It’s been busy in Mondoville this week, with Wave 2 of Gradeapalooza underway. But there’s been other stuff as well.
On Wednesday, the Spawn came out to Mrs. M as a likely English major when she gets to Flagship next fall. Mrs. M, being the practical member of the family, has advocated a course of study more likely to result in immediate temporal rewards (i.e., education), but took the news bravely. (As is so often the case, at least one parent suspected this all along.)
But then on Thursday, the Spawn wrote a short story — a really good, genuinely creepy short-short of about 1000 words. I read it, and was torn between parental pride and the animal desire to bop her on the head (rather like a rooster that pecks eggs — who needs the competition?) The better angels of my nature won a TKO over my reptile brain, however, and after a quick brag on Facebook, it occurred to me that if she’s serious about writing, why not turn this into a teaching opportunity?
So I asked her if she’d like to try submitting her story to one of the venues that runs my stuff. She was thrilled, and said “I can hardly wait to print my first rejection slip!” I told her that this was a pleasure that faded with time, so she should enjoy it while it’s still fresh. In any case, I passed the story to Craig McNeely at Dark Corners. His response was swift: it was good, but needed to be about twice as long, and he had some excellent suggestions for tautening the portion she had already written. Could she make the changes in the next day or two for the next issue?
In between her math and history homework, the Spawn worked on her story, and after dinner last night she asked me to read her revision. I did, and discovered that it had gone from being a really good 1000-worder to a terrific 2000-worder. Again, I passed it to Craig, and well, she’s gonna have to wait a bit to print that first rejection.
It’s my genuine pleasure to announce that issue two of Dark Corners will feature two stories from Clan Mondo. My Weird Western “Burnt Wood” will be in there, and the magazine will also mark the publishing debut of Emily “MondoSpawn” Moore, with a creepy little story called “Bellringers.”
Welcome to the world of pulp, kid. I’m proud of you.
Meanwhile, Mrs. M also read the story in its first version on Thursday, and recognized that the kid can really write. That night at bedtime, she said, “If you want to major in English… well, I guess that’ll be okay. You can always live in our basement.” We laughed, and it has been a good weekend.
At one point during the past few days, the Spawn said, “If this gets published, it isn’t gonna be one of those ‘cute teen writer’ stories, is it? I don’t want any condescension publishing.”
“Baby,” I said, “first of all, if I didn’t think it was a genuinely good story, I wouldn’t have encouraged you to submit it. Secondly, Craig publishes his magazine to make money. If he runs bad stories, people aren’t going to want to buy it. He can’t afford to publish stuff he doesn’t really think is good.”
Meanwhile, I’ve acted as a sort of middleman in the process. I e-mailed her story to Craig, who e-mailed his suggestions back to me. I forwarded them to the Spawn, who sent me the revisions, which I forwarded to Craig. At one point, I said to the Spawn, “Why don’t you just let me give him your email, and you can correspond directly?”
She shook her head. “He’s a real editor.” At this point, it seems, she would prefer not to approach the altar directly. So I get to intermediate. It’s okay — I remember the feeling myself. And I still feel it occasionally; it’s a Pinocchio thing. You have to get used to being real.
Today’s musical selection isn’t garage, although it is a bit psychedelic. One day during my first trip through grad school in 1992, I was listening to the University station, when I heard some familiar words over a creepy folk-rock background. I recognized the words as Edward Gorey‘s The Insect God, but had no idea who the band was. Years later, I learned it was a side project of Camper Van Beethoven called the Monks of Doom. And now, I’ll share it with you. Enjoy!