My first rejection of the new micro with a nice note, followed a few hours later with an acceptance of another micro at SWEET, a cnf magazine I love that has published cnf of mine that I love: the first two among the earliest I published, and still among my favorites ("Summer Siren" and "The Fortuneteller's Words"), the third arguably my most successful flash, as "Little Colored Pills" was solicited for reprint in Creative Nonfiction's "Sunday Short Reads" and will be reprinted in Jill Talbot's anthology ESSAY FORM(S) (forthcoming from Columbia University Press). It will also be included near the end of THE LUNATICS' BALL, in slightly revised form.
A beautiful sunny day, not too warm, not too cool. It feels like the weekend, which it's not. It feels like summer, which it's not. In the past week or two, I've managed to finish an important essay for The Lunatics' Ball and to rewrite two other important essays (all short, but not easy). I've been sitting outside in one of our new wicker chairs today, reading Geoff Dyer's essay collection Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It, almost as much fun as his book Out of Sheer Rage, which made me laugh out loud when I read it last week. Inspired by Dyer, I sat down and wrote one of my strangely circuitous inside-my-head flash-length nonfictions, starting at the Hotel Paradox. Fun to write and revise and polish. I have two writing groups where I could share it, but sometimes my writing just feels like me (a voice that I get, even though others might not), fine the way it is, so I won't. I hope I don't spend too much time trying to place it.
Great readers, great music, great time at the Rolling Writers Fall reading in Jon Sindell's gorgeous garden in the Outer Sunset yesterday. My first time reading "A Bartender Named Destiny" (published recently in Ellipsis Zine) and it was fun.
I shouldn't announce my husband Steve's news yet, since he hasn't made a commitment, but a great press just accepted his novella for publication. It's also part of a collection in the final stages of consideration at another press, so he may have a hard decision. AMAZING NEWS!
Went to Mountain View for a lunch with four flash fiction writers. First row: Dawn Steffler, Patricia Q. Bidar. second row; me, Melissa Bowers, Claudia Monpere. Patricia is the only one I've met before. It was great getting together with these great flash writers in person. I admire all of them!
So yay! I just had a reprint accepted for a special Halloween ezine at BULB CULTURE COLLECTIVE (which does reprints from defunct magazines and solicited for Halloween in particular). Sent it yesterday, got my acceptance today.
I don't write longform fiction very often, so I'm thrilled to see "Raney's Imaginary Friend" (originally published in THE GINGER COLLECT) resurrected.
My only other longform story this year will be "The Beautiful Girl on the Flying Trapeze," which was supposed to come out in FIVE SOUTH on. April 1, and they claim that they're STILL working on their web redesign (is that possible?). A friend who was accepted for the same issue is shopping her flash elsewhere. I really like the magazine, so I'll wait and see.
Publicity and marketing materials and preorder info is out for AWAKENINGS, the forthcoming anthology about the body from ELJ Editions where I have an essay. They want to do readings and I wish I didn't feel so reluctant to read my essay "Late Bloomer" about being flat chested. It's not the embarrassing moment as a preteen, that's fine, I guess it's the somewhat sentimental closure. Something anyway. It also feels weird that they're marketing me as a "seasoned writer": "A host of seasoned writers, including Alison McGhee, Jesse Lee Kercheval, and Jacqueline Doyle, alongside emerging artists, such as Camille U. Adams, Terry Opaleck, and Sarita Sidhu, share their hearts, their limbs, their breasts" (that would be me). One of the advance blurbs calls the essays "raw and revealing" and mine really isn't.
How do you get to be a seasoned writer without a book? Jessie Lee Kercheval has tons, and has branched into graphic memoirs that are wonderful. Feeling down on myself for my slow progress and long periods of no progress on THE LUNATICS' BALL.
Finally finished the interview introduction and questions for Sarah Fawn Montgomery. I know she's suffering from a bad back injury and nerve damage and I'm worried that she hasn't let me know she received the questions (it's been all of a day). Her hybrid memoir QUITE MAD was quite inspirational for my project. Here's something she said on a blog about the research component in QUITE MAD: "I drew strength for my story through research—hundreds of medical texts and historical accounts, literary analyses and psychopharmaceutical studies to demonstrate to readers that while I was mentally ill, I was also credible, that my anger was supported by my intellect and a chorus of brilliant voices. Adding research allowed me to more accurately write my memoir because American mental illness is the result of systemic ableism and medical sexism, so my experience is part of a legacy of women who have been sedated into submission throughout history, who have been institutionalized and lobotomized without their consent, who were burned at the stake or given the rest cure until they saw madness in yellow wallpaper.”
A bit over a month ago, Tom Conaghan, a publisher in the UK, solicited me to write something for his online series "Scratch Classics," where contemporary writers introduce classic short stories. I procrastinated and yesterday, since I was supposed to be working on something else (an interview that I had hoped to have ready by August 1), I finished my piece on "The Tell-Tale Heart." So much fun to look really closely at how a Poe story is constructed. It's long for their site (even at half the length of my original draft) but Tom seems very enthusiastic. It will run in October.
Because Twitter (now rebranded as X) is falling apart. Now I have a whopping 96 followers on Bluesky (compared to 7,627 on Twitter). I don't think I'll ever manage to develop the circle of writers I've put together over the years on Twitter.
Somehow putting this together, or maybe just sitting hunched over the computer all day, has utterly exhausted me.
I had a good time at the Black Lawrence Press/Nomadic Press (now part of BLP) breakfast, and we were talking about good magazines that had folded and when I came home I discovered that OTOLITHS: A MAGAZINE OF E-THINGS has just discontinued publication. I've always liked my publication there, "Jack-in-the-Box," probably my first lyric essay. OTOLITHS published a lot of experimental work.
I've thought about doing a post listing all the really wonderful magazines I've published in that are no longer with us, but there are far too many. Some I was particularly proud of: SOUTH LOOP REVIEW, ELIMAE, THE COLLAGIST.