Philadelphia Literary Journal Pride

As I’ve been combing through Duotrope, New Pages, and Poets & Writer’s in search of new markets to submit my writing to over the past few weeks I’ve slowly come to the realization that Philadelphia has a promising up-and-coming literary scene! Not that Philadelphia shouldn’t naturally be super literary and cultural–it is one of the most historic and largest cities on the East Coast–but Philadelphia, at least from my viewpoint, has been in a bit of a hibernation-mode in recent years. Honestly, people keep leaving the Philadelphia area in favor of New York and Boston and DC because the city has been going stale. Cool restaurants have been closing, there isn’t much of a shopping-draw, the only good stuff that does exist is rather expensive–concerts and the like–and it’s generally unsafe in most areas so nobody wants their cars to get vandalized or walk around the streets exploring after dark. So the fact that literary journals are budding out of this environment like a bed of tulip bulbs is rather exciting!

Though Philadelphia Stories and Apiary magazine are the only two that show clear favoritism towards Philadelphia/Pennsylvania writers and themes in their editorial mission statements, the fact that a whole bunch of exciting, new, innovative, and ultimately successful literary journals are springing up out of Philadelphia gives me hope that lots more good things are to come!

On the old side, Painted Bride Quarterly is one of the country’s longest running literary magazines, circa 1973, and is in-part staffed by Drexel University students. On the new side, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, a non-profit flash-prose journal associated with Rosemont College, only launched last year. Same with TINGE magazine, staffed by graduate students in Temple University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and Nailpolish Stories, the brainchild of Philadelphia writer Nicole Monaghan.

Dear Philadelphia: I’m proud of you. Good show.

Do you have some local literary journals you’re extra fond of just because they call your town home?

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All I Want For Christmas is an Acceptance Letter

It’s not really the only thing I want this year (I’d really like Bank of America to stop dragging their feet–they’re taking so long that paperwork keeps expiring and we have to resubmit things over and over again–and let me buy the condo I’ve been waiting on for months so I’ll actually have a place to live) but an acceptance letter would be a nice gift to receive! I’ve gotten several rejection letters as of late and haven’t been submitting great quantities of new short stories anywhere, but I am still waiting to hear a “yes” or “no” from the following:

Painted Bride Quarterly (date submitted: January 4th, 2011; what submitted: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time:  unknown

Writer’s Digest Young Adult Fiction Contest (date submitted: October 16th, 2011; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: December 31st

Literary Laundry (date submitted: October 1st, 2011; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: 6 months or under

Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest (date submitted: November 13th, 2011; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: March 1st, 2012

Press 53 (date submitted: September 24th, 2011; what submitted: 1 non-fiction) Official Response Time: July 1, 2012

I never heard back from skirt.com and on their submission page they state that if they don’t respond within eight weeks, then it’s a rejection. This, I would just like to mention, is my greatest pet peeve as a writer–especially when they don’t even confirm receipt of your submission–so I’m not even sure if someone read my story. Let’s hope that all publications make a New Year’s resolution to use submission managers like submittable from now on!

Writers Are a Virtuous Breed

True fact.  Not that we have much choice, now, do we?  I suppose we could always write nasty emails demanding quicker responses, but that probably occurs to writers as often as it occurs to them to respond to rejection letters. (PS: DON’T DO IT!)

I’m currently waiting upon:

Painted Bride Quarterly (date submitted: January 4th; what submitted: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time:  unknown

Skirt.com (date submitted: September 3rd; what submitted: 1 non-fiction) Official Response Time: 6-8 weeks

New South (date submitted: September 20th; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: Unknown.

Press 53 (date submitted: September 24th; what submitted: 1 non-fiction) Official Response Time: Will find out by July 1, 2012

Literary Laundry (date submitted: October 1st; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: 6 months or under.

Writer’s Digest Young Adult Fiction Contest (date submitted: October 16th; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: Will find out by December 31st.

 

PS: See my super cool debut on the Weave magazine blog!  I cannot wait until Issue #7 comes out, with my flash non-fiction story, “To the New Owners of My Childhood Home,” in it!  Subscribe to Weave to read it yourself (I think it might become available online as well, but I’m not sure yet.  I’ll get back to you)!

PPS: As you can tell, writers are an extremely humble breed as well.  False.  As Brevity magazine assures us, it is 100% okay–and actually a good idea–for writers to brag about their accomplishments.  How else would our writing ever get read?!  (Sorry if you’ve already read this article because I’ve linked to it before, but it’s one of my absolute favorites.)

Submission Update for Fiction and Non-Fiction

I haven’t posted a Slow Sunday update in a while because, honestly, I’ve been so busy trying to get employed and housed that I haven’t been submitting (or writing much, which is depressing).  But things are finally starting to calm down (I am employed and temporarily housed, though I’m search for something more permanent in central New Jersey that would reduce my driving commute time of 1.5 hours in half.  Longest. Drive. Ever).

Anywho, off topic.  These are where things are right now!

Painted Bride Quarterly (date submitted: January 4th; what submitted: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time:  unknown

Skirt.com (date submitted: September 3rd; what submitted: 1 non-fiction) Official Response Time: 6-8 weeks

The Madison Review (date submitted: September 20th; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: Unknown

New South (date submitted: September 20th; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: Unknown.

Press 53 (date submitted: September 24th; what submitted: 1 non-fiction) Official Response Time: Will find out by July 1, 2012

Sucker Literary Magazine (date submitted: September 30th; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: 4 months or under

Literary Laundry (date submitted: October 1st; what submitted: 1 fiction) Official Response Time: 6 months or under.

Writing Submission Status

I haven’t posted my personal waiting experience in a while.  So if you’re interested…

  • Painted Bride Quarterly (date submitted: January 4th; what submitted: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time:  unknown
  • Cicada (date submitted: February 16th; what submitted: 2 poems)  Official Response Time: up to 4 months

I’ve given up hope on the Cicada submissions, to be honest.  It’s going to be one of those infamous lost submissions that happen all the time.  I’ve sent the editors several polite emails inquiring as to the poems statuses, but never received a response to those either.

I also sent a polite inquiry to the PBQ staff asking what the official response time was, but they never responded either.  But they are staffed by Drexel University students and their semester doesn’t start until mid-September, so perhaps I’ll have to wait until then.  Has anyone heard back from PBQ recently?

The Writer’s Curse: You Can Never Stop Working

If you’re a writer, you know that you’re doomed.  Doomed to a life of eternally working.  Time off from the day job just means you have more time to write, more time dedicated to being chained to your desk and the invisible spiderweb deadlines that you construct for yourself.  Maybe I’m just speaking for myself, but every moment that other people would spend relaxing–watching television, taking naps, doing absolutely nothing–I feel like I should pack full with productive writing.  I constantly feel like I’m wasting my time unless I’m using it to work on my craft.  Because I like making polls, here’s one for you:

For example, I’m feeling rather stressed that I’m only waiting on a few short stories.  A few months ago I had a huge long list of things pending at literary journals.  With the list being so short, and me not having written any new material in an embarrassingly long amount of time, I’m feeling a great deal of writerly stress.  Am I alone or is this an occupational hazard?  While you wait for your rejection and/or acceptance letters, do you continually stress?

  • Painted Bride Quarterly (date submitted: January 4th; what submitted: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time:  unknown
  • Cicada (date submitted: February 16th; what submitted: 2 poems)  Official Response Time: up to 4 months
  • storySouth (date submitted: June 1st; what submitted: 1 fiction)  Official Response Time: 2-6 months
  • Weave magazine (date submitted:  June 1st; what submitted: 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time: 3 months

Patience is (Allegedly) a Virtue

I think this is more of a wives tale than a proverb, personally.  What’s the longest amount of time you’ve ever waited to hear back from a journal or literary agent?  How do you all stay patient?  I’m going BONKERS over here.  I’m still waiting on…

  • Painted Bride Quarterly (date submitted: January 4th; what submitted: 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time:  unknown
  • Cicada (date submitted: February 16th; what submitted: 2 poems)  Official Response Time: up to 4 months
  • storySouth (date submitted: June 1st; what submitted: 1 fiction)  Official Response Time: 2-6 months
  • Weave magazine (date submitted:  June 1st; what submitted: 1 non-fiction)  Official Response Time: 3 months

Also, I’m waiting to start a series of job interviews beginning tomorrow morning.  And then I’ll be waiting to hear back about said job interviews.  Cross your fingers for me!