Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

News from The Disappointed Housewife

Seems like I’m all about The Disappointed Housewife lately, and that’s because new stuff is coming in like gangbusters. Why? Well, thanks to the recommendation of Cinthia Ritchie, I posted a call for submissions on the Yahoo Creative Writers Opportunities List, where writers learn of outlets like The Housewife that are actively seeking new material.

What have a I learned? Well, there’s no shortage of people out there writing their ever-lovin’ hearts out.

As you know, I’m building The Housewife around writing that stretches boundaries and asks the reader to break out of traditional, or at least overused, patterns. And much of what I’m seeing in the inbox now is just that kind of writing, such as William Jackson’s poetry, Hanuszkiewicz Marcin’s text collage “Bodies,” and Marion Deutsche Cohen’s hilarious “The A.M.E.B. Newsletter.” Great parodies, like Mike McGowan’s “Rejected Personal Ads From the New York Review of Books,” are always welcome at The Housewife, and I’d love seeing more graphics like C.B. Auder’s board game, “Double Truth Deals.”

But a lot of writers see a call for submissions and go, “Hey, I have something I could submit!” Most often stuff comes in that’s just not in the idiosyncratic spirit of The Housewife. I’ve seen a lot of dystopian stories, a lot of genre material, but, as I say in the submission guidelines, I’m interested in that kind of tale only if it breaks the genre mold somehow. In poetry I’m seeing a lot of perfectly nice traditional verse, the kind of work you’ll find in any literary journal, so that doesn’t fit here either. I’m getting fiction that’s too long, sometimes twice as long as the guidelines specify, though I’m willing to stretch the 1500 word limit to 2000 or a little higher if the material warrants it. But most surprisingly I’m getting quite a bit of poetry with very dark and violent themes and imagery, as if the mood of the country is getting into the writers’ subconscious and coming back out in visions of bloody mayhem.

Who knows? Maybe that’s appropriate, but it’s not the kind of stuff I want to see in The Housewife. I’d rather publish work that confronts the absurdity we find ourselves in right now with absurdity-cubed. For instance, tomorrow we have a great piece lined up in the Faux Forms & Genres category called, “Angry Black Guy Looks: A Guide for New Employees.”

You’ll love it. Meanwhile, stop by The Disappointed Housewife and wolf down some offbeat lit.


9 comments on “News from The Disappointed Housewife

  1. kingmidget
    February 28, 2018

    Glad to hear you’re getting a lot of submissions. For years, I was a regular denizen of Toasted Cheese, an on-line literary journal. Seemed like once a year, they would post something about their submission guidelines and how important it was for writers to … actually follow those guidelines. Seems writers don’t want to follow the rules. Or maybe they just think their piece is so incredible, you’ll ignore your guidelines.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 28, 2018

      Well, it’s relatively easy to reject something that doesn’t fit, but it’s sure a waste of everybody’s time. Occasionally I’ll try to stretch my thinking a little, though. I mean rarely … 😉

  2. 1WriteWay
    February 28, 2018

    I think some writers play submissions like the lottery: just submit and hope they get lucky, damn the submission guidelines. Still, you’re no doubt experiencing the reality of every literary mag, and that’s a good thing. I imagine it might be difficult to turn down good writing just because it doesn’t fit the spirit of The Disappointed Housewife, but then that’s exactly why you have to turn it down. There are plenty of other venues out there. And congratulations on getting a bump in submissions. I’d follow Cinthia’s advice anywhere 😉

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 28, 2018

      I think you’re right. They figure, what’s the harm in trying? What they don’t know is that I keep a list of guideline abusers! You’re branded, baby!

      Not really. 😉

      • 1WriteWay
        February 28, 2018

        Ha, that would be too much work to keep track of abusers, even if you wanted to. If they’re serious, they’ll try again but only after following the guidelines.

  3. Phillip McCollum
    February 28, 2018

    That’s fantastic news, Kevin. Yeah, you always hear that half of these incoming submissions don’t meet the requirements, so no surprise there. Have you also looked at putting TDH on a site like duotrope.com and thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com ?

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 28, 2018

      Hey, thanks for the tips, Phillip! I just sent my link to The Grinder, but Duotrope requires a six-month publishing history for their listings, come to find out. Mid-July for The Housewife.

  4. cinthiaritchie
    March 1, 2018

    I read for “Alaska Quarterly Review” when I was a grad student and there was this old guy who submitted horrible, handwritten poems EVERY week. Almost broke my heart. The poems were so, so bad–it was glaringly obvious that he had never read the journal.
    But yeah, I think many writers just fling their stuff out there, guidelines be damned, because they think that there stuff is SO good that guidelines don’t matter, lol.
    P.S. Glad the submission are piling in and heading on over to read the latest entries.

    • Kevin Brennan
      March 1, 2018

      Hey, I bet you read some of my short stories back in the day! I used to submit to AQR now and then.

      Luckily I can’t say anything I’m getting is bad. In fact, I can see much of it finding a home someplace else.

      Nothing handwritten yet, though! 😉

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