Monday, April 28, 2014

An incident as literary editor

Almost three decades ago as an editor of my own rag mag, I began to receive submissions from someone in a Southern prison. The submissions did not indicate that the writer, though graphic and powerful a writer as he was in that kind of setting, could think beyond his present situation or the circumstances that brought him to his predicament. At first, the stories about prison life opened a window for this editor. But then, the stories were all more or less the same, with the upshot that the writer had no insight into the cosmic scheme of things and was happy to not think about it. But mind you, the stories were scary. Luckily I had a lawyer friend who I lunched with and I asked him if that writer in question would put a "hit" on me if I refused to publish him. My lawyer friend took a short puff on his cigar and said tersely, "All con men ought to be locked up." We then had a delightful lunch at Tai Tung Restaurant in Seattle as we did every Sunday. To resolve the issue of the prisoner writer, I wrote to him that there are literally 3,000 markets clamoring for his work in Len Fulton's directory of magazines and presses, and unfortunately, our magazine failed to see the merits of his work.

3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Joe. Socrates said it so many years ago that "The un-examined life is not worth living."

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  2. I agree with Joe. And your reply is worth considering every time.

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