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Breaking: Summer Fiction Issue Not Nearly Long or Difficult Enough to Last 2 Weeks

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It’s Thursday, and I’m finished. The issue is spent. I am at sea without an issue to paddle with—I’m almost Paddle-to-the-Sea! Fiction editors, this is the best you could do? Let half a dozen rich and juicy stories about doomed ne’er-do-wells on Hawaii beaches and toothy movie stars on planes and wild Dominican daughters and ghostly girls and physics—and a dessert plate of petits fours of poignant movie stories that have only wet my whistle—slip down my gullet like so many fresh oysters, and I’m supposed to be set till next Monday? No. I am done, and bereft, like that Inconvenient Truth polar bear with no ice floe in sight. And mixing metaphors like a fruitcake (examples abound above). You see what this is doing to me?

Of course, there were the other articles. And they were alarmingly quick treats, too, and moving (Edwidge Danticat) and fascinating yet troubling (the nicely titled “Final Destination”; I still don’t understand why this guy won’t put these incredible archives online), and other stuff I’ll get into later; lord knows I’ve got time. I need another dense Middle East piece to make me feel better informed and appropriately challenged yet alarmed anew about my inadequate knowledge of the issues’ intricacies, and determined to go back to that NYRB primer I’ve dipped into less than I should have in the past ten years. With more than a week to go, I need something that would take a day or two to work on. I mean it; I miss it!

I guess this is what the new fiction podcasts are for, to ease the shakes, although curiously the word “podcast” (and please correct me if I’m wrong) hasn’t actually appeared in the magazine to advertise the podcasts, or maybe the type is just extra-small. In any case, I’ll be diverted by some of your multimedia gewgaws, fiction editors. (This savvy Canadian law professor would recommend I do so, I think.) But don’t think I’ll forget that you’ve made an issue that, while meaty and delicious as a Second Avenue Deli brisket sandwich, R.I.P. deli and cud-chewing brisket source, is not time-consuming enough for the time in which I have to consume it.

Here’s a funny fact: I think I may be Danticat’s first publisher. She had a pared-down, urgent poem called “Saw Fish Soup” in The Columbia Review when I was editor, and I still remember it.


Register, Emdashes 2Q2007:

Just sayin’.

I’ve been getting some emails about how postal I’ve apparently gone, but it was just a bad day, really; even I have them. And do you notice that I loved the issue?

Anyway, I also wanted to point out that I went back to check on the print preview for the new weekly fiction podcast, and as I half-suspected but was too full of Mexican jumping beans to look up properly at the time, the word itself does appear—just smaller and less prominently than I think this very good news deserves. That’s all. I’m in a better mood now. I still have nothing to read till next Monday, aside from the more than 17 million books (yes, there is a source) in the Library of Congress and the umpteen inadequate magazines (mine excepted) floating around. Ah well, I’ll probably live.

I once knew a Modern Letters student who literally did go postal: after graduation, she became a mailman, and then got put in a mental institution when she tried to kill her family with a huge knife. Now that’s going postal!

Don’t be silly! I’m sure I’m not the only one to love it when you get emotional on us!

Aw, thanks, Carolita. I’m happy to say that the (retired) mailman I know best is beloved by many thousands of lindy hoppers across the world, and, to my knowledge, hasn’t killed anyone, except possibly by military command.

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