So excited to get the newest issue of EPOCH in the mail. My essay "Cross-Stitching" is a cornerstone piece for my WIP The Lunatics' Ball, a braided essay combining memoir with the lives of two nineteenth-century women who produced embroidered samplers while incarcerated in lunatic asylums. EPOCH is a really venerable journal that started at Cornell University in 1947. An all-round dream publication.
Just discovered that Paul Beckman has posted the FBomb Flash reading from last November on YouTube. My reading, of my two most recent CNF flash, starts at 1:47:23, but the whole reading's great. Love this series.
And yesterday I got a check for $300 in the mail from EPOCH! Very exciting. Can't wait to get my copy of the journal.
Did I do a cover reveal here? Here's the cover, which I love. It's the spring issue but will be out, I think, later this month. I'm completely intimidated to see that two of the four CNF contributors are well-established writers whose work I know well. Maybe the third also. And then there's me.
Every year the UK journal FICTIVE DREAM does a Flash Fiction February series with new flash every day. I'm thrilled to have work accepted by editor Laura Black for the fifth year running, my sixth publication in FICTIVE DREAM. It always feels like a party, and I love the illustrations by artist Claudia McGill. As ever, there are many flash writers I know on the roster. Looking forward to it!
I think particularly because I was a professor for so many years, and taught contemporary lit classes, among others, and creative nonfiction workshops and flash workshops, among others, I am always thrilled to death to hear that my work is being taught in classrooms. William Woolfitt at Lee University, whose work I admire no end, just said on Twitter that he's teaching "The Madwoman on BART" this semester in his class on "Creating Memorable Characters," where he will ask his students to write micros.
Just got page proofs for my essay forthcoming in THE PINCH, which makes me feel productive, even though I'm not producing new writing at the moment. I wrote "Dear Mary Todd Lincoln" last summer in Ojai, when I'd left all the research at home that was weighing me down. THE LUNATICS' BALL requires so much research, and it's so hard to know how to include it, and to find a voice that's not just academic. Maybe that's a practice I should continue—going away somewhere without my notes.
No news about my writing, except that I'm struggling to get back to it. I missed a meeting of my San Francisco writing group for the first time I can remember because I'm sick, I don't have new work ready, I'm so unbelievably busy with my duties at CRAFT. Acceptances (and a long list of near-acceptances while I worried about our March and May longform slots), getting manuscripts edited, getting edited manuscripts with notes to authors, fielding their responses, editing their author's notes, fielding their responses, working collaboratively with the EIC and my editorial assistants on edits, writing introductions for publications. What else? I think there must be more, but mostly I'm juggling more projects simultaneously than I ever have at the magazine, I think as a result of our two-week "vacation." I haven't even gotten to the first batch of contest reads yet.
What did I do on my vacation? We flew to Scotland, had fun for a day or two before both Steve and I got COVID. We didn't have fevers, but it was pretty miserable nevertheless, and in order to comply with the regulation five-day isolation period in Scotland we had to take separate hotel rooms in a hotel by the airport when our Airbnb ran out. Ben took care of us until then and somehow managed to avoid getting COVID himself.
And then, less than week after we finally got home, I had the worst tooth pain I've ever experienced and had an emergency root canal, which I thought would fix things but hasn't. Apparently pain can persist long after the root canal. Who knew?
Ben meanwhile continued in his travels, first to Paris (where he went to a Harvard classmate's wedding), then to Barcelona, now to Oxford. He knows I'm fascinated by Black Virgins, and when he was hiking in the mountains in Catalonia, he took a picture of the Black Virgin of Montserrat at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery. I have decided to make her my patron saint for the year 2023. I seem to need one particularly this year.
Below, a picture of Ben in Paris, the picture he sent me of the Black Virgin.