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August 10, 2006



Wow. Very Best American 2007-y. Any chance you'd e-mail me the rest?

Friend One

I'm just going to say it: I like the previous draft better. Mostly. This could be because I am attached to it, because I have read it and heard it read so many times that it seems like the "true" version of the story. There is something sparer about the previous draft? Is that an accurate comment? Hmm, I don't know. Call me sentimental, but I'm attached. Like, what happened to the moment where she blames her husband for not being at the hospital even though she's telling him it's not his fault? Oh, I loved it. Ok, we should talk about this because now I am having very many uninformed opinions. Obviously, it's beautiful and fantastic. I just miss the other one.


Hi TM,

Your talent is staggering. How long have you been working on this? Obviously, I've never seen another draft of this story and so am astounded by it as is. You're sending this out, right? Please let me know what becomes of it. I really just think this is one of the more beautiful pieces of writing I've read in a long time.


Friend R

If you're really planning to start sending this out for publication, I would recommend either taking this down while it's out sending out a different version. Self-publication is still considered publication, and there are some magazines that won't consider pieces that have been published on the web. Just a thought. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Good story, btw. But you knew that already. Hehe.

Terrible Mother

Thank you, Alana and Liz. Friend R, are you joshing me? I wish we were in person right now so I could poke you and say "shut up!" Then I would hit you with my pool cue.

Friend One, that portion of the previous text pulls the narrative all out of whack! It doesn't belong in this story, damnit! I thought about it--I loved that section--but it should be in a different story.

I know. Okay, I'm stopping.

friend omega

i've been thinking about this a lot lately...

do people really say "make your favorite" or "made your favorite"? i've only heard this in fiction, but that may be because i don't have a favorite so no one ever says it to me because even if i did they all hate me anyway and wouldn't make it for me or if on the offchance they made it for me they would trust me to know that it was my favorite or to watch me come to the realization on my own rather than give it all away by labelling it as my favorite for me but anyway what if they're wrong and my favorite has changed or that was never my favorite to begin with and they were thinking of someone else?

what then?



Oh boy.

You asked me to look.

If the image of saffron from the classroom, explaining how that info. got there, is going to be present, then it can't be in the last paragraph. Perhaps just before.

The last paragraph was better as it was, even without tried. Why not let her fucking accomplish one selfless thing?

As for the line about the husband--just because a story is about one thing doesn't mean it can't contain more than that. I see your point, but I do not grant it. Get angry if you want, and say something like, "Well, Friend Two, your narrator in your new story never tried loving anyone who was capable of loving him back because then he'd have to try," meaning: Friend Two, you make your own unhappiness, and how do you like it now? Beeotch?

But I think these folks are right. Or to be plainer and more generous: this story has been done enough, and successful enough, to send out for quite a long time now. You're tinkering because you think that if this one doesn't get taken by the Paris Review, then what do you have?

The answer is that you have wells and wells of talent and a blazing bright future if you'd step into it, and things will come as they do. It's time to send this (brilliant/done) story out and move on.

Ooh, I'm going to take a beating over this one.


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