A post from my writer friend Alvin Orloff reminded me that today is Edgar Allan Poe's 210th birthday. (Love Alvin's suggestion that his face should be on the one dollar bill.) And then Janice Leagra, a writer on Twitter, unearthed and posted the weird lyric piece on Poe that I published in THREADCOUNT (she says she just ran across it for the first time, in a moment of cosmic serendipity), so I'll post it here. I am a diehard Poe fan.
"Fyodor Translates Edgar Translates the Universe," THREADCOUNT
Lots of nice twitter response to "The Red Ball," including praise from Kathy Fish, which always bowls me over. Can't wait for her online flash class in February.
I have some Poesque flashes, and lots of dark ones. Funny that the lightest flash I've published in a long time should be on his birthday.
I love Joseph Cornell boxes and cabinets with lots of tiny drawers and I was already taken by the aesthetic of the Irish online journal THE CABINET OF HEED. So I was thrilled when they accepted my story “The Red Ball,” just out in their January issue.
Relatively new, THE CABINET OF HEED has published many writers I love—Cathy Ulrich, Pat Foran, Sudha Balagopal, Adam Lock, Stephanie Hutton, Niles Reddick, Dan Crawley, Jayne Martin, Dorothy Rice, Christine Dalcher, Gaynor Jones, Salvatore Difalco, Gary Duncan, KB Carle. Many others.
I wrote this very uncharacteristic flash at Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash Extravaganza weekend event. Without her prompt and the encouragement of my fellow Fast Flashers, I would never have written a flash with an animal and a happy ending. (All three flash I wrote that weekend were departures for me, and that was fun. I’ve finally finished revising the other two and hope they’ll land somewhere soon.)
I was proud to have my essay “Saving Trees” included in the grand anthology from Outpost 19: ROOTED: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction, edited by Josh MacIvor Anderson. So I’m pleased to see Daegan Miller’s tweet recommending the book today (and mention of my essay along with essays by the late Brian Doyle, Annie Bellerose, Paul Lisicky, Megan Gette, and Renée E. D'Aoust). ROOTED is a wonderful collection!
@DaeganMiller January 18, 2019
Another amazing book worth picking up: *Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction* with an intro by @billmckibben and essays by @Paul_Lisicky, @idahobuzzy, @doylejacq, @808omega, Annie Bellerose, and the late Brian Doyle, among many others. http://outpost19.com/Rooted/
Daegan Miller is an environmentalist and Thoreau scholar with a lovely prose style who sometimes publishes in larger venues. I first came across his work in a personal essay on books and trees he published in Electric Literature a year ago. He's just what an academic should be, in my opinion.
Just read proofs for "Little Colored Pills" in SWEET, so it should be out any day. "The Red Ball" will be out in THE CABINET OF HEED tomorrow. And I have a reprint of "Step Right Up" coming out in a couple of days from DERELICT LIT. And classes start Tuesday, but I'm almost ready.
The lovely Swiss Ukranian Canadian writer Genia Blum included my flash "Pretty Girl" in her list of "Hot Picks of 2018" at QUEEN MOB'S TEAHOUSE today. An unexpected compliment!
I'm trying to redesign my creative nonfiction workshop, which is turning out to be difficult and a lot of work, and really should be completed by today or tomorrow, so I can get the 9-page syllabus photocopied by the university. Still didn't get the Christmas tree down, still awash in file folders and stacks of papers and books in my study. How did this long vacation suddenly get so short?
Nice interview with Diane Goettel, Executive Editor at BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS at the Kenyon Review blog. I'm still so thrilled to have won their Black River Chapbook Competition (what are the odds with 500 entries or so?) and to have landed at such a woman-centered press. Here's what she says about some of their recent themes: "I’m always thinking about our readers when I’m reviewing manuscripts that have come in through one of our contests or open reading periods. How will the manuscripts that we choose for publication serve them? Recently, for example, we’ve published a number of titles that specifically speak to current important conversations. The poetry collections The Truth Is by Avery M. Guess and Three Hands None by Denise Bergman (both forthcoming in the spring of 2019) focus unflinchingly on sexual violence against women. So does Parse by Ruth Baumann, due out this month; prey by Jeanann Verlee, published this summer; and The Missing Girl, by Jacqueline Doyle, published in 2017. Our recent list also includes a number of titles that grapple with issues of gender and sexuality–Past Lives, Future Bodies by Kristin Chang, Mosaic of the Dark by Lisa Dordal, The Summer She Was Under Water by Jen Michalski, Wasp Queen by Claudia Cortese, and With Animal by Carol Guess & Kelly Magee. Tornado Season by Courtney Craggett (due out next month) and Jillian in the Borderlands by Beth Alvarado (just acquired) are both short story collections squarely located at the US-Mexico border. And it Begins Like This by LaTanya McQueen, Blue Hallelujahs by Cynthia Manick, and Patient. by Bettina Judd, all illustrate and investigate the experiences of Black women in America."
Kathy Fish is using a lottery system for her classes because the wait lists are so long, and I was just informed that I got into the first session of her Fast Flash Workshop. It runs from February 11 to 22, when I'll be teaching, and I'm a bit nervous about that, but my husband points out that I often do my best work when I'm pressed for time. I just placed one of the flash I wrote in her Fast Flash Extravaganza at THE CABINET OF HEED (with two more that I really like seeking homes), her prompts always catch me off balance in just the right way, her flash community is full of great, well-published flash writers. This will be fun!
Sophie van Llewyn does great craft essays on writing flash fiction. In her newest, "Time in Flash Fiction" (TSS Publishing), she uses a microflash of mine ("Departure" in 100 WORD STORY, which I'd forgotten) as an example. She writes,
"One of the fundamental forms of expressing time in fiction is ‘real time.’ The scene is one of the basic elements of long and short fiction, and there’s nothing more ‘real time’ than a scene played in dialogue, with or without ‘stage directions.’ The action plays minute by minute, following the sequence of the scene. … Jacqueline Doyle uses a moment-by-moment deconstruction of a conversation between a couple, without further comments, to highlight a struggle for power. The use of subtext is brilliant here, especially since the piece is so short, only 100 words long. Note how the author doesn’t use ‘stage directions’ at all — there isn’t really a third party narrator outside of the tags ‘he said’ and ‘she said.’ An all-dialogue story is harder to pull off, but it is much more rewarding in terms of underlining the real-time dynamics between the protagonists."
This is the second time she's used one of my stories in an article. (She also recommended "The Missing Girl" in “Unusual Structures in Flash Fiction – Part II"). I'm so honored!
I have eight flash forthcoming in 2019, which feels good: minnesota review, Juked Online, Fictive Dream, The Cabinet of Heed, Change Seven, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Ghost Proposal, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and two more reprints in anthologies. I have just about nothing new to show to my San Francisco writing group (which meets every other Wednesday), which makes me nervous. I have a muddle of research on Lunatics. Last year I made some really specific resolutions. This year I think I'll simply resolve to keep writing and keep reading. And to be kind to others, generous with my students and fellow writers. I should be able to manage that.
This year felt less productive than last year, and filled with rejections, but when I tallied up my publications, it turns out that I did really well, with twenty flash publications (eleven last year), three creative nonfiction essays (three last year), four short stories (one last year). Most exciting is that I’ve had essays and flash accepted at a number of literary journals that I thought were out of reach. My Pushcart nominations this year were from journals I was floored to even get into (The Gettysburg Review! Wigleaf! New Flash Fiction Review!). I had my first Finalist listings in Best Small Fictions. I was awarded my fourth Notable listing in Best American Essays. I have work in two great anthologies (from Black Lawrence Press and Outpost 19).
I’m continued to get great reviews of my chapbook The Missing Girl. The reading and chapbook signing with Black Lawrence at AWP last spring was so much fun. The chapbook and anthologies and just gradually becoming known as a flash writer in the Bay Area led to fourteen readings this year, far more than I’ve ever done before.
Thank you to all the editors who published my flash and essays and short stories and nominated me for awards this year, and to all the readers who supported my achievements, and to all the writers who inspired me. I’m filled with gratitude. May your new year be wonderful. HAPPY 2019!
Just as I was reflecting on my end-of-year writing summation (to come), a flurry of activity today.
My flash friend Kathryn Kulpa recused herself from consideration of my flash "Dark Hallway" at CLEAVER but stepped in after it was accepted pending revisions suggested by the outside readers. I made some of the revisions, resisted a major one at the end, sent two alternate drafts to Kathryn, who agreed about the end, and made SUCH helpful suggestions. It's rare that editing yields such wonderful results. The flash has become what it wanted to be (what I hoped it would be).
And then I opened twitter and discovered that Robert Vaughan and the other editors at BENDING GENRES had nominated my tiny flash fiction "What Remains" for BEST SMALL FICTIONS 2019. I'm thrilled both by the nomination, and the company. The other nominees are Brianne M. Kohl, Gaynor Jones, Jennifer Todhunter, and Kaj Tanaka. A wonderful way to end the year.
My flash fiction "Framed" was supposed to be out in JUKED in December, but it looks like that's not happening. Next month maybe.
In the meantime I discovered a new zine that reprints pieces from journals that have disappeared. My flash nonfiction "At the End" is out in DEFUNCTED today. I'm particularly pleased with the illustration I found, one of Edvard Munch's many deathbed paintings (probably of his sister). That was an amazing exhibit at SFMOMA.