An amazing week away in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, and good news while I was there. My flash fiction "Pretty Girl" was accepted for publication in the next issue of NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW, a stellar flash magazine edited by Meg Pokrass (the founder—a wonderful writer and one of the mothers of flash), Santino Prinzi, and Al Kratz. They've published all the flash heavies, and I've already seen some great writers announcing acceptances in this issue. Can't wait!
Also, an anthology that's been a long time in the making seems to be making progress toward publication. FEMININE RISING, edited by Andrea Fekete and Lara Lillibridge (who did a wonderful review of THE MISSING GIRL in The Mom Egg Review) unveiled a cover. (Latest literary gossip: Anna March, who's doing the foreword, has been unmasked by Melissa Chadburn and Carolyn Kellogg in the LA Times as a fraud and scam artist; I wonder whether the editors will retain her foreword). The tentative release date is late April 2019. It's available for pre-sale by Cynren Press now.
Also while I was away, flash guru Kathy Fish gave THE MISSING GIRL five out of five stars on Goodreads, and wrote in a tweet that she loved the book (especially "My Blue Heaven"). So that is very cool. I want to try some stories I haven't read before in the Black Lawrence Press reading in Sausalito in September; I will include that one (maybe have Steve do the male voices since we read well together).
p.s. The editors at FEMININE RISING are replacing Anna March. Alison K. Williams did a good blog post in BREVITY about the Anna March scandal and its implications for emerging writers. Roxane Gay (whose work and advice is invaluable) did a twitter thread and said the following: "Guys, look… there are good and great writing coaches out there, but… you do not need a writing coach. You don’t need an MFA. You do need to write and read a lot. Feedback CAN help you improve as a writer. There are virtual and real writing groups out there. Even when I was a young writer who did not know shit about shit, who did not know that you could get a degree in writing, I did not pay someone to read my writing. I just wrote, constantly. And I am not special. This is how most writers develop."
I don't have an MFA. I've done some workshops (Bread Loaf, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, others) which were interesting, quite expensive, and not really necessary to my development as a writer. My work has definitely improved through the mentoring of my writer-husband, my excellent writing group in San Francisco (seven years now!), and a couple of online writing groups I just joined this year. I agree with Roxane Gay: you develop by writing, constantly. There's no magic shortcut.
SWEET: A Literary Confection. One of my two favorite zines for flash creative nonfiction (the other is BREVITY). I had two flash in SWEET ages ago, accepted overnight by Ira Sukrungurang (I'm a big fan of his work), and haven't managed that again. Last November they sent a soft reject after a three-month wait asking me to send something else, but since they like two or three flash I didn't come up with a submission until last week. It took them only a week to accept "Little Colored Pills." It's sort of self-revelatory to have online, but that's what being a creative nonfiction writer is about. Wow.
Diane Goettel, editor in chief at Black Lawrence, just posted a picture on Facebook: "Reorganizing and tidying the BLP bookshelf in my office is one of my favorite work duties. Luckily, devoted readers keep ordering our titles, so I get to do this task on a pretty regular basis. — feeling satisfied with [a list of names including mine, and there's THE MISSING GIRL on the bottom shelf!]"
Really pleased that THE OCEAN STATE REVIEW took my short story "The Snows of Yesteryear," a story that uses one of my obsessions (the afterlife of our possessions) to trace the rise and fall of a relationship, with interjected lists of "stuff" that the departed lover left behind. Very cool to be solicited on the basis of my chapbook.
When I went to withdraw the story from some other journals, I was reminded that one of them has a policy of not sending rejections and wondered why I even bother to send to them.
And I got another solicit today, this one from an editor that liked "Checkmate." I'm not sure I have what SleazeMag wants for the inaugural issue of their new zine, but I loved what the editor had to say about "Checkmate": "I'm just getting in touch today to say I had the pleasure of stumbling upon a super clever piece you wrote in a recent issue of the Blue Fifth Review. It was an explosion of comedic feeling and truly a perfect, tight piece of flash fiction with no fat. It can be so much fun how we pick small moments like such, a game of chess labeled as a rhizome for a relationship, predicating its apexes and failures, setting the stage for a decade of reminiscence. The geographical sweep made it feel the speakers' (your?) relationship as big as the world itself and the ultimate collapse a heartbreak of corroborating size. Yet the utter nonchalance, sweeping it into oblivion. So yeah, wowza! I really, seriously enjoyed reading it."
A reminder that I should write more fan letters myself, since it's so cool to get one.
Just got a check in the mail for $70 for my essay "Haunting Houses" in NOR: New Ohio Review. Another journal I was thrilled to get into and would certainly have published in for no monetary compensation.
A confluence of readings lately, starting with Beth Ann Fennelly's Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, then Elizabeth Strout's My Name is Lucy Barton, now a collection of Lydia Davis stories, has me trying out something new: a wandering series of tiny micros about tiny moments. A very flat voice. I really like them. Possibly no one else will but I'm having fun with the form anyway.
My sketchy account of what I can remember about June 21 is up on the ESSAY DAILY site today.
ESSAY DAILY is running such a cool project, a collage of accounts of people’s daily lives on June 21, modeled on 240 accounts of April 29, 1994 in LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR (including Nicholson Baker and a “who’s who of literary 1994”) and issues of ATTN: devoted to July 31, 2015 and April 25, 2016. Read Ander Monson’s post with links and images here.
So far ESSAY DAILY has run about a hundred accounts of June 21, with many more to come (the list of writers so far). Choose writers you know, or dip in anywhere. They’re fascinating, lively, dull, hypnotic. I find it hard to stop reading them.
Here’s what Ander Monson says about ATTN: and ESSAY DAILY's project:
What is there to say about a day? Does the act of trying to say or think or observe something about a day change the day? "Maybe today was about what we are doing right now, I don't know," they say (it's unclear who is saying what, this being collaborative—and that uncertainty starts to push a little on some of the tenets of nonfiction or the essay in ways that feel worth exploring further). What is today about? What is the point of a day, or of today, or of any day? Is "this day…like a little world"? Is it "like leaving the world alone?" Well, let us find out.
Will your day intersect with the days of others who may be writing or thinking about the contents of that day? How will your days collaborate? How will all our days collaborate? Will they be punctuated by tragedy? (Surely—though the tragedies may or may not register for all or even any of us if they are quiet or far enough away.)
There’s still time for you to add your own account of June 21 to this democratic, potentially limitless project. (There’s a link in the short preface to each day’s posts.)