November 24, 2009: I was surprised to find five new issues of "Fray" magazine in my mailbox this evening -- the kind gesture of a thoughtful editor faced with the guilt and hardship of running a print quarterly in the 21st century. The guilt comes from not being able to enclose a check. While I've made various vows about never writing nonfiction for free -- never letting the fruits of my hard-learned craft nourish the public without fair recompense -- something about the issue's theme -- sex & death -- moved me to put out. Still, I'd be lying if I said my motivation was anything but an addict's interest in seeing his name in hard-copy print.
As many of you know, my professional credits are significant, and my writing abilities -- following more failed attempts than I'd ever want to remember -- have blossomed to the point where I consider myself one of the better writers in America. (No, I'm not trying to be funny. This is one of my serious pieces!) But the market has run dry, and most of the people I used to do regular work for no longer have the budgets, nor perhaps the nerve, to fund my radical, though eloquent, copy. (Bastards!)
Perhaps it doesn't matter. We should all continue to marvel at the frail value placed on the written word, and maybe start to embrace it, like we have television and rap music -- two mammoth blisters on our collective cultural toes, though not without some rare examples of merit. Or maybe we should just marvel at MY failure to achieve any ongoing success. I know it has ME confused. Is this due to my laziness, my failure to be as aggressive and focused as possible? Or is the failure that of the American people, who thus far have been unable to recognize my greatness and adequately reward my work?
I would have to say the latter, and I'm trying to be objective. (Believe me, it's not easy, but I'm a professional.)
Since I started writing this Blah-Ugh! I've let my principles deteriorate somewhat. Let's face it, I'm merely scraping for any glory I might receive by way of my 12 faithful followers (although I suspect that at least nine of you have stopped reading altogether -- Bastards!).
The point is, I'm happy to get my "Fray" copies, which have a retail value of $60. (That's a lot of money in the Sudan.) More importantly, I'm pleased to see my article ("Once Around the Corpse") featured in one of the more lovely nonfiction journals on the newsstand today, obviously run by a thoughtful editor -- Derek Powazek -- who, despite being of Polish descent, has created an intriguing product without resorting to macabre, catch-all crowd-pleasing topics, like violence or eroticism.
Order your copy of "Fray" today, but demand Issue #3, because you'll want to read my piece on getting a hands-on tour of a corpse at a medical school. It's vintage me, for those of you who aren't yet fed-up.
Next time: A shout out to all my new blog Followers!