I've always admired Francine Witte's FLASH BOULEVARD, which publishes groups of micros or flash by one author once a week. I'm thrilled to have a group of creative nonfiction micros in FLASH BOULEVARD this week under the title "I Dream You Are Alive": "So Long Ago,” “The Umbrella,” “We Could Have,” “Family Ties,” “Sex Education,” “Something else,” and “Returning to the Wreck."
I love Flash Fiction February at FICTIVE DREAM. This is the sixth year I've been included. Love the art work by Claudia McGill every day (acrylics and ink) and all of the flash so far have been stellar. This year and last I wrote my flash with FICTIVE DREAM in mind, since I know the editor Laura Black wants stories in contemporary settings, generally character-driven. It was a lot of fun to write about this dislikable character in "Pretty Penny."
I hadn't exactly thought of "January 25, 2014" in PAST TEN as an essay, though of course it is. It felt more more like a journal entry that I wanted to give some shape and depth to (read: an essay) by using the theme of "perhapsing" and the idea of the heart as literal and metaphorical. I had a due date, and I was in the midst of health problems and ER visits and hospital stay so I had hardly any time to work on it. And maybe that actually helped. At any rate I've gotten some very kind responses to the writing, some from writers I don't usually interact with. And not the barrage of medical advice I'd feared, just a private DM exchange from someone who's gone through the same medical problem themselves, which was very useful. I think my pub also generated a lot of interest in the journal, which is always nice.
And CURRENT accepted "Shoplifting," and will pay for it, and I greatly enjoyed publishing there before, even though they're not strictly a lit mag, or a place where friends publish. It was great being in a different sort of journal.
Bailey Gaylin Moore invited me to contribute to her cool site PAST TEN, where writers answer the question: "Where were you on this day ten years ago?" There have been some great contributors, most recently Kathy Fish and Grant Faulkner.
My take on "January 25,, 2014" is overshadowed by my current health anxieties, but it was fun to take on a "perhapsing" challenge (since that's undoubtedly the exercise that my creative nonfiction students were engaged in that week). Nice to take my mind off my health, which nevertheless overshadows the piece.
Loved learning that Bailey teaches the collaborative essay that I wrote with Steve ("Imaginary Friends") in her nonfiction classes at the University of Missouri.
Literally, heart trouble. I have been having scary health issues since December 27. Four ER visits, almost a week in the hospital (I've never stayed in the hospital for more than a night that I can remember). Bailey Moore, editor at PAST TEN, solicited a piece from me on what I was doing on January 25, 2014, and against all odds I got it in by the due date, today. I wrote more about my current heart troubles than about what I was doing then (impossible to remember, though I should have tried to unearth my journals). It comes out on the 25th.
BULB CULTURE COLLECTIVE brought out a mini-interview today to accompany their reprint of my story "Raney's Imaginary Friend."
I got a really nice note from Robert Erle Barham at CURRENT praising "Randall's Commute" in some detail (and asking if I have anything else for Current, which solicited me a while ago and published "What Grows on Trees"). It's nice to be thinking about writing and not my precarious health.
A shock to cross over from the land of the relatively healthy to the land of the unwell. To suddenly come face to face with mortality like this. I suppose it's something I've been writing about since the beginning of the pandemic, but I've never felt it so keenly.
An unexpected discovery when I was up, working on my back pain before I returned to bed: my Bay Area road rage story "Randall's Commute" is out in BULL today! I didn't expect this for a few months. BULL is a dream publication and I'm really pleased to appear there for the second time.
This story really deepened and evolved as I was writing it. I love how it came out.
The year started inauspiciously, with my first case of COVID (requiring quarantine in Scotland) and then an emergency root canal in January. It could only improve after that.
I’m proud to have been awarded another Notable Essay listing in Best American Essays this year, for my essay “Cutting Edge,” published in Permafrost. I’m particularly pleased that a hybrid essay written for my WIP The Lunatics’ Ball was chosen for this honor.
I made good progress on The Lunatics’ Ball (despite often feeling I was at a standstill). Both of the longform essays that I published this year are part of the collection, both in dream publications. In addition to other flash, I also published two flash from The Lunatics’ Ball in wonderful journals with particular interest in hybrids.
Deep thanks to the following journals for publishing my work in 2023:
Bulb Culture Collective
Flash Fiction, Flash Nonfiction, Hybrids
Centaur (nominated for Best of the Net)
Deep thanks also to the editors of these anthologies and craft books for publishing (and/or discussing) my work in 2023:
Awakenings, edited by Diane Gottlieb (ELJ Editions)
The Art of Brevity by Grant Faulkner (University of New Mexico Press)
I read twice in the Rolling Writers reading series in San Francisco, now relocated from the Rolling Café to Jon Sindell’s beautiful garden in the Outer Sunset, and also in the FBomb NY Flash Fiction Series (relocated from the KGB Bar in Manhattan to Zoom) and the new online series Prose Garden, curated by Francine Witte and Meg Pokrass.
A number of writers have taught my works in their classes this year. I enjoyed my Zoom visit to Kathryn Kulpa’s Cleaver workshop on flash collections. I also enjoyed being interviewed by a student in Jill Talbot’s graduate seminar “B(l)ending Genre: Fiction and Nonfiction” at the University of North Texas.
I was privileged to interview Sarah Fawn Montgomery for CRAFT. I published craft essays on Adrienne Rich (in Adrienne Koesters’ series) and on Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart” (in the Scratch Classics series).
It was such a joy to work as the Creative Nonfiction Section Editor for CRAFT. I’m always sorry that we have to turn down so many excellent submissions, but I’m very proud of the wonderful longform creative nonfiction and flash nonfiction that we published in 2023. I’m also very gratified that we earned another Notable Essay listing (this one for Beth Kephart’s stellar essay “Thieves”). We have only been publishing creative nonfiction for three years, and “Thieves” is our fourth Notable Essay.
I want to thank all of the editors who have believed in my work this year; the fellow writers who have encouraged me in my writing groups and on social media; the Editor-in-Chief and my editorial assistants and freelance readers at CRAFT; and the writers who have trusted CRAFT with their work. I appreciate all of you beyond words.
Wishing you a healthy, happy, productive new year.
[Photo of manual typewriter with thank you typed in multiple languages by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash]
The Prose Garden reading, curated by Francine Witte and Meg Pokrass, was wonderful, They've posted it on Youtube (my reading starts at 44:09, but everyone was great, and I love their interview of the primary reader, Jeff Friedman).
I've been working on THE LUNATICS' BALL and have just about no submissions out in the world. Now, two acceptances within three days. One of them from the second place that responded, one of them from the first place that responded! Or maybe I should say eight acceptances, since FLASH BOULEVARD just took a group of seven micros. Out next January or February. I love Francine Witte's FLASH BOULEVARD and I'm very excited.
I have a new story that started as a flash and deepened and grew into a (short) short story, and I just sent it out to a bunch of places, and got one rejection yesterday (nice, but disappointing, since I published there before) and then my second response was a super-nice acceptance today from BULL! (Unforgettable opening line: "This is brilliant.")
I love BULL. Their fiction is consistently good. They've published a lot of writers, and stories, I'm crazy about. I published a satirical flash with them last year ("The Peak of His Powers"), but "Randall's Commute" is quite different, almost religious at the end.
It will be five or six months before it's out. I like knowing something's coming out in the future. My nonfiction flash "Ode to My Cat, Ten Years Gone" will be coming out in SWEET next spring also.