Friday, October 30, 2009

Fridays Are Fine

I like Fridays. I have always liked Fridays. I guess that's called conditioning. Our school's Book Fair is over. It was a very successful and fun event. Now I need to play catch-up with all other things literary.

You have to love Google alerts (something I only recently discovered). Otherwise I wouldn't have known that Everyday Genius published my short "Rights of Passage." I didn't receive a response on this submission and feared the worst. Obviously my acceptance went astray. I'm so happy to once again contribute to this great magazine. Thank you, Adam Robinson, and EG's October's guest editor, Lee Rourke. Have you ordered Adam's poetry collection ADAM ROBISON AND OTHER POEMS from Narrow House yet? Order Here.

Here's an interesting audio interview with Jurgen Furth on Fictionaut and the Future of the Literary Journal over at Media Bistro.

Happy Halloween All!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reading, Publishing, and Scholastic Book Fair

Co-Chairing the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughters' elementary school is taking all of my time and energy these days. I've fallen so far behind on my reading, writing, Zoetrope-ing, Fictionaut-ing, and keeping-up with all my favorite writers. It's okay, though. I think you'd all agree too if you saw the smiles on my daughters' faces whenever they walk into the school library and spot me behind the cash register in a red apron and sensible flat shoes :-)

That being said, I got to revel in my writer's hat last night at the East Bay and Friends' reading hosted by Lauren Becker. Everyone shone on the evening, including our very fun and supportive audience. Congratulations, Lauren, and thanks so much for organizing this great event. I was thrilled to be a part of it all. Here's an excellent link with lots more details thanks to Evan Karp, including photos and video. I admit I have not yet looked at the video or photos. I'm not sure I will ...

I have work live at the Linnet's Wing and Spork Journal. I'm excited to contribute to both of these fine journals. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If Only We Were Sea Horses

I am excited and honored to have had my story collection IF ONLY WE WERE SEAHORSES named as a finalist in PANK's First Annual Chapbook Contest.

Congratulations to Aaron Burch, winner. PANK's first chapbook will be Aaron Burch’s HOW TO TAKE YOURSELF APART, HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF ANEW: notes and instructions from/for a father. PANK wrote:"While all of the manuscripts we received showed great promise (and really we mean this), Aaron’s work was particularly compelling and spoke to us deeply. We are proud to publish his fine chapbook, which will be available in January 2010."

Runners Up (in no particular order):
Tree Riesener A Kmart Kind of Suicide
Paula Bomer Baby
Tim Jones-Yelvington Evan’s House…
Erin Fitzgerald Passive Aggressive
Ethel Rohan If Only We Were Seahorses
Pedro Ponce Homeland
Laura LeHew Silence
Stephen Mills This Side Up
Jensen Beach The Dark is What
Andrew Borgstrom We Are an Accident

Congratulations one and all. Thank you, Roxane and Matt, at PANK.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No More Up-Dos, etc. etc. etc.

for me. Yesterday, I had my hair cut short, colored dark chocolate, and highlighted with chunks of gold. I was just in that mood, you know?

Chick Lit
I hate that term. Anyone else?

About to Take Off
I feel really good about where I am as a writer right now: I've grown and worked hard. I show-up every day to write and read. I hope to get better and better.

Here, There, Everywhere
That's Eric Beeny these days. Congratulations, Eric! Check out his blog for more information here.

Keeping It Reale
Emprise Review just nominated Michelle Reale's and Steven J. McDermott's work from Volume 10 for the Dzanc Book's 2010 Best of the Web Anthology. Congratulations, Michelle and Steven :-)

Monday, October 19, 2009


I feel fried. Early last week I got hit with a stomach bug, followed by a nasty cold. I'm almost over the cold now, thankfully, but am exhausted. It's just under a week since my last post, and yet so much has happened in our community in those few days my head is in a spin. I can't possibly comment or post on it all, sorry! Here are a few highlights:

New issue of The Collagist. Check out Roxane Gay's "La Negra Blanca."
October issue of PANK which is as awesome as ever.
New DecomP!
New FriGG!
>kill author Issue 3. Yes!

Roxane Gay's, David Erlewine's, and Mel Bosworth's work seems to be everywhere these days, and deservedly so. Check out RG's blog here, DE's blog here, and MB's blog here for more details.

PANK nominated Rachel Yoder's "Letters to my First Love," and Molly Gaudry's "Beneath Mosquito Netting I Imagine" for the Pushcart Prize. Congratulations to you both.

PANK also nominated the following for Dzanc's Best of the Web 2010 Anthology: Lauren Becker, Steven J. McDermott, Brandi Wells, Erin Fitzgerald, and Ravi Mangla. Fantastic news. Well done everyone.

New Thirst For Fire is live with an impressive line-up of writers.

I'm also live at the Foundling Review alongside the wonderful Tony Maltezos, thank you Ajay and Anupama. Live too at DOGZPLOT Flash, thank you, Barry Graham.

"Do I Really Love You" is the result of an exercise I tried from Randall Brown's great site on the use of zeugma. I had fun with this one, but feel sure I'm finished with Zeugma. Its use calls too much attention to language and the author, especially in such a small piece.

Don't forget Black Lawrence Press's Chapbook Contest. Submissions for a collection of poems or short stories are due October 31.

Now I've got a LOT of rest and reading to catch-up on. Carry on!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mel's The Man

Look what Mel Bosworth did with my micro "Word Gatherer" first published in Flash Fire 500. Thanks, Mel, for bringing this one back to life, and with such pazazz!

That sky is so blue here, makes me smile. As do you, Mel.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amen Pokrass & Gerke

I attended Pedestal's reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera Saturday night. John Amen, Pedestal's founder and Editor, lead a wonderful line-up of poets, and Flash Fiction was more than ably represented by Meg Pokrass and Greg Gerke. Meg and Greg both read excellent flashes, Meg from work published in Pindeldyboz and Annalemma, and Greg from his debut Flash collection "There's Something Wrong with Sven."

There were approximately ten readers, and the event ran almost two hours. That's long. My ass numbed and legs felt restless. The mingling afterwards is hard too. I find small-chat painful. Still, it's necessary and in this case worth it. How else do we connect? I've met Meg twice before and it was a pleasure to see her again, and to listen to her read. Greg Gerke is on a West Coast tour to promote "There's Something Wrong with Sven," and it was a real pleasure to meet him. I bought his book, and very much look forward to the full read.

Friday, October 9, 2009



Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.

-- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reconsidering Happiness

RECONSIDERING HAPPINESS, a novel by Sherrie Flick. I finished the novel last night and highly recommend it. I felt an ache on finishing it, not wanting it to end.

The novel spoke to me, resonated. As an immigrant, a woman who began my own quest years ago: traveling continents to escape heartbreak, looking in places and people for sense, meaning, answers. Happiness. Love. Home. Who even now, is still reconsidering happiness.

The novel takes place in the mid-1990s. Twenty-three-year-old Vivette moves from New England to Iowa, leaving behind her friends, her job at a bakery, and an affair with a married man. En route, Vivette stops in Nebraska, spending a week with an acquaintance, Margaret, who left the same New England bakery years earlier to also escape heartbreak.

The story largely alternates between these two women's point of view, and moves back and forth through time, revealing both women's struggles, their histories of heartbreak and betrayals, loneliness and loss, dreams and desires, and anxiety and fears. Ultimately, though, this is a story about these women's determination and unstoppable spirit.

While this novel may be sparse in plot, it is rich in character, vivid in detail, and lush in meaning. Time and time again throughout the novel I experienced that flicker of recognition, those moments of "yes, that's just how it is."

This novel made me want to eat warm donuts and croissants, to drink fresh brewed coffee and steaming hot chocolate, to smell flowers, listen to birds, take long walks. To visit New England, Nebraska, and Des Moines. To reconsider. To make footprints. To write something this good. To love more. Harder. To live bigger.

You can buy it here. Congratulations, Sherrie Flick, and thank you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Knock, Knock

Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

I knocked, cooed, banged, shouted, shouldered, and kicked?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let Go

That's what the whispers tell me repeatedly of late. Let go. Whispers: my gut instinct, wise voice, the universe. Let go.

Last night, I dreamed about a family vacation we took a few years back in Club Med. The dream was just a replay of what actually happened on that trip: I tried the trapeze, because I had always wanted to, and because it terrified me. I wanted to overcome my fear. I'm an idiot.

I climbed up sixty feet, gripped the trapeze with both hands and swung out over the net, sure I'd die. I even got my legs up and over the trapeze bar, but I couldn't let my hands go and fly through the air as intended, holding onto the trapeze with only the backs of my knees. No matter how hard that instructor shouted, not he or anyone else on the ground, and there was quite a large, vocal audience staring up at me, none of them could convince me to let go my hands and hang just by my legs. I let go all right, all four limbs, and somersaulted onto the net, landing, splat, spreadeagled on my back. Not pretty. My two daughters witnessed the whole fiasco.

I returned the next day, and failed again. However, as in most good stories, I returned on the third day, and succeeded. I will never attempt the trapeze again in this lifetime. I succeeded once because I'm a hard taskmaster, and because I wanted my daughters to see me push past fear to success, however unsightly I made it look.

I also returned to the trapeze that third time because after my first failed attempt, as I waded through that large crowd that had witnessed my humiliation (I must have hung onto that trapeze with both my hands and legs for a good twenty minutes, the line of spectators and those waiting to take their turn growing by the second) a handsome man touched my arm and said "You need to do it again, sweetheart, you need to let go." The way he looked at me, the way he said it, felt profound. And, yes, his black eyes and beard screamed at my Irish Catholic sensibilities. He wasn't just talking about the trapeze.

Let go. What do I need to let go of now? It's a long list. Mostly, these days, I think I need to let go of striving so hard. To just let things be. To surrender more.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Miscellany

Body For Hire
Me ... for something ... I'm not sure what yet ...

Calling All Editors
Congratulations to Jessa Marsh, writer, and editor of Monkeybicycle Online. The good folks at DecomP nominated her Flash "My Motel Week" for Dzanc's Best of the Web 2010. Well done, Jessa, and good luck! Editors, please remember to nominate.

Jewel In Our Crown
Hobart's October Issue is live. Congratulations Molly Gaudry, Andrew Roe, Reynard Seifert, and Kevin Wilson et al.

Check out Kathy Fish's and Joseph Young's collaboration over at Laura Ellen Scott's excellent blog VIPs on VSF. Twenty microfictions that dazzle.

I don't watch TV. Never. I haven't in ten years.

After receiving several kind and encouraging recent rejections pointing to my "heavyhandedness" I've taken a machete to my work, massacring exposition, internalizations, and lots more. Just blood and guts everywhere. I thought it would be harder. I like story. I like beginnings, middles, and ends. Yet this killing rampage feels surprisingly good. Great actually.