Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Slush Pile

I was asked recently (hi Mom!) what a slush pile was, so for the uninitiated:

Slush pile:
noun, informal.
a collection of unsolicited manuscripts submitted to a publisher. (dictionary.com)

This got me wondering why it's called a slush pile, so I did a little digging on the etymology (not entomology!) of the slush pile. (It's amazing the bizarre results you can get when you google the wrong thing. I really wasn't looking for information on people trying to publish books on insects, or on how a certain variety of Scolytid beetle larvae can look like slush when floating in the tree sap that nourishes them. Yuck!)

At any rate, I largely came up blank. But I did find this website:
where someone, far more well-versed than I in etymology, recently delved into this same question. I learned two new words from this: semaphorist (One who manages or operates a semaphore. Semaphore: a system of signaling, esp. a system by which a special flag is held in each hand and various positions of the arms indicate specific letters, numbers, etc.) and inchoate (1. not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary. 2. just begun; incipient. 3. not organized; lacking order.)(also dictionary.com) At any rate, it makes for amusing reading, and his theories work as well as any.

I hadn't really thought too hard about the derogatory nature of the term before; though I did always picture someone wading through all the illiterate work before being wowed by my magnificent story (though the being wowed part hasn't seemed to happen yet...) Well, I just need to keep slogging through, because once my cover letter has a credit or two on it, I imagine I'll have more sway. Perhaps then I can graduate to snow or ice. (Or would graduating go the other way? Would I graduate to water? Ice water? Hmm....)

I think that's going to be my motto:
Keep slogging through the slush!

1 comment:

Sue Lewczyk said...

Hi, Daughter! I knew what, just not why. I need my whys answered! The Inky Fool was interesting. I also tried the Word Detective...nothing. I'd like to think it's not all drivel in the slush. Here's to more thawing and your work rising to the top where it will shine and glisten in the sun for all to see!