I've been getting checks in the mail, $100 from CAUSTIC FROLIC, now $40 from F(R)ICTION. I don't keep track of my writing income because the amount is so low (except the $500 from MIDWAY JOURNAL's flash contest, and $500 from BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS's chapbook contest), but this year it's starting to add up. To a few good dinners out, at least.
Still waiting to get a contributor's copy of F(R)ICTION. It exists: here's a picture of one of their staff members (on the right) holding it up at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday. Really eager to see "The Lunatics' Ball" in print.
My "Felicity" flash is attracting no attention on twitter (did my flash friends read it and dislike it?), where I usually have readers, and much more attention on facebook, where I usually don't. (I'm especially grateful to my overseas writer friend Eden Royce, who wrote, "I adore this.")
I should stop here and thank the 300 twitter followers who liked the post on my BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS nod. Just a little over a week ago I was responding to a flood of warm congratulations, but it already feels like old news. Social media with its artificial highs and lows, sped-up cycles of elation and dejection, probably isn't good for my bipolar soul.
I got a solicitation from RAPAHANNOCK REVIEW! The nonfiction editor likes my piece "The Arithmetic of Memory" in the flash nonfiction issue of LITTLE FICTION/BIG TRUTHS and wants me to send her something. "Move On Up" was just accepted by RHYTHM AND BONES, so I don't really have any flash nonfiction. I'm not sure whether I should send her the 4,000 word essay I just finished revising, or wait until I have something shorter. Still thinking about it. I've had solicitations that didn't pan out in the past, and would like to send something that's right for the magazine.
Despite the huge honor of the Notable listing in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, I'm feeling very uncertain about my writing. It's so hard to place work (even flash it seems, which used to be easy), repeated rejections take their toll, I wonder whether my best work is behind me, and whether I believe in the work I'm sending out right now. I'm not as productive as I've been. THE LUNATICS' BALL weighs on me, and I know I should return to my essay collection DO-IT-YOURSELF NIGHT, which was close to ready, and has been languishing for a long time.
I seem to be cycling between elation and dejection here. Maybe all my blog entries are bipolar. Which wouldn't be surprising.
Gary Kaill and Hannah Clark, editors at the new flash zine LUNATE in the UK, wrote a wonderful response on twitter to my flash “Waking Up Late” when it came out in ELLIPSIS: "We absolutely loved this by @doylejacq. Exquisitely sculpted urban anxiety. Troubling, vital, necessary.” So I sent them another flash focusing on urban anxiety. They published “Felicity Leaves the Door Ajar” today on their site. It’s not the first time Emily Dickinson has appeared in one of my flash. A good poet for ramping up anxiety.
I am OVER THE MOON excited that my essay “Haunting Houses” in NEW OHIO REVIEW is included in the Notable Essay Listings in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2019 (my 5th Notable). So grateful to NOR editor David Wanczyk for publishing the essay, and series editor Robert Atwan and his staff for awarding it a Notable.
NEW OHIO REVIEW is a print journal. Here's a link to the table of contents of the issue with my essay.
Congratulations to the essayists in this year’s anthology, and the other Notable essayists! Lots of names I recognize. Every year it's a crazy scramble to see who's on the list with the Amazon preview feature. There are always pages missing in the preview. This year it's everyone from O-Z. I don't know why BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS doesn't post the list themselves. Maybe to maintain the excitement of the crazy scramble.
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.