A Question for the Universe

or, more precisely, for my two or three readers.

Here's the deal: I came across a notice the other day that mentioned a forthcoming theme issue from a very cool literary magazine. My initial reaction was something like, "Ooh. Ooh. I know just what I'm going to send them." I typed up the cover letter, retrieved a manila envelope and an SASE, printed out the story.

I did all those things, yet the materials are still sitting on my desk. The problem is that magazines don't allow you, in general, to submit more than one story at a time to them, and I already have a story under consideration at this same magazine, which I sent before they announced the forthcoming theme issue.

I considered sending the new story with a cover letter that explained I was knowingly breaking the rules, but I'm pretty sure that would just annoy them. I also considered sending the thing under J.C.'s name or something, but, you know, that's just silly.

So, I can wait for a response from the other story and then send the new one, but the deadline for the theme issue is coming up pretty soon, and the magazine advised people to send their stuff as soon as possible.

So, universe, what should I do?

Now that I've typed all that out, I'm hearing J.C.'s voice in the back of my brain. She's telling me that I live in a bubble, that I need some real things to worry about.

"But I'm not really worrying about this stuff," I tell her. "It's just a little predicament I wanted to throw onto the blog."

"Really," she's telling me. "You need to get out more. Don't you have some student stories to mark up or something?"

"Yes," I say. "I do."

"That's what I thought," she says. "Why don't you go and do that, stop worrying about this crap."

"Okay," I say, and I'm so demure, so intent now on forgetting I ever brought this dilemma up, that I don't even curse her for my imagining her putting me in my place.


BP said...

For crying out loud, Simpson. Just send the story. Forget the rules. Their slush pile is so big, they can't keep of all the names. Just a guess, but is this Tin House?

Chad Simpson said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Ben.

I know you're right, but still: I worry about karma and all that.

And weren't you once blackballed by some magazine for not following the rules?

Lisa said...

I say abide by the rules. I don't think this is one of those times when it would pay to throw caution to the wind and forge ahead making your own. I imagine it's mighty tempting, though.

Maybe when you decide for sure that you're not going to send the other one "illegally," that's the day you'll get word on the first story (still early enough but right down to the wire) and can send the second in, anyway.

Another county heard from.

Anonymous said...

If it's not too late, I'd send it in. Theme issues seem to operate by different rules, anyway, because those announcements seem to generate so much crap.

Or maybe it seems disproportionately bad, due to the fact that, out of those specific entries, a set number of poems and stories HAVE to go into the magazine. For regular issues, editors have the whole year's slushpile to choose from.

I'd think the editors would welcome a more competitive variety for a theme issue, and I agree that they probably wouldn't notice the other story, especially if they're focused on the theme issue right now. It's a chance, yes, but it's one I'd take, since it's not like you can't send the stories to someone else later.