My oddball, segmented CNF flash "A Dress with Pockets, or Mediterranean Vistas" is up at THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE. Big thanks to editor Kevin Brennan. And to Kathy Fish and the other fast flashers in her flash memoir class, who inspired me. A perfect fit: the class, the dress, the journal.
From the mission statement of THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE: "Yet there is a place for 'high risk' writing, fresh, creative, experimental, idiosyncratic, idiomatic, iconoclastic writing. Writers should be allowed to have their quirks. They need blank canvases that don’t have predetermined dimensions."
I'm a sucker for all things Poe. An anthology forthcoming from Twelve House Books, POESQUE, put out a call for short stories, including reprints, so I sent "The Leaf Blower," published last year in POTATO SOUP JOURNAL. They took it. I don't even get a print copy, only a .pdf, but it's always nice to see stories reach a different audience.
LATER: When I questioned this in the contract--"Should WORK require editing, minor edits (including those which may affect integrity of the narrative) will be executed without the permission of AUTHOR," and also said that they had to cite Potato Soup Journal as first publication—the publisher wrote back and canceled the contract! Very unprofessional. I wonder what kinds of edits they put their poor authors through and feel glad to have escaped.
Just heard from Kevin Brennan at THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE that he loves the offbeat lyric-comic essay I just wrote in Kathy Fish's class! Don't have a date yet, but Kevin usually posts right away. THE DISAPPOINTED HOUSEWIFE published another oddball flash of mine a couple of years ago, and Kevin nominated it for a Pushcart, and DeMisty D. Bellinger at Fitchburg State University told me on Twitter that she teaches it. Not everyone in my writing group even liked it, but it's one of my favorites, very much my voice and aesthetic: "Two Guys Carrying a Toilet into Taco Bell." What is it with Taco Bell? I'm working on a flash right now where it features prominently. We never eat there.
I've had work this week. Editorial work for CRAFT, though a week off from reading subs. Editing two pieces for friends, instrux for a new editorial assistant, this and that. A couple of disappointing rejections (one particularly unexpected and shockingly impersonal, from a magazine where i've published three times already). But mostly I've been resting up. Sea Ranch is utterly beautiful. We've seen deer, a fox, very large rabbits, lots of hawks and turkey vultures soaring and swooping down very close, seagulls, barn swallows--one just a few feet away on the railing of our deck (much more colorful than they look from far away). Steve saw seals on his hike today. No whales, sometimes visible on this part of the coast, just south of Mendocino County. There's a hot tub at our Airbnb. Very peaceful.
Thrilled that my essay "Cutting Edge" has been accepted at PERMAFROST, a really top journal out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks that is known for innovative, "unconventional, expansive" writing. (Steve was a finalist in their New Alchemy contest a few years back.) Particularly thrilled because this is one of the experimental cross-genre essays in THE LUNATICS' BALL.
(Perhaps weird to thank magazines where I was rejected, but very encouraging notes about "Cutting Edge" from IRON HORSE LITERARY REVIEW, BELLEVUE LITERARY REVIEW, HAYDEN'S FERRY REVIEW, and BOULEVARD helped me stay the course on this one.)
This must be my week of near misses. A while ago, I heard from another great journal that I'd made the cut, one of five finalists they were sending to their guest editor (whose work I really admire). Today: they loved the essay, but had room for only two and mine's not one of them.
This one's part of THE LUNATICS' BALL. I'm not sending out many of those, and I have mixed feelings about pubishing them. At this point I've had some good publications from the collection-in-progress, one Notable Essay among them. I love the encouragement of publication, but it might be better not to publish too much if I'm going to look for a publisher.
Rejections don't get any softer than this latest for my Bartleby-and-Wings of Desire-inspired story. They almost took it and just didn't have space. They called it "masterful." STORY magazine also loved it and sent a soft reject. At this point an acceptance would be nice.
Roster for my May 11 reading with Flash Fiction Forum in San Jose is up. I only know a couple of the readers, but it should be fun anyway. The Zoom picture they're using from an old reading has Steve and me peeking over the bottom in the middle.
Feeling the dearth off new material right now. Nothing to send for this year's Flash Flood. Not much out looking for homes. But I've been making progress on THE LUNATICS' BALL, so it's not like I'm not writing.
Feeling very discouraged by what a colossal project THE LUNATICS' BALL has turned out to be, and by how much repetition I have to deal with, and by how the pieces to this puzzle fit together. My San Francisco writing group, and my single beta reader (a traveler who's now in Oaxaca), is helping a lot.
And I love my small online flash group. Two members will be in the new magazine 10 BY 10 and urged me to submit something. "The Magician's Assistant" was just accepted for their second issue (which will also include friends Kathryn Kulpa and Gay Degani). The lineup for the first issue, which includes Kathy Fish and I'm forgetting who else, looks terrific. A pick-me-up.
Working overtime for CRAFT, as we assemble the prize winners for the Creative Nonfiction contest, and other upcoming publications, and a revise-and-resubmit. Just finished writing an introduction that i found difficult. I't's satisfying work, but can be time-consuming as well.
Inspired by a grownups' brawl at a kids' Easter egg hunt, this came out in print in THE MACGUFFIN a few years ago: "Easter Mayhem in Wampum."
One of the organizers of the reading series Flash Fiction Forum wrote to me that she ran across "The Madwoman on BART" on matchbook and would love to have me read it in their series. I said yes, even though it means missing a meeting of my writing group, which is always super-useful. It's in San Jose and this one's hybrid--part in person, part Zoom. I think I'll take Zoom; it's a long drive for a short flash.
A rejection from a magazine that semi-solicited me. That is, they solicited me, but I think along with other people. Always a bummer.
Slowly but surely getting household tasks and health tasks completed. Root canal yesterday and more health appointments this week and next. Seems never-ending at my age. We went to a dinner party on Sunday (!), and out to breakfast this morning (!). COVID statistics in Alameda County pretty good right now. We're planning some trips. Ojai in August, where I'll take a writing class. Aberdeen some time in the fall or winter, where Ben will be doing a master's degree. Exciting news.