I love TRAMPSET and I’m so pleased to have my second publication with them in their grand new issue today.
It seems that most of my publications and honors this year are concentrated in a two week period. My Notable Essay and this particular flash went through an extraordinary number of revisions. (The craft talk I gave for SUPERSTITION REVIEW about feeling my way through the revisions of "The Dream Lives of Objects" is available here, and starts at 9:51.)
Some flash write themselves quickly. For some reason “Champagne” took years. Like the edifice of champagne glasses, it kept collapsing. I was reading something else when the magician appeared and I thought “ah yes, that’s what ‘Champagne’ needs. A failed magician!” And after so many false tries, the last paragraph wrote itself.
My micro "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" is up in SUGARSUGARSALT, a great new online zine that does CNF reprints (reprints only). This is old, and I was surprised when they solicited it (I feel like I probably have more obvious CNF that would qualify). But even though I'd forgotten it, I really love this one. Interesting that I published CNF flash way back that was 3/4 speculative, only 1/4 grounded in reality. I can see how the hybridity in THE LUNATICS' BALL evolved. Jamy Bond and Charlotte Hamrick at SUGARSUGARSALT did a great job of showcasing the flash, and found a the perfect illustration.
(illustration by Lucas Quintana at Unsplash)
This has been a week of such good news. Later yesterday, after we learned that Steve's essay in CATAMARAN was a Notable in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, he got an acceptance of a story from HUNGER MOUNTAIN. Great magazine!
And I finally got hold of the full Notables list, and I see that two CRAFT essays are on it. Which is incredibly gratifying. I wonder sometimes whether we're keeping up with other magazines, whether I'm choosing the best CNF, whether the best CNF is being submitted to us, and feel very encouraged (yes, and yes, and yes). Really love working with our EIC Courtney Harler and having a stable team of CNF assistants and readers (Jamie Etheridge, Shara Kronmal, Allison Carr, Kyle Cochrun). I don't always agree with the readers, but I respect their opinions very highly. Will name the two Notables here once we've contacted the winners.
And this morning I got a direct message on twitter from Jill Talbot.
I meant to tell you I taught "Haunting Houses" two weeks ago, and my students LOVED it. They appreciated the intertextuality, the descriptions of the house. I asked them if they hadn't seen the film if it was a distraction, and they said no, the description was enough to make it clear. One student said, "This is the first essay we've written abotu the persona haunting, rather than being haunted." I thought that was very insightful. I put your essay with an excerpt from Nick Flynn's latest memoir, a late chapter when he returns with his daughter to his childhood home. And Jamila Osman's "A Map of Lost Things" from Catapult. Everyone agreed that all three were the strongest essays of the semester (it was our final day of reading!), which is why I selected them as our final readings.
It means a lot that a writer I respect so much is teaching my essay. When she told me a few months ago that she was going to teach it, I said it might be difficult for students who hadn't seen the movie (probably all of them; "Ghost Story" wasn't in the theaters for long and I haven't seen it on streaming platforms), so I'm glad she addressed that. I'm THRILLED that the students liked it!
Double wow!! Just discovered that my husband Steve also got a Notable Essay in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS this year, for his essay "The Broken One" in the print magazine CATAMARAN LITERARY READER!!! So exciting and well-deserved!
I learned this in a post by Eaton Hamilton that included a screenshot, who discovered their Notable in a post by Katie Gutierrez that included a screenshot. Strange how what Paul Crenshaw is calling the "whisper network" is unfolding this year. There's still no full list of Notables on Amazon or Google Books.
I love this particular essay of Steve's, and love CATAMARAN LITERARY READER also, a glossy Santa Cruz journal that is filled with gorgeous artwork and has the best editors in the world (Lisa McKenzie and Catherine Segurson).
Steve read from the essay last March at a spectacular event they put on at the Radius Gallery. Here's a photo from the reading, and the cover of the issue he appears in.
It's been a slow year, with what feels like sluggish progress on THE LUNATICS' BALL and weeks and weeks with no publications at all. This has definitely been my most exciting week.
My essay in SUPERSTITION REVIEW about Joseph Cornell earned a NOTABLE ESSAY listing in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2022!!!
I love SUPERSTITION REVIEW. I was thrilled when they invited me to give a craft talk about "The Dream Lives of Objects" at their launch when the issue came out. It was almost a year ago, just after I'd fallen and gotten a concussion. I'd already written the talk and decided to go through with it with the camera off (I had two black eyes!). Love their faculty editor Trish Murphy and everyone on the staff. It was also a great audience for the talk. When I published "Fireflies" with them, they had me do an Author's Podcast for their blog. They are wonderfully supportive.
Pub date for BAE is November 1. The Notables list isn't out yet, and learning whether you're on it is always a ridiculous task. Amazon does a "look inside" feature shortly before the book is available, and essayists all over the country rush to see the Notables list, but the feature always has pages missing. This year an essayist I don't really know, Liz Prato, was kind enough to contact me and some others on Facebook to tell us we were on it!
It's my 8th Notable, and each has been as exciting as the last. The first was probably the most amazing, though, when I was naive about the Notables list and BAE (though I always read it) and hadn't even looked to see whether I was on the list. Ira Sukrungruang, the editor at SWEET, posted a list of SWEET authors who'd gotten Notables and I saw my name with surprise, confusion, and disbelief. (That was for my essay "The Tyranny of Things" in the print journal SOUTH DAKOTA REVIEW.)
A fair number of small magazines pay $10 to $25 these days. I just got $25 from TRAMPSET for my cnf flash coming out in their October 28 issue. I've gotten up to $200 from some, I think—$70 from NEW OHIO REVIEW for an essay, $100 from ZONE 3 for an essay, $200 from CRAFT for two flash, $50 from CRAFT for a book review, $200 from CATAPULT for a short essay, $100 from CURRENT for a short essay (solicited), $100 from CAUSTIC FROLIC for a short story (solicited).
EPOCH just offered me $300, which is great.
I've only earned more in contests. $500, if I remember right, from MIDWAY JOURNAL for my flash "Zig Zag" in their 1000 Below contest, judged by Michael Martone. And $500 plus chapbook publication from BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS when I won their Black River Chapbook Competition.
This over a period of five years or so, maybe longer. I couldn't make a living from this, but I'm grateful nevertheless.
I accepted Paul Beckman's invitation to read in the next FBomb reading on November 4. I'll try the two cnf flash I have coming out in this month: "Champagne" and "Because I Could Not Stop for Death." I've never read either of them before. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. I found "Lunatic Impromptu" much harder to read than I expected at the Bending Genres retreat reading. (Too many italicized quotes and bits of dialogue threaded through. Much better on the page.)
Some really good news that I will save for a few days, so it's not eclipsed by the EPOCH acceptance. Feeling very grateful for the Twitter and Facebook literary communities for their generous celebration of my good fortune. And it was someone I don't know on Facebook who conveyed the latest good news.
Woke up to a gray day and an acceptance at EPOCH!!! Bowled over. Because EPOCH is such an illustrious literary journal and has published countless distinguished writers. Because I did my PhD at Cornell and it was probably the first literary journal I ever read. Because they have such distinguished editors. Because they've been around since 1947. Because the essay launches THE LUNATICS' BALL and is particularly important to me. (The first longform essay in the collection, after the prefacing title flash, it sets up a pattern for the hybrid memoir/biographies that follow.)
I remember all the MFAs working on EPOCH while I was there—and the magazine's office, near the graduate student lounge. It seemed very glamorous: a well-known literary journal just down the hall! There were rumors of passionate, heated debates about submissions and literary standards around the enormous wooden table that dominated the room. (PhD students at the time were debating Derrida and Lacan, which I found much less interesting.) I was touched by editor J. Robert Lennon's note in the acceptance letter: "I want to add that this piece had the most consistent support from both the grad students and senior editors out of anything this entire submission period. And I personally like it very much!"
That is, on Submittable, since 2010. Kim Magowan just reported that she hit 100 acceptances on Submittable, which she started using 8 years ago, so I was curious and looked mine up. Of course as a flash writer, I submit to many magazines that don't use Submittable. And my very first acceptance on Submittable was at a flash magazine that's defunct (LitNImage). But still, it's an accomplishment. Twelve years. I've been writing for a long time.
My tiny micro "Interrogation" is up at ANTI-HEROIN CHIC today.
I can't remember the prompt, but this was born in Kathy Fish's Fast Flash Reunion last spring, and as ever, I appreciate the positive feedback from the other Fast Flashers.
The accompanying photo of a dilapidated detached garage is lovely, but for the life of me I don't know what in the piece inspired it, which I thought of as urban rather than rural, maybe about an incident at a large concert somewhere. Their cover photo is rural too, so maybe it carries through the whole issue. Looking forward to reading the rest.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's death on October 7, 1849. I published "Fyodor Translates Edgar Translates the Universe" about his mysterious death in THREADCOUNT a few years back. And many years ago I wrote a 600-page PhD dissertation on the competing resurrections of Poe among the American modernists. It won an award at Cornell. I still regret, much less acutely now, that I didn't turn it into a book, but it was such a massive undertaking, and every year that I waited required updating scholarship on so many writers. Life intervened. Poe continues to hover in the background of many of my stories.