LITTLE FICTION/BIG TRUTHS just announced an August 7 pub date for their special Flash Nonfiction issue. Really excited to see the amazing roster of writers. Can't wait to read their work.
I’ve always loved CONNOTATION PRESS, fiction editor Jonathan Cardew’s wild and audacious fiction, and the great writers they publish, so I was especially pleased to make it into their last issue before they close for a long hiatus to redesign the magazine. Very excited to see that the other three fiction writers in this issue are writers whose work I’ve long known and admired: Len Kuntz, Claire Polders (I'm in the online writers group QUILLS with her), and Andrew Stancek.
"Prayer to St. Dymphna" is one of the LUNATICS' BALL fictions. I'm feeling stalled by my operation last Thursday and anxiety leading up to it (a parathyroid gland and tumor removed at UCSF Mt. Zion Hospital), by the continuing uproar created by the family room renovations (painting done, window today, carpet Wednesday, lots accomplished really but the entire house is a mess, with stacks of books everywhere). But really the project is moving along, and I've placed nonfiction in THE COLLAGIST, F(R)ICTION, and PASSAGES NORTH. Lots still to write.
Jonathan asked us about beginnings and endings and included our responses in his preface. All I could think about was saints. I have to write another craft essay, on plot, for CRAFT literary journal, and I'm not feeling very inspired. It will be short and I've got a couple of months.
Somehow I managed to write three flash in the three-day Kathy Fish Fast Flash Reunion Extravaganza this weekend, while doing a bunch of other things, including a potluck in Livermore (okay, we didn't cook the vegetarian lasagna ourselves) and a party in Marin (at Cristina Garcia's for her upcoming play). I was hoping to start a lyric essay (two of the prompts would have worked) but characters' voices kept intruding. The third prompt, where we were supposed to thread facts through a narrative, turned out to be the basis for all the lobotomy research I've been doing for the Lunatics project. It's grim, maybe the darkest of all the ones I've written, but I'm so glad to have a structure for what I'm going to do with it.
And one of my lyric essays came out today, in a journal I love, GHOST PROPOSAL. Here’s their description of the magazine:
“Proposal: an offering; a possibility; a conjecture; a guess; a hypothesis; a thing-to-be-explored. Ghost: a shadow on the sleeve of your sweater; a rhythm returning from lifetimes before; the meandering suggestion of a river on an ancient, yellowed map. At Ghost Proposal, we’re into writing that is aware of its own topography. We like work that engages with thought process. We think of writing as ‘a letter from a stranger that you can’t bear to throw away. It haunts you; it strengthens you.’ (Mary Oliver). We want to publish your strange objects. The whispers sitting in between your shoulder blades.”
It's the perfect place for my essay "Visitations," comprised of whispers and hauntings and memories and wanderings.
Love the cover art by Kailey Barthel.
Thrilled that my flash essay “Dear Maddy” won the essay contest at THE SUNLIGHT PRESS! I submitted a couple of months ago. They accepted it, saying it was still in the running for the contest, and I forgot all about it. So it came as a wonderful surprise. The contest was free (contests rarely are) and I’ve won $125..
I first came across THE SUNLIGHT PRESS when Claire Polders published there. Sudha Balagopal has also published there, and Cathy Ulrich (who won a contest).
“Dear Maddy” went through many revisions. It started with the Sherwood Anderson allusion, which my writing group advised taking out, which I did for a while, and then I put it back in, but I had so much trouble wording it, and landing in the right place at the end.
So excited to be part of the FLASH FLOOD JOURNAL celebration of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK. The reprint of my story “Little Darling” from WIGLEAF went up this morning. The deluge started hours ago and continues all day long (new flash every 5-10 minutes!) Take some time to browse! Here’s the ongoing NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY site and twitter feed.
Jonathan Cardew at CONNOTATION PRESS just accepted "Prayer to St. Dymphna" for their July issue (their last before an extended hiatus to redesign the magazine). He wrote of the group of Lunatics flash fictions that I sent to him: "These are fabulous and horrific and gorgeous and strange. Qualities I love!"
He wants all the writers to riff on "Beginnings" and "Endings" and after a very long day at jury duty in Oakland (I have to return tomorrow), I have no ideas. "It is up to you how you want to go about responding to these, but I don't want an academic discussion of how beginnings and endings work in prose. Just think, beginnings and endings, and have a play! Max 100 words for each, and no minimum. I am open to prose, poetry, memoir, hybrid, images, video, or a combination of these." Jonathan is a wildly creative flash writer (his newest at JELLYFISH REVIEW this week starts, "A fetus walks into a bar"). I hope I can come up with something at least moderately creative.
I'm in a twitterary magazine, up on twitter for a couple of months. Here's the tweet announcing v3 of Mythic Picnic's magazine, and the tweet announcing my story "Long Before." I've never been in a twitter magazine before; I'm not sure whether these function as permanent urls.
Speaking of which, SLEAZEMAG's site is down and they may already be defunct (I published "On Foot," about walking and bunions and our Guanajuato trip in August and the magazine was young then). So online zines can be as ephemeral as twitter.
My short story "Her Story" (I never came up with a better title; the story is about the stories a woman tells herself about her first marriage) should be in CAUSTIC FROLIC this week. They're a print magazine and they put the magazine online, but their site has lapsed. It will presumably come back up, and sooner or later I'll get a copy of the print mag, and they solicited me and paid me $100, so I'm not complaining.
There's a small celebration going on about MYTHIC PICNIC's twitterary magazine, because there are a lot of well-known flash writers in this issue: Meg Pillow Davis, Kara Vernor, Tommy Dean, Eric Andrew Newman, Cavin Gonzalez, Francine Witte, Megan Giddings, Benjamin Woodward, and probably some I missed in this list (though I read them all, and enjoyed the issue: micro-flash are so easy to read online).
And there's a much bigger party kicking off this morning for the WIGLEAF Top 50 short list and long list. Lots of my friends are on it, lots, and I'm happy for them. I'm also depressed that once again I'm not on it. This year I'm reading between the lines, much more attentive to the names I would have expected to see and don't, wondering whether they feel as discouraged as I do.
A few things coming up for me in June: publications in CAUSTIC FROLIC (I hope online), GHOST PROPOSAL (I'm thrilled to have something in there), FLASH FLOOD JOURNAL (a 24-hour party on June 15 for Flash Fiction Day). OCEAN STATE REVIEW said they were going to build their online presence and they set up my story "The Snows of Yesteryear" to post, but that was months ago and they haven't done so yet.
Today is our beautiful son Ben's 31st birthday. Steve and I talked to him on the phone this morning (he's in Indiana at a college friend's wedding) and will celebrate with him Tuesday night.
LITTLE FICTION/BIG TRUTHS is doing their first ever flash nonfiction issue and they just accepted my flash "The Arithmetic of Memory" (written in Kathy Fish's flash workshop, the first flash I've placed). I'm so excited! Another of those magazines really high on my wish list.
In other news, I've just about got my final grades finished and ready to post. The major upheaval of renovations to our family room has started. We have a small house (it isn't really the family room, since there's no living room, just a porch converted into a sitting room), and right now we're emptying six tall bookcases so the painter can take down the old paneling in order to paint. There are stacks of books all over the house. I have absolutely no idea where we can put the bookcases and sofa and other furniture when the carpet gets done. Time to thin out and organize the books when we reassemble the room. What to do with all the books in German from the years when I lived there? I have trouble letting go of things. The book collection is like an archaeological dig into my past.
Or maybe a few days? A month? Really pleased that I made the longlist for v3 of Mythic Picnic's twitter zine. It's a "twitterary magazine," it's an anthology, it's hard to explain but you get three tweets to tell a story and the finalists are up for a month or so until the next issue goes up (v4 subs in July).
Meg Pillow Davis is on the short list of winners (I love her work). Kara Vernor, Tommy Dean, Eric Andrew Newman, Megan Giddings, Francine Witte, and Benjamin Woodward are on the long list (love all of them too), and other writers whose names I don't recognize.
Mark Finnemore, aka Mythic Picnic, is a literary benefactor who donates money and time to this project and others, including fiction prizes at WIGLEAF. I was happy to meet Mark and his wife Panji at the Bay Area Book Fair a couple of weeks ago. (And to learn that he'd bought THE MISSING GIRL!)