Rudri Patel and Sudha Balagopal from the Arizona-based group Desert Flash invited me to read something and talk on nonfiction flash yesterday, along with Michelle Ross, who talked on flash fiction and read, and Jayne Martin and Dan Crawley, who read. The dimensions of the event kept changing, and in fact it turned out to be quite small, with some eminent flash writers and editors there (Michelle Finn Johnson of Split Lip, Kim Magowan of Pithead Chapel, Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar—all three amazing writers, other published emerging writers). Sudha asked me to talk about where to publish and I felt like my talk was pretty basic, aimed at a less experienced audience. But I still enjoyed the event anyway, and will attend their next event as a spectator participant. Sudha took a picture of the screen.
The English department's end-of-the-year party via Zoom on Friday was fun, and I was touched that the department recognized my retirement, and that a lot of students chimed in on the chat board saying they'd loved my classes and would miss me. It was a nicer way to exit that some of the retirement parties in the dean's conference room have been in the past, and I got to celebrate the winners of the two contests I started and have been running for the student lit mag Occam's Razor.
Hoping to catch Alia in a Zoom memoir event on Monday that includes Sejal Shah, whose writing has always interested me, especially since she outed herself as bipolar in Kenyon Review, and discussed the difficulty she had as a closeted bipolar academic (who failed to get tenure). I introduced myself to her at AWP. Her essay ("Even If You Can't See It: Invisible Disability and Neurodiversity") meant a lot to me, probably helped me to weather the self-disclosure involved in THE LUNATICS' BALL.
But I'm getting tired of Zoom events, which are definitely no substitute for in-person readings.
There has been an amazing tidal wave of response on Twitter and Facebook to my tiny 50-word micro. I have meanwhile been laboring over my pandemic micros and I think they're ready to send out. (Michelle Ross advised yesterday that you should sit on work for a few weeks or months before sending it out; I don't seem to be able to do that. She also mentioned getting 30-40 rejections on some pieces before they were accepted, but continuing to believe in her work; I don't seem to be able to do that either in the face of many rejections.) Alia needed a last-minute beta reader for an essay on Thursday, so she and I traded a couple of drafts with each other, her essay, my most problematic micro. One-on-one intensive work was really helpful.
Time to turn to comments and grades on the portfolios in my class, emails with comments and final grades to my 21 students. Perhaps typical that I've postponed my last set of final grades for so long. I remember procrastinating as a T.A. in graduate school, and pulling all-nighters before grades were due.