The call for entries asked for short pieces of writing (fiction, memoir, poetry, scenes from your life, weird shit that’s on your mind). I emailed an mp3 before finishing to read the rules and regulations.

I apply for things all the time. Magazine cover designs, essays, short stories, book reviews, interviews, illustrations, whatever; if it’s in the ballpark, or the neighborhood next to the ballpark of what I think I do, I’ll fill out the form. Then I promptly forget about it. I’ve learned to do this after many years and hundreds of rejections. If I dwelled on even a fraction of the entries that weren’t even rejected but merely ignored, I’d live curled in a fetal position in the back corner of my closet. I fight like hell not to get my hopes up.

So I was surprised to receive an email from Hello America Stereo Cassette barely an hour after sending the recording of a chapter from Old Style. It wasn’t a rejection, but a request to read the entry requirements——they only accept wav files and I sent an mp3.

I searched around for the raw file of the recording, but discovered it no longer existed, a casualty of my spring cleaning assault on my digital archives. I just love throwing things away. Sometimes, I find out later that it’s something I might actually still need.

Undaunted, I set up the mic, opened up Garageband, and read another chapter from the new book. I sent it off and, wonder of wonders, it was accepted. It’s the one at the top of this letter. If you buy it, I get 50 cents!

I heard from the printers that Old Style should be ready sometime next week. If you want to be in on the first batch I send out, order now.

—I made a page of self-portraits and wrote about a year without the Skylark.