My microfiction “Heartbreak Hotel” was just accepted by matchbook, an elegant online flash magazine that I’ve always been crazy about. (Just checked my records: I've been trying to publish in matchbook without success since 2011.) According to duotrope their acceptance rate is 0%, which can’t be true, of course, but they don’t publish a lot: two flash per month, by flash luminaries such as Tara Isabel Zambrano, Meghan Phillips, Shasta Grant, Kara Vernor, Claire Polders, Megan Giddings, Justin Lawrence Daugherty, Lauren Becker, Tara Laskowski, Jimmy Chen, Leesa Cross-Smith, Meg Pokrass. I see just about everyone on the list of flash writers I swoon for is female, but matchbook publishes lots of great male writers too! I’m really excited to join their company. (Oh, and they pay!)
Elvis Presley died on my husband Steve’s birthday, which is coming up on August 16. We’ll be in Idaho this year for the solar eclipse.
A very cool interview about my forthcoming chapbook THE MISSING GIRL is up at William Woolfit's site SPEAKING OF MARVELS. He asks good questions. He also searched out links on his own to include them. (The new Caite Dolan-Leach essay on missing girls is particularly thought-provoking and I'm pleased that he linked it). Here's an excerpt, but I hope you'll check out the full interview. Among other things, I recommend recent chapbooks by writers that I love.
What obsessions led you to write your chapbook?
Joyce Carol Oates said somewhere, “When people say there is too much violence in Oates, what they are saying is there is too much reality in life.” For a long while I was haunted by stories of abused or murdered or missing girls. The newspapers are filled with their stories, often consigned to the back pages, seemingly unremarked. Caite Dolan-Leach just published a fascinating article in Lit Hub (“Why Do We Love to Read About Missing Girls?” June 29, 2017) suggesting that missing girls have become a central cultural obsession, symptomatic of the systematic disempowerment and erasure of women in American society today, and reflected in many recent novels (including her own novel Dead Letters). It’s a disturbing reality that continues to obsess me.
What’s the oldest section in your chapbook? Or can you name one piece that catalyzed or inspired the rest of the chapbook?
The stories were written over a period of four years, when I published many other flash on very different subjects, and I didn’t think of them as a group until later. They’re not arranged chronologically by composition, but in fact the oldest piece is also the first story in the collection, “The Missing Girl,” published in Vestal Review in 2013, and the last piece in the collection is also the newest: “Nola,” published in Monkeybicycle last year. I was tremendously encouraged when J.T. Hill and the editors at Monkeybicycle nominated “Nola” for Best of the Net and a Pushcart, and when Ross McMeekin included “Nola” in his “Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week” series on the Ploughshares blog. “Nola” became a kind of magnet that attracted the earlier stories like iron filings. The missing girl was an absent center, the way the dead woman that you can’t see in his painting becomes an absent but palpable center for the artist in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. She’s the “dark spot you might not notice,” the painter says, “the beginning of everything.” I was tempted to reword my epigraph from Anderson to make that clearer, but only Edgar Allan Poe (and maybe David Shields) can get away with altering and making up epigraphs.
read the full interview here
Readings! I was just invited to read in the Flash Fiction Collective Series at Alley Cat Books in the Mission in San Francisco, the best flash series around, a book store I love. I'm very excited. Unfortunately it's on September 7, so my flash chapbook probably won't be available yet. They in fact want to highlight my appearance in an anthology that came out last year: NOTHING TO DECLARE: A GUIDE TO THE FLASH SEQUENCE. I love the anthology, which I don't think attracted much attention when White Pine Press published it. Looking forward to the reading.
The chapbook should be out in plenty of time for my October 12 reading in the Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series in Sausalito, though, and my October 18 reading at Cal State East Bay.
It's always a season of readings in the Bay Area, and every week I miss at least one that I wanted to go to, including readings by friends and writers I know. This past week I managed to catch Frances Lefkowitz, who was wonderful, at the Get Lit reading in Petaluma, and Shawn Wen at her book launch for A TWENTY MINUTE SILENCE FOLLOWED BY APPLAUSE (Sarabande) at Green Apple Books in San Francisco (the new one by Golden Gate Park), also wonderful. I love Shawn's book, a spectacular lyric essay about Marcel Marceau, which I've almost finished. Was pleased to hear the first half of Frances' terrific new essay, "When I Was Invincible" (excerpt here) and read the rest in the current issue of THE SUN. I seem to know so many talented writers.
Many thanks to editor-in-chief Kevin Morgan Watson for publishing my story about gossip, “Just Between Us,” in PRIME NUMBER MAGAZINE, and to guest editor Jen McConnell for selecting it.
Just as PRIME NUMBER was about to accept the story, I withdrew it because I’d done an extensive revision. Luckily Jen McConnell loved the new version and it all worked out. This is my second appearance in this great online magazine, which is well worth following. Browse their archives too, if you haven’t been reading them already. Maybe you can even find my creative nonfiction flash, published ages ago. Their nonfiction editor at the time wrote me the most enthusiastic and detailed acceptance letter I’d ever gotten (a letter that sustained me through many doubts and rejections thereafter), so I’ve always had a soft spot for PRIME NUMBER. They have a press (PRESS 53) and catalogue of book publications also.
Here's a link to the whole issue, which includes a great story by another Bay Area writer, Siamak Vossughi, whom I once heard in Emily Kiernan's back yard reading series in Berkeley.