I was scrolling through twitter this morning, brushing my teeth as I did so, and saw a class on the flash chapbook by Kaj Tanaka that looked really good, so I retweeted it for my followers, since lots are flash writers, and many are putting together chapbooks. And then I saw his next tweet and stopped brushing my teeth. THE MISSING GIRL is one of the chapbooks he's teaching! I don't know Kaj Tanaka but I love his fiction (and he's fiction editor at GULF COAST), and he's teaching some writers I love: Kara Vernor, Shasta Grant, Robert Vaughan, Maddie Anthes.
Who would have guessed that people would still be reading my little book more than two years after it was published? I just finished reading the finalist entries for this year's Black River Chapbook Competition (all of them astonishing and wonderful) and love knowing that the winner will have readers for years to come. This really made my day (week, month, year).
Here's the class: "When a House Becomes a Town: the Flash Fiction Chapbook."
After I read in the F-Bomb Flash series on Zoom, the editor of YELLOW MAMA asked if I had anything to submit to her horror zine. She just accepted "Prospero's Last Party," which will come out in mid-December. I'm especially thrilled to hear that there might be an accompanying collage because I love it when there's art for my stories. The story is based on Poe's "Masque of the Red Death," and it's about Trump and the pandemic. Let's hope it's outdated by December. It would be great if there were some advances in the pandemic, at least falling numbers. It would be great if Trump was voted out of office. After the surprise upset of the last election, I'm afraid to hope.
In between tons of reading for the Black Lawrence Press chapbook competition and CRAFT (and interesting new editorial duties like editorial notes and editing our first acceptances and craft-based introductions and finding interview excerpts), I've been revising a handful of flash and micros to send out. Finished a revision of my story "Where Did Sissy Go?" on Tuesday. It's a shade above the maximum flash limit at 1086 words, I sent it to one place, and this morning I got an acceptance from MENACING HEDGE!
I’ve never published there before, but I’ve always liked the name MENACING HEDGE (this story is narrated by a rather sinister little girl), and they’re a great magazine that’s published a roster of authors I follow: Tara Isabel Zambrano, Melissa Goode, Beth Gilstrap, Sara Dobbie, Candace Hartsuyker, Shome Dasgupta, Todd Kaneko, Amorak Huey, Alina Stefanescu, Anne Champion, Sheila Squillante, Kathryn McMahon, K.C. Mead-Brewer, and a bunch more.
A rejection yesterday for a flash that's been rejected at more than twenty magazines and I still sort of like the story but I don't feel so strongly about it and it's certainly a lot of effort to keep sending it out, so I guess I should retire it.
MENACING HEDGE does cool covers. Here's the current issue's.
My creative nonfiction flash “The Madwoman on BART” is up at MATCHBOOK, one of my very favorite flash zines. So thrilled to publish there again. (Already riding the BART train to San Francisco seems long ago and far away. I would love to be on BART again.) This one’s from my work-in-progress THE LUNATICS’ BALL, where narrative pov sometimes takes center stage as I puzzle through levels of identification with my subjects.
Big thanks to the editors, R.B. Pillay and Brian Mihok! MATCHBOOK is on my top 5 long-established favorites list (among hundreds and hundreds of flash journals out there—who knows? maybe a thousand by now). The work they publish is consistently topnotch, they've published tons of writers whose work I know and love, and they're the only top flash journal that publishes lyric work that's not necessarily plot-centered. My first publication there, "Heartbreak Hotel," has only a hint of character and plot at most. I guess "The Madwoman" has a plot, of sorts.
Two reasons not to go out of the house now: the pandemic, and fires raging all over the state. In the Bay Area, the smoke is so bad that our air quality was the worst in the world today. Now the daily statistics are pandemic cases, pandemic deaths, acres burned, houses destroyed, areas for evacuation. Even some fire-related deaths. And because COVID-19 has decimated prison populations, and prisoners have always comprised a large portion of California's firefighting force, the number of firefighters is way down. It's tragic what's happening to our state. And our country and the world.
Can't seem to manage a self-guided writing class, maybe because of my workload, maybe because once again the state of the world has me paralyzed. I appreciate the readings in the "speculative nonfiction" class at CREATIVE NONFICTION at least, and maybe I'll get to the prompts later. I'd already written an introduction using the term "speculative nonfiction" for our reprint in CRAFT of a dazzling essay by the poet Patricia Smith (coming out next week). And I think it's a good description of a lot of my own nonfiction, which usually includes imaginative riffs and sometimes is one long imaginative riff (as in the alternative lives for my aunt in "Kaleidoscope" in COLD MOUNTAIN REVIEW). Two of the prompts for the class (one involving photographs, one based on Sonja Livingston's "A Thousand Mary Doyles") fit things I've already written. I even used an epigraph from Livingston's flash in my essay "Another Mary Doyle" in UNDER THE SUN.
Lots of work this week for CRAFT (the editorial duties that have kicked in are challenging and interesting) and BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS (reading the final round of chapbooks for their contest).
It’s here. What I love about flash: you can submit a piece, hear a few days later, and the next day it’s online. My oddball flash found its way to the perfect oddball zine. Big thanks to Kevin Brennan for publishing “Two Guys Carrying a Toilet into Taco Bell” at THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE today.
THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE is pretty new, not even two years old. I’ve read stories by Cathy Ulrich and Pat Foran there, probably by other writers I’m forgetting. (They don’t have a clear archive posted, so my “Two Guys” will sort of disappear soon, which is okay, since the experience was pretty ephemeral too.)
In other news: The proofs for my essay forthcoming in FOURTH GENRE arrived. Just saying “essay forthcoming in FOURTH GENRE” has me breathless, since FOURTH GENRE has been at the top of my bucket list for years. Really excited. Can’t wait to hold the magazine in my hands.
And even though I’m swamped with work right now, between CRAFT and rewrites for THE LUNATICS’ BALL, I just saw a really cool class that’s self-guided (do at your own pace, no instructor feedback but really interesting materials) and has already started (but I can catch up at my own pace) so I impulsively signed on: “Writing Beyond the Known: Exploring the Possible through Speculative Nonfiction,” taught by Joanna Penn Cooper, sponsored by the magazine CREATIVE NONFICTION. I also put myself in the lottery for a three-day memoir flash intensive taught by Kathy Fish next fall. I’ve been looking at classes here and there. Some are fabulously expensive. These two look just about right.
I think THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE is really cool, and Kevin Brennan just accepted my oddball nonfiction flash "Two Guys Carrying a Toilet into Taco Bell" which will not be everyone's idea of an essay, but I'm fond of it and I feel like it's a perfect fit. They don't spell out their aesthetic in their submission guidelines, but Kevin did an interview with duotrope a couple of days ago (it was after I'd sent him my essay) where he described their nonfiction: "a short piece that plays with the personal essay with exaggeration and absurdity, aiming to get the reader to a new level of understanding without adhering to the usual rules." The flash has gotten rejections and not everyone in my writing group liked it and it was hard to decide on the right place to send it, but I'm glad I persisted.