Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Stories From a Moron: Real Stories Rejected by Real Magazines, Ed Broth. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. Hardcover, $18.95. ISBN 0-312-32676-0

Imagine you're the editor of a trade publication like Steamboat Magazine, a quarterly magazine for steamboat enthusiasts, and some guy sends you a story about the Earth, Wind, and Fire cover band, Shit, Shower and Shave. What do you do? Say you point out that your magazine only publishes writing relating to steamboats. Now, what would you do, if the guy sent you back the same story, but he's added a scene where Shit, Shower and Shave are flipping through a copy of Steamboat Magazine one day on the way to the drycleaners, and talking amongst themselves about how good the editorial section is? Now what do you do?

In this act of blind retaliation against editors everywhere, Ed Broth presents the results of dozens of attempts to place wacky (yes, that's the word I want to use) stories in random publications in which they do not belong. Whether it's Young and Alive Magazine, or Muzzle Blasts: the Official Publication of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, Broth has been rejected from them all, and he has collected the rejection letters alongside the stories that earned them; stories about his bedwetting father, Al Pacino look-alike stool, his girlfriend Kitty with her cat named Kitty who are always being mistaken for each other, and Tourettes Sign Language, among other even stranger topics.

With an introduction by Jerry Seinfeld, obviously, this is a light read. These stories tend to be very short and heavy on surreal humor. My immediate reaction was fear that this would become tedious, but Broth constantly injects new and stranger scenarios into the mix. Broth creates a twisted little world (Cumberland County) with running-gag characters that pop up throughout the course of the book. And the joke of sending these odd stories to unlikely magazines is quickly overshadowed by the joy not only of seeing what the editors will have to say, but how Broth will respond in turn.
-Originally published in Ghoti Magazine

No comments: