RAPPAHANNOCK REVIEW publishes great work and has been on my radar for a while. When they solicited creative nonfiction from me, I sent my new lyric sequence “Octopus Dreams” to them (and nowhere else), and they accepted it soon later. Writing and publishing should always be this easy! Big thanks to editor Kelly Donaghey.
Some of Kathy Fish’s flash prompts made me write down dreams that I ended up using here. The sequence was originally inspired by a cool video online of an octopus changing color while she dreams.
Love the cover art from the 16th century botanist Gherardo Cibo (1512-1600). The editors comment: “When we came across this artwork, we were immediately drawn to its surrealism and exaggerated scale, intrigued by the idea that these oversized plants exist and almost levitate while the rest of the image suggests that nothing is out of the norm.” There are more illustrations from the manuscript here.
I sent out some submissions this week, along with two for readings. I just heard back from Jon Sindell that I've been accepted for the ROLLING WRITERS Reading Series on Saturday, February 15, 6pm, at the The Rolling-Out Cafe in San Francisco. The theme is "fatherhood" and I adapted three excerpts from a longer essay on my father for the reading, and after much thought sent him my favorite.
I've been writing a lot for the past few days, but I've also been plagued with indecision. I finished a draft of the "Ten Things in 2019" for LITTLE FICTIONS/BIG TRUTHS, but I'm not sure I like it, so I started another one.
Classes were over last Thursday. I have grading for my flash workshop due next week, but right now it feels like vacation. Steve, Ben, and I went to a really cool hip hop adaptation of Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" in Berkeley which was inspiring for the sort of literary riffs I've been doing on the side for THE LUNATICS' BALL. We're going to a great restaurant in San Francisco for my birthday on Wednesday.
F(R)ICTION just put out December horoscopes with story recommendations for each astrological sign. Was pleased to see that Sagittarius (my sign) will have a high energy month. And that my story "Raining Blackbirds" in GHOST PARACHUTE is the recommended read for Aries, the first sign on the list.
I just got a check from CRAFT for $200 for my two micros. All the more exciting because I'd forgotten I was going to get it, and forgotten how much it was going to be. I was also paid by F(R)ICTION recently for "The Lunatics' Ball," can't remember how much (Steve thinks $40 or $60). Always a surprise.
Really gratified by the online response to "The Lost Umbrella," from so many people, including strangers, including writers and places (e.g., DIAGRAM) I wouldn't have expected. I really like the story too.
Here's Magritte and my blue sky umbrella, which I used last night. It's still raining buckets.
CONFRONTATION solicited work from me (they're a really good magazine where I published one of my best short stories a long while ago). I don't have much to send right now, so I sent one of my Lunatics profiles, which I'm afraid is much too academic for them. 2019 has been painful, trying and failing to find the right voice for the nonfiction in my project-in-progress. I keep writing, hoping the right voice, the right blend of nonfiction and memoir will magically appear and I can rewrite the profiles I've done so far.
Little Colored pills in creative nonfiction sunday reads, the lost umbrella in pithead chapel, a pushcart nom from little fiction/big truths
A triple header today.
It’s my AA birthday, 29 years sober.
I woke up to find the latest issue of PITHEAD CHAPEL, which includes my flash “The Lost Umbrella” (fittingly, it’s raining today). I love PITHEAD CHAPEL, love fiction editor Kim Magowan. It's my first appearance there and I'm thrilled.
Then I found “Little Colored Pills” in my email inbox, today’s CREATIVE NONFICTION SUNDAY SHORT READS. I’m so so honored. Just as I was wondering whether anyone I know gets those emails (according to CREATIVE NONFICTION they reach "thousands of readers weekly," so that's very cool), I found a mind-blowing private message on twitter from Jill Talbot, whose memoir and essays I admire tremendously.
"Dear Jacqueline Doyle, Congratulations on your essay being featured in CNFs Sunday Short Reads today! I’ve added it to my Essays to Teach for the next time I teach the triptych. It’s a wonderful essay, rich in detail and juxtaposition (and that 2nd segment—love it). Thanks for a great read. Best to you, Jill"
And a nice P.S. to the day. Going out for dinner with Steve and Ben. And I just got an email from LITTLE FICTION/BIG TRUTHS; they nominated "The Arithmetic of Memory" for a Puschart! Really good magazine. Loved everything in their Flash Nonfiction issue.
I love this series, which lands in my email inbox every Sunday morning. CREATIVE NONFICTION SHORT READS is a selection of the best creative nonfiction over the years from BREVITY, SWEET: A LITERARY CONFECTION, BRAIN, CHILD, and CREATIVE NONFICTION. They've featured Rebecca McClanahan, Brian Doyle, Sonya Huber, Jill Talbot, Joey Franklin, Jaquira Diaz, Ellen Gilchrist. They're SO good. And I just got an email from SWEET, where "Little Colored Pills" first appeared, saying it will be featured in the series on Sunday. I'm almost in tears I'm so happy. This isn't an honor that would mean much to non-CNF writers, but to me it's huge. And I'm planning to include the piece in THE LUNATICS' BALL.
Also very nice: RAPAHANNOCK REVIEW, which is publishing "Octopus Dreams," asked if they could interview me, which is giving me an opportunity to say a bit about THE LUNATICS' BALL and showcase some of my earlier work.
Also very nice: I decided to combine my award nominations for my Facebook Author page, and realized my flash has done very well this year. Pushcart noms from ELLIPSIS and LUNATE. A Best of the Net nom from THE SUNLIGHT PRESS. A Best Microfiction 2020 nom from CRAFT. I think because I've gotten so many rejections, I feel like there have been more failures than wins. My productivity seems also to have slowed, though that's partly a factor of working on THE LUNATICS' BALL, which includes pieces that I won't try to publish on their own. Really this year has been more than okay.
The CREATIVE NONFICTION SHORT READS along with another Notable in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS makes it a banner year.
My ninth Pushcart nomination! ELLIPSIS has nominated "Waking Up Late" for a Pushcart, along with some great stories. Maybe this is the place to confide that "Waking Up Late" had thirty rejections, more than any other flash I've ever published. (A number of print journals and contests on that list; I aimed high.) But I really loved it, so I kept sending it out.
Page proofs from PASSAGES NORTH (print journal coming out next spring) arrived in this morning's e-mail. My essay "Madeline's Trunk" went through some revisions after it was accepted, and the CNF editor left midway through the revisions (I didn't know he'd accepted the first round). It looks like they used the first round and not the second round of revisions. I think it was mostly the end that I changed in the second round, and I was really torn about what to do with it. I'll have to read it carefully today and make a decision. If I go with the second round, I think it just means cutting some sentences, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Really excited to see flash by Dina L. Relles and Matthew Volmer in the PASSAGES NORTH table of contents for the upcoming issue and also a collaborative essay by Jill Talbot and Meghan McClure. I love all of their work, and taught some of Dina Relles' and Jill Talbot's flash in my class this semester.
PASSAGES NORTH is a top magazine (I'm thrilled to have this LUNATICS' BALL essay accepted there) and does a lot of flash (both online and in their print issues) and hybrids as well as straight creative nonfiction. The current issue includes flash by Sean Lovelace and Jad Josey, and an essay by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher (whom I also teach). They do great covers.
Jill Talbot also offered me a very useful critique of "On Being Told Her First Husband" when I submitted it to AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW. The critique inspired me to pare down the level of detail, segment the essay, and sit on it for a year before final edits. I'm sure it wouldn't have been accepted at FOURTH GENRE without those changes. It was very generous of her. (She also knew my work, which was gratifying.)
"Move On Up" is getting tons of praise on Twitter and Facebook. I'm really bowled over. I posted it late last night, so the first responses were from England (and Hungary, my good friend Doris). Lots more pouring in today. I have a lot of flash that's come out all at once. (And "Johnsy Seen Her Too," "Butterfly," "Octopus Dreams," and "The Lost Umbrella" in the next few weeks.) My friend Kathryn Kulpa just solicited me for longer CNF or fiction for the next issue of CLEAVER and I realized that I don't have anything that length. In fact I have hardly anything left that I'm sending out. I've been working hard on revisions for the The LUNATICS' BALL lobotomy piece and might send that somewhere. The other profiles that I'm finishing don't feel like stand-alones, so I'm thinking I'll reserve them for the collection. I think I would have worried once about having nothing in the submissions pipeline, but it actually feels kind of freeing. Submissions are very time-consuming, with lots of disappointments along the way.
The writer and critic Jane Ciabatarri just wrote to me that she will nominate me for a Pushcart for fiction, I will hear from the Pushcart people and be invited to choose several of my pieces to nominate. I've never been nominated for a Pushcart by a former Pushcart contributor before; my nominations have all come from magazines. Elizabeth McKenzie nominated Steve a year or two ago, but it was for a specific essay (in WACCAMAW). I sort of wish it was creative nonfiction, as this year I think that's been better than my fiction. But I'm excited and interested to hear how the process works.
So pleased to see my CNF flash “Move On Up,” an early valentine to my husband, in the special issue on “Love” at RHYTHM & BONES. Much love to editor Tianna G. Hansen and to Kathy Fish and fellow Fast Flashers in the reunion last spring.
RHYTHM & BONES is only six issues old. They’ve already published some writers I really like (Tara Isabel Zambrano, Salvatore DiFalco, Evan James Sheldon, Hannah Gordon), more in this issue (K.B. Carle, Meg Pillow Davis, Joaquin Fernandez, and many who are new to me), and an interview with Cathy Ulrich. Great issue 6 cover art by Stuart Buck.
W.B. Yeats is the first poet whose work I knew very well. I loved his Crazy Jane poems when I first read them. I didn’t learn until recently, when I was doing research for THE LUNATICS’ BALL, that the literary archetype of Crazy Jane dates back much further, or that there were “wandering lunatics” throughout Ireland until the Famine, when the populace could no longer support them and lunatics were put in workhouses. My micro “Crazy Jane’s Cup of Tea” was inspired by that research. Really pleased to see it in THE CABINET OF HEED, my second appearance there. (Especially pleased that it’s an Irish journal, since I always worry about the authenticity of my flash set in Ireland. I was also very excited when the Irish writer James Claffey praised my flash "Prayer to St. Dymphna" a few months back when I posted it on Facebook.) Deep thanks to editor Simon Webster.
I was scrolling through Twitter on my phone as I waited for the Tommy Orange talk to start today at lunchtime (he was great), and I ran across a post from LUNATE announcing their Pushcart nominations. Was bowled over to see my flash "Felicity Leaves the Door Ajar" on their list! They're a very new magazine, but have been publishing great work by some really well known flash writers. I'm honored that they singled out my sort of weird story (one of my very minimal plots).
A long afternoon of student conferences about rewrites, but they were optional, I was gratified to see how many students signed up for them, the work was by and large very good (they're rewriting for their portfolios but also for the student literary magazine contests), and it was several hours well spent. We have next week off, and only one more week of classes after that. I'm going to miss this flash class.