Hiya folks, this is Morty here again. I’m here to tell yas about the most famousest stories ever poiblished in The Portland Review. You can read part unos of this exciting new venture here: Not there! Here!
Now, before we go onta today’s story, let’s see if we can’t find us a bedder pitture of me. Morty. The second editor-in-chef for the rag. Now, back in those days the positions was called editor-in-chef and not capitalized because you worked for the cafeteria at the university and were considered worse than dogshit. Goddamned privileged students. But I diegress.
Oh jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. Helen! Ya been futzing with my computer box again! I don’t want to… oh…
Yeah. Anywhom. It’s unfortunabadly that we can’t find use a pitture of me this week, but next!
Today I’ll be talking about publishing Richard Yates’s Jody Rolled Some Bones.
Now, dis was the story that made all Dick famous. Foist published in The Portland Review in the late 50’s (1950’s or 1850’s, I can’t really remember) and then later picked up by some rag by the name o Harper’s Atlantic.
It’s a classic story about sodgers in World War deuce and how their lives are decided by luck, no control over nothing. What? Sodger? You know, Helen. Like those guys who go to the wars. S-O-L-D-I-E-R-S. Sodgers. Christ. Ya got too much cream in yer ears. Gotta get rid o that infection.
So, originally Yates included this description of his ex-wife in the middle of the story:
goddamned cunt motherfucker cigarette need must kill all mother fucker mother fucker mother fucker.
And I cleaned that up for public consumption. Now this really disrupted the narrative, so I called Yates up.
“Hello Richard,” I said.
“You cockshit,” he said, “what do you want?”
“I’ve got a question about this story of yours that we agreed to publish.”
“You can’t not publish it. No backsies.”
Now, at that point I realized that that was true. No backsies. So I resolved to READ every submission sent to us, and not just pick a few at random. Had that written in the charter. So that’s why The Portland Review reads every submission now, unlike some rags out there today.
“Right,” I said. “I know, but you’ve got this paragraph of profanities in the middle of the story. You got them goys at the base being drilled by the sarge or whatever. And then you stop the story to go on this five-page-one-paragraph rant about your ex-wife.”
“Did you know that my daughter is dating some fruitcake with a candy-striped coat? Bald Jew.”
“Well, Richard. This might soiproise ya, but I’m a bald Jew.”
“What do you want?”
“Could you edit some o that profanities out? Not all of it, mind you, I think it’s good. But just some of it. Also, all of your stories seem to be about either sodgers. TB patients. Failed sculptoring ladies. Failed marriages. And guys who write ad copy and want to be real writers.”
Needless to say I wanted to pull the story, but published it with that five-page-one-paragraph rant o cuss words. Then the Atlantic Herper’s took it and then cut that pagraph out. Pussies.
What? Helen? Whaddya mean this story was had been low-hanging fruit? It was true. And that’s all that matters. Years later Richard came up to me and said, “Thank you for being the foist to publisher me. I wouldn’t be the sexcessful alcoholic I am today if it weren’t for you.”
Eh. I should get an assistant to type tings out for me.
Until next of the time!