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.
I bought two paintings from the Berkeley artist Barbara Hazard today. I had such trouble deciding, as I love all her paintings, and have loved her art for a gazillion years. (She's the mother of my best friend from college, so I've known her for ages.)
The WOW Women on Writing event at Skyline College yesterday was so inspiring and validating. The poet Kathleen McClung did a wonderful job of organizing the event (flowers! food! 100+ writers from around the Bay Area, including students and former students of hers at Skyline and The Writing Salon). I loved reading my flash fiction and talking about the genre, I loved Aileen Cassinetto's poetry, and the audience was just amazing. The best q&a I've ever participated in. The bookstore had ordered copies of THE MISSING GIRL and also the 100-word story anthology NOTHING SHORT OF and they sold a lot. I signed a lot and got to talk to writers, experienced and new, who liked my work.
Gray and rainy, but a great weekend!
I love the art in the #FlashFebruary series at FICTIVE DREAM. Here the artist Claudia McGill talks about how she decided on the art for my flash "Free Fall," and shows two versions of what she produced. The editor, Laura Black, talks about the version she chose.
Claudia McGill: To me this story was about everything falling apart. Carefully constructed assumptions go to pieces and fall away in this story, just like falling out of the car and the groceries going flying – leaving the narrator figuratively in pieces – in doubt and wondering what is true, questioning things that would not have been questioned before. Something has broken.
I made two pictures along the same lines. Both images have the blue car, the brown/gray grocery bag, and the apples that might now be too bruised. All of these are tumbling off in a cornfield-like setting that’s cheerful and ordinary, like everybody else in the world who hasn’t had things just fall apart, but is still living an ordinary life.
In the first image I focused on the elements mentioned above. I wanted to depict the rest of the world as somewhat oblivious, so I put a sun in the sky, far away.
In this second image, I used the same elements but focused in more on the “cornfield” setting and added to the number of the bruised apples, to reflect the moment of things falling apart and assumptions scattering.
Laura Black’s comments:
I found Free Fall by Jacqueline Doyle disturbing and images of the dusty cornfield and the man’s ginger hair just stayed with me. When I saw the two pieces of artwork you had created I knew straightaway that [the first] image was the right one. It has an uncomfortable heat to it and perfectly represents the environment in which the protagonist is trapped. [The second] image is a fine illustration in itself. However, because it portrays green and rather luxuriant surroundings, I didn’t think it was as a good a fit for the story.