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September 7th, 2005





Took this yesterday through the window on the train. I've tried to bring the glare down a bit, but you can really notice it on the chair. Still, I love this image. Old and new Australia.

Anyway, I don't usually talk about rejection, because it's mostly much of a muchness these days. "I liked it, but it didn't suit my needs/taste," is the general response. It's the nature of the beast and I can't imagine anyone would be interested in hearing where I've been bounced. But let me just say that I just got a really, really nice rejection from McSweeney's. I'd never subbed there before, but lately, since my work has gotten increasingly borderline in the Spec Fic genre--perhaps represented by the increase in doesn't suit my needs and tastes rejections, but I mostly think not--I'm trying new markets. I expected slush pile standard rejection here, but instead got very nice words, told to submit again, and assured that I'd be picked from the slush next time round. Now, in the cold, harsh light of my reality, it doesn't mean much since each new sub is a new sub based on a new reality and thousands of other subs probably get the same words, but gosh darn it, it certainly was nice and faintly reassuring for trying the non-speculative fiction markets. Can't argue it on that level.

Though now I got to figure where to resubmit the story. Joy.
September is becoming busy.

I've got a bunch of things to write, ranging from thesis bits to short fiction to two lectures. In addition to this, today I got back the draft of A Year in the City and, from the three people who read it, got lots of feedback, some of it which mirrored my own thoughts, some which didn't, and all of it good food for thought. I know what's required of me to finish the book and, given a month, I'll have it done. November will be that month. I was faintly concerned with the comparisons to Tim Winton, but I mostly think that A., my supervisor, was fucking with me for laughs. You judge the commonwealth prize once and suddenly you're able to threaten innocents with Tim Winton comparisons. You can't trust her anymore. I won't. I'd rather be an obscure cult figure than have another moment like that. Though I should be so lucky, really.

In October I'm heading off to a Mountain in Queensland where I'll get in touch with my inner self or some sort of thing. Before that I'll be in Bundaberg for a couple of days. That'll be sweet. Needless to say all the fiction and lectures and thesis and the other things I've got on will need to be done before then. I'll be fucked if I'm taking work with me when I go off. I'm going to take Hemingway and sit on my mountain and try and figure what the big deal is. Maybe I'll fish. Whatever, it seems like the thing to do until I get a better idea.

Below is taken from a review of the anthology Agog! Smashing Stories and the quote is about my story 'R', which is a satire. It's not a very positive mention, but you can't please everyone and I long ago stopped trying:

Ostensibly another comical tale, "R" by Ben Peek is set in a ludicrous future where PG rated individuals have genitalia physically 'censored' with obscuring black shapes. From this foundation, the story progresses towards a serious if not brutal conclusion – in the end, the tone shift necessitated by the plot is frustrating.

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