Monday, September 15, 2008

Rankine 911

Art is Individualism, and Individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. Therein lies its immense value. For what it seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
Oscar Wilde
The Soul of Man Under Socialism

There’s no better snack than nibbling on the hand of one’s feeder.
Jeff Skiver

Last week I emailed Popular Woodworking’s Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick a couple more Out of the Woodwork Features for calendar year 2009. She responded by saying she would pull one of them ahead to December 2008.

That confused me because just over a year ago I wrote a very special Christmas story specifically for Popular Woodworking, and it has been my assumption that they were saving it for the December 2008 issue.

So I asked Megan why she needed to run one of the new ones in December when we had the special Christmas story. Hesitantly, Megan confessed that the magazine's editing staff had decided to not publish my Christmas story in Popular Woodworking.

Therefore, I want all of my faithful blog readers to realize that the legacy of Jeff Skiver has now grown to include a Christmas story that is apparently too controversial for Popular Woodworking. In reality, as a professional (and a Capitalist) I am not too concerned because they paid me for it a long time ago. (Actually they purchased the First Rights to Publish, but I was paid whether they ever run it or not.) However, the strange thing is that I didn’t even think of this story as edgy when I wrote it.

This one page feature is just the normal Skiver attitude applied to a Woodworking Christmas theme.

So even though it doesn’t bother me that they are running a different Skiver piece in the December issue, I am still going to try to milk this out for all it’s worth and try to make the “Missing” Back Page Feature the stuff of legend.

If I have my way, the Canceled Skiver Christmas Feature will someday be as highly regarded by collectors of literary antiquities as the Dead Sea Scrolls. (I have a pretty high opinion of my work, don’t I?)

Despite my chosen title for this blog post, I am not going to do a Censorship Soap Box Rant. Popular Woodworking choosing to not run that feature isn't nearly as bad as when I was still writing for Highlights and suffered the ongoing torment of having Management cancel my best ideas for the monthly Goofus and Gallant cartoons.

In fact, as a way of finally achieving some healing for the Censorship I faced from Highlights, I now provide you (my faithful blog readers) with my top 5 Rejected Goofus and Gallant ideas:

1) Gallant always treats his dates with respect.

Goofus understands that “NO!!!!” means she is just being playful.

2) Goofus shoots up with anything he can find.

Gallant would rather forego a hit than use a dirty spike.

3) Gallant maintains a career so he can finance his own addition.

Goofus knows that his mom wouldn’t leave her purse out if she didn’t want him to borrow from her.

4) Gallant adorns his car with a bumper sticker that says, “COEXIST.”

Goofus’ car sports the old classic, “Ass, Gas, or Grass…nobody rides for free.”

5) Gallant includes Broadband Internet access in his monthly budget.

Goofus just downloads tons of illegal porn and copyrighted material over his neighbor’s unsecured WiFi. (As Goofus always says, “Do the models have to be 18 if you are downloading through someone else’s IP Address?”)


Jasonb said...

Maybe you could offer the original manuscript on ebay. One of my favorite authors, C.J. Box, wrote some books that were only printed in small batches of about 250 copies. The proceeds from their sale benefitted some charity or foundation. Now those books are collector's items and sell for alot of money (if you can find one). But Mr. Box isn't getting the money, the people who are re-selling them are. You could cut out the re-seller and make a bundle.

Jeff Skiver said...


With regard to your phrase, "make a bundle".... are you aware that my phrase "faithful blog readers" only refers to you, my mother, and 3 other people?

All of those red dots on the map showing the hits around the world come from me dialing random international numbers and convincing folks to surf over to my blog just so I'll look like I am a real hip, happenin' blogger with an International following.

The truth is that F&W/Pop Wood still own the first rights to publish. So part of my joy in messin' with Chris and Megan through this blog post is knowing that in reality they hold my lovely little Christmas article captive like a caged bird, and he cannot be set free to fly to the masses until given the go ahead by F&W. (It's ok...until I get the legend created no one else wants him anyway.)

By the way...I still don't know why they decided not to run it. It was very sappy sweet. It was about a woodworker who suffers a bit of tear out while planing some interlocked Paduak. In a fit of frustration he says, "I wish I had never been born." Along comes Clarence Oddbody, AS2 and we are shown what the world would be like had our woodworker never been born. It was truly beautiful...mainly because in the alternate world I was more famous than Roy Underhill.

Jasonb said...

You might end up as famous as Roy one day; but, do you really want to amass all those scars on your hands to get there? Honestly, when the camera zooms up close to show what he's doing, I just see the scars and think "This guy must be anemic with all that blood loss".

Seriously though, if F&W/Pop Wood ever decides to publish a collection of your columns, I'll proudly put it the "good" bookcase with the glass door.

Maybe they're saving your "previously unpublished" Christmas tale for the collection to boost sales.

Jeff Skiver said...

Note to Jason only (everyone else stop reading and close your eyes.)

Great job, Jason. Man that was just like we talked about on the phone. A little bit of praise but not too "over the top." I'm glad we cut out that one line about me being a better writer than Hemingway and Shakespeare combined. Leaving it in would have ultimately hurt the cause.

I think this was just the right tack to take.

Also, having mistakenly planted the seed comparing myself to Roy Underhill...I now have to do a John Lennon backtrack and say something like, "I'm not saying that I'm better or greater, or comparing myself with Roy Underhill as a person or St. Roy as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this."