This year I surprised myself by publishing fiction as a break from my WIP The Lunatics’ Ball. I also did a lot of behind the scenes writing for my WIP that’s not visible in this year’s publication history. I admire the writers, and there are many, who labor for years on novels or memoirs with no payoff until the end, especially when end results are so uncertain in this business.
I was thrilled with a Notable Essay listing (my seventh) from Best American Essays, and that it was for an essay that’s part of my WIP (“Madeline’s Trunk,” Passages North).
And that I made the longlist for the “Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions” again, also for a flash that’s part of my WIP (“The Madwoman on BART,” matchbook). And that matchbook nominated “Madwoman” for Best of the NET. I was sorry to see matchbook go on hiatus, and I hope they are back soon. They occupy a niche for lyric flash (among other sorts of flash) that no one else does. Big thanks also to NUNUM for nominating me for a Pushcart (“Super Stanley”).
My essays were fairly short, but I’m very pleased with all three of them, and grateful to the magazines that published them:
"The Dream Lives of Objects," Superstition Review
"Midcentury Modern," Catapult
"Forgotten Cities," The Café Irreal
I’m pleased to have published three short stories (I haven’t published that many in one year since 2016), all deliciously fun to write:
"The Leaf Blower," Potato Soup Journal
"The Blue-Haired Woman on the Polish Freighter," New World Writing
"Life Without Randall," Midway Journal
And a number of flash, both nonfiction and fiction:
"Spelling Lachlan," Legerdemain: National Flash Fiction Day 2021 Anthology, edited by Santino Prinzi and Nod Ghosh (print)
"Lizzie Halliday," 100 Lives (Pure Slush Books) (print)
"Half Fish Tale, Half Ars Poetica," (reprint), Harpy Hybrid Review
“Afterlives,” Ran Off With the Star Bassoon
"Waterloo," Six Sentences
"Head of the Household," Cotton Xenomorph
"Still Lives," Tiny Molecules
"Ready or Not," Gone Lawn
"Charcot's Monkey," Sonora Review (print)
"Zig Zag," Miramichi Flash (reprint)
"Vivienne's Key," Ethel
"Super Stanley," NUNUM
"Easy Street," Free Flash Fiction
“Eyes on Me,” “Damned for All Eternity,” and “A Mary With Teeth,” Tiny Molecules
"The Recliner," Fictive Dream
"Roll Out the Barrel," Schuylkill Valley Journal
Heartfelt thanks to all of these magazines!
Big thanks to Bending Genres (Robert Vaughan and Meg Tuite) for inviting me to teach a weekend intensive writing workshop, which I loved. I’m looking forward to their retreat in Ojai next summer.
Thank you to Trish Murphy and Superstition Review for inviting me to give a keynote address at their launch party. Sorting out my craft choices is always a process of discovery. And to Kathy Fish for inspiring the very first draft of my lyric essay in Superstition Review. I’m looking forward to taking another of her generative classes in the spring.
Thank you to Jayne Martin for writing a kickass profile of me and my work for The San Franciscan, and to the editors for interviewing me at NUNUM.
I’ve loved my editorial work as Creative Nonfiction Section Editor at CRAFT Literary Journal. It’s been a joy to discover and publish established and emerging talent, and to work with such great readers and editors. I miss the Editors in Chief (Katelyn Keating and Kristin Tenor) and CNF editorial assistant (Alyse Burnside) who departed this year. I'm always challenged to learn new skills at CRAFT. In addition to collaborative acquisitions and editing, and writing craft-based introductions to all of our CNF publications, I published my first review, of the new Best of Brevity anthology.
November ended with a concussion and myriad bruises and pains. I’m not quite recovered yet. I definitely felt more than a year older when my birthday rolled around last week. But I’m glad to be alive, grateful to be 31 years sober and to have so many supportive and talented friends. I love being part of the literary community in so many small and large ways. Thanks to my San Francisco writing group, the Leporine Conspiracy, for always being there, and for keeping me productive during the pandemic.
I’ll leave you with two of Toulouse Lautrec’s paintings of the dancer Jane Avril, who made her debut at the lunatics’ ball at the Salpêtrière mental hospital in Paris, where she was a teenaged patient. I'm getting so close to completing a blueprint and first draft of The Lunatics' Ball. My hope for 2022 is to complete that, and work through a second draft. Is finishing it too much to hope for? This has turned into a much larger project than I ever anticipated.