My creative nonfiction flash “The Madwoman on BART” is up at MATCHBOOK, one of my very favorite flash zines. So thrilled to publish there again. (Already riding the BART train to San Francisco seems long ago and far away. I would love to be on BART again.) This one’s from my work-in-progress THE LUNATICS’ BALL, where narrative pov sometimes takes center stage as I puzzle through levels of identification with my subjects.
Big thanks to the editors, R.B. Pillay and Brian Mihok! MATCHBOOK is on my top 5 long-established favorites list (among hundreds and hundreds of flash journals out there—who knows? maybe a thousand by now). The work they publish is consistently topnotch, they've published tons of writers whose work I know and love, and they're the only top flash journal that publishes lyric work that's not necessarily plot-centered. My first publication there, "Heartbreak Hotel," has only a hint of character and plot at most. I guess "The Madwoman" has a plot, of sorts.
Two reasons not to go out of the house now: the pandemic, and fires raging all over the state. In the Bay Area, the smoke is so bad that our air quality was the worst in the world today. Now the daily statistics are pandemic cases, pandemic deaths, acres burned, houses destroyed, areas for evacuation. Even some fire-related deaths. And because COVID-19 has decimated prison populations, and prisoners have always comprised a large portion of California's firefighting force, the number of firefighters is way down. It's tragic what's happening to our state. And our country and the world.
Can't seem to manage a self-guided writing class, maybe because of my workload, maybe because once again the state of the world has me paralyzed. I appreciate the readings in the "speculative nonfiction" class at CREATIVE NONFICTION at least, and maybe I'll get to the prompts later. I'd already written an introduction using the term "speculative nonfiction" for our reprint in CRAFT of a dazzling essay by the poet Patricia Smith (coming out next week). And I think it's a good description of a lot of my own nonfiction, which usually includes imaginative riffs and sometimes is one long imaginative riff (as in the alternative lives for my aunt in "Kaleidoscope" in COLD MOUNTAIN REVIEW). Two of the prompts for the class (one involving photographs, one based on Sonja Livingston's "A Thousand Mary Doyles") fit things I've already written. I even used an epigraph from Livingston's flash in my essay "Another Mary Doyle" in UNDER THE SUN.
Lots of work this week for CRAFT (the editorial duties that have kicked in are challenging and interesting) and BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS (reading the final round of chapbooks for their contest).