I always enjoy Tommy Dean's interviews with flash writers, and I was thrilled to see Emily Devane recommend THE MISSING GIRL in today's interview. When he asked what flash stories or writers she would recommend, she replied. "Jacqueline Doyle – The Missing Girl (Black Lawrence Press).I read this chapbook recently and I’m still reeling. I was struck by how these stories poke around fearlessly in the darkest of corners. Each flash explores the world of the missing from different perspectives, from victim to onlooker to perpetrator. Nola, originally published in Monkey Bicycle, was a stand-out story for me."
Great start to my week. A flash accepted at JUKED ONLINE, a magazine where I've always wanted to publish. I revised/developed/extended my flash "Framed" according to the detailed response that I got from Tara Laskowski at SMOKELONG QUARTERLY, felt a bit uneasy about it, since it was so much longer and less mysterious, but JUKED likes the new version. Hooray! It will be out in December and stay in their online archives "until the end of the world" (according to their acceptance letter). Now I have to withdraw it from a million other magazines where I have it under submission, one (Black Warrior Review) just yesterday. That happens frequently, that I get something accepted the day after I've submitted it elsewhere.
I love online zines (and the buzz on twitter about my Bending Genres and SleazeMag pieces this week has been great), but it's also so much fun to get something in the mail. Especially when it's the gorgeous, 500-page anthology THEY SAID: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing. Steve and I will be in a reading at Green Apple Books by the Park in September, maybe in another in the South Bay. The book launched in Chicago, and there will be more readings in St. Louis, Portland, Santa Fe, Seattle, and more. There are so many amazingly great contributors. And the anthology is already on the Small Press Distribution bestseller list for poetry!
Here's "On Foot" in today's SLEAZEMAG. Sort of about Guanajuato, sort of about feet, mine in particular.
On my way to post on my blog I was interrupted by a rejection of a flash in my email inbox. Why do I find it so annoying when editors say, "Keep writing!" Because I will do that with or without them? Not sure why, but I always grit my teeth.
My micro-flash "What Remains" just came out in the new issue of BENDING GENRES, along with a number of writers whose writing I follow: Robert Scotellaro, Kathryn Kulpa, Peg Alford Pursell, Renee E. D'Aoust (a crossover from my other life as an essayist), others. A great issue all around.
The micro-flash about a missing girl whose remains are unearthed in Northern California is in fact based on a real case I was reading about. So the facts are nonfictional, but the details are culled to emphasize the universal. I don't mention that he was an actor, engaged to someone else, and that they were in acting classes together. Or a bizarre headline about the murderer's death that I ran across while I was researching: "A former Fort Morgan man’s Hollywood dreams have allegedly ended with him killing and burying an aspiring actress before taking his own life as he fled from California troopers." "Allegedly" should be before "killing," but really, "his Hollywood dreams ended," not hers?
Each week Leah Angstman at THE COIL does a roundup of the best reads in indie lit magazines on the internet. Often they've just come out, but not always. A while back she included my ekphrastic flash on Bosch in JELLYFISH REVIEW. Today in her "Indie Lit Round-Up: What to Read This Weekend" she's included my weird flash on Poe in THREADCOUNT: "Fyodor Translates Edgar Translates the Universe." Honored this week to be among the company of writers such as Meg Pokrass, J. Bradley, Kristine Langley Mahler, Chloe N. Clark.
The new Australian zine SLEAZEMAG that solicited me took my new lyric essay, so it should be up soon. They're posting daily (instead of in issues) and I really like the three they have so far.
An amazing week away in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, and good news while I was there. My flash fiction "Pretty Girl" was accepted for publication in the next issue of NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW, a stellar flash magazine edited by Meg Pokrass (the founder—a wonderful writer and one of the mothers of flash), Santino Prinzi, and Al Kratz. They've published all the flash heavies, and I've already seen some great writers announcing acceptances in this issue. Can't wait!
Also, an anthology that's been a long time in the making seems to be making progress toward publication. FEMININE RISING, edited by Andrea Fekete and Lara Lillibridge (who did a wonderful review of THE MISSING GIRL in The Mom Egg Review) unveiled a cover. (Latest literary gossip: Anna March, who's doing the foreword, has been unmasked by Melissa Chadburn and Carolyn Kellogg in the LA Times as a fraud and scam artist; I wonder whether the editors will retain her foreword). The tentative release date is late April 2019. It's available for pre-sale by Cynren Press now.
Also while I was away, flash guru Kathy Fish gave THE MISSING GIRL five out of five stars on Goodreads, and wrote in a tweet that she loved the book (especially "My Blue Heaven"). So that is very cool. I want to try some stories I haven't read before in the Black Lawrence Press reading in Sausalito in September; I will include that one (maybe have Steve do the male voices since we read well together).
p.s. The editors at FEMININE RISING are replacing Anna March. Alison K. Williams did a good blog post in BREVITY about the Anna March scandal and its implications for emerging writers. Roxane Gay (whose work and advice is invaluable) did a twitter thread and said the following: "Guys, look… there are good and great writing coaches out there, but… you do not need a writing coach. You don’t need an MFA. You do need to write and read a lot. Feedback CAN help you improve as a writer. There are virtual and real writing groups out there. Even when I was a young writer who did not know shit about shit, who did not know that you could get a degree in writing, I did not pay someone to read my writing. I just wrote, constantly. And I am not special. This is how most writers develop."
I don't have an MFA. I've done some workshops (Bread Loaf, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, others) which were interesting, quite expensive, and not really necessary to my development as a writer. My work has definitely improved through the mentoring of my writer-husband, my excellent writing group in San Francisco (seven years now!), and a couple of online writing groups I just joined this year. I agree with Roxane Gay: you develop by writing, constantly. There's no magic shortcut.
SWEET: A Literary Confection. One of my two favorite zines for flash creative nonfiction (the other is BREVITY). I had two flash in SWEET ages ago, accepted overnight by Ira Sukrungurang (I'm a big fan of his work), and haven't managed that again. Last November they sent a soft reject after a three-month wait asking me to send something else, but since they like two or three flash I didn't come up with a submission until last week. It took them only a week to accept "Little Colored Pills." It's sort of self-revelatory to have online, but that's what being a creative nonfiction writer is about. Wow.
Diane Goettel, editor in chief at Black Lawrence, just posted a picture on Facebook: "Reorganizing and tidying the BLP bookshelf in my office is one of my favorite work duties. Luckily, devoted readers keep ordering our titles, so I get to do this task on a pretty regular basis. — feeling satisfied with [a list of names including mine, and there's THE MISSING GIRL on the bottom shelf!]"
Really pleased that THE OCEAN STATE REVIEW took my short story "The Snows of Yesteryear," a story that uses one of my obsessions (the afterlife of our possessions) to trace the rise and fall of a relationship, with interjected lists of "stuff" that the departed lover left behind. Very cool to be solicited on the basis of my chapbook.
When I went to withdraw the story from some other journals, I was reminded that one of them has a policy of not sending rejections and wondered why I even bother to send to them.
And I got another solicit today, this one from an editor that liked "Checkmate." I'm not sure I have what SleazeMag wants for the inaugural issue of their new zine, but I loved what the editor had to say about "Checkmate": "I'm just getting in touch today to say I had the pleasure of stumbling upon a super clever piece you wrote in a recent issue of the Blue Fifth Review. It was an explosion of comedic feeling and truly a perfect, tight piece of flash fiction with no fat. It can be so much fun how we pick small moments like such, a game of chess labeled as a rhizome for a relationship, predicating its apexes and failures, setting the stage for a decade of reminiscence. The geographical sweep made it feel the speakers' (your?) relationship as big as the world itself and the ultimate collapse a heartbreak of corroborating size. Yet the utter nonchalance, sweeping it into oblivion. So yeah, wowza! I really, seriously enjoyed reading it."
A reminder that I should write more fan letters myself, since it's so cool to get one.