The Writer and the Editor 2
Lynne Barrett has written a capital essay in The Review Review apologizing for literary magazine editors and offering some advice to writers submitting to literary magazines in light of that apology. It’s in the vein of the essay by Miller Williams which I discussed here, but Barrett is much more practical and directed in her advice than Williams. For one, she writes with more sympathy for editors than Williams. The slush pile is a cruel master, she says; an editor sidles up to it with only the dimmest of hopes for an approving word. Perhaps that’s a function of her audience: she’s writing explicitly for writers who are just setting out to remind them that getting published is hard work beyond writing. It’s also reading and researching and keeping good records and taking even small encouragements for the encouragements they are.
This post was revised after its original publication. A paragraph about my own whereabouts during a longish hiatus was deleted and a few sentences were edited to better focus the post on Barrett’s essay.