My second literary publication of 2019 came in just under the wire, on Dec. 23rd: a short story with gorgeous original art by David Humphrey. To have the lead-off piece in Dale Peck’s Evergreen Review is coup for me. I can only hope an agent or two loves the piece as much as Dale and John over at Evergreen say they did. Again, the art is out-of-this-world. I never would have thought to use the colors and images David employs, but how perfectly he captures Carlie’s journey!
I don’t know whether to post this, but I am such a vain, silly pig that I will: On Facebook, a reader asked how I went about structuring my sentences. She wrote, “You write in a way that I haven’t read before. The way your narrator reflects. The way you add these to your story. Short and precise but not abrupt.”
I thought I should pontificate.
Part of it is just the way I think. Another part is conscious. An agent once told me to cut my 400-page tome to 200 pages or fewer. I started by pulling out every “I” possible. Next, I realized that sentences (and paragraphs) of all the same length turned the page into literary Sominex. This realization led me to play with sentence and paragraph length.
“The Great Ultimate” is not the only piece of fiction in which I play with this technique. Check out perhaps the most experimental of these undertakings: Let Me Feel for You – the episode that, in Carlie’s chronology, directly precedes “The Great Ultimate.”
“The Great Ultimate” was the most recent of the four short stories adapted from chapters of my as-of-yet-unpublished (grumble) novel, and in October of 2018, I was eager to start sending it out.
I submitted “The Great Ultimate” to fourteen magazines before Evergreen said yes. For me, fourteen is an extraordinarily small number of submissions prior to acceptance.
Getting into Evergreen took some gumshoe. Finding no formal submission process on their website, I first sent a different story, I Wanted Ten, to the “info” address—just an attachment to an email. Heard nothing. For months. When “I Wanted Ten” was accepted by Blue Lake Review, I did what The Big They say you are supposed to do in such a situation: I contacted Evergreen—again, by simple email—describing the situation and offering instead “The Great Ultimate.” I’ll let Dale take the story, from here. (Link: dale-peck-announces-alles-short-story-the-great-ultimate.)
“This week on Evergreen: Alle C. Hall’s “The Great Ultimate,” an excerpt from a novel in progress. Some ungodly time ago Alle sent us a different excerpt from this book, but by the time I finally got around to reading it another magazine had snatched it up. Luckily for Evergreen she didn’t hold our tardiness against us, and sent us another selection, which we liked just as much.
“The Great Ulitmate” is a taut piece of writing chronicling a young woman’s efforts to keep her shit together after some serious trauma in her past. It’s one of those one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-and-we-call-it-walking stories, by which I mean that even though the narrator’s still alive at the end, you couldn’t really say if that’ll be the case a few days from now. But I’m holding out hope.”
Gotcha with the title, didn’t I? This is not my work, but a piece I edited for jmww journal. (Title in lower-case, indicating depth and literary quality.) It’s by Richard Prins. My Hangover … is Prins’s second piece for me. Come back for his debauched rumble, Already Yesterday.