Q+A with M.M. Carrigan from Taco Bell Quarterly

Picture your workspace as you prep to read subs. Where is it? What’s in the space?

In reality, I work where ever I can find a flat surface and some quiet. I have two kids and work the equivalent of four full time jobs between parenting, my own writing, editing a famous literary magazine, and my day job which is the only one that actually pays me. In my dreams, I’m rich and I commute to the TBQ offices in NYC where there is free Baja Blast in the lobby for all thirsty writers.

What’s a recent or upcoming piece in Taco Bell Quarterly that you’re especially proud of / intrigued by / stoked about?

I am proud, intrigued, and stoked to be able to pay for these pieces for the first time, so the answer is every single of one of them.

Who are five or six writers you see as typifying the kind of work you look for at Taco Bell Quarterly?

The writer who typifies TBQ is someone I’ve never heard of. Someone who is more interested in making me laugh in the email note rather than name dropping what they’ve been pubbed in.

What is one thing you’d tell writers to avoid in their submissions to Taco Bell Quarterly?

Taco Howl, For Whom the Taco Bell Tolls, etc – and not because people don’t do them well. They do them wonderfully. I’m usually looking for something more subversive though. Those pieces have already been subverted to death over the decades, and you see that influence in a lot of great writing right now. I want the next level absurdity, the next subversions, the next influence.

Is there a specific kind of project you haven’t seen in your current submissions that’d you’d love to see come in?

My answer is always Yes, send it. There is a 99% rejection rate no matter what. Send me genre, send me something not literary, send me whatever you think should be in front of people, and you’re willing to shoehorn a taco bell reference in there.

Are there magazines you see as literary siblings, mentors, aspirations, besties, etc.?

I told Aaron Burch that I want to be HAD. HAD is so cool. I love the simplicity, the skulls, the writing, the excitement. TBQ is all noise and twitchy and wants to be famous, which is also awesome, but I’d love to be cool when I grow up.

Any parting words of advice for people submitting work, either to Taco Bell Quarterly or other journals?

The most accomplished writers are the ones who have been punched in the mouth the most often. They were just willing to roll with those punches and rejections. Please send me your work so that I can reject it. What doesn't kill you makes you a Writer.

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