Working from home on a slim, dense box

The Southeast Review made a great home for this short personal essay about what it’s like to work from home, about the internet, and about writing professional emails all day while in cut-off jean shorts.

It’s called “Today Is Another Day in Which We Do Not Hot-tar Roofs,” and it’s alongside some really, really talented writers.

Thank you for submitting to our literary journal, but you weren’t even close

Thank you for sending us your work. Although we appreciate your interest in our literary journal, we are unable to publish your submission at this time. Writing is a tough business. So tough that, frankly, you were not even close.

We’re aware that writing is hard work, and that often these form letters do not reflect the time and care put into your submission, but other writers who are more talented than you have also submitted their work, and theirs was much, much better. There’s accepted for publication, which is not you, and then there’s close to being accepted, which is also not you. Also not you: anywhere remotely close to being published with this particular literary journal.

You may have gotten the point by now, but in the event that you have not, we will continue. We were very pleased with the quality of the submissions for our upcoming issue. Just not yours, specifically.

We thank you for thinking of us. Other writers who have thought of us include virtually all recent Nobel winners, every Booker Prize winner who is still alive, and Joyce Carol Oates.

In fact, every year, we receive 14×10398 submissions, of which we are only able to publish 0.7 every other year. As we’ve indicated above, you are not in that group of 0.7.

If we may, in closing, we’d like to suggest some of the things we are looking for. These may not apply to your specific work, but they probably do. We’re looking for writing that shines. We’re looking for writing in the sixth person. We’re looking for writing that ikhgdx. We’re looking for writing consisting entirely of active-voice pronouns.

So, while we don’t feel that your writing is right for us at this time, we encourage you to submit to us again!


The Editors

I’m Bob from the Bob’s Red Mill Grain Bags at Whole Foods, and All I Want to Do Is Fucking Murder a Whole Family-size Bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

(Something not-serious I wrote about Bob from Bob’s Red Mill grains.)

By Seth Sawyers

Hi, I’m Bob, the friendly, white-bearded fellow in the newsboy cap from those bags of Bob’s Red Mill grains that you see in your local Whole Foods. I love making Organic Unbleached White All Purpose or Whole Wheat Pastry flours as much as I ever did, but, frankly, I’ve got to make an admission to you. Right now, as I run my fingers through this burlap sack of Gluten Free Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, the only thing I want to do is fucking murder a whole bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.Bobs-Red-Mill-1-3

Don’t get me wrong. When I started this little company decades ago, with my lovely wife, Charlee, I saw a need both in the marketplace and in families’ cupboards for wholesome, healthy, whole-grain flours, oats, and cereals. And right now, as I’m writing this, there is a similar need, in my stomach, for an entire fucking family-size bag of bright-red, 100% non-organic, 100% GMO, 100% fucking awesome Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

I know what you’re thinking. How could Bob, from Bob’s Red Mill, whose smiling, gentle face I see in the grains, sugars, and spices aisle at my high-end organic-focused grocery store, a man who has dedicated his professional life to making my breads, pies, cakes, and cookies more wholesome and delicious, insist on a product composed of factory-farmed “corn,” hydrogenated oils, and chemicals with names longer than a row of western New York State buckwheat? To that I would say: have you ever fucking had a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto? Great. Multiply that by like fucking 800 and you’ll get an inkling about what the goddamn fuck I’m getting at.

Would it help my case or hurt it to let you know that I am ROCK HARD over here? I am Bob from Bob’s Red Mill grains, and I look like Santa Claus’s younger brother who almost graduated from seminary college, and I wear a blue newsboy cap, and I am ROCK HARD just thinking about eviscerating an 8.5-ounce bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Now, before you misunderstand me, let me just allay your fears about my current stance on Bob’s Red Mill specifically and whole-grain baking generally. I was an eater long before I ground my first kernel of rye. I love how whole-grain, organic bread tastes, how it brings my community and family of five children and sixteen grandchildren together here in beautiful Milwaukie, Oregon. Heck, I even love how whole-grain bread feels in my mouth as I chew! But let me be clear: right now I don’t give a fuck about any of that fucking shit. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos essentially motherfucking lacerate your gums, especially when you eat a whole fucking bag of them, bought from Dollar General, washed down with a two-liter of Mountain Dew Pitch Black, while binge-slamming a whole seas-o of Dawson’s Creek. Motherfuckers.

Let me close by acknowledging again how much of a shock this may come to some of you who, over these years of using our lovingly made products in your Sunday breads, your birthday-party cakes, your elementary school bake sale cookies, have come to think of us here at Bob’s Red Mill as almost a part of your family. We could not be more honored. But just know that, at this moment, if I have to sample one more gluten-free rice flour carob sesame bark treat from our test kitchen across the hall, I will kill everyone. I need the radioactive, toxic, non-biodegradable contents of an enormous fucking bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in my head-hole, and I fucking need it now.

All the best to you and your family! Go fuck yourselves!

Classic Social Justice Stories Revamped for the Age of Trump 

Fahrenheit 451. The main guy keeps on burning the books until the end because that’s the law and are we going to be a country with laws and if so are we going to follow them? The book ends with everyone standing for the national anthem. 

To Kill a Mockingbird. A haughty New York lawyer is assigned to defend Tom Robinson, a black man in Alabama accused of rape. After it becomes clear that he did not commit the crime and is about to be found not guilty, Robinson casually mentions to the courtroom how relieved he is that finally the public recognizes that the lives of black people ought to matter just as much as any other. Robinson is immediately found guilty and sent to prison. The book ends as the entire courtroom stands for the national anthem. 

All the President’s Men. Nixon stays in office because it’s The Washington Post which is clearly proto-fake news and Nixon keeps the US in Vietnam through 1976 and beyond. The story ends with Nixon discovering Barack Obama’s actual birth certificate, which states he was born in Mexico and that his father is Osama bin Laden. 

Gandhi. Gandhi is a crisis actor. 

Erin Brockovich. The people with cancer are crisis actors. 

Back to the Future II. Biff, hero casino magnate with hands of normal size, runs for president and vows to make the future great again but is continually hampered in his efforts by Robby McMueller, a politically motivated nasty investigator person. Biff beats the rap and wins over the public by just generally telling it how it is. The movie ends with Robby McMueller not standing for the national anthem. 

12 Angry Men. The other way around, where there’s one juror who wants to convict and he convinces the other 11 to convict based on racial prejudice and also the jurors are even more all white and more all men. The movie ends with all twelve very white very male men standing for the national anthem. 

The Bible. Everything’s the same except that contractors don’t get paid. 

A big one, huge in scope, heartbreaking

This one is just jam-packed with a tenderness, and empathy, and sadness. It’s huge in scope, time-wise, in terms of narrators, and in its humanity. It’s taken me a long time to read this, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Some amazing passages of deep inner-character diving, and enough story to keep you going. the nix

One of those books where, with 30 pages left, you’re not sure how he’s going to make it all come together in any kind of satisfying way, but you trust that he will. And it’s funny, too. It deserves the high praise, and the sales figures.