When I was in college there was this bar that had bouncers who took turns playing St. Peter. They stood outside the door going:
The whole idea was so ghastly to me (for a variety of reasons, not least of which was that I knew I’d be the one person in whatever group I was with who’d be left on the wrong side of the velvet rope) that I swore I’d never, ever subject myself to anything like that.
And yet… I became a writer.
For those who aren’t afflicted with the compulsion to write-slash-be read, trust me, there’s nothing quite like pouring yourself into a story, obsessing over image and cadence, eventually being (really) satisfied; then submitting it for publication and having it rejected.
Think of it as going on non-stop job interviews. Naked.
So it is with some shock-slash-trepidation that I find myself on the other side of the publication process, taking a turn as fiction editor with Streetlight.
The reason why I agreed is because of a late-in-life epiphany. It happened when I submitted my novel (Close) to two different professionals. One came right out and said she hated my protagonist, while the other said she wanted to hang out with her.
(Guess which woman I want to be friends with.)
But anyway, what I finally got from that experience was this: gatekeepers’ judgments are subjective. That’s just what it is. I will choose stories that speak to me. Which doesn’t mean the ones that I don’t select are not equally good-slash-publishable.
Or that you will love everything I choose.
But I’ll do my best.
So drink in the wonderful words and observations and characters crafted by others. And if you’re a writer in addition to being a reader, send in your (previously unpublished) submissions!
-Erika Raskin, Fiction Editor
* an earlier version of this appeared on erikaraskin.net.Follow us!
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