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Paula Deitz and Mark Jacobs

Saturday 12/24/22

Heading out in a few minutes to run stairs. Almost six now. Going to be unpleasant. It's 14 degrees. Have a lot I want to get done this morning.

Wrote and sent two letters. One was to a publisher about publishing a stand-alone mini-book of "Best Present Ever."

Last night I lay in bed thinking about "Best Present Ever." Even if I was not blackballed at these miserable literary magazines, and I was offered anything I wanted, there would be no point in giving the story to any of them. This story--all of these stories--are meant to be read by millions of people. And no one reads those journals, nor should they. I have 600 available stories at the moment. I could give some of them to those journals. Especially the Longer on the Inside stories, because of the nature of them. But you couldn't do that with "Best Present Ever." It has to be in a book, and it also needs to come out as a stand-alone story in a mini-book.

Even if you didn't have a sad, old crusty bigot like Sven Birkerts at AGNI or Bradford Morrow at Conjunctions, what would be the point of putting a story like this, so unlike all of that garbage that no one could ever care about, in those venues that no one reads or cares about, or has any need to read or care about? Why would you do that to the story? You want to give it to some loser-fossil like Paula Deitz at Hudson Review?

Speaking of Hudson Review: Why does Mark Jacobs have a short story in every issue? It's every issue. They only run like two stories per issue. His writing strikes me as being the prose version of an old, neckless penguin. I know that's redundant. Penguins don't really have necks to speak of. But if an old, neckless penguin wrote fiction, I think it'd read like these vanilla, boring, safe, lifeless stories by Mark Jacobs. A neckless penguin who thought the other penguins that were off having fun--say, by sliding on the snow--were dirty and unworthy and not properly serious like the old, neckless penguin producing stories with no value for the residents of penguin island.

How does this work? Is Paula Deitz madly in love with Mark Jacobs? What makes someone say, "We need as many stories from Mark Jacobs as possible! Or we will perish! There must be a new Mark Jacobs story in every issue! Jacobs Jacobs Jacobs!"

It's actually almost every issue. He's half their fiction output every year. And he's so terrible, with these stories that are the prose version of an old, no-necked, boring ass penguin who has haughty contempt for the other penguins who see him for what he is.

And if you work there under this sour old fossil's thumb, are you always trying to get stories from Mark Jacobs at the urgent insistence of Paula Deitz, with all of her love for him? Are you brainwashed? Is there an altar to kneel at where only Mark Jacobs-based prayers are allowed? What kind of cult is this? How long ago did you have to leave reality and reason behind to act in this fashion over and over again as if nothing else matters?

Again, it's meaningless. What does being in a place like that do for a story like what I have? What does it do for you? Places like that are for bad writers. People whose whole lives really mean nothing and who lie to themselves. I'm sure if you're Mark Jacobs, you have to do a lot of lying to yourself, and try somehow to believe this means something. That's their end-all-be-all, and it's nothing. It's no eyeballs, no money. It's not read. It's not meant to be read. It's just entombed. Officially entombed. Hurray.

Like I said, with 600 available stories and more always coming, I could take 100 of them and they could run in those kinds of places just so there wasn't anywhere some of my work hadn't been, and that's still skimming off the top. But you don't want to do that with "Best Present Ever," due to the nature of the work. Not the higher quality--the particular nature of that work. The Longer on the Inside stories are as good, just to pick something. But "Jute," for example, is 800 words or whatever it is. As an individual story, that's going to change things. It can be loved by millions, but it's less of an object. Does that make sense? "Best Present Ever" is 5200 words. It's an object. It's more overtly stand-alone. It more easily goes viral and then viral on top of viral. It's a commodity.

What's especially hard is knowing exactly what I have and what it can do in the world, and having it sit here with me. But I must have faith that the solution--the best solution--is going to present itself and the story will be seen and known as it deserves to be seen and known.

The Bruins beat the Devils in New Jersey last night. That's wins on a home-and-away back-to-back over two good teams in Winnipeg and New Jersey. I was impressed.


Ran 3000 stairs. Was fairly cold, but began to get warmer by my third time up the stairs. Did 500 push-ups. Many outside, many inside. Quite a few alone in a deserted Quincy Market, the only person in the building. Good image for the biographies, though, isn't it? This guy just never stopped. Stops. I'll be alive then.

Saw on Twitter where someone asked Fergie Jenkins who he knew he could strike out every time, because there had to have been someone like that, and he said Jim Sundberg, with one arm tied behind his back, which I thought was pretty great. All in good fun. Sundberg was a hell of a defensive catcher, but I'm not sure that Carlton Fisk didn't deserve one or two of his Gold Gloves. When I watch old Red Sox games, I'm very impressed by Fisk's defense. So athletic back there. Guy's weren't playing the position with that kind of athleticism. For instance, I really like Lance Parrish, but he wasn't an athletic catcher. He got three Gold Gloves himself. You can tell that Fisk was an all-around great athlete.


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