Lots of really positive responses from readers of "Looking for Rick," one writer from Bread Loaf reminding me to "keep taking chances." I am way too nervous about taking chances. On stories about blow jobs, at least. Once again, I seem to have more readers on Facebook than twitter. Or my twitter readers don't like the story as much as my Facebook readers, who overlap, but aren't the same. Social media provides such direct contact with readers, makes publishing seem real.
My excited tweet about FOURTH GENRE has elicited an avalanche of congratulations, 550 likes and still climbing. It really does feel like a career high point to me, maybe even more than the five Notable listings in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS. Embarrassingly, one of the editors (Joey Franklin) noticed the post and wrote a nice response.
I always check my horoscope in the local paper. Today was my second five star day in a row, and well, yes. I think I'm going to faint. I just got an acceptance letter from FOURTH GENRE for my essay "On Being Told Her First Husband." FOURTH GENRE is at the very top of my bucket list for creative nonfiction. I've wanted to publish there for YEARS. Since I started writing essays. Before I started writing essays. Steve and I have subscribed to FOURTH GENRE for ages (and he's published there, more than once I think—a year or two ago he published "Hopper in the Train Yard" in FOURTH GENRE, one of my very favorite of his essays).
Here's what they said about the essay: "Our readers, and we editors, found it to be beautifully written and deeply reflective as it is willing to interrogate self, other, past. "
I didn't know that Patrick Madden and Joey Franklin, both really top essayists, were the current editors. I noted yesterday that Patrick Madden had just started following me on twitter, and said to Steve, "Oh, great, Patrick Madden is following me just in time for my blow job story."
A new flash at QUEEN MOB’S TEAHOUSE, an international journal that publishes “weird, serious, gorgeous, cross genre, spell conjuring, rant inducing work. … A platform that speaks to your cravings, fantasies and heartbreaks; your daydreams from your lunch break; your good and bad choices; your contradictions; your process.” I had no idea where to send a depressing flash fiction about alcoholism and a blow job, and I have no idea what my usual readers will make of the story (why would you want to write about something like that, someone like that?). I was just about to retire “Looking for Rick,” but when I reread it, I felt like the character needed to be heard. So I queried QUEEN MOB’s, who’d had the story for a very long time, and editor Jessica Sequeira wrote back to me immediately with an acceptance. (Love that she calls the story “horrifying in a subtle way.”) Lots of writers I admire have appeared in the Teahouse. Excited to see that Monday’s flash fiction was by A.E.Weisgerber!
I also had a recent acceptance from GHOST PARACHUTE, a magazine I’ve been trying to get into for a while, that’s published tons of my favorite flash writers. Flash coming out soon in MINNESOTA REVIEW, CRAFT, RHYTHM & BONES, CRACK THE SPINE and PITHEAD CHAPEL as well.
A new cnf flash that I love was just rejected by a magazine where I thought it was a perfect fit. Not one of their soft rejects. Hard to know where to send it next. I have a lot of new work coming out, but I've also been getting a lot of rejections.
F(R)ICTION has arrived in my mailbox! I was so excited when the gorgeous and innovative print magazine F(R)ICTION solicited work from me, and when, after a long, long, LONG editorial process, they accepted “The Lunatics’ Ball.” This piece is particularly close to my heart, and will be the opening to my longer project THE LUNATICS’ BALL, if I ever get it off the ground. Very grateful to editors Dani Hedlund and Andrew Jimenez, and particularly to senior editor Kaley Kiermayr, who devoted a great deal of time and attention to this work.
F(R)ICTION has published creative nonfiction by Lee Gutkind and Phillip Lopate, poetry by Kwame Dawes and Mary Ruefle, flash by Kathy Fish and David Galef. They do graphic comics and provide original artwork for each piece. “F(R)ICTION stands out for the sheer kinetic energy of its illustration,” says NEON MAGAZINE. “Drawings spill across every other page in a way that might seem reckless were it not so good-looking.” Their mission: “F(r)iction is different. The brainchild of a ragtag team of editors, artists, and writers, F(r)iction is the best of everything we’ve ever loved. F(r)iction is experimental. F(r)iction is strange. F(r)iction pokes the soft spots, touches nerves most would rather remain protected. F(r)iction is secrets and truths and lies.”
Very cool to see my name gracing the front cover.
In other news, some 800,000 PG&E customers in Northern and Central California will be without power starting at midnight. Castro Valley, where Steve and I live, and Hayward, where we teach, are on the list. I put out a couple of flashlights and some candles and matches, but we're not exactly prepared.
I still don't have a copy, but Sara Lippman (a flash writer in the Wigleaf Top 50, author of DOLL PALACE) just posted a picture of the cover of F(R)ICTION on twitter, commenting on "how the light casts holographic magic" on it, mentioning my story as one of two "powerful gems" in the magazine. When I wrote back, she said, "The Lunatics' Ball is magnificent (and a brilliant book title.…)." I wondered who would see the story in a print magazine, so I'm thrilled to have a writer-reader.
Got my copy of BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2019. Really pleased to see that my friend Alia Volz, the moderator of my San Francisco writers group (and author of the forthcoming book HOME BAKED), has a Notable Essay too! It's one I saw in drafts, and read in RIVER TEETH, which Steve and I subscribe to. Steve has an essay coming out with RIVER TEETH in their next issue.
And another! My friend Frances Lefkowitz (author of TO HAVE NOT), also in my rad writing group, has a Notable for a wonderful essay she published in CATAMARAN LITERARY READER (which we also subscribe to). So cool! CATAMARAN is a gorgeous magazine (lots of art) out of Santa Cruz, and the editors Catherine Segurson and Elizabeth McKenzie are super-nice. They've published Steve twice, me once, and they did a launch party for my chapbook THE MISSING GIRL. Steve and I were in their offsite AWP reading last spring.
What are the odds that any writing group would have three Notables in the same year?
An acceptance at a journal I like a lot, CRACK THE SPINE, of a flash about two fishermen who claim they once caught a mermaid. I'd just finished a revision that added a barmaid's voice and the mermaid's voice to the fisherman's story. I sent the revision to CRACK THE SPINE editor Kerri Farrell Foley, waited for what felt like a long time but was less than a day, and she wrote back that she liked it and would publish the revision. Really pleased.
Woke up this morning to a great photo of THE MISSING GIRL in Lucerne. Genia Blum, a fellow Notable essayist whose essay appeared alongside one of mine in UNDER THE SUN, just got her copy of the chapbook in Switzerland. Such a cool photo.
Closer at hand, another writer friend whom I haven't met in person (Dorothy Rice is in my international online writing group) just read THE MISSING GIRL and did a post on twitter: "I just finished THE MISSING GIRL. A-mazing. A disturbing, important, superbly-crafted read." And a Goodreads review: "Once I started reading, I couldn't put The Missing Girl down. These brief stories of lost girls, told from a variety of chilling perspectives, reveal so much about the vulnerability of young girls and the entitled callousness of those who harm and degrade them. Jacqueline Doyle is skilled at building suspense and presenting believable characters and situations - no matter how harrowing. This is a powerful collection of contextually linked short stories." The book is two years old now. So exciting that it's still attracting new readers.
Dorothy lives in Sacramento and I'm hoping to meet her at Lit Crawl in San Francisco later this month. Who knows when I'll meet Genia, but it would be nice to go to Europe next year.