So "Ugly Shoes" is attracting more and more attention, lots of retweets and wonderful comments and today Kathy Fish not only called it "brilliant" and retweeted it (praising its "fractured excellence"), she also asked whether she could teach it in her class! A great start to my birthday, which will close with dinner with Steve and Ben at a cool restaurant in Hayward we've never been to before (Neumanali). Lots of blessings today, though I realize from the twitter comments that I will henceforth be known as the writer with bunions. There seems also to be a bunions bot called Rob that's activated every time someone mentions the word (actually I have no idea how bots work), so he's all over my page right now.
"Ugly Shoes" is here, in issue 4 of BARREN MAGAZINE. Looking forward to reading some authors in the issue that I devotedly follow (Tara Isabel Zambrano, Justin Karcher) and to discovering new ones. Love the photography.
Or maybe double isn't the right word. Someone who shares my name just liked my author page. The other Jacqueline Doyle lives in Kent and does not appear to be a writer. Spooked as I am by doubles, I was particularly spooked by her picture (left). Steve and I will be reading from our collaborative essay on doubles and imaginary friends and "Borges and I" at AWP in March.
Cool that both Jayne Anne Phillips (!) and Elizabeth Rosner retweeted my piece on Jayne Anne Phillips' BLACK TICKETS today (originally solicited by Tyrese Coleman to inaugurate SMOKELONG QUARTERLY's "Flash, Back" series on their blog). As an academic, I published many scholarly articles about contemporary women writers, never once attracting the notice of the writer herself! Elizabeth Rossner writes: "This is wonderfully great. Brings back vivid memories of my first time reading 'Black Tickets,' and reminds me of how influential those stories always were/are for me too." Hate the author picture I gave to SMOKELONG, which I never used again, but unfortunately I can't say it doesn't look like me.
Another Sunday acceptance, this time of my micro-memoir sequence "Ugly Shoes," from BARREN MAGAZINE. This is the weird one that I started around the time I wrote "On Foot" (published in SLEAZEMAG, also a wandering essay about feet and bunions and shoes), and under the spell of the very flat voice in Beth Ann Fennelly's work and a novel by Elizabeth Strout. It's so unlike my normal creative nonfiction that I had no idea where to send it. In fact it's only had three rejections because I hardly sent it anywhere. I'm pleased that BARREN likes it.
BARREN is a new online zine. Their December issue will be their fourth. They're visually quite stunning, with beautiful photography, and their first three issues include a lot of writers whom I devotedly follow (Cathy Ulrich, A.E. Weisgerber, Paul Beckman. M. Stone, Anita Goveas, others). They mention in their acceptance letter that their overall acceptance rate for this issue was 4%. So I'm pleased to appear in their pages.
Lots of celebration on Facebook and twitter of my Pushcart nomination and of Steve's two Pushcart nominations, from CHICAGO QUARTERLY REVIEW and THE NASIONA. And everyone's Pushcart nominations, for that matter. In the meantime, more rejections. I'm not sure whether I should just retire some of these flash, or keep plugging away. The acceptance at THE MINNESOTA REVIEW suggests that I should keep plugging away.
A solicitation from F(R)ICTION, which is very cool. (Solicitations, however, haven't always resulted in publication for me.) What's especially cool is that it motivated me to return to an essay I've been meaning to revise and work through a substantial revision. At this point in the semester I seem to have time to write. Classes end next week, and I'll have a ton of grading after that. But then a month off with our new switch from quarters to semesters. Hooray!
Totally floored to come home to an e-mail from Meg Pokrass at NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW telling me that they've nominated "Pretty Girl" for a Pushcart Prize! They publish SUCH good flash, and the issue I was in was full of amazing flash by amazing, well-known writers. I'm so honored.
After what felt like a season of rejections, this feels like a season of acceptances. My flash "Butterfly" was really hard to place. The first rejection was particularly crushing, from an editor who's written about her admiration of my work, and then when I started racking up more, I thought, maybe she's right. I'm glad I stuck with it. THE MINNESOTA REVIEW is a very cool, very prestigious print journal, a mix of creative and critical work. (With great covers; I can't wait to see it.)
Thrilled that my weird lyric essay "Visitations" (segmented, almost short enough to be a flash) has been accepted by GHOST PROPOSAL, the perfect magazine for it. Love their genre-crossing experimental aesthetic.
The editor-in-chief Naomi Washer did a post at ESSAY DAILY reflecting on the magazine after the publication of the fifth issue. Their mission:
"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.
We want to publish your strange objects. The whispers sitting in between your shoulder blades."
They've published beautiful essays by Jill Talbot, B.J. Hollars, Carmen Gimenez Smith, Brian Doyle, Brian Oliu Emma Bolden, many others.
Here's one of their covers that I particularly like (issue 4, I don't see a photographer listed):
Some of the same obsessions that I explore in one of my recent Lunatics flash (when I discovered that Madeline, one of the mental patients in Jon Crispin's "Willard Suitcases" photo installation, lived just 30 miles away from me when I was in grad school at Cornell) and in the flash essay coming out in SWEET, make their appearance in "Visitations" as well: the T.S. Eliot postcard from Margate that I looked at in the Rare Book Room at Cornell, lines from "The Waste Land" that continue to haunt me, and the connections between Poe and Eliot (half of my 600-page dissertation really, but in particular lines from the wife in "The Waste Land" and the narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart"). It will be weird if the essays in SWEET and GHOST PROPOSAL come out at the same time, which they might.
I've only sent a handful of submissions to GHOST PROPOSAL in the past, but "Little Colored Pills," the fractured lyric flash coming out in SWEET, is one that they rejected!
I'm forging ahead, writing more flash for the Lunatics project, but feeling very ambivalent about the incoherence of marrying fiction, nonfiction, and autobiography. This was supposed to be a chapbook, but it's turning into something bigger, a mess right now. Rebecca Makaii just posted something on twitter that sums up my feelings: "The two biggest problems with starting a new book are that either you can see the platonic ideal whole so perfectly that you don't want to mess it up by beginning, or that you CAN'T see the whole thing, so you don't believe in it enough to begin."
Tommy Dean does this great series of mini-interviews with flash writers, and one of the questions he asks is what flash the writer recommends. Was thrilled to see that Jan Stinchcomb, whose flash I love, recommended THE MISSING GIRL in her interview today. "I’d also like to mention two flash collections, which are very different from each other: Jacqueline Doyle’s The Missing Girl (Black Lawrence) is pure danger and urgency, while Leanne Radojkovich’s First Fox (The Emma Press) relies on gentle description and understatement."