It’s always exciting to have your work solicited, and while it doesn’t always work out, CAUSTIC FROLIC at NYU loved “Her Story” and published it in their 2019 annual issue. Big, big thanks to senior fiction editor Jacob Anthony Moniz, whom I met when he was working at CATAMARAN LITERARY READER in Santa Cruz.
The story is about the different stories we tell ourselves and others to explain the past, in this case the different stories a character on the brink of a marriage proposal tells herself about her first marriage. I never did come up with a better title than “Her Story.”
I publish a lot online, so it's fun to get a print journal in the mail. Especially when it’s beautifully produced like CAUSTIC FROLIC, with great cover art (embroidery by Sydney Kleinrock).
It's also exciting to get paid for a story, which is happening more often than it used to, but still doesn't happen often. ($100 this time.)
A magazine I would really like to have gotten into said they'd been about to accept "Her Story" when I withdrew it after CAUSTIC FROLIC accepted it. They rejected the next story I sent them, so that was disappointing. Submissions require so much energy. I just read an article by Alison Kinney in LONGREADS about the physical and emotional effects of rejection, and it's a wonder that writers can function at all.
I feel stymied by THE LUNATICS' BALL, but oddly encouraged by this from Amy Tan, posted by Dinty W. Moore on twitter today: "Only when I finish the book can I go back to the beginning and write in the voice of all that happened."
I have a new flash fiction out in the UK-based zine ELLIPSIS today. Big thanks to Steve Campbell for believing in “Waking Up Late,” and to Kathy Fish for a prompt that elicited my fictional evocation of the free-floating anxiety of the times we live in. By strange coincidence, the only other flash I’ve written about the current administration came out in ELLIPSIS. When I wrote “Happy Hour at the Eagle Bar & Grill” a couple of years ago, I believed that the whole country was drawing together and impeachment was in the air. Time has proven me very wrong.
A cool surprise today! THE NASIONA has done a podcast on daughterhood that features four essays, including my short essay "My Mother's Suitcases": Episode 9, "On Daughterhood."
Here's what they say about "My Mother's Suitcases": "Jacqueline Doyle juggles feelings of remorse and acrimony for her mother, during a strained phone conversation with her. This piece is an incisive examination of the ways mothers and daughters often engage in exchanges fraught with tension, exchanges that sometimes take on a more bittersweet connotation, with the benefit of retrospection and indulgence."
Many thanks to editors Aïcha Martine Thiam and Julián Esteban Torres López!
Back in February, Elizabeth Foulke, the new editor at the annual print journal OCEAN STATE REVIEW, contacted me to say they wanted to start posting online content, including my story "The Snows of Yesteryear" (solicited for their current issue by their previous editor, Charles Kell). I said sure, great and forgot about it. I missed their Facebook post with my story last month.
Here's the online post of "The Snows of Yesteryear" from OCEAN STATE REVIEW. It turns on one of my obsessions, the significance and afterlife of our stuff. Loved the cover of the magazine, and it was fun getting an elegant print journal in the mail.
Speaking of print journals, I'm waiting for F(R)ICTION and I"m not sure why I thought issue 14 would be published on August 15, since there's no sign of it on social media. Curious about their cover, since they do a lot of interesting art (inside the journal too). Maybe it's their new banner on Facebook (below). Curious about CAUSTIC FROLIC too, which their editor Jacob Anthony Moniz sent to me on August 12. Not here yet.
Lots of nice comments and retweets of my SWEET interview, but coming out as bipolar to such a large audience definitely makes me feel vulnerable. I guess I've committed to it, with THE LUNATICS' BALL.
The very sweet editors at SWEET: A LITERARY CONFECTION have posted an interview with me, about my work in progress, and favorite writers, and why I write. Oh, and desserts.
“Little Colored Pills” was my second publication in SWEET, or third, I guess. I still remember how excited I was when “Summer Siren” and “The Fortuneteller’s Words” were accepted by Ira Sukrungruang. (I love his essays! He sent me an email from his phone! A novelty for me at the time.)
Very grateful to the current nonfiction editor Alysia Sawchyn and the interviews editor Zoe Lennox.
Being reminded that I'm a writer worth interviewing, and that "Little Colored Pills" was a breakthrough of sorts helps a lot right now when my spirits are down. I accomplished so little this summer. Classes have started. Simplifying my website, grouping publications by year instead of providing so much detail, also has me depressed. My productivity is waning, or so it seems, particularly in longer forms.
The interview makes my work in progress seem easy when it's not at all. "The Lunatics' Ball combines a lot of very disparate materials and kinds of writing and I'm still not sure what shape it will take." THERE's an understatement. The project is foundering, and I'm probably too sensitive to criticisms in my San Francisco writing group. I don't know whether this will ever cohere.
Classes start tomorrow and I'm actually ready for my flash class.
In the next week or so: I should get a copy of CAUSTIC FROLIC with "Her Story," I should get a copy of the new F(R)ICTION with "The Lunatics' Ball," my interview with SWEET will come out online, a flash will come out online in ELLIPSIS.
I woke up this morning contemplating changes I want to make to simplify my website. I was half awake, thinking about it for a while. Then when I got up and opened my email, I had this from "TUT, a message from the universe" (a kind of inspirational self-help thing I get messages from on Mondays): "There's never been a day in your life, Jacqueline, when you were as close to your author page, as you are today."
Which was very weird.
So many writers I know seem to have new books out. Steve and I went to the WTAW reading in Sausalito last night hoping to pick up Kim Magowan's new novel THE LIGHT SOURCE (she gave a great reading, but her novel wasn't there). Peg Alford Pursell took a picture of the two of us. At least my eyes are open. We went to Peg's book launch for A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST a couple of weeks ago, and there are more in the coming weeks. Looking forward especially to our friend Tupelo Hassman's reading at Green Apple Books on the Park. We read advance galleys of GODS WITH A LITTLE G and it's wonderful; we haven't seen Tupe since she moved to South Carolina last year.
And school is starting in just over a week. I'm nowhere near ready, though I had all summer to prepare this new flash class I'm teaching.
Our son Ben is supposed to be flying home from Malaysia tonight, with a stopover in Hong Kong, where they are having massive protests at the Hong Kong International Airport. There are live feeds all over the internet. They seem to be peaceful, but I'm still worried about him (of course). I imagine flights will be delayed.
I've been so busy with my writing group in San Francisco, and my online writing group Quills, and appointments and this and that and I haven't gotten to the stupendous Flash Nonfiction issue of LITTLE FICTIONS/BIG TRUTHS. I've been getting wonderful responses to "The Arithmetic of Memory" on Facebook and twitter. I'm looking forward to reading the others.
My cnf flash "The Arithmetic of Memory" came out today. So excited to be included in the first ever Flash Nonfiction issue of LITTLE FICTION/BIG TRUTHS with some truly amazing writers. Maddie Anthes, Aaron Burch, Kristine Langley Mahler, Dina L. Relles, Robert James Russell, Jennifer Todhunter, too many to list. Take some time to read this issue! And then check out their star-studded Summer 2018 Flash Fiction issue.
Big thanks to Kathy Fish and Hillary Leftwich and fellow Fast Flashers for inspiration and feedback on the first draft of this piece. Hillary's prompt called for something cinematic, and I'm not sure I did that, but I loved alternating between facts and deeply embedded sensory memories.
I wrote about this long-ago breakup during a motorcycle trip in Spain in LOST BALLOON a while ago ("By a Mountain Stream in Northern Spain"). It's interesting to me that it takes so many years to process and write about heartbreak. I heard Lacy Johnson and Carmen Maria Machado talk about memoir last April and something Lacy Johnson said stayed with me: "I can write an ending in which I walk out of the story." I think this ending does that.
Also today. I woke up to an acceptance of a flash that has been excruciatingly hard to place. I couldn't figure out why, and I've been sending it out and sending it out. Like some others of my flash, it's big on atmosphere rather than plot, but I still like my evocation of the free floating anxiety we feel under Trump. I'm glad I found someone else who does too.