I absolutely loved my BENDING GENRES class. Twelve super-talented writers (many known to me or whose work was known to me) produced twenty-four simply amazing flash. It was inspiring, and though that was a lot to comment on in one weekend, they came in at different times, which made it easier than a batch of papers in a university class. I'm so glad I did this, and I'm looking forward to teaching more (maybe through CRAFT, a program under discussion).
I got a hefty payment in Paypal and I'm already spending it. I signed up for a two hour class with Aimee Bender this Saturday, whose work I love. The topic seems perfect for me also, "A Sense of Play: How to Free Things Up and Surprise Yourself on the Page." Here's the description: "Link and materials will be emailed at least 30 minutes before class. This workshop will involve a lot of play, writing exercises, talk about approaches, and how to follow what’s happening on the page, all in service of thinking about what we can do to free up the work, and let it emerge on its own terms." I'm as interested in the design and teaching as I am in trying this kind of writing. I remember reading a book of her short stories and sitting down immediately to write a crazy flash (can't remember which one); Meg's class gave me a welcome injection of crazy too.
I geek out over birds. In sixth grade I wanted to be an ornithologist. For some reason growing up in New Jersey I always wanted to see a cedar waxwing, and I was really excited in California when a migrating flock of cedar waxwings descended on the small tree outside our family room window to eat the orange berries on a small tree there. (After twenty years in this house, you'd think I'd know the name of the tree, but I don't.) This past week, two amazing sightings. A heavy-footed creature on our sitting room roof that sent me outside to investigate turned out to be an honest-to-God raven. Much larger than the local crows, it had a breathtakingly large wingspan. When it flew off, it soared in the sky like a hawk. And the second sighting was in San Francisco of all places. We get a lot of Red-Tailed Hawks in the East Bay. They're always soaring and circling high up in the sky along with the turkey buzzards. We saw one only about five or six feet away in San Francisco. Sitting in traffic on Bush Street, driving home from Ben's place in the early afternoon, we spied it right outside the car window, perched on a traffic sign. Gorgeous, with streaky white and reddish brown feathers on its breast and brown and white striped wings which it lifted and spread out twice before flying to a nearby fire escape, a small gray pigeon clutched in its talons.
So excited to get an acceptance for my Joseph Cornell shadow box piece at SUPERSTITION REVIEW, a magazine I love and admire, my second appearance there. No word on whether they'll be reproducing the shadow box, which I really hope they do. (They don't usually have color reproductions, and my two sources are unofficial blogs; I have no idea whether permission is required, and from where.)
I can now announce that HARPY HYBRID REVIEW accepted my piece "Half Fish Tale, Half Ars Poetica," which was originally published in the print journal HOTEL AMERIKA. I'd love to see it get an online life. A mermaid figures prominently. I do love harpies though, and have been welcomed to "the harpy family." They're often monstrous looking, but the harpy in the REVIEW's logo is quite lovely.
My BENDING GENRES workshop starts today! 14 students, all experienced flash writers, and I know quite a few of them. Great writers! I can't wait to see what they produce!
I entered Kathy Fish's lottery for upcoming classes and got a place in the 3-day flash memoir class in December (on my birthday, in fact). Looking forward to it.
Love prose poems and tiny micros, especially hybrids and lyric flash, so I’m thrilled to have a micro ("Afterlives") included in the stellar inaugural issue of RAN OFF WITH THE STAR BASSOON. Thank you to the editor Rogan Kelly. (And thank you Kathy Fish for a Fast Flash prompt that included Citizen Kane!)
What a beautiful first issue this is! Beautiful art and design as well as writing. There’s work by Lydia Davis, and too many amazing prose poems and micros to list. Rare for me to like everything in a magazine issue. Also, check out “Take Five” on the First Sessions page, with Alexandre Silvério playing the bassoon.
My Poe-inspired story “The Leaf Blower” is up at POTATO SOUP JOURNAL today. Leaf blowers felt like a fitting subject for a murder story.
Not sure why I keep landing on elderly, unmarried narrators, often unreliable. The fussy spinster narrator isn’t me, of course, but she's a lit professor, and I used some real details about a neighbor in the character of Henry. After writing creative nonfiction for so long, it’s strange to start incorporating true details into fiction. I did that in “The Blue-Haired Woman on the Polish Freighter” also (another elderly unmarried narrator). I was actually on a Polish freighter like that, with a German husband (not fiancé), and heard a Polish acrobat sing “All that meat / and no potatoes.”
Decided on a flash and 2 micros for the FBOMB Flash NYC reading tomorrow on Zoom. Going for short and accessible this time, not necessarily the stories I like the best. One is recent, one is forthcoming, which is nice.
Got my BENDING GENRES lesson plan with links to readings and videos sent off. Equally worried that enrollment will be too high or too low. Meg Tuite's was very small, and she's a lot better known than I am. I loved her workshop, though, and I'm really pleased with the two flash that were born there.
Amidst all the online hubbub about long essays, I have a tiny microfiction today at SIX SENTENCES. I just sent "Waterloo" to Rob McEvily yesterday. Publishing should always be so easy.
So excited and surprised. I wondered whether university-affiliated print magazines like PASSAGES NORTH would even manage to send copies to BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, with everything so affected by the pandemic. This is an essay close to my heart, because it's one of the hybrid memoir/profile essays in my work-in-progress THE LUNATICS' BALL. My seventh Notable.
After putting together a submission for a magazine when their new call for submissions landed in my email inbox this morning, I discovered that they still have my submission from September 2020. If they're actively soliciting new work, they've obviously got staff (not sure everyone does, in COVID times). So is it time to ask what happened to my sub? That's the oldest, but I have two others from January and February 2021, both at prestigious magazines that have published me before! Doesn't make me feel particularly cherished that they're taking this long. I've decided to keep waiting on those, and ask about the September one. So hard deciding where to send things, whether to do simultaneous (I didn't for the February one, since they frown on it), how long to wait. This is also an exceptional year. I get that.
Changes soon at work and at home. Can't talk about the pending work changes yet, but our son found a studio apartment in San Francisco and will be moving out. We'll miss having him here, though he's just a short distance away. He's moved away and back home, away and home numerous times since he graduated high school, but it always makes us sad.
A rejection of something I only sent to one place and I'm thinking I may retire. An acceptance at a cool online magazine of a reprint from a cool print magazine. They don't want me to announce it until their submission period is over, but I'm pleased. I wanted this one to be available online, and it seems a perfect fit.
The announcement for my September 17-19 Bending Genres workshop just went up. You can register here.