Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas sweaters and Brunch!

I'm down in the dumps about writing today. I got two more rejection letters from the Writers' Reserve granting program via Taddle Creek and some other literary journal that I can't remember the name of because that's how fast I threw out the letter. Blech. That's exactly how I feel. Blech. And then THEN I hauled my butt all the way to the worst mall in Toronto (Lawrence Square) to look for ugly Christmas sweaters and I found nothing. What? The shittiest shopping centre in the city suddenly got standards? What a crappy day.

I always feel like burying my work in a time capsule after I get rejected. I also like to eat candy. But because I forced myself to be all about the promotion of mental and colonic health today, I ate a salad for lunch and decided to post some writing here.

This sample is from a new short story called Brunch! that I'm working on. It's still really rough. Like the stubble on my legs rough. I could go on, because all asshole writers can go on about how bad something is before they share it. It's a sad, sorry sickness.


Emma sleeps light. She wakes at the slightest noise or movement, she always has. She’s never needed an alarm clock to wake her for work. The cars zooming by on the street, the refrigerator humming, the downstairs neighbour’s bulldog fartingthat’s always been enough. But that’s not all. Emma’s never told anyone this before, not even Ken, but Emma (and her mother and her mother’s mother) can hear the sun rise. What it sounds like is a balloon being blown up—picture it—as though the sun is stretching the horizon to its limits. Emma hates that sound so she’s programmed her brain to wake up very early. Before the sun struggles and then pops.


  1. I like this. Your quirky writing amuses me - the sun as balloon, "mental and colonic health." Keep at it, and eventually someone will take notice ... hopefully that will also lead to some money as well, though recognition would, at least, be nice.

  2. Thanks Evadne. All I want for Christmas is a book deal. (And my two front teeth).

  3. Good stuff! You have a real talent for rhythm and varying the lengths of your sentences. That's the kind of thing that keeps writing interesting. I love how you follow a 4-word sentence with something long and complicated. You're starting to play with punctuation, too, and I think you can go even further. Maybe a colon after "But that's not all"? I'd definitely read more of this.

    Don't worry yourself about the rejections. You should be keeping them, posting them on your wall like the badges of honor that you are a writer who is actively seeking an outlet. The writer with no rejection letters is way worse off than you are. Trust me, the more you pile up, the easier they'll be to take. My creative writing prof in college, Madison Smartt Bell, said you "need to build up your rhinoceros skin to be in this business."

  4. Thanks, Elly. I really like to play with sentence length and punctuation. My English teacher is rolling over in her grave.

    Yeah, rejection is definitely part of the game. I've had years of experience with it though -- lesson learned, tough skin earned. Time for some yeses! ;)

  5. I totally agree with Elly - badges of honour. And, like looking for a job, like that one sock in the smartass "last place you look", or like any relationship ever, you'll get rejections until you don't.

    And when you finally find that frigging sock, you can tell an awesome and harrowing tale about all the logical as well as the retarded places you tried first. Then, once you finish telling the story, someone will inevitably make the "last place you look" comment, and you then have an opportunity to punch someone. Happy endings all around.

  6. Socks and punching and Happy Endings, Matt? This is the dirtiest comment you've ever left on my blog. And I thank you.