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Everything wrong with publishing: Megan Sexton, editor in chief of Five Points

Wednesday 1/11/23

Time to highlight a bigot. Can you lowlight a bigot? Because bigots are the lowest of the low. I'm not sure. Either way, as was suggested earlier, we're going to look at a bigot in Megan Sexton, editor in chief of Five Points. What is Five Points? Because it's highly unlikely--bordering on impossible--you've heard of Five Points, unless you're a member of the publishing system. You would probably have an MFA.

But Five Points is considered by such people one of the best literary journals. It's based out of the English department of Georgia State University. The writing in it is always terrible. It's always safe, bland, formulaic. It has no purpose. It's really not meant to be read by anyone, in the sense of adding to their lives. But this is the current situation. This is what people like Megan Sexton--and all of the other people of the system--have brought about. There are no venues for fiction. Readers have been killed off--especially readers of non-genre fiction--because there is nothing worth reading. So what you're left with is a place like Five Points, which is what writers aspire to. No one will see the work, which is a moot point, because none of the work that Five Points publishes is worth seeing. Those writers want to get in so they can say they were to other people exactly like them. Who also don't read their work, because, again, there is no reason for anyone on earth to read it. That's the situation. This is the kind of venue that exists. You have a place like Five Points, or nothing. You could just as easily say The Paris Review, Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, Kenyon Review. It's all the same. The people behind these places are all the same.

Megan Sexton is one of those people who wears an indoor scarf. We've talked about such people before. They are affectation incarnated. That would Megan Sexton. Also, petty, discriminatory, insecure, talentless, brutal little blobs of sub-humanity. She likes to think that she knows about music, too, and of course she knows nothing about music. She knew all about my background with Rolling Stone and the hundreds of places for whom I wrote about music. That was one of many things that made someone like this dead set against me. The raging envy.

Megan Sexton is a bigot who is all about maintaining the system. Only letting in people exactly like herself. Five Points charges $3.25 for them to read your story. Which is not that much less than what they pay for publication. But of course they're not actually reading your story. Megan Sexton is hooking up the people like her. It's all cronyism and bad writing. Five Points is a clip joint, and the $3.25 is a scam, because no one reads Five Points. No one is paying to read it. This is how they make their money. As such.

Can you even imagine me paying this loser to read my work and after having done what I've done in my career? To give them money? To pay to have an underling of an MFA student (who is simply there to send out form rejections, while Megan Sexton hooks up her friends and people like her), some pretend writer, some would-be who never will-be, with ten silver spoons sticking out of her mouth, form reject me and get off on it because that's control for that person, they're way of evening the score with someone completely beyond them in every way? That was not how this was going to go.

I am an infinitely better writer than anyone who has been, or will be in Five Points. Infinitely. Not exponentially. Infinitely. Want to do that thing we do where I go to the site of one of these godawful venues and show you an example of the first story I see--that's the rule; it's the first story, not me looking for the worst thing I can find--with the guarantee that that story will be dreadful? A story we will laugh at it's so bad. Because they always are. There are no exceptions with a place like Five Points. Then, stories from Five Points will be anthologized in Best American Short Stories, because nothing is real in this publishing system. Nothing happens because anything is any good. It's the opposite. Everything happens because a given work sucks, bores, and matches other works that also suck and bore, with all of them being written by the same kind of odious, pathetic, connected, talentless person.

So should I go ahead and pick that story? Then we can contrast it with something from one of the many things I've written this week? Okay. Here we have "Flawed Machines" by Xavier Blackwell-Lipkind (Megan Sexton is also a racist, who hates straight athletic-looking American men, so you really are going to want to check off a bunch of other boxes).

Now, I'm pretty sure that you think that's terrible. I am pretty sure that anyone who reads that--you won't get far--thinks it's terrible. In truth, I know that there isn't anyone on earth capable of thinking that's amazing. Meanwhile, this is from "The Ghost and the Flame." Gee. I wonder if there's a laughably enormous difference in quality. Hmmm. Kind of seems like there is, right?

I also have a track record that none of the frauds in Five Points do. And that's with an entire system full of people like Megan Sexton--bigot, racist, failure--against me. But what did I do? I tried for many years. Politely. Knuckling the forehead. As I knew exactly what was going on. And as Megan Sexton knew that I knew. But I still rode it, so that when I came to these pages, and put up this entry, everyone else would know exactly what was going on, and how this system works. How a place like Five Points works. How a person like a Megan Sexton works.

You want to know how long I tried for with Megan Sexton? Sending her stories on occasion, as I lit it up with all of these people against me. Ten years. Think about that. This isn't me going off randomly. It's not me going off at all. This is like a legal case exposing someone's blatant practices of bigotry and discrimination, with ten years' worth of evidence.

In October of last year, I made one final attempt. Want to read the letter? It's in keeping with the tone I maintained for ten years with a blatant bigot. Do I need to tell you what this guilty coward said? I probably don't, right? She said nothing. Because she knows all of this is true, she knows that I know why she's acted this way. She knows what she is. She hoped that I wouldn't actually say anything on here. That's a pretty stupid way to think, but this is a very stupid person. Among other things. I think the letter speaks for itself.

Email: one last try.

Hi Megan,

How are you? This is an email I really didn't want to write, but I'm also not going to allow myself to be treated as you've treated me for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with my work. My work appears everywhere. I have every kind of work and every kind and style of fiction. There are many books, of all kinds. And for years and years, you have ignored me. I know how you select what you select. I know everyone.

I have a blog that you are perhaps familiar with that documents discrimination and bigotry in publishing. It names the names. It gives the evidence in exacting, surgical detail. It reveals the specifics from behind the scenes of the knowledge I referenced above. The people who are spotlighted on that blog often then find that their name in connection with the blog is what soon first appears with a Google search. That is how people know them going forward. They have no defense. They--or you, in this case--cannot say it is my work (that it wasn't good enough or it wasn't the right kind). We can put something like, say, the story I offered you that Harper's ran, which you ignored because it came in from me. That won't go the way you wish it to in the court of public opinion. And more people are reading that blog than your journal.

You hardly pay. You would tell me that you want me to pay you so you can have an underling form reject me. Come on. The circulation is obviously low. So why am I here now? It's a matter of principle. Of not allowing myself to be discriminated against because I am not your kind of person, in your clique, or that I fail to check boxes you prefer, because my sole boxes are the boxes of writerly excellence and a matchless track record. I have never done anything to you. I have only been polite to you. I have done nothing wrong. But you know all of this. I've had a patience beyond what anyone else who can do what I do and has done what I have done would have.

I am offering you any one of the attached half dozen stories. They are quite different from each other. Obviously. This is my last attempt in good faith with you before I do what I need to do. I hate doing that. I am someone who has to write 20,000 words a week between my commitments with books, fiction, features, arts pieces--and I know you are a big music person--and op-eds. I'm not a confrontational person. But we both know what has been happening here, and it stops now, one way or the other. It's been generous of me to offer you my work, let alone to take this form of treatment over many years. I will take it no longer. You pick what happens next. Either way is fine with me. I will see through what I must, if it comes to that.

These are the stories. Their quality is self-evident. They are: "Fitty," "Dot," "Girls of the Nimbus," "My Nickel," and "The Parable of the Woodpecker."

I don't like writing a letter like this. But I like being treated the way you have treated me even less. You know every bit as well as I do that there is zero justification for it, and that is exactly how the people who see that treatment laid out on the blog will also feel. A word of warning: That first entry will be but the first. I have done my homework. I will show how much of what happens at Five Points happens. Again. And again. And again. Until I have justice.

Thanks for the time, and I hope you have a nice weekend.


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