Sunday, May 6, 2012

Glimmer Train Arrives

I just received Glimmer Train Issue 83--with "Teeth Apart" on page 47. Those of you who know me know  the significance of 47.

My journey to Glimmer Train is a looooooong one, so it is especially surreal to see my childhood photo and my story in the journal. I was a finalist for the Glimmer Train Fiction Open for my story "Stray" in 2001. Then "Alas My Love, You Do Me Wrong," was accepted for publication by Glimmer Train less than 24 hours after I had received an acceptance from One Story. I had already accepted One Story and had to withdraw the submission from Glimmer Train (the editors were not too happy with me). It was my first published story, so I'd never had that problem before and didn't know what to do! Back when Glimmer Train did Poetry Open contests (and back when I wrote poetry), my poem "Oncology, Ontology, Ornithology," was also a finalist in the Open.

I was in a short story class this last fall, and we were required to submit work as part of the class. Glimmer Train seemed uniquely frustrating to my classmates--I think because it seems more accessible than The New Yorker (and it certainly is) but also maddeningly impenetrable. They publish a lot of emerging writers (and first-time publications) so it feels to the writer that there chances are that much higher. Someone actually wrote to me on my site asking if the Glimmer Train contests are a fiction--was I pre-selected? Did I actually receive the award funds?--he was certain it was some kind of conspiracy. It is not a conspiracy. Linda and Susan are real, and they are tireless in their efforts to publish good fiction and to support new writers. Glimmer Train is sometimes criticized for publishing too much domestic fiction and not having "hip" cover art. But its strength is that it is not cool, and it is not clubby. You do not have to know someone, or be an editor of another literary journal, or have a book forthcoming. But they do receive as many as 40,000 submissions per year. Chew on that for a second. So the path to publication could take . . . a decade, as it did in my case. At any rate, it's an honor to appear in these pages.

P.S. I workshopped the story "Teeth Apart" at the Tin House Writer's Workshop in summer 2010. My workshop leader was Anthony Doerr. I can't recommend that workshop enough for writers looking for a great workshop experience. They have such a top-notch line-up of writers (and so many master of the short form--a real rarity) that between the workshops, lectures, and reading, there's a lot to takeaway from one short week. And it's a hell of of a lot of fun. Summer camp for quasi-grownups.

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