Target Practice

All around me: the crisp cool morning air, permeating the two exterior walls of my childhood bedroom; my wife in the room with me, tapping out the voice-over to her newest YT video; my sister downstairs singing to the dogs; the periwinkle blue carpet holding me up; a warm mate, brewing besides me, as I sip.


On my mind: the end of season three of Shooter (not that I watched it, but my father told me the ending); the urge to manifest ideas, bring order to the chaos inside; an image of our brains, formed by holding our thumbs in a clasped hand; giving a story some wings, aka getting published.


What do I mean? It hit me the other day, as it does every year, once a year, that not one of my short stories has been published yet by a third party, be it a lit mag or a punk rag. According to my Submittable page, I have been shooting stories since 2014. That’s 7 years? With only 1 essay online, 1 poem in an anthology, and 1 letter for a university writing award ever seeing the light of day, gaining those wings that make words fly . . . aka getting published.


Never a short story! Not even a flash piece.


So, on Monday, with schools closed all this week due to “inclement weather” (or frozen hell, as it should have been named) I decided to clean my rifle barrel, load the magazine with stories, and fire away.


. . .


Four days later I went from having 40-something submissions issued, to 80. And that’s just what I see on Submittable; it doesn’t include the emails I sent. What I am most proud of is how (after so long . . .) I am able to submit a unique story to each venue. Writers know how we sometimes submit the same story to a half-dozen places. It’s called “simultaneous submitting.” Kind of frowned upon, but tolerated, since often times writers are rejected as easily as raindrops are ignored. So we must go door to door with the same story in hand.


But, thanks to my undying optimism, emanating from a deep, beating part of me, I get this fuzzy feeling every time I submit a story that (this time) I will be accepted. Already, since Monday, two stories have been rejected. But, for once, I was able to fire away for four days something new every time. It’s exhilarating to see just how many stories have accumulated since I began this journey into letters.


Here’s my “2021_hitlist” thus far:


submitted vaccinated notes2
closed butterfly may???
rejected repair march
submitted letsbehonest
submitted mirror
MAYBE thetroublewithspeed
rejected fishy may???
submitted grozny
submitted butterfly
submitted waste
submitted sylph
submitted grozny
closed march
closed march
awkward edge
closed march
closed march
submitted ardor
submitted toast
submitted touch
submitted fishy
submitted quit
submitted pier
submitted notes1
submitted cobain
submitted voyage
submitted skeleton
submitted draught
submitted orozco
submitted youhavetobeapoet
submitted ivan2ela
submitted sylph
submitted wajdan
submitted 420
submitted karass
submitted eunoia
submitted prague-cut
submitted drop
submitted BBQ
closed march
closed march The Art of Isolation: Finding a Silver Lining in the Pandemic Response.
submitted malaise
submitted reflex


If you notice one blank, that is because I will write the story today — something fresh, about nature and the power of art, specifically for the publication — which is what I have been doing, if I felt none of my stories fit the mold of the publication. Truly, honestly, seriously, cmonly, I want to submit things these editors want, things that TINGLE them, and SCINTILLATE their audience. Thus, I would rather write something new, meaningful, targeted — meanwhile improve my writing skill — and submit the fresh piece, fire away.


. . .


I won’t explain the “awkward” status, but notice the MAYBE!


Yet enough about me, below let’s highlight some of the spaces discovered along the journey. For anyone interested in submitting:


Pank is super cool, and publishes edgy, contemporary birds. Intrinsick is run by a bunch of funny Bukowski lovers, so I feel I have a bit of a chance there. Ruminate is one of a kind, a place for meandering thoughts, and lingering impressions. Lastly, all of these hosts of art I discovered on International Writers Collective, which puts out posts with links to many (many!) publications hungry for writing.


Best of luck to y’all. Imma keep shooting. Wish me luck.

Posted in Life and tagged , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.