Friday, June 01, 2007

Stories from a Moron

This is a book that every writer should read if they need a pick-me-up. It's Stories from a Moron by Ed Broth.

Mr. Broth set out to make a nuisance of himself to various magazine editors. He would write short "stories" (I use the term loosely) and then just send them out indiscriminately. In other words, he would do no careful market analysis, trying to fit the story to the magazine. Half the time, he sent his stories to magazines that didn't even accept fiction.

In this book, he shares with us the fruits of his labor and the rejection slips that he accumulated. I should warn you, some of the stories are pretty out there in terms of content. Vague (and not so vague) sexual references, a cussing Harry S Truman, that sort of thing.

What kind of disappoints me (and impresses me at the same time) is the restraint that most of the editors showed. You would think that they would eventually tell Broth off for wasting their time (one of them does and is the best exchange of letters in the whole book). But most of the time, they are very polite, very cordial as they explain that they can't use what he's sent in. The funniest (and least honest) has to be Ambassador Magazine, a publication for Italian Americans. The editor writes a glowing review for Ed's story and compliments him on how he tries to capture "their" heritage ... and Ed said not one word about Italians in his story. It was plainly obvious that the editor hadn't read the story at all.

It's kind of a surreal read, but it's a fun one too. If you're ever feeling blue about a pile of rejections, this is the place to laugh some of your troubles away because, while your work may not deserve it, Ed Broth's most certainly does.

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