About The Fat Lady Sings

I created the tome The Fat Lady Sings (originally titled What Happens When the Fat Lady Sings) as my creative thesis project for my M.F.A. program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.

I graduated in 1994, shiny new M.F.A. in hand.

Sadly, the college, as of Spring 2024, has closed – worthy of another post, although I’m too emotional to write about Goddard’s unhappy fate.

In 1994, the internet was still rudimentary and mostly a fearful place, filled with strange computer codes and even stranger geeks. It wasn’t a place I ever expected to inhabit. Obviously, I was wrong.

A copy of my thesis novel has resided in the Eliot D. Pratt Library Thesis Room (the fate of all Goddard graduate theses, as of this writing, is yet unknown), gracing the same room as David Mamet’s undergraduate thesis, which, I must admit, I have perused.

My novel was rough around the edges, so I set out to revise it. From 1994-2001, I revised it several times. In between revisions, it was rejected by various agents and publishers – a familiar story for most writers.

A few agents liked it but didn’t feel they could take it on because it wasn’t a mass market kind of book. Besides, it was “too long,” and I was an unknown writer.

In 2001, The Fat Lady Sings came very close to being published by a small press. But in the end, the editor felt that the novel was too long and unwieldy, and we couldn’t agree on where to cut and other terms.

We parted ways.

In 2003, I decided to lift some of the chapters from the manuscript and develop a thematic short story collection. I carved out a 249-page collection, which retained some of the flavor of the original, but lost much of the tour de force, a muted version of the original with lots of gaps. But to make up for that lack, I worked on carving out individual stories that could stand alone. I feel I was mostly successful.

I sent out the collection, facing yet again a round of rejections. My favorite one: “I can’t sell this.”

I’m not sure what she meant: in her mind, did the book simply stink or was a fat middle-aged woman not likely to appeal to a mass audience?

Well, it doesn’t matter; she wasn’t about to represent my work.

I seethed for about a year (well, not continuously), but in 2004, I decided to self-publish the collection.

Are You EVER Going to be Thin? (and other stories) was released in July 2004. In 2012, I published an e-book version, available on Amazon.

The book has sold in the low three figures; I’m just a poor marketer of my own work; I’d rather write and work on the computer than go out to hustle book sales. It’s my fatal flaw, I’m afraid.

I post on a sister site, Fat Woman Walking, where I ruminate about my own struggles with weight and prejudice that every fat person faces in our fat phobic culture and their poor treatment by the chronically slim. Soon, I will have enough essays for a collection.

In some ways, I feel like a poser because I have been slim for the past three years plus, accomplished through intermittent fasting and a low carb diet (an ongoing struggle, with future success not guaranteed. Weight maintenance is complicated for those prone to fatness, as I am). However, I can offer a unique perspective about my experiences as a fat and slim woman.

As an example, I recently had a medical procedure while being slim. As the nurse was prepping me for my procedure and helping me move to the surgical table, she said, “You’re such a tiny little thing.” If she only knew… certainly, fat Jennifer would not have heard, “You’re so massively fat!” That sentiment, albeit hanging in the air like a stink, would have remained unsaid. Thinness is highly prized, and the slim are rewarded with “compliments,” while the fat suffer prejudice and outright abuse.

The point: slim Jennifer still has fat memories coursing through her veins; she remains aware of what fat people, including fat Jennifer, experience daily. She has not forgotten what it’s like squeezing into an airline or restaurant seat – she remains aware of spatial parity. In a way, Fat Jennifer and Slim Jennifer mirrors the twin sides of Samantha Anne Mallory, the heroine of The Fat Lady Sings.

I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that my work is great – it’s not – but it’s fun. I just want a break, but if I wait around for someone else to give my work a chance, I’ll grow very old, and The Fat Lady Sings will remain in the drawer for my heirs to toss away after I die.

This is why I’m posting parts of this novel on this site:


  1. Charity begins at home. Besides, if I don’t believe in my own work, who will? I do believe in Samantha, my sexy fat lady, and she will get her day in cyberspace.
  2. Apparently, no one else is going to publish my novel, and why should years of work languish in a drawer?
  3. Conventional wisdom is vastly overrated. Who says self-publishing isn’t a real publication?
  4. Most small presses are simply variations of self-publishing anyway; If I start a small press and publish your work, you start a small press and publish my work. That’s the way it works – a dirty little secret in the writing biz. A “publishing co-op” is simply a euphemism for subsidy publishing, all dressed up to look good for the colleges and universities who are looking to hire published MFA’ers. I simply refuse to play that game. I’m self-publishing my novel online, so there.
  5. Some distracted editor or agent might stumble upon it and actually like it. I could also win the Powerball Lottery (No, I haven’t done that either).
  6. At least here in cyberspace, perhaps someone will find my novel and read all or parts of it; a small audience is better than no audience. My work will be out there.


So, for better or worse, each week I’ll be posting a chapter (or two) – perhaps until all 175 chapters have been posted, the cyber version of a serial. I will not be revising (except to run the posts through a quick spell check), so it may be a wild ride, indeed.

Check back here for new chapters.

Copyright Notice

Unless otherwise specified, all works posted on The Fat Lady Sings are © 1991 - present, by Jennifer Semple Siegel, the author, webmaster, and owner of TheFatLadySings.comSome of the artwork has been AI generated. Her works may not be reprinted or reposted without her express permission.

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