- The cool, dry air pays a visit like an old friend. My skin is glowing but my eyes are tearing.
- I have a short prose poem in the fall issue of Unbroken Journal. It is ominous, as most writing is these days.
- Someone asks me, “What do you write?” I freeze. You’d think I’d be able to answer this by now.
- I finished writing a story told in fragments. It features potions and a garden. My stories always seem to feature a garden.
- I finished reading Cruddy by Lynda Barry. Brutal and beautiful. I wrote a micro review about it. Easily one of my favorite reads this year.
- I’ve updated my list of literary journals for LGBTQ writers, women, and writers of color. People still seem to use it as a resource and I’m glad it’s been so helpful. Unfortunately, I’ve had to remove quite a few journals that have gone defunct or no longer appear online.
- I’m getting married soon. Since there’s no bride, we’ve had to write a ceremony ourselves. There are no real traditions to inherit yet, no set rules. We are setting them down. I should write about this eventually.
- The cool spell will be gone tomorrow, I’m sure.
Starting the year off, a longer poem of mine has been published in the newest issue of the South Florida Poetry Journal. There’s also an audio recording if you’d like to hear it aloud and follow along. The editors invited me to do a reading – my very first reading anywhere – at the Broward County Library. I don’t like public speaking and I was nervous, but I think it went well. I met poet Denise Duhamel and she signed my copy of her latest book. She was funny and full of infectious energy. She teaches poetry at my alma mater and was trying to convince me to pursue an MFA. I still think about it from time to time.
More good news: I was recently named a finalist for the 2016 Lascaux Prize in Poetry. My poem will be published in an upcoming anthology alongside the other finalists and winner. The poem was inspired by “A Chinese Banquet” by Kitty Tsui. Please do yourself a favor and read her work. Her poems are coming back into print soon, which I’m very excited about.
I’m working towards a full-length collection and have figured out its structure. It’s helping to push me forward, along with a fresh spreadsheet keeping track of all my rejections/acceptances. I’m hoping these neuroses turn into something I can eventually hold in my hands and hug to my chest.
A poem of mine, “Pugnacious Boy,” has been published in the newest issue of Permafrost. It’s dedicated to Donnie Marsh, a friend of mine and writing partner who died from an overdose three years ago. We met on Livejournal back when I was in high school. His apt handle on there was “a_pugnaciousboy.” He was a very controversial figure in publishing – if you Google him, you will see him ranting on various writing forums. People appreciated his bluntness, but he lacked professional tact to get ahead in an industry where that kind of thing really matters. He was an extremely prickly person with lots of demons. People who knew him exclusively online (myself included) weren’t even aware of his problems with addiction. Nonetheless, he was always encouraging me to write and told me he’d publish my first collection of stories once he started his own press. He was an incredible memoirist himself, with aspirations of either being a great literary agent or publisher someday. It’s a shame his demons finally won. I miss our conversations. I’d like to think he’d appreciate this poem.
I’ve been reviewing editors at the Review Review who publish hybrid and “alternative” literature. There’s my interview with Threadcount and my interview with Matador Review. Interviewing is a new venture for me, but I’ve always loved asking questions and listening to people’s thoughts. I updated my writing portfolio to include these new interviews and some old essays. Have a look.
For the very first time, writing has been brought to the forefront of my “real life” career. It’s odd – the workweek tedium is suddenly being broken by…stretches of writing? I am not used to this. I’m now helping my company revamp all of the writing across their websites, as well as coming up with ideas for blogs. I am appreciated and getting paid for my contributions. It’s a nice place to be in.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to attend the AWP conference this year. I was invited to give readings and help man Conium Review‘s booth, but I’m unable to make the time and take a trip to Los Angeles. I wonder if there will ever be one in Florida?
In order to remain an active participant in the literary community (other than just writing and tweeting quietly sometimes), I’ve accepted a position at The Review Review to review literary journals and occasionally conduct interviews with editors.
Here’s an issue of a journal that you should probably read:
It’s Rattle‘s feminist issue, featuring an interview with Maggie Nelson. Now you know I’m all about that.
I’ve also started a blog where we can all share our favorite poems with each other. My goal is to highlight a wide range of poets from all kinds of backgrounds, especially those that may have been overlooked. Feel free to submit, follow, and share.
My story, “Teaching Them Happiness,” has been published over at the Conium Review‘s Online Compendium. Have a read. It is a darkly absurd story about a teacher dealing with a suicide epidemic at her school. Is there a solution? The idea for this story most likely rose out of my recent rewatch of Heathers. A favorite of mine.
I’ve been working on a long poem about growing up in South Florida. It is divided up by place and time, written in the form of journal entries. The feelings are not all negative, which continues to surprise me. I’m not sure which journals would be interested in a particularly long poem like this, however. I’m guessing print journals may be more open to the idea. I’m aware that online journals tend toward short and snappy. One of my writing goals this year is to submit to snail-mail only journals, so I guess this will be a good way to start.
I go back and forth on whether or not I want to start my own literary journal. I love editing and discovering new writers. I have a name picked out for the magazine already, and I know what I’d look for to publish: writing that pushes boundaries in terms of genre (prose poetry, lyrical fiction, hybrids) by a very diverse group of writers. I like what DIAGRAM and Threadcount are doing especially (I really miss <kill author and PANK too…). However, it just comes down to the huge time commitment and how I’d probably want to dedicate that time to my own writing instead. But I admire this complete labor of love, what so many tireless editors of new journals are doing now, especially when you have other old Big Name journals taking advantage of writers (see: Narrative Magazine) or hearing stories about how they don’t even read through their slush pile. I don’t understand why these journals have such an antagonistic relationship with writers. Why run a literary magazine at all? I’ve also discussed elsewhere about how I don’t like when magazines say that no response from them means a rejection. Could they at least do us the courtesy of letting us know? Even if it’s just a simple “no thanks”? I talked to editors of a few journals and even they agree – it takes next to no time at all to send a form rejection. Just a few button clicks. Buh-bye.
Even though I now have file saved on my computer that is a List of Journals I Will Never Submit To Again, I’d like to help. Here are some magazines that not only read their submissions very carefully, but sometimes will offer valuable feedback:
- Necessary Fiction
- Bartleby Snopes
- The Offing
- New South Journal
- One Throne Magazine
- Hermeneutic Chaos
Keep on keeping on, editors. You’re heroes.