Index of Humilities: A Self-Study (of Sorts)

Index of Publications to Which This Writer’s Work Was Politely Declined, 2007-2012

Smokelong Quarterly, Menacing Hedge, Turtleneck Press, Yemassee, PANK, Bartleby Snopes, YesYes Books, Better, Cellpoems, NANO Fiction, Escape Into Life, The Destroyer, Typo, Apt, Ostrich Review, Monkeybicycle, Twenty20, iO, Paper Nautilus, Dragnet, Fugue, Emprise Review, Inner Art Journal, Ilk, The Collagist, Sixth Finch, Artifice, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fifth Wednesday, Prick of the Spindle, Word Riot, Utter, Metazen, The Pinch, Amethyst Arsenic, Jabberwock Review, Indigo Ink, The Los Angeles Review, Counterexample Poetics, Specter, Robot Melon, Press 1, Used Furniture Review, Boulevard, Cutbank, Tin House, Kill Author, Catch Up, Permafrost, Electric Literature, The Emerson Review, Sun’s Skeleton, nthWord, Flashquake, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, WTF PWM, The Monarch Review, Jersey Devil Press, Psychic Meatloaf, The Examined Life, The Foghorn, Acappella Zoo, Rock Saw Press, Battered Suitcase, La Petite Zine, Redivider, Arcadia, Prism Review, Timber, Dislocate, Decomp, The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Nimrod, The Massachusetts Review, The Macguffin, Caketrain, Potomac Review, Euphony, Conclave, Skidrow Penthouse, Crazyhorse, Ascent, Willow Springs, The Chicago Review, Zoetrope, The Sun, Granta, Paper Street, Whiskey Island, Harpur Palate, Yalobusha Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Glimmer Train, New England Review, Meridian, Failbetter.com, Jubilat, McSweeney’s, Mudlark, Bomb Magazine, Pennsylvania Review, Mid-American Review, The Dirty Napkin, Devil’s Lake, Annalemma, Anobium, Toad, Red Lightbulbs, 14 Hills, Cream City Review, Triquarterly, Marginalia, Arcadia, 3:AM, Agni, Splash of Red, and, of course, Highlights Magazine.

**list represents only a small sampling taken from Submittable and some ripped out pages of a journal. Actual list is beyond staggering.

LESSON LEARNED: You win some, you lose some.

Index of Metaphors Concerning the Heart (Over)Used by This Writer

“How he could be the one to high-five your heart!”

“Q: how many paper cuts must one human heart endure? A: as many as it takes, till the heart itself is paper”

“magic is nothing when you’ve got a heart with no fire escape”

“you ask me how I could just turn my heart off like that, like a thing with wings & fur”

“…on the verge of quitting an unrequited marriage marred by emotional flat lines & a heart from Mars”

“my heart remains in Thunderdome, where two hearts enter, one heart leaves, broken”

LESSON LEARNED: Time to ween yourself off the same old metaphors and images, Matthew. It’s cool. Learn from it + Move forward.

Index of Pieces Abandoned or Never Completed, 2007-2012
Desktop count: 119
Cellphone count: 19
In notebooks around the house: 40
LESSON LEARNED: I really need to clean my computer/phone/house.

Index of Most (Least) “Artful” or “Literary” Lines Found in This Writer’s Work

“I ask only for the privilege to make frothy love to you as a man makes frothy muscular love to his beloved computer”

“I’d rather have my dick stuck in a Chinese finger trap with George Lucas than be stuck here”

“diarrhea ennui”

“I once had imaginary friends who wore imaginary fanny packs full of imaginary vitamins & squirted me with imaginary water pistols while I masturbated into some nameless vortex”

“All I want is a girl who lets me wear my power glove to bed”

“Here I sit sucking acid rain from a nippled bottle, & I can’t help but remember all those nights we slipped inside Thunderdome after dark”

“When I masturbate I do so autopilot into a sock, until my flaccid whip secretes autopilot desire.”

“girl, let me Shamwow your worry, Slapchop your pain”

“penis is the new vagina”

“let me be your heart-Snuggie tonight”

“No Orgasm Will Ever Make Me Feel the Way Morgan Freeman’s Voice Sounds”

“Naresh was back in the car buttering a biscuit in the front seat when I woke up. Where did he get that biscuit? I thought…”

“Hey, can I have some of your biscuit?” I said. He handed me half and the butter knife too. I gobbled it up and put the knife in the glove compartment because it still had butter on it.”

“…floating about the room like a horny petal in the wind.”

LESSON LEARNED: I’m pretty mature.

Index of Notes Found On Desktop Or On iPhone Jotted Down In the Middle of the Night I Couldn’t Actually Remember What They Meant By Morning

“DON’T FUCK INSIDE THE HOVERCRAFT”

“Jean-Claude Van Damme vs. a Virus”

“Elegy for a Raging Boner”

“Shitty story”

“TGIF”

“lasercakes”

“Portrait of a Man Shitting Behind the 7-11”

“Birds with swords!”

“Robots at the robot prom doing The Human”

“Obama. Go-kart. Rodeo clowns.” (????)

LESSON LEARNED: Give yourself more clues.

Index of Profits Made From This Writer’s Art, 2007-2012

$15
LESSON LEARNED: I am honestly amazed I made that much.

Index of Hours Spent Shamelessly on YouTube Instead of Writing

No calculator advanced enough to calculate this.
LESSON LEARNED: YouTube was created by the devil.

Index of Reasons Given Over the Years to Give Up Writing
Two and a half years of rejections from MFA programs. [√]
“You’re not very good at telling a story” —Former Teacher [√]
^SEE ABOVE: Index of Profits Made From This Writer’s Art, 2007-2012 [√]
Failed English AP exam. [√]
Each rejection bound to come my way this year and every year after, for the rest of my life. [√√√]
LESSON LEARNED: Fuck that.

Conclusion Drawn:
The path is riddled with small slaughters. This is fine. This is perfect. This is how it should be. As long as I keep learning and remain in motion. We’re all perpetually in-development, all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master, as Hemingway once so keenly preached.

Writing is kind of like learning to ride a bike, except you’re riding uphill the whole time while being pelted with rocks in the middle of a rainstorm. The asphalt underfoot is chipped, rocky, uneven. You’re pedaling barefoot, of course, because you can’t afford shoes. You’ve got a nice collection of scabs on your knees from falling off and more blisters than you can count. Passing you by are people with sleek motorcycles giving you the finger and cars coughing exhaust down your throat. What an ineffective way to travel, they all think as they leave you in the dust. It’s always night on this metaphorical road and you don’t have lights (you kidding? you can’t afford that shit), so you’re riding blind. You don’t really know where the hell you’re headed. You realize you’ve never known. There are no maps for this sort of thing. One day you come to accept this—to embrace not the destination but the journey toward an indefinable somethingness.
All you know is forward, and that’s all you really need to know.

Matthew’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Kill Author, PANK, Gargoyle, Contrary, NAP, and others. His chapbook “Escapologies” is forthcoming from Red Bird Press. He is managing editor of Mixed Fruit magazine and an MFA fiction candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He keeps a list of his sins at http://www.matthewburnsideisawriter.tumblr.com/.

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