I'm working on edits for my two forthcoming flash in CRAFT (and a craft essay on plot to go with them) as well as a new essay right now, but I'm always thinking about where THE LUNATICS' BALL is going, and whether I can pull it together.
I've read Sarah Fawn Montgomery's combined memoir/history of Big Pharma, so I was interested to read her account in ESSAY DAILY of expectations from publishers and fellow students in creative writing workshops: "Early big five publishers were interested in my memoir, but only if I could revise the narrative in a way that offered redemption. While publishers were initially interested in the research—everything from the history of asylums and lobotomies to the chemical science behind contemporary psychopharmaceuticals—they worried this might overwhelm readers. 'What readers want is hope,' an editor said of about my discussion of steadily increasing mental illness rates in the United States despite the increasing number of medications. Recovery was what most publishers thought would sell, and while I agreed, it simply wasn’t possible to revise my life."
Nancy Au, a flash and fiction writer whose work I admire, discusses invisibilities such as her bipolar disorder and the role they play in her work in a recent essay in CRAFT.
"What is the point?" a member of my writing group asked about my draft-in-progress on the history of lobotomies. I often feel inadequate to the task, but I know that bringing back the lost lives of the women I'm writing about is important. Every day I try to "fail better."
I was glad to be asked to do an advance blurb for Cathy Ulrich's wonderful forthcoming book with Okay Donkey Press. Here it is: "A babysitter, a homecoming queen, a teacher, a politician, a jogger. A mother, a daughter, a roommate, a lover. Maybe yours. Maybe you. The murdered girls and women in GHOSTS OF YOU disappear without warning, leaving an absence behind that can never be filled. They’re remembered as something different than they were, their names forgotten. In a dazzling, richly detailed series of thirty-one second-person narratives addressed to ghostly girls and women, Cathy Ulrich unearths their buried lives and the afterlives of those around them. Every single one of them becomes unforgettable. In a culture increasingly inured to violence against women, at a time when women are being systematically disempowered, their bodies and voices erased, stories like these take on particular urgency and importance. GHOSTS OF YOU will haunt you. Don’t miss this stunning debut collection." It's available for preorder here.
Working on the gazillionth draft of my piece on lobotomies for THE LUNATICS' BALL. I was excited to finally find more about Naomi Ginsberg's childhood (in Ed Sanders' poem-biography about Allen Ginsberg), but I'm still finding it hard to get this piece right. Frustrated that my San Francisco writing group keeps flaking out and failing to meet.
So thrilled to learn that my flash essay "Dear Maddy" has been nominated for Best of the Net by THE SUNLIGHT PRESS. Big big thanks to editors Rudri Patel and Beth Burrell.
Congratulations to the other nominees (some whose work I know well, such as Cathy Ulrich and Sabrina Hicks). Here's the full announcement.