It's All About Timing: The "Gnome" Piece

Timing is everything. That (I'm pretty sure) was the case of my first piece getting into Maisonneuve. And again, it is something that comes up with consistent frequency in my quest to publish. For instance, my gnome piece (shouldn't everyone have a gnome piece?), is another example of this notion, except that in this case, timing worked against me. Here, McSweeney's gave it the pass due to their having another "sentient gnome piece" published already. Which makes perfect sense because if there are too many, well, then a literary endeavour is bound to develop a reputation, a tradition even, and then of course, we would all become ultimately sick of gnomes (which would be totally unfair - poor things).

I guess my point is, that in general, it pays to be sensitive to this facet of writing. Try to predict it even. A good example of this was when the Pope passed away, at which point the editors of McSweeney's (and I'm sure everywhere else) got an extreme case of "Pope Fatigue." But then, maybe I shouldn't talk since I just went against this piece of advice and submitted something on one of the most hotly discuss science topics (or non-science topic for that matter) - Intelligent Design. Hold on. Maybe that's why I've gotten a few hits. I mean, really now, who else out there focuses on writing literary science humour? (Well, Ben, of course)

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Anyhow, getting back to the gnome piece, it also suffered because I happened to originally have it center around a relatively obscure and infamous quote made by George Bush (Senior) on the Human Genome Project. The first edit started off like this:

It's been a good 16 years since I watched President George Bush (the Senior) publicly speak on America's scientific endeavors in areas such as "the superconducting supercollider and the human gnome initiative." It was quite frankly a great day for all of us gnomes as we thought we had finally gained the attention and respect we deserved as a community. But 16 years later, we as a community are disappointed, angry, full of resentment, and still addicted to nicotine."

But upon removing this piece of academia, and reworking it a bit to suit the flavours of my other favourite humour site, it finally made its debut at Yankee Pot Roast (Angry Words from a Gnome who to this Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project was actually the Human Gnome Project).

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