Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Friday, July 14, 2006


I’m down, today, really down. Not beat, which might be the hip side of depression. I’m in one of my all too frequent, nihilistic, nothing matters moods. Nothing seems worth doing, so why bother? Especially writing, or in my case, pitching query letters into the abyss. I shot an arrow into the air... It landed in the trash can, that’s where.

Between June 22 and 27 I queried five magazines for an article about the Black Dahlia murder. I queried Playboy’s managing editor by email. I was rejected the next day. I received an email rejection to my letter to Los Angeles magazine on July 7.

I sent out six queries for a proposed biography to literary agents between July 5 and the 7th. I even broke my long standing rule against SASEs because there’s an issue about competing books that I had hoped one or two agents might deign to address by scribbling some notes on my letter and returning it, as has happened in days gone by.

So far, silence. Yes, I know that it’s still probably too early to be definitive, but on the few occasions where I’ve piqued an agent or editor’s interest, the response has been within the current timeline. Hell, I once submitted a proposal and got the agent’s message on my answering machine in less than seven days telling me my proposal was “term paperish” and my writing didn’t have the zing of a good biography, like Charles Highams.’ Don’t let the facts restrain you, she said. No. Not like master biographer Highams, whose claims that Errol Flynn was a bisexual, Nazi spy were easily debunked.

But what really started me up (or down) today was this article on Salon about some anti-abortion nutball who ranted on his blog about some woman’s essay about her abortion, only to discover that the article he was ranting about was a fake published by the Onion in 1999.

“It's the stuff of webby fantasy and urban legend: a reader who takes an Onion story seriously. Last week, a speedy and vicious blogosphere watched its collective wet dream made real when ‘Pete,’ proprietor of antiabortion blog March Together for Life, posted ‘Murder Without Conscience,’ a furious excoriation of a 7-year-old fake column in the Onion titled ‘I'm Totally Psyched About This Abortion!’

I suspect this is a hoax. The details don’t add up and the whole thing has a too good to be true feel. Why would anyone go searching for a seven-year-old column about abortion? It’s doubtful you’d stumble across it by accident. Or is this the blogger’s ploy to get himself noticed? If the story is authentic, it reinforces the feeling I often get that we really are in the Matrix, that these things just seem too good to be true. Too perfectly timed, too appropos of the zeitgeist. Somewhere, someone is creating it all as if on order to give us something to kill time with.

I can’t recall what in my stream of consciousness linked a trivial article to my fruitless pitches, but the overarching theme is the futility of effort. My effort. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been taken care of my entire life by my family. I’m disabled now and on a fixed income, but I’ve never lacked for creature comforts. It’s come and continues to come through no effort on my part. I’m not proud of it, but that’s my reality. I strive mightily at times to initiate something that would validate my existance or give me some self-respect, but failure only deepens and confirms my fatalism.


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