Eep! I’ve fallen behind (again)!
“What would you do? If you had a pet monster, I mean?”
Zoe is waiting for him on the sidewalk outside her house, eyes wide and phone clutched in her hand.
“Eli!” She starts running as soon as she sees him, and they crash together bodily in the middle of your street. “Eli, I got your text. What happened? What did you do?” She reaches a hand up to ghost it around the dark halo of his hair, currently even more fried than usual. “You look like you’ve been electrocuted!”
“I saw it!” Eli grabs Zoe’s forearms, hauling her forward. “Zee, I saw it! I saw the monster!”
“Monster?” Zoe’s expression twists, dubious, and she pulls back just slightly. “What monster? Ee, what are you talking about?”
“The monster, Zoe,” Eli says. “The one that killed that dude. It’s real. I saw it. Addi is out again and I was going to make tacos but we didn’t have the ingredients,” it comes out all in one big rush. “So I was walking to the ShopStop down that road that goes behind the houses, y’know? Where you wanted to do the photoshoot? And anyway I saw it. It was . . . it had these antlers and was kind of like a deer, but it had wings, too, and—”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” This time, Zoe does extract herself, stepping backwards and out of Eli’s grasp. “Ee, are you high?”
“No!” God. Monsters nothing. His Aunt would kill him. “Zoe, I know it sounds crazy but you gotta believe me. I saw the monster. It attacked me!”
“I’m kinda trying not to think about the horrible murder right now.”
On Thursday, there’s been a murder.
“Did you hear? There’s been a murder!”
Apparently it’s a Sherlock day today, judging from Zoe’s black overcoat and blue scarf. Eli isn’t sure whether the theming is appropriate, but it’s subdued enough that maybe no one else will notice.
“I guess that’s why Addi was out last night,” Eli offers, hugging his books closer to his chest. Across the quad Lance makes the I’m-watching-you gesture, a big white gauze pad taped to his neck.
“They think it happened last week. Guy didn’t turn up for his shift at the gas station just out of town. Sheriff found his body like five miles away in the woods, torn to shreds. Like it’d been mauled by an animal.”
Eli tries not to think of sharp teeth and yellow eyes.
So… I got some shitty news yesterday; the final reader for my YA dragon shapeshifter novel passed. Which, for those of you not in “the industry”, means that the book has now been formally rejected by every major Big 5 publisher.1
Great. Just… great.
This is the third completed novel in a row for me that’s bounced off commercial sale, and 2019 makes four years2 since I actually had a publishing contract.
The consistent feedback from editors on Dragon, incidentally, was that they loved the writing/”voice”, but couldn’t identify with the characters. This is the feedback I get on pretty much everything (“We love the way you write, we just hate what you’re writing about.”) which is either like the generic industry “thanks but no thanks”, or something I’m personally especially cursed with. Either way… frustrating. And depressing.
Point being, Dragon is basically DoA as a commercial book. I have some other options for it but, honestly, the though of pursuing them just makes me tired. So fucking tired. So… whatever. In the spirit of the season, i.e. Marie Kondo Discourse Month, I’ve decided trying to sell Dragon no longer, as they say, “sparks joy”. And in the spirit of “what the hell, at least someone else may get something out of this”,3 I’ve decided that, over the next few weeks, I’ll be throwing the novel up online.4 On Wattpad because… it seemed easiest? So sure, let’s go with that.
Anyway, the first chapter is up, so… go check that out? Sweet.
And, uh. In the meantime… here’s a pic of the main character, Elias, I did like three years ago5 and will totally one day finish I swear.
- Not, uh. That the editor died. “Passed” is the Official Publishing Industry term for “rejected” and, quite honestly, I hate the euphemism for a variety of reasons I will happily rant about to you at a convention bar sometime. ^
- … Jesus. ^
- If nothing else, it’s a look at the sort of thing Big 5 editors are rejecting. ^
- Vomit metaphor intentional. ^
- Again: Jesus. ^
Do you like Norse mythology? Do you like queer Norse mythology? Do you like Hot Feminist takes on queer Norse mythology?
Sweet. Me too. That’s why I wrote some books about it and, hey. The short story anthology is free for the next few days. So… check it out, maybe?
So I wasn’t really expecting Karl Marx to talk about the economic impacts of mufti day1) in his seminal 1867 work, Capital. Volume I: The Process of Production of Capital and yet… here we are.
(I’m not even making this up. The English translation literally uses the word “mufti”—the term meaning “casual dress” has been in use since 1816—and it’s in the context of perceived worth and how a general has more of such, i.e. what we’d now call “social capital”, when in uniform as opposed to not.)
- (Incidentally, the term “mufti” in a modern context is probably kind racist, given its appropriative Orientalist roots, so… there’s also that. ^
This is not to say that we were not, or are not, “world literature.” We might be different from what passes for regular American lit, or as I like to call it, common literature. What I’m saying is that there is more other, scarier other, translated other, untranslatable other, the utterly strange other, the other who can’t stand you. Those of us allowed to speak are the tip of the iceberg. We are the cute other.
I use the term jokingly, but also deliberately. All of us on that world-literature list are basically safe, domesticated, just exotic enough to make our readers feel that they are liberal, not parochial or biased. That is, we are purveyors of comforting myths for a small segment of the dominant culture that would like to see itself as open-minded.
Rabih Alameddine on world lit.
This is just one small excerpt but I would strongly encourage everyone to go read the entirety of Alameddine’s essay, because it is very, very good.