In a perfect world we would please all the people all the time. In our imperfect world we fail to please some people and occasionally we disappoint people. Especially at this time of year, when some deserving writer picks up the annual U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issue and discovers that his or her literary effort is not included.
Herewith excerpts from a letter we received a few days after the July 27 issue had been distributed:
"I submitted three poems for your issue yet none of them appeared – I am quite disappointed." Noting that her subjects ranged from farmland destruction to a humorous look at the death of a computer, the writer added that "I thought for sure one of them would be accepted," particularly since "so many of the poems accepted were of a personal nature. How were the selections made? Will it be a full year before you have another issue with stories and poems? Would you take poems at any other time?"
Good questions. We’ll give the short answers here and promise to talk about it more over the bar at Tre Piani restaurant at Princeton Forrestal Village on Thursday, August 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. (and possibly beyond depending on how many want to continue the discussion). The formal part of the evening, introductions of writers whose work has been published in the issue and some readings of the poems, will begin no later than 5:45 p.m. The informal socializing will precede and follow that – anyone who appreciates the written word is invited, and writers are encouraged to ask their friends and colleagues to share in the fun.
The short answers: This year we had 120 pieces submitted and took 48. While good writing usually wins out over poor writing, the selection often hangs on one work complementing another. Layout constraints influence the final decision. We had a cluster of poems this year on the subject of "birth, death, and beyond," and at the last minute cut the "birth" poem to make room for the others. The same thing happened to a canoeing poem that was lumped in with other poems about nature.
We have already earmarked those two for inclusion in the 2006 issue, which answers the next question.
As for taking poems at any other time of the year, we won’t promise anything, but we welcome submissions, especially if the poem addresses a subject of relevance to our audience.
On occasion we have printed poems that were essentially op ed pieces on timely subjects. But remember: No promises. We don’t want to disappoint.
To the Editor: Second Opinion On Robin Lord
Please excuse me if it’s too late to respond to your article "For the Defense: Robin Lord" from July 20; I just now got out of the longest shower of my life. Gee, now I know how rape victims must feel and why they, even though they know better, can’t help themselves from taking a shower.
I’m sure you were just doing your job by covering this woman, but I’m not quite sure what part of "an honor killing of our own" we women don’t quite understand in this disgusting slap-in-the-face-to-all-women-victims-of-domestic-abuse "justice" that prevailed in the Nyce matter.
A crime of "passion/provocation" manslaughter. Where are we? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Or one of those like-minded places. The only thing that prevailed here in this situation was preserving male privilege.
I was sickened enough and ready for that shower until I read the quote from her son, "Why would he want to kill his wife, mommy?’"
I had to take a detour and use the toilet to throw up.
Gee, why would hundreds of thousands of men, decade after decade, generations after generations, centuries after centuries, want to kill their wives? Their kids? Their family pet?
Perhaps it’s spelled c-o-n-t-r-o-l. They simply seek control of the "her." Any. Way. They. Can. A slam to the garage floor works. Just as a slam to our dignity works when we’re forced to hang onto the simple right to control our own bodies and to even get birth control and emergency contraception pills filled by males and their like-minded colonized Robin Lord cohorts.
And when men find out that they can’t control the gender with the words that rhyme with "control," then the male psyche kicks in — you know, the same one that drives Bush, the Vatican, the Religious Right Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians — or whatever the heck they call themselves. Frankly, "male chauvinist pigs" works for me.
Speaking of pigs, this woman just proves that you can put lipstick on one but guess what it still is?
And to answer Ms. Lord’s son’s mommy-dearest question, maybe she should have directed him to the children of the abusive husband in the Castle Rock case, the one where the court ruled that the police officers had NO duty to protect the woman or her kids. Oops, I forgot. That "passionate and provoked," surely, husband killed his own kids.
What a great question for Ms. Lord’s son to ponder: "Why would he want to kill his kids, mommy?"
Okay, I’m now headed for a very long and very cold shower to cool off.
The writer is the former owner of a civil and criminal litigation business.
P.S.: Actually, I’m not done. I have a question for Ms. Lord, the next time your paper does another Take 2 Same Situation Just Different Dead Woman article for her selling out our gender and doing her part to keep us as punching bags for the passionately provoked boys-will-be boys: "Knowing that you also have a daughter, how do you look at yourself each morning in the mirror when you get up?"
Buck Stops Where
President Truman proudly displayed the sign, THE BUCK STOPS HERE. The expression comes from "pass the buck" which means passing the responsibility on to someone else. In his farewell address, Truman asserted that, "The President — whoever he is — has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody."
Yet here in Mercer County, our County Clerk would rather pass the buck to the guys with the buckets, than take responsibility for the way things are managed in her office. That’s right, we’re being told, "The janitor did it." If you follow that logic, I guess the janitor has the additional responsibility, in our County Clerk’s office, for deciding what are legally required documents and garbage.
How can the Mercer County Clerk blame the janitor for throwing out documents, when those documents should have been logged in some trackable manner and secured. The types of documents that are filed with the County Clerk are important. They are required by law. Rather than expend an ounce of energy blaming a janitor, Mercer County citizens deserve a clerk who will take responsibility and provide the public with reasonable assurances that this will NEVER happen again.
What happened to the Buck Stops Here?
516 Drexel Avenue
New Energy Bill: A Positive Side
The reporting of Congressional bills often lacks the respect or recognition of the relative importance of deserving key elements. As politicians pontificate on the merits or evils of portions they support or abhor in legislation that might affect their constituents or contributors, substantive issues that can affect us all are often obscured from the public debate. Case in point is the "reliability component" regarding the enforcement of national standards for the protection of our nation’s power grid.
As evidenced by the recent energy bill passed by Congress, an important component is the enforcement of reliability standards for the national transmission grid system. The impact of such failure to enact protections in the form of compliance with standards that protect and preserve the availability of adequate power distribution opens the doors to regional dilemmas, as the most recent blackout demonstrated. In the voluntary and cooperative spirit of competing utilities to adhere to "recommended" standards, all can go well. However, in an unregulated, competitive environment, pressures to control costs could place the reliability of a national grid system in jeopardy.
We are fortunate to have an organization here in our region that has been instrumental in establishing reliability standards and fostering cooperation throughout North America: the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). The energy bill passed by Congress acknowledges the need for enforcement provisions to see that another major blackout does not interrupt our economy and American way of life. Regardless of what other riders or other issues might have been padded within the current energy bill, the passage of this single reliability issue is a critical element worthy of praise and appreciation to all who have dedicated themselves to its passing.
4 Melvina Drive, Lawrenceville