Goals for 2019

Alle’s commercial goals for2019

Last year, I joined a number of Facebook groups starring real, publishing writers. Many were focused on commercial publications than literary, especially high-level publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

I queried a few placed. Crickets. I elected to finish out 2018 per my goals – literary publications – and to start factoring in the commercial media in 2019.

First step: identify dream publications. Step Two: approach.

  • The New York Times: queried 3/17 with travel article culled from my recent Asia trip.
  • The Washington Post: Queried the Parenting section on 3/17 with a short humor essay regarding my less-than-nurturing behavior during the death of my daughter’s Guinea pigs (scuttling, gnawing creatures). Was rejected 3/19.
  • Huffington Post: Submitted the Guinea pig tale: “A Good Mama and a Decent Human Being.”
  • The Cut: A section in New York Magazine (NOT The New Yorker), very “hip.” Formerly interested only in essays, they announced on 3/18 that they now take fiction. On 3/18, sent flash fiction featuring sharks, rats, bad stew, and nunchucks. Only from my wickedly feminist imagination could this story spring.
  • Catapult: features long-form memoir (maybe 5,000 words). I have nothing for them, right now.
  • Longreads: ditto for their requirements, and ditto for my stock.
  • LitHub: Strikes a nice balance between literary and commercial. Submitted an essay, “Mouthy Ugly Genius.”
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Review of a review: Exodus (the movie, not the Torah)

I Shit Thee Not: Jessie from "Breaking Bad" plays Joshua. Rem

I was truly looking forward to Ridley Scott’s Exodus, starring Christian (erm) Bale as Moses. Boo-de-hoo, multiple reviews say the film is is a pile of tripe. My favorite review features the humor and pin-point derision of A.O Scott’s in The New York Times, rife with cleavers such as:

Moses discovers his Jewish roots, which means that he stops shaving, starts herding goats and, unless my ears deceive me, takes to peppering his speech with stagy old-man Yiddish inflections.

Before doing this Jewish review, A. O. Scott does his homework on Jewish culture. Or he has a lot of Jewish friends. Or lives in Manhattan. Or A.O Scott is a Jew. Who knew.

Read his review. I bet it’s better than the movie.

 

Mom-blogging goes corporate: This birthday brought to you by AT&T

    In response to this, reader Penny left a comment that dovetails remarkably with thoughts I have been struggling to align for over a year. Penny writes: “Hmmm, while I agree with your point about children being autonomous beings, I wonder if that really equates to you needing to get their permission to write about them or really equals some kind of exploitation.


    I am not inappropriately linking sexuality to money for my parents' financial benefit.

    Yes. It is, precisely, some kind of exploitation.

    Some parents sell their children into sexual slavery. (Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe; you know, other places.) Here, we have 150 “A-list” blogger moms selling ad space through media reps. Think I’m kidding?

    “But just as some cringe at Tupperware parties and the like for allowing a commercial enterprise to masquerade as a social one, some find the vast influx of corporate sponsors, freebies and promotions into the blogosphere a bit troubling. Last summer, one blogger organized a weeklong public relations blackout in which bloggers were urged to eschew contests, product reviews and giveaways and instead get “back to basics” by writing about their lives. Another blogger replied that she couldn’t do so because the blackout fell the week of her daughter’s first birthday party, which she was promoting on her blog. With sponsors and giveaways.”

    The article questions if these awkward moments in the capitalization of childhood  ” … might be, in part, because bloggers and corporations are still forging the proper boundaries of their relationship …. ”

    No. It is because of a diagnostic code these parents should be slapped with.

    If selling your kid into prostitution is at one end of the continuum, and the above perhaps two steps toward the middle, the far end is blogging about your child’s adorable yet immature insistence on being so young.

Screaming (at your children): The New Black?

We yell at our children because we can.

In Hilary Stout’s recent for The New York Times, the former Wall Street Journal editor references a national study where, of the 1,300 parents asked, two-thirds “named yelling — not working or spanking or missing a school event — as their biggest guilt inducer …  Parental yelling today may be partly a releasing of stress for multitasking, overachieving adults, parenting experts say.”

The eye-opener here is not that we do it, or that damages the children we love purportedly more than anything on earth. What Stout brings forward is that we are finally defining yelling for what it is: verbal abuse.

My childhood was loaded with abuse. While the physical and sexual elements were more immediately life-threatening, the verbal abuse was no less damaging. No one believed me … UNTIL NOW. (Dum dum dum!!!!)

PS. Yelling at each other in front of our children is just as abusive.

We also yell at children because we still can. Most of the avenues that used to be considered a parent’s right are now punishable by jail time. Not so with our dirty little secret. It and emotional abuse remain the adult way to off-load onto the most vulnerable everything from frustration to fury (see above: “releasing of stress for multitasking, overachieving adults”). I call that abusive.

Well, every parent yells. True, but: desirable? Would it make a difference if you heard instead: “Every parent commits verbal abuse.” If: “My parents yelled at me, and I turned out okay,” then: “My parents verbally abused me.”

After I yell at my children, I apologize. To them. “I am sorry I yelled at you.” I resist the urge to add, “Because you (list offenses).” That can come later, in a low-key chat. “Hey, loved offspring; when you yadada yadada yadada, I thought/felt (choose all that apply): Anger. Fear. Guilt. Shame. Lonely.

It doesn’t matter how Loved Offspring responds, or even if. What matters is that I apologized.

The Radio Silence

No posts in a long time, sports fans. Engrossed in a World Series-quality attack of peri-menopause. Appear to be at the bottom of the ninth; hooray! (More blogs later.) First pitch of the new season (blogging; not menopause) thrown by The New York Times‘ article: For Some Parents, Shouting Is the New Spanking.


A Digression: Iowa’s Family Values (A Writing Prompt)

When in the course of Vehry Intahrchesting events, we pause to consider the fiction/creative nonfiction opportunities offered by Steven W. Thrasher’s Op-Ed contribution to today’s New York Times.

Read Iowa’s Family Values and come back for the prompt.

THE PROMPT:

“Iowa Family values” is an Op-ed of a personal nature. Search for places in his piece where he could open into a creative nonfiction essay. Work on a version that would result his last sentence, already touching, resonating soundly with that sense of “something beyond ourselves.”

OR

Make the piece fiction. A great deal of his family history is available on-line. Or: start makin’ stuff up.

E-mail me anything you wish me to read, or post it as a comment.

In other news: Rock on, Vermont!