May



The Journal of Paolo Honorificas
(part 7)

Compiled by J. Scott Malby

Journal entry #7

There must be a glitch in Maelstorm's automatic rejection system. I just got five pleasant rejection notices at one time. I love the "Please submit again soon." I wonder if people believe it. My favorite of all time was from The American Muse. Submissions are a form of junk mail. Popular poetry "ezines" must get conservatively well over a thousand submissions a month. Probably from three to five times that many. Not bad when you think they're lucky to get over a few thousand readers a month. So, who are all these poetry "ezines" for? It's not for the people who write for them. You got it! It's for the vanity of the originators and all those who are trying to get the gullible editors to showcase their work. There are graduated levels to the term "vanity press. The really interesting work is being showcased in out-of-the-way electronic journals. Even there, a definite love affair for the adjective has made many of the offerings almost unreadable. If the medium is the message then "self-indulgence" is the operative term of the day.

What am I saying? God, I hate to make sense. Don't think for a moment I know what I'm talking about. If you know what you're going to say...why bother writing it down? Nonsense is my forte. The value of the word itself has come under fire. It is only by extending word combinations to their breaking point that an honest attempt at signification is made. A definition of "post-modern" has within it a special place devoted to the term "absurd", a restroom if you will, where everything is thrown up against a wall wet with crusty patina. Nothing is more comforting, welcoming, relaxing and as refreshing as a spotless, unoccupied urinal when you need it! The problem is that after the first few seconds boredom sets in.

The usual "ezine" is a urinal or rest room for the mind. The more successful they are, the dirtier they seem to become. It's a question of overuse. In this scenario the editor can be considered a custodian responsible for cleaning out the stalls on a regular basis. Unfortunately, people get used to what they collect. The flotsam gathers. It begins to stink. The real pornography in language is the unconscious gravitation toward a preordained point of view or pattern of sound that argues it is the only relevant gurgle or burp in existence. At creative writing schools they ought to teach the ability to smell the product. If it all smells the same the editors need to go back to toilet training school. Editor: remember to shake your rag a little before putting it to bed. Art and conservatism are a fatal combination. Can you imagine just one world of words built on the prototype of the New Yorker or the Atlantic? Magazines and on-line "ezines" that pretend to be like them are the next to final resting place for almost dead people.

I don't mind embarrassment. I have lots of things to cringe about. Way down that list is my poetry. It's obvious my best work was influenced by the bathroom stalls in grade school. I can't read a published poem of mine without wanting to edit it. The problem is I was educated in American schools. The primary technique there is to evaluate unsuspecting poems resting unaware in an already published format. My critical faculties are addicted to sneaking up on a piece and evaluating it as a complete and finished entity.

The nerve of some editors. They're looking at my work as a finished product. The question is how to explain to them they're part of the creative process? I can't very well say: "Hey, do me a favor. Please publish this piece of offal so I can work on it some more." Can I? I've never tried that approach. Maybe you should and let me know how it works. The best advice I can give is to develop a sustained relationship with a small, quality "ezine" with a sense of perspective. Let it and you grow bigger and better with time. An even better piece of advice would be to publish your own masterpiece of an "ezine". I did that once but it turned out to be everybody else's. The problem had to do with all my split personalities.


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