The following is an essay I submitted to Barrelhouse Magazine, a literary mag that attempts to combine pop culture know-how with artfully crafted prose and poetry. They rejected my piece, which means I can post it on the Bloggery now.


    I’m at the Barrelhouse website, thinking the robot at the top looks pretty cool. I click on Submissions, because really, that’s the only part I care about. I check out the guidelines, which politely explain that Barrelhouse is only accepting non-fiction manuscripts at the moment–at my moment, of all moments.

    “Non-fiction?!” I cry to Luna, who is a dog that belongs to me. “Aw, tits!”

    In quite a tumult, I grab a handful of journals and start leafing through the pages, hoping to dig up some odd scrawling from months ago and build it into some factual prose that will blow your chin right into your eyeballs; yes, like a literary uppercut.

    I don’t find much. There’s a thing about spiders, in which I mention unsuitable afghans, and about twenty little ditties on sex. Everything else is non-non-fiction, or in lay terms: regular kind.

    I think about writing a meditation on the 80’s cartoon, SilverHawks, because Barrelhouse seems like the kind of place that would appreciate a reference to SilverHawks. Then I decide I won’t write about SilverHawks, and instead make a note to subtly include it somewhere in the essay.

    “Oh no!” I cry again to the property panting beneath my desk. “Luna, I’m full of shit!”

    Luna looks as if she has known this all along. That is why I purchased her–for her honesty.

    Uh-oh, did that count as fiction? I swear, her body language really did imply she already knew about my fecal-facts–er, poopie-prose–ahem, turd-text. Her eyes even rolled back a bit, though that could have been the heat exhaustion. We don’t have air-conditioning, Luna and I.

    This is proving to be awfully difficult, this world of writing what’s real. I’m a writer; one of those literary fiction guys. I write what’s real, but I do it fictionally. A lot of it is pulled from what’s real, then embellished by long nights of insomnia and amphetamines. There’s research involved too. Lots and lots of reading boring, boring books, just to make sure my information is accurate. Hey now; those were non-fiction books!

    Wait a minute, I’m all confused. Is fiction still fiction if acquired from pieces of non-fiction and what’s real? For that matter, is non-fiction really non-fiction, if there’s narrative flair? At what point does persuasion become fiction? If I lie to you, knowingly, but present it in a factual manner, is the non of the non-fiction compromised?

    I’m sure these questions have been answered by some literature guru who wrote some non-fiction book I’m never going to read. I don’t like reading what people think about writing; I like to read writing. Or just plain writing.

    There’s a message in here, somewhere. A theme. It has something to do with blurring the lines between art and life, and what strange containments we apply to each. It might have something to do with dogs too, but probably not.

    I should’ve just written about the damn SilverHawks.

Published in: on July 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. To: the guy who “doesn’t like reading what people think about writing”.

    From: a girl who has no authority to comment (but always thinks she does), leaving this riddling reply for you:

    Sounds like you write “Vegas-style”.

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