I know I promised a new story this week, but I forgot to work on it. I’m doing that now, I swear.
I’ve got a few works in progress I’m batting around that may show up here in brief, but are not fully fleshed out yet. Sorry if you’re getting updates and not seeing the work. I’m doing a lot of put-up-take-down right now for transportation purposes and test views.
More to come!
I’m having a new piece looked at today and I’ll be making edits on it this week. Hopefully I’ll have it ready for a 24 hour story by next week. I wrote this one for a friend, and the reaction I got from her was more than satisfying, so I hope you like it too.
I don’t really do life updates on my little blog, but some cool things have happened recently. My critique, “The Future of Before and After” was seen by more than 300 people in 10 countries. I think it got 179 hits on the first day, and every day since has gotten a little less. I didn’t really know where those hits were coming from, but as I mingle about Kansas City, people have come up to me to say “hey, I really liked what you said etc etc…” and I usually said “wow, you read it?”. I’m happy to hear there are many people who share my sentiments and felt comfortable enough to approach me personally. 300 hits on a modest blog with face-to-face conversations is more special to me than 2 million on a popular mega-time-waster.
In October of 2013, I submitted my story “Doves” to American Short Fiction. Yesterday I got the email saying they, unfortunately, couldn’t publish it at this time. The best part was the rejection letter:
Dear Annie Raab,
First, apologies for taking so long to get back to you. We were on hiatus for a short time, and it’s taken us a while to get through our submissions.
Thank you for sending us “Doves.”
This particular piece did not work for us, but we were quite impressed by your writing. We hope that you will send us something else–our regular submissions are open now.
We look forward to reading more of your work.
The Editors, American Short Fiction
A quick internet search revealed the tiers of ASF’s prose rejection, and this format, although not exactly personalized, is a “high tier” rejection. This means my little story about two men hunting actually made it into the hands of a real live reader who actually considered it for publication. I’m pleased, but it still would have been nicer to get an acceptance letter. Small victories.
In case you were wondering, “Doves” isn’t on my blog. It’s good enough to submit, and most places consider a blog to be “previously published”. I have been toying with the idea of binding together my best work for a small book. It looks like that would be around 40 pages long right now. If you’re interested in reading “Doves”, or buying a copy of my collected stories, I might make that happen.
I don’t think I stress this enough on here, but I really appreciate every single person that takes time to read my writing. It can be such an impersonal experience–I see that people are reading, but I don’t know who they are or hear their reactions. When you approach me, or send me a quick message about something you read on here, it is an insanely powerful motivation for me to continue. I often feel like I’m wandering alone through the dark, but your words are little fireflies that make me feel a lot less crazy for choosing this lifestyle. Thanks you thank you thank you!
Watch out next week as I spam the internet with the new 24 hour story. If you just read all this, you’ll probably get the memo.
Thanks to everybody that read yesterday! If you missed it, stay in the loop in case it gets published somewhere else. More 24 hour stories are coming in the future!
Keep your eyes out this week for a 24 hour posting of my new short-short story. I may even double the fun and post 2 stories. Both are readable in less than 10 minutes. Check on here, facebook, twitter, linkedin, gmail, whatever else I got going on, for info on times to read.
Thanks for reading :]
Thanks to everybody who read “How to Take Care of Rats” during the 24 hour window! It’s been good to hear your critiques and impressions, and I hope you stay in touch for when the next piece comes out. If you have any questions or comments, contact me and I’ll be happy to hear them. Keep your eyes open for the next time-limit piece!
This Friday, March 21st 2014 at 6am Central time, I’ll publish the first part of “How to Take Care of Rats” for 24 hours. The story will be taken down at the same time on Saturday and your chances of reading it will diminish greatly.
To receive updates on my writing, and other things, follow me on Twitter. God, that sounds so dumb, but do it. I’ll be tweeting in advance when a story will be posted and post updates during the 24 hours it’s live. Also, less frequently, non-writing related things.
Today I’m going through 4 years of old writings in case I missed anything. Some patterns have emerged, but mostly everything is unbearably dramatic (wait, they still are). Here’s a few of my favorite finds:
I don’t want to go to
Parkville anymore, to go
On long drives
Anymore. I want to go to
Families that live in
Dogs and fences and
Hot tubs. I want to buy
A motorized scooter
And ride around the cul de sac
And feel like I have been a failure
In the best ways possible.
(December 6th, 2010.)
People danced and clapped and I jumped over a stick. Did I just get married?
(January 29th, 2011, Cameroon.)
His experience was the basis of his most popular written account “Under The Radar”, wherein he dug a 12-foot deep hole in the ground and waited for three nights to see the beetles glow. From his account, the matter seemed like a religious incident, he describes it like this:
“Third night down in the hole and I was getting tired of sitting in a cramped position all the time. I had my rations down to three crackers and an ounce of water, hardly the substance I needed if I were to stay another night. The ground was moist and wormy all around me. I knew if the Sulfa beetles didn’t perform their rituals that night, I was going to have to change my diet. It was like that time I spent in the caves of Cuba, studying the Acritus analis. I was so far in when my industrial flashlight had died and my food ran out that I finally resorted to eating bat guano. It wasn’t as bad as you might think. Bat guano is essential to the growth of cave life you know, and since I was living in the caves at the time I figured it would sustain me until my eyes adjusted to the darkness. Well unfortunately bat guano wasn’t produced to feed humans, so when the rescue squad finally came for me, I was lying on the bed of bat guano convulsing.
Anyways, I learned a lot from that experience and this time, I brought an extra set of industrial batteries and a couple cans of monkey food, which is substantial because monkeys and humans have similar digestion patterns. When the sun had been gone for two hours and I had eaten the last of my crackers and chow, I felt a soft vibration all around me. This was it. This was the experience I had been waiting and almost killed myself for. The vibration grew and grew until the walls of dirt started to crumble around my sitting position.
(May 3rd, 2011. A story about a boy obsessed with beetles, I think, although the document is titled “oranges”.)
Big boobed bitches bring bottled bourbon before bustling boys
Bustling boys barricade bitches by bulldozing bricks between boys, bitches.
(May 13th, 2011. One of several experimental poems about teen violence.)
Under an aura of fur
Her lips were forming the start of a ‘W’
What could only be a chuckle making a
‘Woowoo’ sound instead of forming one of the
Beautiful words like
‘What’,’woman’, or ‘winter’
(August 22nd, 2011. In response to a photograph I saw in Alaska.)
Last year I killed a chicken for food. Today I was coming home from work and the woman on the radio was searching for a chicken that could play tic tac toe. I fell asleep on the couch and had a dream about chickens.
(December 4th, 2011. True story.)
I was standing in my underwear in the kitchen at three in the morning, looking at the box of graham crackers I had left out from breakfast several days ago. There were holes in the corners from being chewed by the mice I saw running down into my stove whenever I turned the lights on. I still had intended to eat the graham crackers, deciding they would be best with peanut butter or honey. I picked up the box and weighed the consequences of eating a snack that had been invaded by household pests, versus the inevitable high peanut butter and milk would give me before I tried to fall back asleep. The fan spun slowly above, cooling my bare skin and causing the plastic bags to shiver slightly.
(August 10th, 2011. Document title: Ditching Baby.)
It is true some people want me dead. These people probably have many good reasons for wanting so, as I would myself having me in my life.
This is a small part of my life. These are my thug-fessions.
(February 9th, 2012.)
It is time for the first goat to die. They bought her together when they moved to the mountains. The first goat was their wedding vow. Nothing else needed to be said.
She has been getting sick, and though the herd seems not to be affected, they are noticing. In a tight and wary cluster the herd moves to the end of the gated area. The first goat stands alone at the empty edge. She bleats, but with no direction or structure.
(April 27th, 2012. I still want to write this story.)
I love my friend but she is weak.
Don’t talk to me about the vultures if you continue to sleep with the vultures.
I won’t talk to you about the vultures because you continue to sleep with the vultures.
He looks like a hard-ass
Beyond that, he’s a softy.
Beyond that, he’s a beast.
I just don’t think you know what those words mean
Someone asked you to explain, but you led us further out.
You took my roommate’s dick away
That’s one reason we had to kick him out.
(May 1st, 2012. Small portraits in poem form? Who knows…)
You think you can control my cooking, but you can’t.
(June 3rd, 2012. I can’t explain this.)
This is the flattering collection of about 200 documents on my computer. To be fair, close to 50 are maybe worth a damn. After all the personal junk and convoluted fiction/non-fiction, I stumble upon some sense. I hope this is the natural progression of taking a serious approach to writing. We have many years and many documents that are embarrassing until finally we write something that makes sense. Here’s a list from this year I hoped would help me achieve this, but even now it feels out-dated and confusing. Progress, right?
WHAT NOT TO DO IN WRITING:
Remove the human element
Take the next logical step
Young people having deep conversations
Arbitrary back story
Make exceptions (it was usually this but today it is this)
Info on characters we don’t know/are given no info on–Keep it short and to the point.
‘Flickering eyes’. Just say what you mean
For good measure
And what not
Such as it was
WHAT TO REALLY DO
Don’t take the logical approach
Avoid ‘coming of age’ and focus on an unusual experience
The day was lukewarm. Balmy. More than the day, it was the __that was luke warm, balmy.
If it’s not there, does it need to be there?
I think about her crossing the room. I think about the word used for women who cross the room: Pad. But she decidedly does not pad.
Ok, I know this is my second post about writing itself, and I’ll try not to do too many more. Still, I hope it’s fun for people to see a small portion of rejected material, and it helps me realize how much I’ve developed, where my style began, and what I’ve chosen to leave behind.
Considering making “How and Why to Write” permanent, but not yet. Fiction to come. Working on final adjustments on “How to Take Care of Rats”.
Welcome. Original writings and art on this blog by Annie Raab are copyright property of Annie Raab and may not be reproduced without the acknowledgement of the author. Credit must be given where credit is deserved, and anything I share by another author/artist will be accredited to that author/artist.
With that out of the way, please feel free to ask about anything you see here. I value your ideas and criticisms. Seriously.