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J. Robert Lennon has had enough!

Fellow writer and blogger J. Robert Lennon was deeply disappointed by the most recent fiction issue of The New Yorker, decrying the been-there-done-that of the stories therein.

Maybe it's the weather, but I feel a terrible drear hanging over this issue. Every story's about the same damn stuff--love, marriage, boyfriends, girlfriends. They aren't dead topics, for sure, but can we have maybe one weird story? Just one that conforms to nothing whatsoever?

Even without ever reading The New Yorker, I know exactly what he's talking about. (As much as I love William Trevor, I often wonder why they publish him so damned much. And I know the magazine has several other "pets" in their writer stable.) So Lennon has a great idea - pick one of the topics in the list below, crank out a story and send it to The New Yorker in time for their summer fiction issue.

1) An astronaut on a voyage to Mars ends up someplace entirely unexpected.
2) A day in the life of a five-year-old mind reader.
3) The zoo employees go on strike.
4) Some townspeople are protesting the building of a new bridge, and one goes missing.
5) A woman loses the mayoral election by five votes.
6) A breakfast cereal designer runs out of ideas.
7) A solider in Iraq goes AWOL and is taken in by a cadre of disillusioned reporters.
8) A man tries to commit suicide by walking into the sea, but he can't get it to work.
9) An agricultural scientist is angry at the college where he works because they claimed ownership of his many potato hybrids, and so he plans revenge.
10) An adolescent girl, discovering she is adopted, decides to start a rock band.

So I'm climbing up on my soapbox and cajoling, imploring, exhorting all of you writers who read this blog - Nick, Ben, Ann, Donavan, Kevin, Richard, Josh, Drew, and the rest - to try exactly what Lennon suggests. (At the moment, I'm leaning toward "The zoo employees go on strike" - I promise not to be overly derivative of Madagascar.) Once you have the story written and submitted, please report back to me. I won't even claim an agent's fee. As for Lennon's 10%, well, you'll just have to work that out with him on your own.

Now get to work!

December 23, 2007 in Books | Permalink