Several days ago, my friend Lisa said to me, "At this point, it is time to do a weekly series looking at the publishing asshole or dick of the week."
And I thought, yes, it is time for that. The more I achieve, the more these people double down. For twenty years, I have gathered dossiers. I have firsthand experience--and often extensive experience at that--with most of them. I remember all. I know how the people who are editors who are also writers come to publish everything they publish. I know the exact provenance. Just as I know how so and so comes to be in their venue. I know how they make their decisions. I know the internecine levels of discrimination. I am in a unique position. Because if you had done a handful of things I've done, you'd love the system, because the system would be shooting you forward and up. If you had done little, it would all be some far-off mystery to you, and you wouldn't have the experience in the system or the knowledge of how it works.
There is nothing more flagrantly rancid than how this works, and if you are self-made, you light it up, you are smarter, more productive, they don't seek to put you forward, they don't award you, give you the deals, rep you, back you, review you, profile you; they try every way they can to block you, to suppress you. Sometimes they literally steal money from you.
Now, that's with me. But if you are not one of them, and you are doing good work, and not a lot of people have seen it yet, there is a great chance that no one ever will, because the system is for the system people. These people don't put their practices out in the open, because they are recreants, and they also don't want people to know why they do what they do. And they titter away about you to their little friends, who aren't actually their friends, because there are no real connections here, and so rarely do they give you cause to find one between writer and reader.
I have reached a point where my body of work is such that we all know when it's personal. I could not do this without having done what I have done, which is the great end of all arguments, the body of work, the enormity of achievements, the range of venues, styles, voices, the innovations, the many forms of indisputable expertise, and what I do at the level of the sentence, and the soul, which is obvious to everyone who encounters the work, the body of work; that is the axiomatic nuclear tank at this point.
You can't say, "He can't do this well enough, he doesn't know about this, he can't write that way, he can't perform in this environment, he's not as qualified, he can't do this kind of voice, this kind of story, that kind of fiction." You cannot say anything. Not word one. You see what you see on this site? That is only a tiny fraction of what has come out, and what will be uploaded. And when you quote what these people call amazing, when you put it in black and white, you use their own artifice against them, their very system where there are no checks-and-balances, no third party eyes, in a manner where their absurdity and lies do all of the work--it's a lot like intellectual jitsu, really--because no one thinks that work is any good, or will when they see it, out there in the cold light of day. And you want to do a side-by-side test? Great. I welcome that all the live long day from here until the last click of time's final moment. What I have learned, as I become more successful each year, over the past seven years in particular, as I have fought to write my way out of hell, when I have become exponentially more successful, is that that success increases the rancor and the attempted suppression.
With this new weekly series (which doesn't mean other people and venues will not be exposed at other times throughout the week; I have no shortage of material and experiental material, and it will all be couched and housed within a blog that has become its own unique literary creation/work/form of art that further shows the artist in question here, the person in question here, the life lived as art, even, in question here, the sacrifice, the courage, the mind, the talent), each entry will be on a given person or place. It will, in depth, with facts, with quoted material, with personal experience, with truth, say how that person or place conducts themselves. (Some, at first, will be very surprised--shocked--that I know what I know.)
Often, these people have done very little as writers (and what they have done is almost always because someone hooked them up, who they hooked up; it is an effort that would not tax a tiny-brained gnat to show how obvious these quid pro quos are). Which is part of the problem--if you're not one of them, one of their friends, looking to stroke them back, a sick charge is gotten from putting a stone in the passway of myself, because they want what you have, which is made worse because you achieved it not just on merit, but more than merit, because you did it against people trying to keep you from it, people banded together, often, to keep you from it. The resentment deepens when I avert your stone, and have the success elsewhere. Which I always do, and I always will, even in this period, because I am only growing stronger as an artist, a person, and someone that cannot be killed nor stopped.
What will then happen is that a Google search, as is happening to some of the people whose activities have been detailed on this blog, will produce your entry very early up in the list. This becomes even more swiftly the case if you haven't done much, at least so far as a search engine is concerned. There is nothing you will be able to do to me, because I will be saying the 100% truth, as you will know as well as anyone. You can tell your faux-friends to hate me, but your faux-friends already do. That ship is long out of the harbor at this point. And what? You're not going to run a story for $50? I'd like to move the story, and I have twenty to move right now, but doing so for that price in a small circ. journal isn't going to help my cause at this juncture. Someone might say to me that the wiser course is to wait anyway, when more people will see a story that runs, and the price will be much higher, and while I get that, I think, eh, you'll just write more, won't you? Or, what--someone might say, "I'm not doing a book with him now, I hate him!" That person already hated me, or if they didn't and they were someone who acts and thinks like this, they weren't doing the book with me right now regardless. Eventually, hands will be forced. They won't have a choice. There are also people who are going to be told to hate me because that person telling them that ended up on this blog. So what you are doing in trying to spread this hate is getting someone else to say, "I don't want that to happen to me, I don't want to be torched like that, I should seek to remedy this situation before it is me up there." You can keep hating me all the same as you seek the remedy. That means nothing to me. I will likely listen.
Of course, I didn't want to call it the Asshole or Dick of the Week. That's crude. So we had to find a name. Something non-objectionable to a third party, who is, being reasonable, going to join up with this side. Then there are the future employers of these people. When you have a crude name for something, they take it less seriously. And I'm not a crude person. I thought about calling it The Publishing Boil of the Week. Boils get lanced. Other names came up. Joke. But too glib. It couldn't be carcinogen or lesion, because that's insensitive to people suffering from diseases, or with loved ones suffering or having suffered. Malignancy. There was some thought to various word forms of euglena. Do you know what a euglena is? It's a one-celled organism--so very small, very simple--but often poisonous.
You see what we are going for--multiple meanings, of course. Hagfish was a fun thought. Do you know what a hagfish is? Crucially, for these purposes, they have no backbone, and are the repulsive parasites of the sea. But, it's not catchy, and, more problematic, people aren't going to take the time to learn about the animal, most won't know about it in the first place, and there is an anti-female connotation with the "hag" part. Golden algae is also often poisonous. So, literally, poisonous pond scum.
The thing about Boil that was good was this notion of a pus-filled sack (pustulant was also trotted out) being pierced, essentially, being exploded, being destroyed. Ah, but we want something literary, yes, but memorable, accessible, repeatable in conversation, and with some class.
Have you ever read King Lear? Do you recall these lines?
“Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.”
And so it came to pass, that we will be doing The Publishing Carbuncle of the Week, with the quote from Shakespeare overhanging the top of each entry in the series. Embossed means raised--like what you see on ancient coinage--and this is still at skin level. So nothing--nobody in this case--of much consequence, but a kind of human boil. Their consequence, such as it is, is solely in the harm they can do society and the readers of the world, the would-be readers of the world, the souls looking for inspiration, needing inspiration, further wisdom, impetus, guidance, wonder, or just two hours' enterainment. That is what they seek to keep me from. And that is not what they are going to keep me from. My hand is forced at this point. I didn't want it to go this way, but that's how it's going. As I said numerous times here, I am getting to where I am going, whatever course I have to take, whatever my recourse needs to be, it is going to be. And strictly speaking, carbuncles can also be lanced. So it's good all around.