Heard from two writers whose writing I admire tremendously, both of whom taught my work this week. Kaj Tanaka taught THE MISSING GIRL in his chapbook class and told me on twitter that "ppl loved it...that book continues to be such a powerful and important work about trauma and sexual violence." And Jill Talbot private messaged me on twitter today. "This week my beginning nonfiction students read 'Little Colored Pills' (we read about seven or eight essays each week). In their discussions, it was unanimous that your essay was the favorite of the week and for many, their favorite they've read this semester. It is such an engaging triptych with its disparate segments that coalesce so beautifully in the final lines (which many students quoted). I enjoyed addressing all of the effective craft elements at work in the piece, too. Just wanted to pass along that you have fans here. With admiration, Jill"
Still having trouble applying myself to my writing. I do a little here, a little there, mostly on LUNATICS' BALL essays-in-progress. The work for CRAFT becomes more and more interesting and challenging though. And I stayed up late last night critiquing a creative writing master's thesis, really good creative nonfiction, also a challenging and interesting task. A rare thing to have work you enjoy so much.
THE MISSING GIRL has gone into its second printing. I'm so impressed with BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS: the editors, the production standards, the marketing, their list. This month there's a 40% off sale on all in-print titles, and I've seen a lot of tweets from people who've just ordered my book. I never expected that, with a chapbook, two years after it was published.
BLACK LAWRENCE would be my dream publisher for THE LUNATICS' BALL, if I ever finish.
SMOKELONG QUARTERLY is one of a handful magazines I seem never to get into. Tyrese Coleman solicited me for the "Flash, Back" series on the SMOKELONG blog, where I wrote about Jayne Anne Phillips, I've gotten very close with a couple of stories, but mostly I just get standard rejections from them. Sudha Balagopal has a story in SMOKELONG QUARTERLY this week, and an interview, and she included me in the list of flash writers she admires (with some real heavyweights). So my name's in SMOKELONG anyway.
Finally, after a month of severely unhealthy air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area, the air has cleared. Steve and I were able to take walks three nights in a row.
Black Lawrence Press does a great job of marketing its new titles and back list (this month they have 40% off all in-print titles with the code BACKTOSCHOOL40 at checkout), and I'm continually pleased when THE MISSING GIRL attracts new readers.
The essayist Rick Bailey, who's published an essay collection with University of Nebraska Press and has another forthcoming, just posted a very generous review today on his blog, that ends, “This is flash fiction at its best, not a wasted word or extraneous detail. These are stories that will leave a mark.”
I also ran across a review I hadn't seen before in a magazine called RUNESTONE. Abigail Morton's review closes, "Discomforting, disturbing, chilling, haunting, and incredibly familiar in a way that horrifies the reader yet makes them unable to stop. This is Jacqueline Doyle’s award-winning The Missing Girl. In 30 brief pages, Doyle does not just tell eight stories. She makes the reader actively part of the horror, whether as a victim, a perpetrator, or a witness. Her writing dances the line between nightmare and reality in a society where violence against women truly hides around every corner. 'You just never know.'" Sort of takes away the sting of a former student giving the book a 3 on Goodreads. Sort of. Never expect gratitude from students. You'll be disappointed. Better just to be pleased and surprised when students express appreciation for what you do.
It was heartwarming when Aileen Hunt thanked Katelyn and me on twitter for our editorial suggestions for her flash, just out today at CRAFT. I was surprised at what a thrill it was, working with an author on something we would publish. A first.
Dark skies today with an angry orange tinge. It feels like nighttime even though it's mid-afternoon. We've had more than three weeks of continuous "Spare the Air" days, and even though this is not the worst on the air quality index, it's by far the scariest. Like being in a horror movie.