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Reflexion by Stinkfish. Photo credit: Karen Kao

Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

There are lots of qualities you need in order to write. Patience, perseverance and a relatively high pain threshold are all good attributes. But in order to get your work in front of journal editors, agents and publishers, what you need is hope.

This year, l've pitched 13 manuscripts or article ideas. So far, only 2 have been accepted and that under the condition of further editing. None of my short stories has found a home yet this year but I keep sending them out, as hopeful as ever.

Back in the day, you had to put your submission into the mail, together with a self-addressed and stamped envelope (SASE) to convey back to you the inevitable rejection letter. Jennifer Egan used to keep a stack of SASE by the front door so that every time a rejection letter arrived, she could send her manuscript right back out.

These days, pretty much all submissions are electronic. The SASE, like the cassette tape, have landed in the trash bin of time. Not so the audiobook, once a reading aid for the blind, and now having a bit of a comeback. It seems that we like to listen to books almost as much as we enjoy reading them.

When I was in sixth grade, our English / science / religion teacher was Mr. Montello. He came up with the luminous idea of combining those three classes to read Fahrenheit 451. Every day after lunch, we were allowed to put our heads on our desks and listen to Mr. Montello read the wrods of Ray Bradbury out loud. I can remember the heat, the dry and dusty plain, that world so very different from our own and yet perfectly visible in my mind's eye.

I think I had already fallen in love with the written word by sixth grade but this was my first inkling of the power of the spoken word. Reading with Your Ears is this week's blog post. It's about the rise of the literary podcast and the staying power of the audiobook. Both are about to become a big part of my life.

At least, that's my hope. I hope for a lot of things. For street artists like Stinkfish to cover Amsterdam in murals like the one above, Reflexion. He's one of many artists who populate the Street Art Museum Amsterdam. Their mission is to use art as a tool to a social dialogue. Wow, talk about hope.

Speaking of which, I hope to see you at:

Finding Nemo (aka the Perfect Critique Group)
Angel Island
Gulag with Chinese Characteristics

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