ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOURSELF
This one is going to be short and sweet.
When you submit your work to a magazine and they ask you to write a cover letter…
ADDRESS IT TO SOMEONE!
Don’t say “Dear editor”
or “To whom it may concern”
Go to the magazine’s website, find their masthead and PICK OUT A NAME.
And for the love of god don’t start your cover letter with “Dear, ____________”
and then forget to fill in the blank.
It makes you look like a fucking moron.
Note: I just did that. I wrote “dear” and forgot to plug in someone’s actual name before I hit the submit button. Don’t be like me.
Mothers who love their children take them along.—Maxine Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior
When my mother goes away
she visits men in cages;
she has always known
are synonymous depending
on who locks the gate.
When my mother goes away
she takes me with her
sometimes and we walk
along the causeway,
looking for gates.
This poem was first published in my collection Lupercalia.
“On August 6 in 1945, the a-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. I was a fourteen year old student. But I didn’t go to school. Instead. I worked in a factory.”
So writes Yasuhiko Shigemoto at the end of his second haiku collection, commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima 74 years ago.
The poems within are devastating, haunting, and viscerally beautiful.
This is why poetry exists.
A-Bomb Dome photo credit
Here you will find all the links I could find to print and online magazines that have previously published my work.
Sadly, a few magazines that published my work in the early 2010’s have been discontinued but you can find all of my poems from my earlier writing days in my free poetry collection, Lupercalia.
Depending on the publication date, my name is listed as either Jessica Otto or Jessica Forest, names from my previous lives.
*Note: if any of these links don’t work, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
Days I didn’t write:
Zero sent out, zero accepted or rejected.
So I spent the first week of July on a successful Camp NaNoWriMo writing streak. I think I jinxed myself because I shared in our cabin chat that I’d never successfully made my word count and won camp before. And while everyone was supportive and not negative by any means, I completely fell off the map that second week and I was not able to recover.
I had many false starts and many stuttering attempts at writing in the second and third weeks of July. But then on the fourth week I had an epiphany. I wasn’t writing one book, I was writing two. And they needed to be told from different perspectives.
Once I separated the two plot lines, characters who were sullen and silent in my brain became active and positively vivacious.
So while this month was NOT a productive wiring month at all, my projects are better off for it.
Another thing that I did this month was completely (again) re-organize my publishing schedule. I threw all my plans out the window. And I’m thinking, from now on, unless I KNOW FOR SURE WITHOUT EVEN THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I will be able to finish a project, I will not be announcing any specific publication dates. On my About page you’ll find a list of all my projects and the year in which I plan to release them. But I will not be getting any more specific than that until each book is done.
For more details about what’s going on with my series The Slaughter Chronicles, check out this update post here.