I love this series, which lands in my email inbox every Sunday morning. CREATIVE NONFICTION SHORT READS is a selection of the best creative nonfiction over the years from BREVITY, SWEET: A LITERARY CONFECTION, BRAIN, CHILD, and CREATIVE NONFICTION. They've featured Rebecca McClanahan, Brian Doyle, Sonya Huber, Jill Talbot, Joey Franklin, Jaquira Diaz, Ellen Gilchrist. They're SO good. And I just got an email from SWEET, where "Little Colored Pills" first appeared, saying it will be featured in the series on Sunday. I'm almost in tears I'm so happy. This isn't an honor that would mean much to non-CNF writers, but to me it's huge. And I'm planning to include the piece in THE LUNATICS' BALL.
Also very nice: RAPAHANNOCK REVIEW, which is publishing "Octopus Dreams," asked if they could interview me, which is giving me an opportunity to say a bit about THE LUNATICS' BALL and showcase some of my earlier work.
Also very nice: I decided to combine my award nominations for my Facebook Author page, and realized my flash has done very well this year. Pushcart noms from ELLIPSIS and LUNATE. A Best of the Net nom from THE SUNLIGHT PRESS. A Best Microfiction 2020 nom from CRAFT. I think because I've gotten so many rejections, I feel like there have been more failures than wins. My productivity seems also to have slowed, though that's partly a factor of working on THE LUNATICS' BALL, which includes pieces that I won't try to publish on their own. Really this year has been more than okay.
The CREATIVE NONFICTION SHORT READS along with another Notable in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS makes it a banner year.
pushcart prize nomination from ellipsis
My ninth Pushcart nomination! ELLIPSIS has nominated "Waking Up Late" for a Pushcart, along with some great stories. Maybe this is the place to confide that "Waking Up Late" had thirty rejections, more than any other flash I've ever published. (A number of print journals and contests on that list; I aimed high.) But I really loved it, so I kept sending it out.
proofs from passages north
Page proofs from PASSAGES NORTH (print journal coming out next spring) arrived in this morning's e-mail. My essay "Madeline's Trunk" went through some revisions after it was accepted, and the CNF editor left midway through the revisions (I didn't know he'd accepted the first round). It looks like they used the first round and not the second round of revisions. I think it was mostly the end that I changed in the second round, and I was really torn about what to do with it. I'll have to read it carefully today and make a decision. If I go with the second round, I think it just means cutting some sentences, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Really excited to see flash by Dina L. Relles and Matthew Volmer in the PASSAGES NORTH table of contents for the upcoming issue and also a collaborative essay by Jill Talbot and Meghan McClure. I love all of their work, and taught some of Dina Relles' and Jill Talbot's flash in my class this semester.
PASSAGES NORTH is a top magazine (I'm thrilled to have this LUNATICS' BALL essay accepted there) and does a lot of flash (both online and in their print issues) and hybrids as well as straight creative nonfiction. The current issue includes flash by Sean Lovelace and Jad Josey, and an essay by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher (whom I also teach). They do great covers.
Jill Talbot also offered me a very useful critique of "On Being Told Her First Husband" when I submitted it to AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW. The critique inspired me to pare down the level of detail, segment the essay, and sit on it for a year before final edits. I'm sure it wouldn't have been accepted at FOURTH GENRE without those changes. It was very generous of her. (She also knew my work, which was gratifying.)
"Move On Up" is getting tons of praise on Twitter and Facebook. I'm really bowled over. I posted it late last night, so the first responses were from England (and Hungary, my good friend Doris). Lots more pouring in today. I have a lot of flash that's come out all at once. (And "Johnsy Seen Her Too," "Butterfly," "Octopus Dreams," and "The Lost Umbrella" in the next few weeks.) My friend Kathryn Kulpa just solicited me for longer CNF or fiction for the next issue of CLEAVER and I realized that I don't have anything that length. In fact I have hardly anything left that I'm sending out. I've been working hard on revisions for the The LUNATICS' BALL lobotomy piece and might send that somewhere. The other profiles that I'm finishing don't feel like stand-alones, so I'm thinking I'll reserve them for the collection. I think I would have worried once about having nothing in the submissions pipeline, but it actually feels kind of freeing. Submissions are very time-consuming, with lots of disappointments along the way.
The writer and critic Jane Ciabatarri just wrote to me that she will nominate me for a Pushcart for fiction, I will hear from the Pushcart people and be invited to choose several of my pieces to nominate. I've never been nominated for a Pushcart by a former Pushcart contributor before; my nominations have all come from magazines. Elizabeth McKenzie nominated Steve a year or two ago, but it was for a specific essay (in WACCAMAW). I sort of wish it was creative nonfiction, as this year I think that's been better than my fiction. But I'm excited and interested to hear how the process works.
So pleased to see my CNF flash “Move On Up,” an early valentine to my husband, in the special issue on “Love” at RHYTHM & BONES. Much love to editor Tianna G. Hansen and to Kathy Fish and fellow Fast Flashers in the reunion last spring.
RHYTHM & BONES is only six issues old. They’ve already published some writers I really like (Tara Isabel Zambrano, Salvatore DiFalco, Evan James Sheldon, Hannah Gordon), more in this issue (K.B. Carle, Meg Pillow Davis, Joaquin Fernandez, and many who are new to me), and an interview with Cathy Ulrich. Great issue 6 cover art by Stuart Buck.
W.B. Yeats is the first poet whose work I knew very well. I loved his Crazy Jane poems when I first read them. I didn’t learn until recently, when I was doing research for THE LUNATICS’ BALL, that the literary archetype of Crazy Jane dates back much further, or that there were “wandering lunatics” throughout Ireland until the Famine, when the populace could no longer support them and lunatics were put in workhouses. My micro “Crazy Jane’s Cup of Tea” was inspired by that research. Really pleased to see it in THE CABINET OF HEED, my second appearance there. (Especially pleased that it’s an Irish journal, since I always worry about the authenticity of my flash set in Ireland. I was also very excited when the Irish writer James Claffey praised my flash "Prayer to St. Dymphna" a few months back when I posted it on Facebook.) Deep thanks to editor Simon Webster.
I was scrolling through Twitter on my phone as I waited for the Tommy Orange talk to start today at lunchtime (he was great), and I ran across a post from LUNATE announcing their Pushcart nominations. Was bowled over to see my flash "Felicity Leaves the Door Ajar" on their list! They're a very new magazine, but have been publishing great work by some really well known flash writers. I'm honored that they singled out my sort of weird story (one of my very minimal plots).
A long afternoon of student conferences about rewrites, but they were optional, I was gratified to see how many students signed up for them, the work was by and large very good (they're rewriting for their portfolios but also for the student literary magazine contests), and it was several hours well spent. We have next week off, and only one more week of classes after that. I'm going to miss this flash class.
I was already thrilled when CRAFT accepted two of my micros. so I'm doubly thrilled that they've nominated "After Dinner" for BEST MICROFICTION 2020.
November 30-December 6 is Small Press Week, and Julie Zuckerman, author of the wonderful novel-in-stories THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH, just posted a photo of small press books she's read recently. Yes, that's THE MISSING GIRL on the top of the stack! Two writers on twitter just ordered the book last week. I'm so pleased to be getting new readers, two years after my pub date.
lyric essay accepted
A while ago RAPPAHANNOCK REVIEW solicited work from me (after reading my flash "The Arithmetic of Memory" in LITTLE FICTIONS/BIG TRUTHS). They had a deadline. I wrote a segmented lyric essay "Octopus Dreams" and sent it. I didn't send it anywhere else. Today they accepted it. Writing should always be this easy!
profile by genia blum
The amazing Swiss Ukranian Canadian writer (and dancer) Genia Blum profiled me today as "Five of My Faves" in THE POETRY QUESTION. Cool news to wake up to.
It never rains but it pours. Two micros and a flash out today!
So excited to join the roster of great writers in GHOST PARACHUTE, a magazine I love. This issue includes Meg Pokrass, Meg Tuite, Sudha Balagopal, Epiphany Ferrell!
Their archives are amazing too. Here are just a few of my favorite authors that Ghost Parachute published in 2019 (all writers whose careers I follow): Tara Isabel Zambrano, Tara Campbell, Chelsea Stickle, Evan James Sheldon, Kim Magowan, Claire Polders, Meg Pokrass, Patricia Q. Bidar, Len Kuntz, Paul Beckman, Jennifer Kircher Carr, Christopher Allen, Corey Farrenkopf, Vineetha Mokkil, Cathy Ulrich, Scott Garson, Marisa Crane.
Big thanks to editor Brett Pribble for publishing my story “Raining Blackbirds,” and Katiana Robles for the art.
And I totally forgot on my social media posts: Big thanks to Kathy Fish and the fellow Fast Flashers in the reunion last spring, where this flash was conceived. I can’t remember the prompt, but Kathy’s prompts always inspire me. As she does, and the accomplished writers in her groups. If you're looking for an online flash class, try one of hers!