My third, or is it fourth?, year running in the Flash Fiction February event at FICTIVE DREAM, which is always fun. I love being invited to what feels like a month-long party, the flash are always great, and Claudia McGill's art is wonderful. I have a few from previous years that I want to frame. My flash "Zooming Out" is scheduled for February 19. My friend Kathryn Kulpa also has a flash scheduled, probably more writers I know.
Enjoying social media responses to "The Peak of His Powers," and having something funny for a change!
CRAFT has been a chore lately, with a very stressful edit, and I'm always weighing editing vs. writing, worrying that I'm neglecting my writing. Hard to say how much of that is post-concussive and how much has to do with the demands of my editorial position.
My first pub of 2022! I've yet to get an acceptance this year, but I have my fingers crossed.
I've always admired BULL, a magazine focusing on "modern masculinity." Thrilled to join the BULL family with my flash fiction monologue “The Peak of His Powers.” Aging male academics like this one are so familiar to me. One of the reasons I don't miss university teaching, especially department meetings!
My nonfiction micro "Glimpse" is up at FIVE MINUTES, a magazine for hundred word micro-memoirs about five minutes in a life. This is not the only time I saw my father after his death, but it was the most indelible and sustained.
I was leafing through the new issue of NUNUM and happened on a page announcing their BEST MICROFICTION 2022 nominations. "Super Stanley" is included! He's flying high.
Still not recovered from my fall before Thanksgiving, though much improved. Followup x-rays about the severe pain in my wrists didn't show any fractures, but it's hard to type. My vision is still sometimes blurred, sometimes flashing. I have a referral to an opthalmologist to look for a detached retina, but it may just be post-concussive syndrome (which can require an indefinite period to heal). Shoulders still painful; I sleep on a next of pillows and still take Tylenol every six hours. All of this makes writing and sustained reading and even my routine editorial work for CRAFT very difficult. I haven't written anything at all for over five weeks and it's very depressing. I'm trying the dictation software in Word, but that's not really the way I write.
I've been on hold at Social Security for I don't know how long, maybe half an hour?, scrolling through twitter, and I just discovered that GONE LAWN nominated "Ready or Not" for BEST SMALL FICTIONS. An unexpected surprise. Since it's nonfiction, I doubt it has a chance, but I'm honored nevertheless.
Still recovering from my fall and concussion. My wrists, arms, shoulders, and neck are excruciatingly painful, so it's hard to sleep and I need to cut back on typing. Because of the concussion, I should stay away from reading, writing, the computer, television. Which I sort of do, but it's difficult. I haven't written anything for the past couple of weeks, beyond some editorial work at CRAFT.
So it was nice to get praise for my ekphrastic flash "Head of the Household" in Cotton Xenomorph from two quarters. Matt Kendrick included it in his fairly short list on twitter of favorite flash of 2021. And Vancouver Flash Fiction posted it on Facebook as an example of a KILLER FIRST SENTENCE.
100 Word Story posted my Wigleaf microflash "Little Darling" with high praise on twitter, and coeditor Grant Faulkner followed up with amazing praise in his newsletter.
"If you're looking for a textbook example of how a story is enhanced and heightened through omission, I recommend Jacqueline Doyle’s “Little Darling. It's also just a classic. It should be on every writer's reading list."
It may be my favorite micro so I'm glad to see it hasn't been forgotten. Especially as I lie day after day on the couch, looking at the rain outside, wondering whether I'll ever write again.
This year I surprised myself by publishing fiction as a break from my WIP The Lunatics’ Ball. I also did a lot of behind the scenes writing for my WIP that’s not visible in this year’s publication history. I admire the writers, and there are many, who labor for years on novels or memoirs with no payoff until the end, especially when end results are so uncertain in this business.
I was thrilled with a Notable Essay listing (my seventh) from Best American Essays, and that it was for an essay that’s part of my WIP (“Madeline’s Trunk,” Passages North).
And that I made the longlist for the “Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions” again, also for a flash that’s part of my WIP (“The Madwoman on BART,” matchbook). And that matchbook nominated “Madwoman” for Best of the NET. I was sorry to see matchbook go on hiatus, and I hope they are back soon. They occupy a niche for lyric flash (among other sorts of flash) that no one else does. Big thanks also to NUNUM for nominating me for a Pushcart (“Super Stanley”).
My essays were fairly short, but I’m very pleased with all three of them, and grateful to the magazines that published them:
"The Dream Lives of Objects," Superstition Review
"Midcentury Modern," Catapult
"Forgotten Cities," The Café Irreal
I’m pleased to have published three short stories (I haven’t published that many in one year since 2016), all deliciously fun to write:
"The Leaf Blower," Potato Soup Journal
"The Blue-Haired Woman on the Polish Freighter," New World Writing
"Life Without Randall," Midway Journal
And a number of flash, both nonfiction and fiction:
"Spelling Lachlan," Legerdemain: National Flash Fiction Day 2021 Anthology, edited by Santino Prinzi and Nod Ghosh (print)
"Lizzie Halliday," 100 Lives (Pure Slush Books) (print)
"Half Fish Tale, Half Ars Poetica," (reprint), Harpy Hybrid Review
“Afterlives,” Ran Off With the Star Bassoon
"Waterloo," Six Sentences
"Head of the Household," Cotton Xenomorph
"Still Lives," Tiny Molecules
"Ready or Not," Gone Lawn
"Charcot's Monkey," Sonora Review (print)
"Zig Zag," Miramichi Flash (reprint)
"Vivienne's Key," Ethel
"Super Stanley," NUNUM
"Easy Street," Free Flash Fiction
“Eyes on Me,” “Damned for All Eternity,” and “A Mary With Teeth,” Tiny Molecules
"The Recliner," Fictive Dream
"Roll Out the Barrel," Schuylkill Valley Journal
Heartfelt thanks to all of these magazines!
Big thanks to Bending Genres (Robert Vaughan and Meg Tuite) for inviting me to teach a weekend intensive writing workshop, which I loved. I’m looking forward to their retreat in Ojai next summer.
Thank you to Trish Murphy and Superstition Review for inviting me to give a keynote address at their launch party. Sorting out my craft choices is always a process of discovery. And to Kathy Fish for inspiring the very first draft of my lyric essay in Superstition Review. I’m looking forward to taking another of her generative classes in the spring.
Thank you to Jayne Martin for writing a kickass profile of me and my work for The San Franciscan, and to the editors for interviewing me at NUNUM.
I’ve loved my editorial work as Creative Nonfiction Section Editor at CRAFT Literary Journal. It’s been a joy to discover and publish established and emerging talent, and to work with such great readers and editors. I miss the Editors in Chief (Katelyn Keating and Kristin Tenor) and CNF editorial assistant (Alyse Burnside) who departed this year. I'm always challenged to learn new skills at CRAFT. In addition to collaborative acquisitions and editing, and writing craft-based introductions to all of our CNF publications, I published my first review, of the new Best of Brevity anthology.
November ended with a concussion and myriad bruises and pains. I’m not quite recovered yet. I definitely felt more than a year older when my birthday rolled around last week. But I’m glad to be alive, grateful to be 31 years sober and to have so many supportive and talented friends. I love being part of the literary community in so many small and large ways. Thanks to my San Francisco writing group, the Leporine Conspiracy, for always being there, and for keeping me productive during the pandemic.
I’ll leave you with two of Toulouse Lautrec’s paintings of the dancer Jane Avril, who made her debut at the lunatics’ ball at the Salpêtrière mental hospital in Paris, where she was a teenaged patient. I'm getting so close to completing a blueprint and first draft of The Lunatics' Ball. My hope for 2022 is to complete that, and work through a second draft. Is finishing it too much to hope for? This has turned into a much larger project than I ever anticipated.
I gave my talk, despite a concussion and headache. There's a youtube video of the launch party here (my talk on "The Dream Lives of Objects" and ekphrastic writing and revision and the unconscious starts at 9:51).
The issue is out, with a great cover. Here's "The Dream Lives of Objects."
I'm recovering from a bad fall last Sunday night. I was running on the concrete behind our house and tripped on an uneven part and fell flat on my face, damaging my teeth (not as much as I could have). hurting my arms and hands, giving myself a concussion, but miraculously not breaking any bones. I've developed blurred vision and poor concentration, which may last only two weeks, but could last much longer. Worried about that.
I got my booster shot yesterday (though it's left me pretty achy and sore), I've got a draft of the SUPERSTITION REVIEW talk (still longer than I'd like), and a poetry blog/zine called FEVERS OF THE MIND solicited a reprint of "Move on Up" from me, originally published in RHYTHM N BONES LIT (which is on hiatus or defunct). It's up, they're calling it a poem, which tickles me. It's based on music, and they posted a pop art version of the Curtis Mayfield album cover that I refer to.
Hands down, this one today. A tweet from my long ago former student Serene Vannoy about THE MISSING GIRL: "I saw your book in a bookstore in my new town (New Mexico) & just had to buy it even though I already have a copy. It was just so cool."
Also some nice soft rejects, one from THE RUMPUS today that's strong enough to make me consider sending that microflash out to more places. At the moment I've run out of steam for submissions, and I'm much more involved in THE LUNATICS' BALL.
And larger progress on THE LUNATICS' BALL. Two more essays ready for my writing group to look at. And out of the blue, a great beta reader: Claire Polders, whose work I love, has proposed swapping full-length manuscripts. Because she's so well organized, I assembled a definitive table of contents with actual lengths for each piece and came up with around 50K. Two flash framing six sections of varying sizes (6K-12K). Whether these very disparate pieces will hang together is another question, but I'm glad to have someone looking at the work as a whole.
Seems to be rejection season, since I'm getting a lot of them, mostly essays from THE LUNATICS' BALL, which are a hard sell, because they're not exactly personal essays with a first person narrator, at least a lot of them aren't. I'm not taking the rejections personally. I still think they're a good fit for the collection.
A flash acceptance that I have to keep under wraps for now, but I'm excited about it.
And a Pushcart nomination from the tiny magazine NUNUM for my tiny micro "Super Stanley." He's a character I'm fond of.