” function, which I personally think is completely rad, I’ve been noticing a bit of a blur between what I was posting here and what I had intended to do with et cetera. I’d meant for that particular section as a sort of publishing ticker, but I discovered quite a few things rather quickly.

The first was that daily or even weekly publishing news is a bit of a misnomer, at best. I’m not interested in publishing gossip and new memoirs, which cuts significantly down on the nature of the items I usually find interesting.

Moreso, I think publishing is changing, and that changing nature inspires discussion, I think. Makes me want to comment on it, anyway. Like the post last week about Gordon Van Gelder and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, not to mention the posts concerning POD People and their review of my collection.

Point is, I find myself wanting to comment more and post over there less, so I’m hereby ending et cetera and using this blog instead. I’m going to pull over a few of the more interesting posts, and the ones I used to catalog the reviews of my book, but otherwise, I’m just going to keep things here.

I haven’t yet decided what I plan to do with Imagery. I have a lot of pictures I took on the road, and I do like having that aspect separate from here, but I may decide just to fold that in later, too.

Anyway, all just so you know why there are suddenly a few posts today, all of which will look familiar if you read et cetera.