I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome myself back to the real world. The last month(+) has been a bit of a whirlwind. One of those times when decisions and transitions and heat waves murk about like a seven-year-old waiting for me to turn away so she could take my pack of gum. One of those times in which I forget to read the news (gasp!), and when I finally do, the headlines blend into a hodgepodge of depressing sameness. Also one of those times when my watch keeps getting stuck on 7:18 or 2:42 because of some incessant heat, or a cosmic karmic sign. As Baby Alli says it best, “What-ev-aaaa.”
Alas, after a week in not-so-sunny California, I’ve returned refreshed, rejuvenated, and content. Unfortunately, serenity doesn’t always yield an inspired word count of almost coherent prose. So while I spend the next few days gathering bits and pieces of inspiration to share, I’ve decided to recycle some old content for your leisurely perusal. Because really, I know this is your number one internet destination up there with Google, NYT and your ex’s Facebook page.
The story below is my first legitimate attempt at fiction. I’ve amassed a fair number of rejection letters since, and have decided instead to blank the system and share the story gratis. Before I do, though, you might be interested to see one of the contributing factors to the many rejections — my “please publish me” letter:
I am writing to submit “Recycled Noise” for publication in BLANK’s fiction section. It is a short story about Hubert Smalls, a misplaced appeaser seeking elected office as the Global Protest Society’s Ambassador of Disdain. Set in New York, the story veers along the edges of allegorical satire, yet remains grounded in one of the blinding tragedies of our time. As a BLANK-year-old management consultant with few fiction publishing credentials after age 10, I would be extremely humbled by your consideration. Oh and yes, I have the chutzpa to submit the first thing I ever wrote and think I might just have a chance at publication… 0:)
So with that, I give you “Recycled Noise.”
Recycled Noise, by Carine Carmy
In his final attempt at falling asleep for the evening, Hubert Smalls tried listening to his mixed-tape of yawn recordings. Tracks 1 through 5 were snippets of yawns he was able to capture several seconds in, but the bulk of 36 tracks were Hubert’s own gargled pangs of exhaustion, half of which were fabricated anyway. To his surprise, he awoke mid-yawn at 7:32am to the sound of birds and police sirens. “Mating season,” he thought.
Today was a concerningly significant day for Hubert, one whose outcome would inevitably change the course of his life, an outcome not to be assumed of Hubert‘s every day or every action. Today, the GPS, or Global Protest Society, was set to announce the results of last week‘s elections for its new board. Hubert ran for Ambassador of Disdain, known by Society members as “Head Protsie” and the individual who would guide the agenda for the following year. An active member of the Society for the last 3 years, Hubert was increasingly disappointed by the caliber of rallies, riots, petitions and sit-ins orchestrated by the group.
Prior to joining, our protagonist had heard rumors of the Society‘s dedication to changing the status quo, to questioning norms en masse and to protecting modernity‘s churning power against the currents of warped tradition. The Society was initially formed in the mid-1970s by a group of students, naturally, trying to preserve their older siblings’ dedication to communal protest. Although their ideals were loftier than those actualized, they managed to accumulate victories in the cultural battles of the 80s and 90s almost as quickly as Wall Street accumulated its wealth.
Initiated in stealth, the Society began to attract public recognition of Hell‘s Angels and Robin Hood fame. Its inner-workings remained secret, but over time, GPS turned into a name brand. Retailers were swimming gleefully in the bounty of GPS branded t-shirts, condoms, baby bibs, megaphone key-chains, Greatest Protests CDs, and sit-in care packages. By the late 90s, almost every school, elementary through university, had instituted a branch of the Mock Protest Society, where organization and counter-culture could find common ground through productive educational exercises.
2003 marked the year when fame’s weeds sprouted into dense vanity and sloth. Julius Falzone, Ambassador of Disdain at the time, planned a series of irrevocably disastrous protests. The first, initially called “The Post-it Revolution,” called on office managers everywhere to remove all paper products from the office, with the exception of Post-its. Julius argued that while all other paper products aggressively denied nature’s power over mankind, Post-its epitomized the impermanence of ideas and thought. Within the first week of the campaign, 37 of the Fortune 500 companies had pledged to “go yellow” and paper burials were staged nationwide. Fearing imminent demise, paper companies across the US launched a smear investigation, only to find that Julius had cut a deal with 3M (Post-it‘s manufacturer) for a 40% stake in new sales. He managed to hold onto his post for two more events, one against free soda refills and another calling for policemen to take two steps backward for every step forward. Julius was impeached shortly after.
To read on, please send me a $20 check or money order made out to “Carine Carmy.” Or just click here: Recycled Noise, by Carine Carmy. Happy reading. Viva España.