Cirrus Conquers Fourteen Hills

Posted on 11 June 2014

My story “Under the Linden Tree” is out in Fourteen Hills. Before I give you what you really want — more photos of my cat, Cirrus, clutching that very journal — let me share some submission stats, if that kind of thing interests you.

This story surrounds a photographer, Sam, who photographed his sister nude when they were growing up; decades later, he still fosters ambiguously unhealthy feelings toward his sister. An editor at a top-tier literary journal praised the story and writing but told me that “it’s the second story of the first five I’ve read that uses photographs as as way to begin and organize the story,” so it was a pass. A rejection from another journal offered, “The fiction editors have discussed your piece a number of times because we found it to be one of our favorite submissions. The difficulty is that we have received over 500 submissions, and while we enjoyed your piece, due to page constraints, we are not going to have the space for such a long story.” (The story is about 6,000 words, for anyone keeping track.) Overall, the story received seven rejections, about half personalized/tiered, before being accepted by Fourteen Hills a week after that last personal note.

Rejection aside, Cirrus stepped right up to pose with the issue. I’ll let him take it away:

4 responses to Cirrus Conquers Fourteen Hills

  • Hmm… I posted a comment last night that somehow got wiped out. Something about how I am always interested in reading your stories about rejections because I can’t believe you could ever get a single one.

    Congrats on another win!

    • You are too kind. But I was pleased that this story *only* received seven rejections (one of which actually trickled in after the acceptance), which seems like major progress. Let’s hope I can keep this up later next year when some of my new stories might be ready to submit.

  • Teri says:

    Well. First things first — Cirrus is a very “fancy” cat with a whole Vanna White thing going on. Second, and of course FAR less important, congratulations on the publication of this piece!! Cheers, my friend.

  • Just seeing this now — it’s the story from our Bread Loaf workshop, right? Congratulations!

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