This past April, I wrote a little piece of flash fiction that spent seven months out in the wild trying to find a good home. One of the magazines that rejected said:

I thought the language here was impressive–a lot of sense and meaning within every word, and not a phrase out of place. In the end, we didn’t feel it was a great fit for [redacted]. I know that it can be frustrating to get so close, but please send again when you have something that meets our guidelines, really.

The worst rejections are the “this story/poem is really great but…” I can deal with outright rejection. I got started early asking girls out in middle school and didn’t do much better in high school. Unlike dating though, the Urkel offensive works really well when it comes to writing. I kept plugging away because I knew it deserved a good home and it finally found one in a really tough market, matchbook (you can check out the story here).


A long term project I keep going back and forth on is my Jesus Christ, Boy Detective universe. I am losing count of how many times I say “I think I’m done with this whole thing” only for something to happen that makes me go back to it. The Fiddleback named the excerpt of the origin novel it published as one of its greatest hits in their final issue. And I have to say, it’s in pretty extraordinary company. I might be returning to the cross soon enough.


This Sunday over at East End Market, my reading series/boutique chapbook press There Will Be Words will be participating in the Locally Grown Words book fair. Come by as we’ll be doing some cool stuff and check out the other vendors also. It makes me happy to see an independent bookstore coming back to Orlando and I think it will do much better this time.

I’m starting to see that cliquishness is becoming a problem in Orlando in the literary scene, similar to the poetry scene, the “I only go to x show or y show” attitude instead of cross pollinating between shows. The lack of cross pollination has regressed the poetry scene in Orlando and I’m afraid the same cliquishness may do the same to the lit scene. It’s not enough to claim inclusiveness or diversity within a series. Support across the board is necessary, especially in a city that isn’t known for its incredible literary talent. I’m generally pretty good about walking the talk, unless work or life gets in the way. I don’t want the literary scene to suffer as the poetry scene has, and I know it doesn’t have to.


Laura and I decorated our first tree together. As she would say, “It didn’t suck”.



Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Those rejections really are the worst. I’ve gotten a spate of them recently and it makes me want to moo in distress. (Seriously). Also your tree is very pretty.

    • It’s worse when they say they like yr ms but they are going in a different direction.

      And glad you think the tree is pretty. I never decorated one with a significant other before.

      Also, four hour commute roundtrip? Really? I thought Seattle had better public transpo than that.

      • I get a lot of we love your work and this poem (usually poems) is so great but not for us. But we love reading your stuff send more. Those confuse me to no end and make me feel weird.

        Oh oh my I read your little story it is pretty damn great. I subscribed to that zine I hadn’t seen it before. That first line got me.

        LOL Seattle kind of does but I live in the hood so no good bus service. Well sort of good for me because I can walk as much as I need to not so much for my partner because he has mobility issues.

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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at

Latest Posts By J. Bradley


flash fiction, publication news, self assessment


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