Our two readings were both stupendous and that was pretty cool. On our last night we went to a reading where I saw a lot of flash writers who knew my work and seemed excited to meet me. ("Are you THE Jacqueline Doyle?" someone asked, and I almost fell out of my chair.) I was excited to meet them! There were some friends I rarely get to see that I dearly love. There were a couple of former students I enjoyed running into. I bought some good books. All in all it was a good trip and now Steve and I have the week off.
Is pretty overwhelming. An hour-long registration line yesterday (that is for everyone who had already pregistered; we were just picking up our badges and bags), a really long walk to the first event where there were no seats and the audience was spilling out the door. Loved seeing our friend Sharon and meeting a couple of twitter flash writers, but I ended up not going to the SmokeLong reading last night and regretted it today. I am not a very sociable person at heart. I did get to meet two bipolar writers whose essays I admire tremendously and had the opportunity to tell them so. One posted it as a high point on her facebook page, so maybe being here has been worth it for that. I was feeling fine about my writing before we arrived; now I'm aware of the party atmosphere at the magazines that have rejected me (of course) and even though their writer/editors often admire my writing online, I feel like an outsider. Steve and I are in two back to back readings later today and I'm actually looking forward to that.
So pleased to see my nonfiction flash “Dark Hallway” in CLEAVER, a magazine I have long admired, which has work in this issue by Josh Denslow, Andrea Jarrell, and Tommy Dean, flash in recent issues from Kim Magowan, Cathy Ulrich, Madeline Anthes, and Jennifer Todhunter, and many more great writers in their archives. I’m a big fan of their senior flash editor Kathryn Kulpa as well (who recused herself from considering my submission, since we know each other, but went through some really fruitful edits with me after the piece was accepted). This is my second publication in CLEAVER, where I published “Early Spring Rainstorm” several years ago. A big thanks to Karen Rile and the editorial team!
Leaving for the airport in an hour. Still not showered or dressed or fully packed.
Getting excited about AWP. Our friend Sharon Dolin (a poet Steve and I have been close friends with since grad school at Cornell) is coming today to spend the night before we all leave for Portland. I've got some plans, some meetings lined up, what I'll read figured out (both readings require excerpting longer essays).
Haven't heard from F(R)ICTION about the latest revision of "The Lunatics' Ball," which I think is probably bad news, but we'll see. I'm excited by Gabe Blackwell's response to the two Lunatics flash he accepted for THE COLLAGIST. He praised them as "fantastic" and said he loved them when he accepted them. When we went through edits, he said, "every time I read ["Dermagraphism"], I like it more. It reminds me of John Berger, and I love to be reminded of John Berger." I'm still over the moon about my acceptance there. The next issue will be out in a month.
I love John Berger too. I've been so uneasy about my writing group steering me toward prosier, more accessible accounts of my nonfiction lunatics with memoir blended in. And their bias against "academic" writing. Can I do something lyric and academic, save the memoir bits for separate flash?
BEST OF THE NET came out today, with a number of friends included. I'm really happy for them, but in true neurotic writer fashion, was also disappointed not to be invited to the party. I got several Pushcart nominations and Best Small Fictions nominations this year, but had to check to see what Best of the Net nominations I got. Turns out I didn't get any, so of course I couldn't get into the anthology. So I can be depressed about not getting any nominations instead of about not getting into the book.
Looking forward to reading the BEST OF THE NET selections, and Amy Hempel's new book, and to buying a bunch of indie press books at AWP and to meeting friends there. And to the readings. Steve and I are in both of them (CATAMARAN LITERARY READER and BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS), a first, and actually reading our collaborative essay together in the THEY SAID reading.
A very intense afternoon working on the edits from Gabe Blackwell at THE COLLAGIST (of course very useful and intelligent). I discovered that the website of archived primary materials for one of the flash is gone, and that a quotation from my other source may be a misattribution. So much easier when doing straight scholarship; a footnoted explanation will suffice. I'm glad to be teaching only one class this semester and to have time to drop everything and do this.
As always, my Twitter flash community is so supportive! It's the perfect place to read flash by others and have others read your flash. Gratified by the responses to my newest, many from writers I know less well or not at all this time.
Taking a break from writing for the Lunatics project. Thinking that I've been writing too soon after doing research, trying to incorporate all the details and document them in notes at the back. When I wrote about Freud's Dora (I still like that piece and plan to include it), I immersed myself in the text and secondary research and then just riffed, no footnotes except to Freud's case study. Maybe I should be doing that here.
Great essay by Sarah Menkedick in LONGREADS about the difficulties of research. "What made this second book so difficult was research: not the process of doing it, not compiling and organizing it, but the quandary of how to make it creative." She talks to Leslie Jamison, Carina Chocano, and Elena Passarello in "Behind the Writing: On Research."
Lots of bits I love here. Here's one. "When I asked Jamison how she maintained a consistent voice in the research and personal sections, she gave several answers. The first was that she went through tons and tons of drafts. She edited the book down into smaller and smaller sections, from 20 to 25 page sections to 4 to 5 page ones. 'What makes the prose feel like a song rather than a march,' she explained, 'is when you list away all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there and you let its details breathe, and you feel like it has that freedom of movement.'”
Hoping to manage that song rather than the march.
So thrilled to have my micro “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” in THE JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS from Matter Press today. They’re excellent. They pay. They’ve published amazing flash writers like Steve Almond, James Claffey, Kim Chinquee, Kristina Marie Darling, Kathy Fish, Sherry Flick, Roxane Gay, Michael Martone, Pamela Painter, Ethel Rohan, Amber Sparks and a gazillion more. Big thanks to editor Randall Brown.
Steve's reading in a beautiful art gallery in Sausalito last night for the WTAW series was great. I played hooky and canceled my class. We drove a different route (over the Golden Gate Bridge instead of the Richmond Bridge), which was gorgeous, and had dinner on the waterfront before the reading.
Gearing up for two readings in Portland at AWP19. Steve's in both of them too!
CATAMARAN LITERARY READER offsite reading
Friday, March 29, 4-5 pm
Another Read Through Book Store, 3932 N. Mississippi Ave.
BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS offsite reading for the anthology THEY SAID
Friday, March 29, 5:30-7:30
The Fixin' To, 8218 North Lombard
Steve's also on a panel at noon on Saturday. I'm hoping to meet some writer friends I rarely see, and some writer friends I've never met in person. And go to some readings. And to some panels on flash, on creative nonfiction, on hybrid writing. Luckily our spring break is the next week, since I expect I'll come home exhausted.
Diane Goettel, the Editor-in-Chief at Black Lawrence Press, just sent pictures from LAST year's AWP in Tampa. I was in their reading, and did a chapbook signing. Here are a few pictures.
Some times it works out when magazines solicit work. Very happy that Jacob Anthony Moniz, who I know from his days at CATAMARAN LITERARY READER, solicited fiction from me for CAUSTIC FROLIC, where he's now senior fiction editor, and that the story has just been accepted. (And there's a generous honorarium!)
And yikes. Matter Press has a calendar of publications up for THE JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS, and they're slightly off kilter, and they skipped over my micro scheduled for March 11, publishing the ones scheduled for March 6 and March 13. Immediately I'm paranoid.
Today I gave my cell phone number to a few writers I hope to meet (or see again) at AWP at the end of the month. Hope I'm feeling sociable since gatherings of thousands of writers make me retreat to my hotel room with the covers over my head. 12,000 writers attended last year. No wonder it was overwhelming.
Three Lunatics' Ball fictions rejected today in one fell swoop, another a few days ago. It's becoming obvious that trying to marry historical epigraphs with short fictional pieces doesn't really work, that I have to work harder on incorporating the historical information into the stories themselves. Meanwhile the constant edits of my nonfiction title flash "The Lunatics' Ball" at F(r)iction are becoming frustrating. Not so sure that is going to work out, and I've just sent them an edit that restores the original structure of the piece, which their editor may not like at all, since she's the one who reshuffled it in the first round of edits.
Finished a draft of a hybrid flash about a (real) Irish-American female serial murderer housed in a New York asylum for the criminal insane, and a fictional flash of her dreams, which felt like a breakthrough. A series of dreams will allow me to do the lyric riffs I was hoping to do. And I've been reading about lunatics' balls. The one at La Salpêtrière Mental Hospital in Paris, where Charcot was treating female hysterics, was a masquerade ball. Apparently not unusual! Crazy to subject patients with delusions and hallucinations to a ball where everyone's in costume. I did a fun "I Could Have Danced All Night in My Maidenform Bra" flash, imagining myself dressed as Madonna at La Salpêtrière, and then found this amazing Maidenform ad from Ladies Home Journal in 1954. It was for sale on Etsy and i bought it.
Impatiently awaiting publication of "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" in THE JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS at MATTER PRESS, which was supposed to be posted yesterday, but hasn't been yet.