I originally wrote the “The Stiff Jew” for an anthology about Jews dating gentiles (called something like “Was She Worth It?”). The editor of the anthology ultimately passed on my piece, emailing me: “Hi Michael, I thought the narrative was obtuse and underdeveloped . . . . Best wishes and Happy Rosh Hashanah!”
So I took “The Stiff Jew” and I showed it to my writing mentor, an established fiction writer who usually heaped praise on me.
“This is probably the worst thing you’ve ever written,” she said.
“I don’t remember showing you everything I’ve ever written.”
“I’m not saying it’s not salvageable, but it needs a lot of work.”
So I forgot about the “The Stiff Jew” until I saw that Swink was accepting submissions for an upcoming online edition with the theme “taking sides.” Since my piece was—on a basic level—about taking sides on Jesus, I sent it over. Almost two years later, I got a response:
“We love it. We want to publish it an upcoming edition. Please say yes!”
Somewhat ironically, “The Stiff Jew,” written for a Jewish anthology, has now ended up in an anthology with so many gentiles.
Curious? Check out the new Dzanc books anthology, collecting the best writing from online literary mags, The Best of the Web 2008