All Things Noted

My English prof, Jack Shuler, who was total boss, told me to submit my American lit essay on Paul Beatty/Cornell West/Cosby’s Pound Cake Speech/Obama to publications, and I got this the other day… Dear Ms. Chen,

Thank you very much for submitting your article, “The Poetician Suicides: Nihilism or the Audacity of Hope?,” to the Columbia Journal of American Studies (CJAS). Despite your work’s great potential, the journal’s editorial board has decided that it cannot accept your very provocative essay for publication at this time. I encourage you to consider submitting other work to CJAS in the future.


Daniel Webb Managing Editor The Columbia Journal of American Studies (CJAS)

Provacative? Way sweet. I dunno if they are just being nice, and I don’t think I will be writing much publishable essays (did it only for school man) in the future, but this was a good rejection letter. Haha.

Being among many talented writers at the New York State Summer Writers’ Institute has made me realized I’m not quite ready for an MFA (maybe never). On the one hand, being amongst smart and devastatingly sharp people is like finding home. Everyone is such a dork (in a good way). I would love to maintain some of the relationships here, and look forward to coffee and AWP meetings in the future, and familiar names on the bookshelves. That said, it’s one thing to be talking about reading, writing, and the writerly life nonstop, but a whole other to see everyone around you scribbling feverishly into a notebook with handwriting just as bad as yours, and it’s a whole other to bounce back and forth hawkish, “extra-perceptive” observations on each other. The problem is when you bump eyes.

10 days until China. I will be trying to find some gigs to do (including as a translator/guide for a documentary on the Chinese baseball team), but mostly enjoying the company of friends and family, as well as meeting new friends.