the dead word matrix
the dead word matrix

the dead word matrix

I’m going to squash some considerable curiosity & insecurity about my pursuit of writing or publication or recognition, & I’m going to do it publicly.
Is there a certain way to sell your writing that is easier/optimal when compared to other ways?
    I want answers, perspective & a red flare shot into the murky, twilight of my interior. A sample of the questions I want answers to include:
    What is objectively true about my writing?
    • What objective truths about our writing (frequency of articles, the use of the first person, etc.) matter & do not?
    • Does a matter of fact (e.g., a tendency to mention a golden retriever in every story, poem, my essay) suggest or indicate that there is an intrinsic value, or some repeating pattern to my work that affects it at all?
    Is my writing good?
    • Is my writing arranged or organized in such a way that maximizes its potential “goodness” or desirability?
    • Why do I frequently receive encouraging, personal, positive proclamations of the goodness of my submissions (a very rare thing) from editors on 63-75% of my submissions to ‘top-tier’ publications, but never get published?
    What increases one’s odds of being published?
    • If I know other published authors, or, put differently, attend the same schools, win the same awards, & meet the same people as other published authors how much does that affect my odds of being published?
    • Is there an observable hierarchy or likelihood that someone who submits in March with a .pdf will do better than someone who submits in Sept. with a .docx?
    • Does the typeface, format, style, or identity of the author affect their odds?
    • Do metaphors about the x or y appear more frequently in publishable work? Like, do poems that include figurative language abt. the nighttime do better than poems that include figurative language abt. the daytime?
    • Does writing this article, or articles of this sort, or promoting this type of dissent—a type of dissent that I think is both ambient & natural contrapposto in any pursuit that depends on the invention / commodification of human enterprise—increase my odds of getting published?
    Do publishers (both art house & mass-market) consistently improve, recognize, & challenge their idea of “literature” as it exists & is invented or sold in markets?
    • If not, why not?
      • How can this be objectively measured or investigated?
        • If one compares a statistically significant sample of rejected submissions & a statistically significant sample of accepted submissions, should the qualities of a [non]/publishable literature become obvious, evident, or at least determinable?
        • If either published or rejected work shares no specific trends, patterns, or qualities with similarly published or rejected work, then can it be assumed that publishers do not have a rigorous, consistent, or logical guidelines for accepting or rejecting a particular submission?*


    I am compiling everything I’ve written in the ten years since my graduation. I’m an analytical person, so it makes sense that taking an objective, measured, metrical assessment of the 1000+ pages/hundreds of thousands of words that I’ve written in the last decade will help me solve something. Hopefully, it will help me write more freely, more clearly, and more truthfully—even if that lowers my chances of being published. My friends & peers are pretty well aware of my thoughts on the literary marketplace.
    I’ll expand on them elsewhere, but, suffice it to say that my writing can not be comfortably sold or pitched because of its form, style, & incomplete nature.

    Admissions / Context

    I have enjoyed, luckily, tremendous successes—and failure—as a writer:
    I am an alumnus & fellow of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which, technically, is both a premier literary program, but also the most selective academic institution in the world.
    My writing has won prestigious awards (though not for quite a while, &, therefore in journals that barely exist or do not exist); this suggests that writing is good, in theory.
    • I won the Stegner Literary Prize as an undergrad, which at the time, was a big deal—mostly because everyone at the ceremony got a glass of champagne & I was 19 yo.
    I’ve been published a lot, edited a lot, & written for several publications myself.
    • I’ve been a paid writer/critic for The Star Tribune, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Millions, & a bunch of other places.
    • I have never published a book-length work, despite having book-length-work-worthy writing to publish.
    I’m finding rejection less upsetting / disturbing than I used to. I have a well-established & semi-toxic streak of a sort of suspicion & entitlement regarding rejection, but I feel much less intensely after introspection, work, & proper framing. I write because I like to write, just like I game or hike because I like to game or hike. It’d be nice, for example, to be a famous gamer or hiker, but not being either has not negatively affected my enjoyment of those activities—if anything, it’s probably enhanced it, given that I do not have a field of distortion that comes in the form of praise, critique, celebrity, etc.
    Dang, look how much I wrote, despite specifically restraining myself. Apologies. Without further ado:
    Still, it’s a curious thing to be published and unpublishable simultaneously; more curious that this spectral qualifiers (published author/writer/poet) depend on the momentary preference (a shifting, opaque, disintegrated hallucinations that lack both an objective correlative & any meaningful consideration of a system that does not depend on taste, privilege, hegemony & entropy to establish or certify the worthiness of literary art) of publishers who mostly are lovely people, or, like all of us, are trying to be—people who care deeply about an industry that is changing, or “dying”, which is not how I choose to describe a shift from potential to kinetic mode.
    A live a database of everything I’ve ever written. The first language / written piece comes from weekending, for which I won the x in 2012. The last was probably written on 05/02/2024.
    all writing database
    all writing database
    Document Name
    Best Lines
    - "In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." - Albert Camus - "Do not go gentle into that good night." - Dylan Thomas - "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost - "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." - Jane Austen - "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
    - "Come with the heat of a diss." - "Come with the heat of a thousand sons."
    - "In a world full of darkness, she found her light." - "Lost in the pages, I found myself." - "A gentle whisper, a powerful roar." - "With every word, a universe unfolded." - "Through the ink, emotions came alive."
    Single Poem
    - "the honeysuckle dissolves on the nape of a young prophet" - "A discharge of concentrated light transforms the last squadron into steaming violet residue." - "meaningful predilection for violet" - "before onlookers in formalwear transfixed by concussive blasts & sudden obliteration" - "before memories of wintertime" - "before forgetting" - "complaints like: whoever you did or did not invite for dinner" - "I keep expectations for the [meal] high." - "whatever we have will be simply lovely"
    • "The escape of images" • "their crisp declarative difficulty" • "Languishing in the summertime" • "The halflit crook of your arm" • "suspended in the exhalation of an afternoon" • "lasting ten thousand years" • "the violence occurs at dusk" • "regular exposure of the wound to sunlight & dampness" • "I am not the reflexive coordinated movement of flowers to sunlight" • "I am a colorless figure emerging frozen" • "the impending lightlessness" • "wildfire occupies the valley" • "Overlook smoke issuing from marshland" • "I am not the bumper crops" • "I am not the bullet" • "I am not a warrior" • "A postprandial stroll takes us to the memorial gift shop" • "I am surprised at how successfully life is reproduced here" • "A wintertime payload reduced the stables to a resinous powder" • "the bits of ice melt as if in resignation" • "fireteam spreading out in a formation that perfectly conveys their violent inclinations" • "the downtown area is a mere black archipelago" • "I am a part of whatever form energy takes in your world" • "I watch the spent the summer watching from a distance" • "I spend the remainder of the morning pretending to sleep" • "The ambassador of the sinking capital remains invisible to me behind cornstalks" • "I am reassigned to an island that I did not know we’d invaded" • "the bits of ice melt as if in half resignation" • "Juniper does not want to leave the house" • "The midday consumption of diminutive figures waving on the spit" • "Alarms in the city sound in unison" • "Measuring the ability of birds to sense incoming attacks" • "We intended to make death invisible" • "As solar winds strip the magnetosphere, distorting footage"
    Single Poem
    The most evocative and compelling lines from the poem "Ringshine" are: - "Another season retrieving wildflowers & fissile materials." - "Not unlike the purple tongue coiled in our mouth like a cornered adder." - "songbirds negotiate a roiling tourmaline wind." - "famous for the prevalence of ghosts & the widespread erosion of language." - "The reason I spent lifetimes rebuilding the capital after years spent establishing meager shelters, struggling with small snares." - "obliterated by missiles describing perfect arcs approaching incremental detonation." - "choose your signs, elect your emissaries." - "attend the revivals of traditional hymns." - "descending light becomes brightest at the exact point of termination."
    - "In the golden sunrise of a new day, hope blooms like a fragile flower." - "Whispering winds carry the secrets of the universe, unlocking hidden truths." - "Gazing at the stars, I found solace in the vastness of the cosmos." - "Love, a delicate dance of hearts entwined, defying all boundaries."
    - "replaces the sepia, pacific, opiate placeholder of mimi & jin yong’s love" - "the difficulty of one of six new diverse, celebrates the friendly, violent surrendor" - "the internal combustion of dead evergreens" - "the land that once held the capital spectacular becomes dire, imperative" - "The hotfix resolves the misbehavior of songbirds, the glitch
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