When Tom Conaghan of Scratch Books in the UK asked me to write an introduction to a classic short story whose writer had died before 1952, Poe was one of the first authors who occurred to me. Loved writing "On 'The Tell-Tale Heart.'"
Scratch Books posted the link on twitter with this cool illustration (don't know by whom or from where).
Two invitations yesterday and today.
Yesterday Ashley Balcazar, the graduate student in Jill Talbot's graduate seminar "B(l)ending Genres: Fiction and Nonfiction," wrote to ask whether our interview could in fact be published in a portfolio of student interviews at AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW. Before we did the interview, we'd agreed that it would just be for the class. I was frank and informal in a way I probably wouldn't have been if she hadn't been bipolar herself and if the interview was for publication. I guess it's probably okay, with some cuts.
I just finished the craft essay on hybridity and THE LUNATICS' BALL for the W.W. Norton textbook, improved after back and forth with my friend Matthew. No telling whether the publishers will want it, but I have my fingers crossed.
Francine Witte just invited me to be one of the spotlight readers on December 2 at the new online reading series she's co-curating with Meg Pokrass THE PROSE GARDEN.
Bulb Culture Collective just posted their Halloween pubs individually, so "Raney's Imaginary Friend" is now more accessible. Maybe I'll get some readers.
We just did a new piece of my fiction in writing group today, and I'm pleased to report there are no literary references in it.
Steve just got his first blurb for his novella. Exciting!
Halloween was a busy day for publications. "Raney's Imaginary Friend" seems to have come and gone pretty much unnoticed. Oh well. It was a reprint anyway, but it's a story I've always liked. I don't write much longform fiction. Working on some flash this past few weeks has reawakened my interest in flash fiction too. I've gotten rusty. I managed to come up with a flash that I hope Laura Black at FICTIVE DREAM will like and another one that I sent elsewhere.
An unexpected opportunity: "The Lunatics' Ball" might be included in a chapter on hybrids in a writing textbook. W.W. Norton would have to approve but for now the textbook writers would like a craft essay, and writing that has been rejuvenating. Even if they don't use it, writing about the project has helped me focus on why I'm doing it and the craft choices I've made.
For no reason at all: Van Gogh's "Corridor in the Asylum," which editors at separate publications used to illustrate one of my pieces and one of Steve's pieces. At around the same time if I remember right. We're a good match: apparently both mad. I'm not sure you'd know the light-filled corridor was in a mental asylum if you didn't know Van Gogh's story. A bit jumbled and chaotic in the foreground, a possibly infinite series of portals, but light-filled.
So thrilled to interview Sarah Fawn Montgomery for CRAFT, and that she has agreed to judge our contest this year (now called the Memoir Excerpt & Essay Contest).
Just in time for Halloween, Bulb Culture Collective has done a gathering of spooky reprints, including my story "Raney's Imaginary Friend," complete with yellow wallpaper and a ghostly double. After "Bartleby" a week or two ago, you probably think all of my stories feature academics in the throes of literary criticism of famous short stories, but really those are the only two. (I think.)
Steve and I spent an afternoon at Lake Chabot taking author photos with the Portrait feature on my iPhone and I think he's settled on one. He's actually smiling.
And the University of Tampa Press just posted an Acquisition Announcement for his novella, the first in their new series Pomme. I love that Poe features in the description.
CAPTAIN CHICANO DRAWS A LINE IN THE AMERICAN SAND By Stephen D. Gutierrez
We are thrilled to announce that we’ll be publishing Stephen D. Gutierrez’s Captain Chicano Draws a Line in the American Sand as the inaugural work of our novella series, Pomme.
Captain Chicano is out to save the country! White supremacy is on the rise and he is the only one capable of beating it with a secret weapon. Love. But will it work? His own life isn’t so great, beset by superhero insecurities and Chicano doubts. What is a Chicano superhero supposed to do? How is he supposed to act? Luckily, he and the narrator, engaged on his own quest to write a gothic account of America, of its present crisis of democracy and demographics, can team up, and create a bigger mess, and a better time together. Luckily for them both, Edgar Allan Poe is interested in the project, and makes a series of haunting appearances, sad and comical and serious, to help the tale along. But will the nation really be saved from its own demons and survive the extremism in the air? The answer is surprising and poignant.
Captain Chicano Draws a Line in the American Sand will be released in Summer 2024. Cover reveals and more to follow soon!
Stephen D. Gutierrez is the author of three collections of short stories and essays, and winner of an American Book Award. His work has appeared in North American Review, Catamaran Literary Reader, Chicago Quarterly Review, Hunger Mountain Review, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Cimarron Review (forthcoming), and numerous anthologies. Two of his essays have earned Notable Essay citations, most recently in Best American Essays 2022. Originally from City of Commerce, a small working-class city in Southeast Los Angeles County, he taught for many years at California State University East Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he still makes his home.
Almost as exciting as my own Notable is the fact that CRAFT has a Notable Essay listing in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS this year as well: Beth Kephart's stunning essay "Thieves."
CRAFT started publishing CNF in July 2020 and I'm the first CNF editor. This is our fourth Notable, which is pretty unusual for an online journal. I'm very proud of that!
Our four Notables:
Beth Kephart, "Thieves"
BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2023
Andrea Avery, "Father Figure"
BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2022
Shaina Phenix, "some things I knew by age seven"
BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2022
A.D. Carr, "Losing Composure"
BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2021
I'm visiting two classes via Zoom in the coming week or so: Kathryn Kulpa's class "Bringing It All Back Home: The Flash Collection and Flash Novella" at CLEAVER to talk about THE MISSING GIRL and THE LUNATICS' BALL, and Will Woolfitt's undergraduate class "On Being a Writer" at Lee University in Tennessee.
Kathryn asked her students to read THE MISSING GIRL and "The Lunatics' Ball" and "Cutting Edge." I'm already getting some interesting questions from them, and a gratifying comment from one of her students:, who called THE MISSING GIRL "an incredibly visceral, impactful read! So well-done: it fueled a righteous, vindictive rage in the best way. Wow! A powerful work." I've wondered how the collection wears, since it came out just before #MeToo publicized so many heartbreaking, true stories, perhaps too many for us to take in.
Ben's home from Aberdeen and was able to help me figure out how to make the font size the same on successive pages of my ridiculously rudimentary powerpoint for Kathryn's class.