Care

Let me take this opportunity to fish for compliments and sympathy, but find on my hook, instead of a member of that specific group of marine vertebrates, rather the tattered leather boot of accidentally guilting my most valuable readers.

It's supposed to be some kind of a triumph when one of your stories gets published, but mine is about to be put in the hind-pages of the website because they publish new stories on the 13th of each month, and it's the seventh of May today, so the math doesn't look good. But as for this rapidly-dimming spotlight, how bright was it to begin with? How impervious to review my work proves! The story in the above link is about a linguistics conference, and I don't even think my mom read it, even though that's her very trade.

At this difficult time I am reminded of the sentiments of Edward Gibbon, who wrote in his 1779 Vindication of Some Passages in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that "Fame is the motive, it is the reward of our labours; nor can I easily comprehend how it is possible that we should remain cold and indifferent with regard to the attempts which are made to deprive us of the most valuable object of our possessions, or at least of our hopes."

To which, in his 1785 Reply to Mr. Gibbon's Vindication of Some Passages... Gibbon's adversary Chelsum sneered, 'I dare to wage not an offensive but a defensive war, a war in no wise directed against that fame which our Author openly regards as "the most valuable object of his hopes."'

This is my way of introducing "my readers, if any readers have accompanied me thus far," to the fun new concept I learned about called paratext, which is secondary text that relates somehow to a main text and sometimes affects people's interpretation of it. This includes all the mean reactions to Gibbon's historical work, his reactions to their reactions, and their reactions to his reactions, and it also includes this online moan about how no one cared about my story.

If you like paratext, I would like to briefly advertise that it's all over the last section of my story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Talking About Talking.

It's in the Review! I should be able to tell all the people, in a languid, self-satisfied voice, "Ah, well my tale has appeared in the Review." Maybe the people who don't have my best interests in mind are right. Maybe I am an insignificant P.O.S., as one day they carefully explained to me. Or at least maybe my story is an I.P.O.S. How can my story be in the Automata Review if nobody reviewed it? Shouldn't there at least be an automated short story reviewing website (aka "app") that reviews everyone's story, because I believe everyone's story deserves a review, because my left-wing-nut elementary school guidance counselor force-fed me the DEEP-STATE DOCTRINE that everyone is equally superior to everyone else? Isn't artificial intelligence at least advanced enough to generate, "Peter Sands book four hard drives out of five for outstanding good, however?"

Now let me take this opportunity to brag about myself while I pretend all I'm doing is being accurate that someone reviewed one of my stories called "Pond-Wife." Now you have to either 1. accuse me of bragging, but be impressed, 2. neither accuse me of bragging nor be impressed, 3. reveal your malice to your own heart by inconsistently believing that I'm bragging about something even though it's unimpressive, or 4. avoid malice by reconciling my boast and its unimpressive subject by concluding that I simply would rather brag about something unimpressive than not brag.

By the way, shame on you if you're throwing good Eric Hawthorn under the bus even though it's me you ought not be impressed with. All I want to do is impress people because that increases my chance of survival and procreation, since you insist on reducing all human behavior to Darwinism. Let me clue you in on a little secret that you clearly don't know: ready? In 2015 I went to a weekend-long fiction writing class thing and I asked Eric Hawthorne to review my story when I found out he reviewed stories on his blog powered by wordpress. That's right, I asked him to review "Pond-Wife," nay, I begged him to review it.

And now here I am begging, for example, the The New York Times Book Review to review my story, "WWTAWWTATAT" even though it only reviews entire books. Or maybe the Paris Review, which is also published in New York, should review it. All I know for sure is that no one even read it. Just as I'm under the false impression that I would rather be hated, and my writing loved, than vice versa, so do I think that I would rather my writing be reviewed, than read.

Like MAD have people reviewed the work of other graduates of my alma mater, if interviews also count as reviews, which they do to all jealous children like me. What do I have to do to receive this much recognition? I'll do anything, I promise to commit whatever crime you ask, if only you'll make people pay attention to my fiction, like how they do with every other human being who has ever lived.

I Don't Even Care If They're BAD Reviews