Back on June 7, I submitted via e-mail a piece of short fiction to the 2008 Noozhawk Fiction Contest. The prize, had my little vignette not succumbed to presumptive failure to thrive, would have been a scholarship to the SB Writer’s Conference, which starts this week. The conference has gotten so prohibitively expensive that I wouldn’t even consider paying to attend.
At this price, if they resurrected Faulkner and Frost to teach at the event, sure. But lesser mortals now holding forth have overestimated their message.
I won’t be attending the conference, and not because my story didn’t win, though it didn’t. It simply disappeared. Poof. Sucked into a void of abject indifference. Not so much came back as a “submission received and deleted, you hack.” Reminds me of a scene in one of the Star Trek movies: the teleporter malfunctions while people are being sent. Their molecules are scrambled horribly. Somebody says to Kirk over the communicator something like, “Sorry Admiral, but what we got back here didn’t live long.” Cracked me up.
I didn’t enter the contest expecting to win. I submitted just because writers write and sometimes you have to move something to the Finished pile. And I wasn’t expecting flowers in consolation when I didn’t. I’m just saying, it’s unprofessional. Inconsiderate. Regardless of their opinion of my story, nobody should be ignored. Besides, I know it’s OK writing, if they don’t. Know what I mean?
A boilerplate response text could be pasted into a reply and sent in seconds, free. I took the time and care to format and submit my humble piece as requested, and kept my covering e-mail brief and polite. Futility.
Any writer will tell you, get ready for rejection. I can handle it, but this isn’t that. And this isn’t my first rodeo, he said, channeling Bush. I have been to town enough times to know you don’t go to the whorehouse lookin’ for true love, and you don’t send your writing to strangers and expect to find it there either.
The weird thing is that I’ve searched the writers’ conference site and I can’t find any indication that judging ever took place or that a winner was selected or announced. Maybe things fell apart. That’s happening lately.
I saw a crazy dangerous possibly drunk driver on the highway the other day, so I dialed 911 on the cell. Nobody answered. Can you believe it? “All operators are busy,” at 911! That was a first for me. I finally gave up; the car was long gone, and I couldn’t have told them where to look anymore. Thank God nobody had stopped breathing or was bleeding to death.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre….