Dear Author

November 4, 2014

One advantage of publishing in the distinguished Valparaiso Fiction Review, as I did earlier this year, is that Valparaiso University’s system sends you periodic updates about the readership. Here’s the latest message:

ValpoReportHey, that’s more people than I know, so it must mean that an actual Public out there is reading my work. Yay!

Just a minute, though. A “download” isn’t necessarily a reading. I sometimes download stuff myself, glance at it, say “What the hell do I want this for?” and discard it. How many people are trashing my work in that way? How dare they!

And 181 total downloads, that’s not much, is it? Hardly a bestseller.

Possibly this is a sad indication of the limited readership of literary magazines.

However, it’s also possible that other stories in the same issue are being downloaded much more often. That would be heartening. Wait, no it wouldn’t–who’s getting downloaded more than me, and why? Are some authors in the 200s, even 300s? Whatta they got that I don’t?

Maybe the counter isn’t right. Do I trust this technology? No way!

Now I’m all anxious.

Well, look, being listed in Valpo “Scholar,” that’s an honor, right? In there with all them university perfessers. For someone who hasn’t been a scholar in many years, that’s pretty, like, awesome.

OK, I’m at peace now.

But hurry up, number 182–put down the stupid comics and read my story!

Valparaiso Fiction ReviewThanks to the excellent Valparaiso Fiction Review for publishing my very long short story, or short novella, or whatever it is, called “Portrait of a Marriage.”

My writer friends sometimes speak of stories that work in “real time,” meaning that the reading takes about as long as the action would in real life. This piece covers 34+ years in the history of a peculiar marriage, and it is not QUITE in real time. An average reader should be able to finish it in 10 or 12 years at most. I promise that, just as in an actual marriage, there are some funny parts to lighten the tedium.

Click on the cover image to go to the table of contents for the issue. Great photo, no?