Nervous about the future commitments I'm juggling: my ongoing editorial duties at CRAFT (always interesting), my upcoming duties on the judging panel for the chapbook contest at BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS in June and August (also interesting, also time-consuming), and now teaching.
CRAFT is part of a consortium of profit-making literary magazines with relatively new corporate owners. They make a lot of money from contests, and now want to move into teaching, so we're looking at models at other magazines. Many, many, are doing that now. We just talked about it at our last Zoom editorial meeting, and I've just gotten an invitation from Robert Vaughn at BENDING GENRES to teach one of their weekend workshops. I've committed myself to September, I have no idea what I'll do (flash CNF maybe? of what sort?) and I'm nervous about it but also interested. Long ago I thought I might teach in the Scholar OLLI program for continuing ed at Cal State. This will be much more interesting and will undoubtedly attract much more interesting students. Up to 20, which is a lot since I'll be doing three days of thorough written critiques of their work. I wonder how much they write in three days?
Just finishing up my ten days In Kathy Fish's Fast Flash Workshop, and I've written nine flash and I like all of them! Her critiques are lengthy, but positive feedback only and I like that as a pedagogical principle, since I have an extremely critical writing group in San Francisco that will set me straight later.
I'm really touched by all the attention that my lyric essay "Haunting Houses" has gotten, on twitter, facebook, and the two essay sites where I posted it. I loved publishing it in NEW OHIO REVIEW, which is a beautiful print magazine, but there's no doubt that online publication reaches more readers. I'm pleased they decided to post their back issues.
Now for something that couldn't be more different.
“Anyone who believes they’ve got a superpower is delusional, am I right? How’d you like me to levitate right now?” I became fond of my fictional character “Super Stanley” in my tiny new micro in NUNUM, despite our brief acquaintanceship. The Canadian zine NUNUM is a short flip book in sort of crazy order (yes my bio comes way before “Super Stanley”) with great art. A fun treat for spring.
First five days of Kathy Fish's Fast Flash class have yielded five flash and really I like most of them enough to consider revising them further. It's a new process for me, to write quickly, post without worrying about perfecting what I've written, and wait to revise later. I've never believed in Anne Lamott's idea of just getting a "shitty first draft" on the page (or rather I never believed it fit the way I write), but this week, it's working. It is, of course, strange to get only positive feedback (Kathy Fish's pedagogical principle), but that's freeing in a generative workshop where you want to try new things without the burden of criticism (or self-criticism).
Five of my six Notable Essays in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS are only available in print, so I'm particularly pleased that one of them is now available online. NOR: NEW OHIO REVIEW is going through their back issues and posting the content online. "Haunting Houses" is now up, along with the twenty-minute recording I did of the essay.
And tomorrow I start a two-week generative Fast Flash class with Kathy Fish. I'm already nervous: will I be able to write every day, or will inspiration fail me?
Waiting impatiently for issue 77 of the print journal SONORA REVIEW, which I expected last summer, and which announced about a month ago that they'd finally be out in 3 weeks. Love my LUNATICS' BALL flash "Charcot's Monkey" that will be included, and I'm eager to see the cover.
And I just read proofs for the National Flash Fiction Day 2021 anthology, which won't be out until June. The cover and title reveal will be sooner. They sent a draft .pdf of the entire anthology, and I love all of the flash, several by friends, many others by writers I know and admire. Instead of a launch party, they're posting youtube videos of authors reading their flash. I did one of "Spelling Lachlan" (that is Steve was the cameraman). We used flash and it's too brightly lit (aging me ten years, I'm afraid), but I enjoyed reading "Spelling Lachlan."
Excited to make my second appearance in MIDWAY JOURNAL with my very short story “Life Without Randall.” There’s an unexpectedly happy ending. And a pterodactyl. This was so much fun to write!
Today's publication and the prospect of an overnight trip to Monterey this weekend offset a disappointing rejection. And our son got his first vaccination yesterday, months earlier than we figured he would.
I just finished a new short story which my writing group hasn't seen yet (six drafts so far), and a short new lyric essay (ten drafts) that I'm really pleased with and just sent out. I did two versions with my writing group and learned something in the process about preserving the mood and lyricism of the original draft of an essay like that. Really love my San Francisco writing group, The Leporine Conspiracy, who also pushed me to aim for a publication I probably wouldn't have. I just sent it out. Worth a try.
And since the publication wanted a pitch and clips, and I was looking for essays that revolve around literary texts, I made a couple of useful discoveries. One is that the link to the essay that Steve and I wrote in Grist has changed (glad to keep my links updated), and the other is that Electric Literature eventually gets rid of the comments section (I hate comments sections). The new essay is partly about revisiting past selves by revisiting a book you've read long ago, and revisiting my past essays has also been interesting.
Got my first haircut in over a year (probably since February 2020) and it feels great. Starting with long-postponed appointments, now that I've been vaccinated. Next week, the dentist. Steve gets his second vaccination at the end of the month (the first already gives greatly increased immunity). Ben's not eligible until next week and I have my fingers crossed that he'll land something soon. Either way, we're thinking about a short trip to the coast, maybe overnight.
Grappling with technology, never my forte. Last week, a crisis when I lost my email account. It turned out to be easy for IT at CSUEB to fix. (They were great.) This week, I need to make a video of my flash "Spelling Lachlan" for the 2021 NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY ANTHOLOGY. Poor Steve has filmed me reading my flash outside and then inside twice, and the lighting has been wrong, or the reading not right. And now I've realized that it needs to be horizontal, not vertical, since they're going to post the videos on Youtube, so we have to do it again. I did figure out how to upload a video to Google Drive and turn it into a link in an email, though, another first for me.
I also volunteered to do an audio version of my lyric essay "Haunting Houses" for NEW OHIO REVIEW, which is posting the issue online later this month. I've used Garage Band on my Mac before, but I'm pretty sure it's changed since then.
Woke up to an acceptance for my flash nonfiction "Ready or Not" (the one that missed the boat last week in a European quarterly because of the last line). It will be coming out in GONE LAWN, a magazine I admire that's rejected me many times. Very exciting!
We had a nice dinner and brunch (at home) on Easter, and my husband got his first COVID shot on Saturday, but the weekend was marred when I lost access to my university email on Friday. I managed, miraculously, to get hold of IT, but they were unable to locate the problem. I retired last June and never processed my "separation" paperwork and it looked like that might be the problem; the IT guy couldn't even find the account, which he said might have been disabled or even (gasp!) deleted. I realized that I have no copy of all my contacts (I had to look up Alia on her website to send stuff for my writing group this week), that my email is my user name on countless sites, that my email functions as a vast filing cabinet for all of my submissions in progress (especially important for those that don't go through Submittable) and all of my publications. And journals do get in touch with me after the fact: I'm corresponding with NEW OHIO REVIEW right now about them putting up my print pub from a couple of years ago online.
So I was a wreck. They solved the problem Monday morning (I hadn't re-activated my net id at some point, which I don't remember ever being asked to do) and I got my email back, and discovered 127 new emails, including two rejections and important correspondence with MIDWAY JOURNAL about my story coming out with them in a week or so. Sigh of relief that everything's back to normal.
GONE LAWN is online, but they do nice art for their covers. The pic above is their logo, drawn I think by one of the editors, Owen Kaelan. I've been following fiction by the other editor, Maura Yzmore, for a long time, and GONE LAWN has published tons and tons of writers I admire. The current issue just came out and they're quarterly, so I think issue 41 will be the summer solstice issue. June maybe?
So thrilled to have my lyric riff on Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot out in the gorgeous new issue of ETHEL. I have never been in a handmade, hand-sewn literary journal before, and it is just gorgeous, clearly a labor of love. I'm grateful to editors Joanna Penn Cooper and Sara Lefsyk for creating such a beautiful artifact and including my work.
I've told Vivienne's story in two essays for THE LUNATICS' BALL, one about dancers who died in lunatic asylums (Lucia Joyce, Zelda Fitzgerald, Vivienne), one still in progress on literary marriages. Somehow "The Waste Land" has haunted the collection from the beginning and it was wonderful to riff on Eliot's poem and Vivienne's tragic life the way a poet would.
My micro "Easy Street" is up today at FFF: FREE FLASH FICTION. I can't remember the prompt that inspired it, but I wrote this at the latest Kathy Fish Fast Flash Reunion. Really excited that I'll be taking another of her classes in May.
And after a very long time, I heard from the print journal SONORA REVIEW that they're printing and sending out the latest issue in three weeks. (I expected it last summer; the pandemic has thrown off a lot of magazine schedules, especially university-affiliated print magazines. I was surprised that FOURTH GENRE stayed more or less on schedule.) I just finished revising "Capturing Augustine" and sent it to a handful of places; SONORA REVIEW is publishing "Charcot's Monkey" from the same LUNATICS' BALL group of flash.
I think some contributors have received their copies of ETHEL, another print magazine I'm eagerly awaiting.
It’s the first day of spring, a beautiful sunny day in the Bay Area, and I have three flash in the grand new issue of TINY MOLECULES. Big thanks to Kelsey Ipsen and the other editors for publishing "Eyes on Me," "Damned for all Eternity," and "A Mary with Teeth.". So many great writers have appeared in their first eight issues, and I’m honored to appear in their company.
The flash grew out of the reading I was doing on nineteenth-century mental asylums and the Irish-American experience. Originally I thought I would include fictions in THE LUNATICS' BALL, prefaced with a line from Virginia Woolf: "Let me imagine, since facts are so hard to come by …"
The project feels more unwieldy by the day, and probably won't include fiction after all.