I just finished a new short story which my writing group hasn't seen yet (six drafts so far), and a short new lyric essay (ten drafts) that I'm really pleased with and just sent out. I did two versions with my writing group and learned something in the process about preserving the mood and lyricism of the original draft of an essay like that. Really love my San Francisco writing group, The Leporine Conspiracy, who also pushed me to aim for a publication I probably wouldn't have. I just sent it out. Worth a try.
And since the publication wanted a pitch and clips, and I was looking for essays that revolve around literary texts, I made a couple of useful discoveries. One is that the link to the essay that Steve and I wrote in Grist has changed (glad to keep my links updated), and the other is that Electric Literature eventually gets rid of the comments section (I hate comments sections). The new essay is partly about revisiting past selves by revisiting a book you've read long ago, and revisiting my past essays has also been interesting.
Got my first haircut in over a year (probably since February 2020) and it feels great. Starting with long-postponed appointments, now that I've been vaccinated. Next week, the dentist. Steve gets his second vaccination at the end of the month (the first already gives greatly increased immunity). Ben's not eligible until next week and I have my fingers crossed that he'll land something soon. Either way, we're thinking about a short trip to the coast, maybe overnight.
Grappling with technology, never my forte. Last week, a crisis when I lost my email account. It turned out to be easy for IT at CSUEB to fix. (They were great.) This week, I need to make a video of my flash "Spelling Lachlan" for the 2021 NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY ANTHOLOGY. Poor Steve has filmed me reading my flash outside and then inside twice, and the lighting has been wrong, or the reading not right. And now I've realized that it needs to be horizontal, not vertical, since they're going to post the videos on Youtube, so we have to do it again. I did figure out how to upload a video to Google Drive and turn it into a link in an email, though, another first for me.
I also volunteered to do an audio version of my lyric essay "Haunting Houses" for NEW OHIO REVIEW, which is posting the issue online later this month. I've used Garage Band on my Mac before, but I'm pretty sure it's changed since then.
Woke up to an acceptance for my flash nonfiction "Ready or Not" (the one that missed the boat last week in a European quarterly because of the last line). It will be coming out in GONE LAWN, a magazine I admire that's rejected me many times. Very exciting!
We had a nice dinner and brunch (at home) on Easter, and my husband got his first COVID shot on Saturday, but the weekend was marred when I lost access to my university email on Friday. I managed, miraculously, to get hold of IT, but they were unable to locate the problem. I retired last June and never processed my "separation" paperwork and it looked like that might be the problem; the IT guy couldn't even find the account, which he said might have been disabled or even (gasp!) deleted. I realized that I have no copy of all my contacts (I had to look up Alia on her website to send stuff for my writing group this week), that my email is my user name on countless sites, that my email functions as a vast filing cabinet for all of my submissions in progress (especially important for those that don't go through Submittable) and all of my publications. And journals do get in touch with me after the fact: I'm corresponding with NEW OHIO REVIEW right now about them putting up my print pub from a couple of years ago online.
So I was a wreck. They solved the problem Monday morning (I hadn't re-activated my net id at some point, which I don't remember ever being asked to do) and I got my email back, and discovered 127 new emails, including two rejections and important correspondence with MIDWAY JOURNAL about my story coming out with them in a week or so. Sigh of relief that everything's back to normal.
GONE LAWN is online, but they do nice art for their covers. The pic above is their logo, drawn I think by one of the editors, Owen Kaelan. I've been following fiction by the other editor, Maura Yzmore, for a long time, and GONE LAWN has published tons and tons of writers I admire. The current issue just came out and they're quarterly, so I think issue 41 will be the summer solstice issue. June maybe?
So thrilled to have my lyric riff on Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot out in the gorgeous new issue of ETHEL. I have never been in a handmade, hand-sewn literary journal before, and it is just gorgeous, clearly a labor of love. I'm grateful to editors Joanna Penn Cooper and Sara Lefsyk for creating such a beautiful artifact and including my work.
I've told Vivienne's story in two essays for THE LUNATICS' BALL, one about dancers who died in lunatic asylums (Lucia Joyce, Zelda Fitzgerald, Vivienne), one still in progress on literary marriages. Somehow "The Waste Land" has haunted the collection from the beginning and it was wonderful to riff on Eliot's poem and Vivienne's tragic life the way a poet would.
My micro "Easy Street" is up today at FFF: FREE FLASH FICTION. I can't remember the prompt that inspired it, but I wrote this at the latest Kathy Fish Fast Flash Reunion. Really excited that I'll be taking another of her classes in May.
And after a very long time, I heard from the print journal SONORA REVIEW that they're printing and sending out the latest issue in three weeks. (I expected it last summer; the pandemic has thrown off a lot of magazine schedules, especially university-affiliated print magazines. I was surprised that FOURTH GENRE stayed more or less on schedule.) I just finished revising "Capturing Augustine" and sent it to a handful of places; SONORA REVIEW is publishing "Charcot's Monkey" from the same LUNATICS' BALL group of flash.
I think some contributors have received their copies of ETHEL, another print magazine I'm eagerly awaiting.
It’s the first day of spring, a beautiful sunny day in the Bay Area, and I have three flash in the grand new issue of TINY MOLECULES. Big thanks to Kelsey Ipsen and the other editors for publishing "Eyes on Me," "Damned for all Eternity," and "A Mary with Teeth.". So many great writers have appeared in their first eight issues, and I’m honored to appear in their company.
The flash grew out of the reading I was doing on nineteenth-century mental asylums and the Irish-American experience. Originally I thought I would include fictions in THE LUNATICS' BALL, prefaced with a line from Virginia Woolf: "Let me imagine, since facts are so hard to come by …"
The project feels more unwieldy by the day, and probably won't include fiction after all.
I'll start with the bad. A flash nonfiction of mine almost made it into a top online journal (European) but the editor asked me to change the last line. I said no and explained why (it really didn't make sense the way he wanted it). He wrote back two weeks later (that is, yesterday) and said that was a deal-breaker and he wouldn't be publishing it after all. I was so surprised and chagrined that I almost cried. But I haven't changed my mind about the last line, and wouldn't have been happy at all if I'd agreed to the change.
And the good. Just read proofs for my three flash about 19th-century Irish immigrant girls, coming out in TINY MOLECULES on Saturday. Looking forward to it.
And more good. Somehow the audience for print journals doesn't quite seem real, compared to the online audience for online journals, particularly for flash on twitter. So I was blown away to get a detailed email from a really good emerging essayist about my essay "On Hearing That Her First Husband" in FOURTH GENRE. It was really so uplifting to hear that she'd loved the essay, and what she'd loved about the essay. I compliment essayists on twitter, but really should write to essayists too!
That essay went through a lot of drafts over a period of years. Hearing from an appreciative reader makes me feel great.
It's St. Patrick's Day and we're going to have vegetarian Shepherd's Pie tonight and listen to Irish music online. And Friday I got my second COVID vaccine, which means that a week and a half from now I can finally go out into the world (masked, socially distanced, but much less worried).
For the past ten years, the UK has been celebrating Flash Fiction Day in a big way every spring, with a Flash Flood online, and an annual anthology. I've been in the Flash Flood a couple of times. A couple of years ago I was turned down for their anthology (theme: doors; I placed both of my subs elsewhere). This year at the last minute I decided to write something for their theme again: magic. "Spelling Lachlan" was just accepted by Santino Prinzi for the NATIONAL FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY 2021. Here's the list, which includes three other writers in my online writing group Quills (Lisa Ferranti, Jolene McIlwain, Claire Polders)! I'm excited to be in an anthology with them.
NFFD will be celebrated on June 26 this year.
My flash fiction "Mistaken" is up at MAC(RO)MIC today. The editor Nick Olson also posted the flash nonfiction I published with them several years ago, "Waiting for BART." (Who would have guessed I'd be so nostalgic for BART?) Nice responses from a lot of my twitter flash family members, who get up earlier than I do.
Karen Schnauber solicited "Zig Zag" for her flash reprint site MIRAMICHI FLASH. A nice surprise. I'm glad to get some more life out of that one, which I still like a lot.
When I started THE LUNATICS' BALL, I imagined a hybrid collection of fiction and nonfiction and wrote a group of flash about Irish girls in nineteenth-century asylums. I don't think I will include them in the project after all (it's enough of a challenge getting the memoir pieces and nonfiction profiles to cohere), but I'm really pleased that TINY MOLECULES has accepted the remaining three as a group, as they belong together. TINY MOLECULES is fairly new (seven issues so far) and has published lots of flash writers that I know and admire.
“Eyes on Me,” “Damned for All Eternity,” and “A Mary With Teeth" will be out on March 20.
Still waiting for two print magazines that should be out soon with work of mine. SONORA REVIEW posted a tweet saying they were coming soon. And so did ETHEL. ETHEL will be my first publication in a hand-made, hand-bound magazine. They've posted pictures and it looks beautiful. Can't wait to get it in my hands.
I had a feeling it was going to be hard to write a review when I agreed to do it, and I'm not in a hurry to do another one. But I got to say a few things about flash nonfiction and name some writers that I admire. My review of the new anthology THE BEST OF BREVITY is up at CRAFT today.