“Too Sappy”

The university where I work has a literary magazine, and as I always do I submitted a few pieces this year.  Three poems that I originally posted here, actually; Photographer, Assignation, and Mammal Seeks Same.

They accepted the first two, with a few suggestions that I am considering–places where the scansion is weak, mostly.

What I find interesting is the reason that they rejected the third:

“Mammal Seeks Same” was not accepted because, in addition to the meter issues, the editorial board felt that it crossed the line between emotion and sentiment. The final two lines especially were thought to be overly sentimental. There are some good moments, however. I, personally, really like the title and the phrase “poke, pause, and poke.” The description is good; we could see what you were writing about. In the end, we felt that it was just a little too sappy. 

Fair enough.  It’s their magazine, and the audience is mostly college students.  When you’re twenty you have a very low tolerance for treacle–I know I did.

It just got me thinking, though.  “Too sappy” is my best riff.  I do sentiment well.  For people who don’t like sentiment, I’m sorry, I got nothing for you.  I do clever and irreverent fairly well, but my plotting stinks and I ain’t never gonna be Raymond Chandler, much as I would like to be.

I do bittersweet and romantic and fluffy kittens and lonely girls sighing deeply under a Maxfield Parrish sky.  When I try to be frightening the best I can come up with is vaguely ominous.  Even my monsters are cute, I try for Nosferatu and I end up with a grinning gap-toothed toddler in an Anne Geddes bat suit.

It time for me to embrace that.  I mean, I, personally, am bitter and nasty and grim, I just have this Raggity Anne muse.  “Happy and peppy and bursting with love,” that’s me.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Writing, Who I am and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to “Too Sappy”

  1. rebecca2000 says:

    But do you do toddlers in tiaras?

  2. frequentneed says:

    Its nice to know yourself well 🙂

  3. Betty Burnett says:

    Yep, those last two lines were throw-away lines and I thought so the first time I read it. Too facile.

  4. Tracy says:

    Vaguely ominous cute monsters bursting with love gets my vote every time. Keep on with the sentiment, too much of the world does plotting and grim every day.

  5. reikiheidi says:

    “Too sappy”?? Really? From a university… they couldn’t find a more… hm, educated word?! 🙂

  6. fortyoneteen says:

    Uh oh – there’s a line between emotion and sentiment? Romantic has it’s own monsters, they don’t all have pointy teeth… but they sure can bite.
    Where does the bitter and grim go while the muse is in charge?

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