small wins, larger loss
Not a loss exactly, a lost chance. Nominations for BEST SMALL FICTIONS close today, and despite numerous award nominations (four Pushcarts, one Best of the Net, one Best Microfictions), I didn't get any nominations for next year's anthology at all. So I won't be getting into that one. I didn't get into last year's (despite nominations), and the year before I had two flash on the Finalist list at the back of the anthology (they don't do that any more). I'm disappointed.
The results of the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition are in and I got Honorable Mentions in Flash (for "After Dinner" and "Free Fall") and in Creative Nonfiction (for "A Eulogy, Despite," which was a Notable in Best American Essays). Since I placed in three categories the only other time I entered this contest (first place in Memoir-Vignette, second place in Creative Nonfiction, second place in Flash, all with cash awards), this doesn't feel like a lot. But I'll get to read in their grand awards ceremony in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library on March 22, and I haven't read from the essay or read either of those flash before.
Finally finished the 600+ page biography of Vivienne Eliot and drafted that portion of my LUNATICS' BALL chapter. I need to read up on Zelda Fitzgerald for the other portion, and I have four books from the library, and I'm wondering why I'm working on a project that requires me to read up to six books and a ton of articles before I can write a four-page chapter/flash/short essay/profile/whatever I'm calling these. (Maybe it's no more insane than my PhD dissertation that had chapters on four different authors and a literary period and myriad minor modernist writers and was also 600 pages.) This started as a potential flash chapbook and just grew and grew.
Finished reading the short story and flash submissions for CRAFT. I enjoyed it.
I haven't gotten my first rejection of 2020 yet (or acceptance, for that matter). I have far fewer submissions out there than usual. Working on THE LUNATICS' BALL has slowed my other writing. And I think I've really been impeding my progress by worrying about which LUNATICS' BALL chapters can be sent out as stand-alones, writing two versions of each. I've gotten some excellent pubs and acceptances, more than enough to suggest that the project has merit, so I don't really need to send out more. It's easier to write in a conversational voice if I assume the reader is partway through the book, instead of introducing the reader to its central premise in each new chapter. I think I'm managing it, the conversational voice, and it makes inserting memoir easier since there's already an "I" on the page..
Planning changes in my creative nonfiction workshop in Spring Semester, and I need to work up a new syllabus and get it copied for class soon. Classes start on January 21!!! But today we're enjoying the semester break by driving out to the coast.
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