The good news I was waiting to announce. I'm thrilled that matchbook has nominated "The Madwoman on BART" for Best of the Net. MATCHBOOK is one of my very favorite magazines (I'm sorry they're on hiatus, and hope they come back), and this particular piece means a lot. Very encouraging for THE LUNATICS' BALL.
It turns out I'm doing a talk at the SUPERSTITION REVIEW launch event, not a reading, and last year's author talked about her process. This will take some thought, but I've got a couple of months to ponder it, and it's an honor to have been asked.
Some good news that I can't announce yet, but it gave me a boost. I've been hard at work on a big revision on something I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Freud and odalisques, a 2500-word essay that I hope to include in The Lunatics' Ball. Still wrestling with the organization of the collection, but i have some new ideas.
I just learned about the publication FIVE MINUTES last week when a description of the magazine was included in the bio of something that the editor Susanna Baird published: 100-word CNF that has to include something significant in your life that lasted 5 minutes. Which got me to thinking about significant moments I haven't written about, and remembering the time I was sure I saw my father at a concert at All Saints. Wrote it in one draft, sent it off, and now it's been accepted. It will come out in January.
Just finished recording "The Dream Lives of Objects" using the Garage Band app on my laptop (apparently I don't have it on my PC), and figured out how to convert it to an mp3 and send it to SUPERSTITION REVIEW and I was pretty proud of myself this afternoon.
And now this evening I get an email from their student editor-in-chief asking whether I'd be the guest reader at their launch. "We are very excited to feature your work in Issue 28! To celebrate the launch of each new issue, we host a virtual launch party that features a guest reader. We appreciate your work and your contributions to S[r]. Would you be available to present as our guest reader at our launch party on Tuesday, November 30? You would be given 10-15 minutes to give a reading or present any of your work. You are also welcome to share via screenshare."
The obvious thing would be to show the Joseph Cornell shadow box while I read the piece in their issue (hoping I can figure out that technology in advance, but surely I can). Maybe there's something less obvious. I've done several ekphrastic pieces, most recently the one on Munch, Picasso, and Dora Maar for TINY MOLECULES, and the feminist odalisque one I'm working on now. At any rate, really pleased by the honor.
I absolutely loved my BENDING GENRES class. Twelve super-talented writers (many known to me or whose work was known to me) produced twenty-four simply amazing flash. It was inspiring, and though that was a lot to comment on in one weekend, they came in at different times, which made it easier than a batch of papers in a university class. I'm so glad I did this, and I'm looking forward to teaching more (maybe through CRAFT, a program under discussion).
I got a hefty payment in Paypal and I'm already spending it. I signed up for a two hour class with Aimee Bender this Saturday, whose work I love. The topic seems perfect for me also, "A Sense of Play: How to Free Things Up and Surprise Yourself on the Page." Here's the description: "Link and materials will be emailed at least 30 minutes before class. This workshop will involve a lot of play, writing exercises, talk about approaches, and how to follow what’s happening on the page, all in service of thinking about what we can do to free up the work, and let it emerge on its own terms." I'm as interested in the design and teaching as I am in trying this kind of writing. I remember reading a book of her short stories and sitting down immediately to write a crazy flash (can't remember which one); Meg's class gave me a welcome injection of crazy too.
I geek out over birds. In sixth grade I wanted to be an ornithologist. For some reason growing up in New Jersey I always wanted to see a cedar waxwing, and I was really excited in California when a migrating flock of cedar waxwings descended on the small tree outside our family room window to eat the orange berries on a small tree there. (After twenty years in this house, you'd think I'd know the name of the tree, but I don't.) This past week, two amazing sightings. A heavy-footed creature on our sitting room roof that sent me outside to investigate turned out to be an honest-to-God raven. Much larger than the local crows, it had a breathtakingly large wingspan. When it flew off, it soared in the sky like a hawk. And the second sighting was in San Francisco of all places. We get a lot of Red-Tailed Hawks in the East Bay. They're always soaring and circling high up in the sky along with the turkey buzzards. We saw one only about five or six feet away in San Francisco. Sitting in traffic on Bush Street, driving home from Ben's place in the early afternoon, we spied it right outside the car window, perched on a traffic sign. Gorgeous, with streaky white and reddish brown feathers on its breast and brown and white striped wings which it lifted and spread out twice before flying to a nearby fire escape, a small gray pigeon clutched in its talons.
So excited to get an acceptance for my Joseph Cornell shadow box piece at SUPERSTITION REVIEW, a magazine I love and admire, my second appearance there. No word on whether they'll be reproducing the shadow box, which I really hope they do. (They don't usually have color reproductions, and my two sources are unofficial blogs; I have no idea whether permission is required, and from where.)
I can now announce that HARPY HYBRID REVIEW accepted my piece "Half Fish Tale, Half Ars Poetica," which was originally published in the print journal HOTEL AMERIKA. I'd love to see it get an online life. A mermaid figures prominently. I do love harpies though, and have been welcomed to "the harpy family." They're often monstrous looking, but the harpy in the REVIEW's logo is quite lovely.
My BENDING GENRES workshop starts today! 14 students, all experienced flash writers, and I know quite a few of them. Great writers! I can't wait to see what they produce!
I entered Kathy Fish's lottery for upcoming classes and got a place in the 3-day flash memoir class in December (on my birthday, in fact). Looking forward to it.
Love prose poems and tiny micros, especially hybrids and lyric flash, so I’m thrilled to have a micro ("Afterlives") included in the stellar inaugural issue of RAN OFF WITH THE STAR BASSOON. Thank you to the editor Rogan Kelly. (And thank you Kathy Fish for a Fast Flash prompt that included Citizen Kane!)
What a beautiful first issue this is! Beautiful art and design as well as writing. There’s work by Lydia Davis, and too many amazing prose poems and micros to list. Rare for me to like everything in a magazine issue. Also, check out “Take Five” on the First Sessions page, with Alexandre Silvério playing the bassoon.
My Poe-inspired story “The Leaf Blower” is up at POTATO SOUP JOURNAL today. Leaf blowers felt like a fitting subject for a murder story.
Not sure why I keep landing on elderly, unmarried narrators, often unreliable. The fussy spinster narrator isn’t me, of course, but she's a lit professor, and I used some real details about a neighbor in the character of Henry. After writing creative nonfiction for so long, it’s strange to start incorporating true details into fiction. I did that in “The Blue-Haired Woman on the Polish Freighter” also (another elderly unmarried narrator). I was actually on a Polish freighter like that, with a German husband (not fiancé), and heard a Polish acrobat sing “All that meat / and no potatoes.”
Decided on a flash and 2 micros for the FBOMB Flash NYC reading tomorrow on Zoom. Going for short and accessible this time, not necessarily the stories I like the best. One is recent, one is forthcoming, which is nice.
Got my BENDING GENRES lesson plan with links to readings and videos sent off. Equally worried that enrollment will be too high or too low. Meg Tuite's was very small, and she's a lot better known than I am. I loved her workshop, though, and I'm really pleased with the two flash that were born there.