Personal Rejection Letter

Join Dan and Kelly--a couple of everyday writers looking for some heat in a cold world--as they discuss the seedy underbelly of the lit life. From our duty as writers in times of trouble to the annoyance of literary magazine reading fees, your hosts have plenty to say.
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Personal Rejection Letter


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Jun 28, 2017

Classic guest Joe Bonomo joins the boys for a live podcast from the ballpark. Heated debate about America's most literary sport ensues, as do hot dogs and beer. Also, raccoons. 

Jun 21, 2017

The boys talk book reviews, their own and those of others. Leaning hard on A Reader's Manifesto, by B.R. Myers, they present  an unintentional conspiracy, whereby book reviews have become part of the advertising branch of major book publishers--and therefore completely dishonest and useless to readers. Like much in life, it's a damn shame.  

Jun 14, 2017

Dan and Kelly opine on the subject of titles. They offer examples of good ones, bad ones, and ugly ones. If only they had a fistful of dollars every time they had to come up with a title... Tune in to this informative and fascinating discussion. 

Jun 7, 2017

Dan claims that people who read on Kindles don't retain what they've read. Kelly is pretty sure that's wrong, but he can't quite remember where he read it. 

May 31, 2017

Aphorisms abound in this mean episode. 

May 24, 2017

Does "literature" have practical value? What constitutes "literature"? Who gets to decide? Should tax payers fund "literature"? Do the boys have answers to these questions, questions? Will all be revealed if you listen? 

May 17, 2017

The boys fantasize about the opportunity to "sell out," whatever that might mean. And Bigfoot porn. 

May 10, 2017

The boys are taking requests these days, especially good ones, like A.J. Wilson's question about the challenges and rewards of moving from short forms to book-length works. Kelly's all: blah, blah, blah, Knausgaard; blah, blah, blah, Walden. Dan's like: yadda, yadda, yadda, Alice Munro; yadda, yadda, yadda, Charles Portis. 

May 3, 2017

Dan, with every fiber of his being, supports the Nobel Prize Committe's decision to award harmonica player Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kelly thinks it should have gone to Billy Joel. 

Apr 26, 2017

Chabon, Chabon, Chabon, sha-doobie, do-doobie, do-bom! 

Apr 19, 2017

The boys do not discuss Mary Shelley's famous novel, its influence or content. Instead, they forget to push "record" for the first ten minutes of the initial conversation about some of the favorite books, and then go back into the studio to patch in a new intro. You can hear the stitches. 

Apr 12, 2017

Kelly tries, unsuccessfully, to bring bondage and discipline into the conversation, while Dan earnestly talks the highs and lows of submitting for publication when you ain't famous. 

Apr 5, 2017

The boys pass a podcasting milestone early in their careers: losing an entire recorded episode and having to do it over. Losing a whole episode and having to record it again. The subject is authorial identity, regional vs. nomadic. They talk about local and cosmopolitan writerly personas. 

Mar 29, 2017

What do you do when you honestly hate your good friend's new book? Find out in this iconoclastic episode on "literary citizenship." 

Mar 22, 2017

Kelly goes all Christian Science while Dan advocates for a balanced approach. 

Mar 15, 2017

Dan seethes with envy--and vicarious thrill--as Kelly regales the listener with steamy tales of his time at artist retreats. Or something like that. 

Mar 8, 2017

Starstruck Dan and Kelly fight for Joe's attention, talking baseball, rock n' roll, even a little writing. Three is definitely a crowd in the tiny recording nook, and they wouldn't have it any other way. 

Mar 1, 2017

Dan and Kelly puzzle over "fan fiction," asking, what is it good for...(absolutely nothing?)

Feb 22, 2017

Dan comes out as a copy cat. Kelly tries to comfort him by pretending that he (Kelly) too is unoriginal. 

Feb 15, 2017

Kelly and Dan disagree about the severity of the risk of being replaced by machines. 

Feb 8, 2017

Dan and Kelly weigh the pros and cons of self publishing vs. continuing to add to the rejection collection. 

Feb 1, 2017

Dan and Kelly exchange old war stories from AWPs past, and offer advice (hydrate!) to future attendees. 

Jan 16, 2017

Dan and Kelly tell writerly origin stories and offer tepid advice. 

Jan 4, 2017

Maybe you can help me out. My small corral of podcast subscriptions can't keep up with  my post NYE, pre-going-back-to-work gym routine, so I'm in the market for some new stuff. Yesterday I looked at a "best of" list of podcasts online, and chose two promising ones. The first was WTF with Marc Maron, a comedian. I like to laugh so I went into it with high hopes. Jesus Christ, who is this guy? I had to stop mid-run and turn him off he irritated me so much. No offense to his 4 million listeners, but his brand of person-ness is not for me. Listening to him felt like being trapped in an elevator with a guy chosen "class clown" in his ninth grade yearbook and had, just before entering the elevator, just done two fat rails of crystal meth. Dude, chill out. Take a breath. It'll all be okay.

Then I turned so someone whose name I can't remember but whose podcast is about panning bad movies. I love mean reviews of movies that deserve it. Anyone with half a wit can wring comedy out of that material, but not this guy, at least during the several minutes I gave him. There's a fine but important line between being funny and trying (desperatly) to be funny. Listening, I felt like visiting acquaintances whose large, enthusiastic, friendly, and smelly dog won't quit jumping into my lap and licking my face with its terrible breath, all while its owners stand by smiling at my misery, as in, "ain't he cute?" No, he ain't. And stop shouting at me! Please. Come on, man. You're okay. You don't have to try so hard. People like you for you (unless you're really the way you sound on your podcast, in which case I can't help you). 

This is all to say that I prefer mellower podcast hosts. 

I should also say I'm not a fan of the super-produced NPR style podcast. The Sporkful? No thanks. (Sorry Adam.) I find it dull, saccharine, bogged down by unnecessary cuts and sound effects. What are you hiding there behind all that technique? You are hiding that you have nothing interesting to say. 

My favorite podcaster is Dan Carlin. I'd even pay to listen to him if he put out an episode more than once every several months. He's been podcasting since 2005, so I guess he's kind of tired of it. Too bad. I also like the Stuff You Should Know guys okay. I'm never excited about their new episode (two per week), but I find them a solid backup plan. The funny fellows at Worst Idea of All Time are definitely my speed, but man doesn't live on bread alone (there must also be a beverage, as Woody Allen once wrote). 

I don't think I'm hard to please. I just want something like the interesting, occasionally witty conversations I have with my drinking buddies. In fact, I listen to podcast simply to recreate the feeling of friendship while I'm sweating on a treadmill. And while my friends are smart and funny, they aren't exceptional, nor am I. We're regular people who can talk about something that interests us without our faces turning read or veins popping out of our foreheads. We don't require elaborate sound engineering to make ourselves understood. Is that too much to ask? 

Recommendations most welcome. 

Your Pal,


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