Small Stories, Small Spaces

I am not going to launch into a reintroduction or make excuses because I promised I wouldn’t last time. I will just say things as they are.

A few months ago, I was asked to help read submissions for Keyhole Magazine, which I happily agreed to. They now have a new online portion to the magazine and it’s worth a look. It will be updated periodically.

I’ve been reading small books and messing around with poetry. Most of my thoughts work themselves into short fiction or notebook scribblings or to-do lists. The dregs become the poems.

Vector, issue 2

Three poems of mine will appear soon in the second issue of Vector. One of these poems features a fictionalized version of my sister. If anything, that should sell you. I also noticed that this issue features a lot of writers who also happen to be editors of other literary magazines (Monkeybicycle, Word Riot, Sundog Lit, Untoward). A colorful bunch. Characters from the internet have arrived and we will haunt you.

PANK 9

I am also happy to say that my short piece of fiction, “The Geography of Squares and Circles,” will appear in the print issue of PANK 9. The piece is about a family with very different moving parts, parts separate like the seasons. They exist like islands, and unfortunately, it takes a son’s self-destruction to bring them together.

Sundog Lit, Games issue

Online, I had a fragmented piece of nonfiction appear in the Games issue of Sundog Lit. It’s about growing up, alienation, sexual identity, and video games acting as both a means of escape and a place of solace. It’s probably one of the most personally intimate pieces I’ve published yet. Admittedly, I felt like this wasn’t very different from writing fiction. The themed issue itself was large and fantastic, which the Millions selected as recommended reading.

Going smaller now: I have a short short in Ghost Ocean (in which I also do a reading for you) and a piece of Twitter-sized fiction in Nanoism. They are sad, of course, but also maybe a bit surprising.

My sister is trying to write a story about one of her boy band concert experiences and her professor wants her to show, don’t tell. Of course. So I offered her a first line: “We were hugging and sobbing.”

Mom has found an old, unfinished dollhouse in the garage that we’re going to put together. As a hobby, she used to build sets from pieces. Looking at all of the small furniture and knickknacks scattered on the table, I am anxiously waiting to see what kind of place I will call my own.


Carousel #17

  1. There is a documentary about writers and what they define as “bad” writing, called Bad Writing. You can watch it here for free for the entire month of January. Give it a watch! Featuring a lot of different writers, including Margaret Atwood and David Sedaris.
  2. Want to know the specific name for practically every group of animals? Have a huge collection of collective nouns. The English language is indeed strange. A charm of hummingbirds, a parliament of rooks, an aurora of polar bears. Got to love it.
  3. Via Paper Darts, here are the most beautiful book covers of 2012. Really gorgeous. I can’t even decide which is my favorite.
  4. Via Flavorwire, the most anticipated books of 2013. Thirty of them, at least. Thirty is enough, as far as I’m concerned! I really wish I could keep up.
  5. The visual history of The Bell Jar‘s book covers: here.
  6. I don’t know how to feel about this quite just yet, but we are going to have our first ever bookless library. Based in Texas, the project is called BiblioTech and is being specifically designed for the digital age.
  7. Exciting book excavations! A man from London found a signed copy of Frankenstein in his grandfather’s library. Apparently it is only the second signed copy known in existence and it went on to sell for more than a half million dollars at auction.
  8. Writers’ Tears, an actual Irish whiskey. Should we be surprised?
  9. What if dead authors were forced to use social media? Here is an idea. I don’t know about you, but I’d be the first to follow Truman Capote on Twitter.
  10. Here are writers reading ten stories by Sherwood Anderson.
  11. Memorable writing I enjoyed reading this week: Girl/Box and Impact Sight and Our Bodies, Possessed by Light.

Preemptive Strike

If you hadn’t noticed already, I’m able to cross off one of my little resolutions from my list: blog makeover. I think it came out nice. New theme, but I decided to bring back the chameleon. I’ve missed my old mascot. I’ve also been devouring several books at once, so I updated what I’ve been reading too.

I’ve finally joined the e-reader generation. I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. Maybe it will force me to read more of the classics now, seeing as they are so readily available. I already plan on reading as much Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton as I can. As much as I like having beautiful new books in my hands to touch and smell and hug, this is a nice alternative. I can see why people enjoy both, really. Sometimes, when I can’t fall asleep, I’ll get my Kindle out now and read in the dark until I can.

I have a new story up at the Rose Red Review and you can read it here. It’s called “The Loudest Lullaby,” and it is one of the strangest things I’ve published so far. I was trying to describe it to a friend the other day but stopped trying mid-sentence. I remember saying something like, “a surreal dystopian fairy tale.” I guess we’ll go with that for now. It is about a mother and her child, in a world that is crumbling and suddenly mixing its colors in unexpected ways. Writing is also very important and one of the few things that makes the mother feel safe, but it is against the law.

I also have a poem that I’m oddly proud of, “Dolphin Therapy,” that is going to be in the newest issue of Pear Noir!. Very rarely will I say things are great, but I am really excited about this. You can pre-order your copy here. From what I’ve heard, it is supposedly going to be one of the most interesting issues too.

We’re off to a good start.


2012: The Retrospective

It’s winding down and I can take a breath. Unlike the past few years, I feel like I’ve charted out some kind of evolution through what I’ve collected. I feel as though there has been more progress than paralysis. I’ve gotten better and bolder. I’ve grown more confident in my words, to the point of where I could allow myself to submit them to magazines for the first time. I learned about the process of waiting and the subsequent sting of rejection, but I didn’t let that deter me. I kept at it until I found good homes. I’ve published short fiction, reviews, essays, and poetry – both online and in print. Some bookstores in Austin have a poem of mine on the bookshelves. And I still have more writing forthcoming in other places after the new year rolls around.

I addressed my issues with crippling anxiety and sadness, which is hard if you’ve become so used to a cycle. The help I received loosened the tightness in my chest and gave me the space I needed for myself.  There was less static and it allowed me to ease into my own skin, slowly. I didn’t know things could move forward. I reached out and made new friends. I talked to more writers and people who were interested in what I was doing. I found myself stepping outside and not being as afraid to see what might happen.

Usually my New Year’s resolution is to simply not have any resolutions (in fact, you can read about last year’s retrospective here, in which I bring this exact thing up) because they are usually silly or unrealistic, but I’m going to break that tradition for this upcoming year. Instead, I’m going to try to think of it as just another one of those short-term lists in order to keep my head together. It is not so hard and not so unreasonable.

Goals:

  • Read more books than I read in 2012
  • Publish more writing than I published in 2012
  • Try out internet book trading via something like Paperbackswap, which seems fun
  • Start a new online literary magazine, inspired by places like >kill author and PANK
  • Become a Goodreads author and/or librarian
  • Maybe get a very small tattoo, if I can finally decide on something
  • Move more, before my muscles completely atrophy
  • Update this blog with a snazzy new theme
  • Find a better near-future amidst the economic uncertainty of the far-future

And now, this year’s collection.

Metropolis Night by Jacklyn Laflamme

Books:

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
Demian by Hermann Hesse
Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
Zazen by Vanessa Veselka
The Writing of Fiction by Edith Wharton
The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich
If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

Films:

Barton Fink
Leon: the Professional
Masculin, Feminin
Une Femme est une Femme
Mary and Max
Amarcord
8 1/2
Melancholia
Public Speaking
All About Eve
Citizen Kane
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Brave
Norwegian Wood
Grey Gardens
Shame
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
The Secret World of Arrietty
The Borrowers
The Hunger Games
Misery
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Submarine
Paradise Now
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Clueless
Moonrise Kingdom

Music:

“Oblivion” and “Genesis” by Grimes
“Every Single Night” by Fiona Apple
“Teen Idle” and “Oh No” by Marina and the Diamonds
“Soft as Chalk” by Joanna Newsom
“Catgroove” and “Booty Swing” by Parov Stelar
“Je Veux” by Zaz
“24” by Jem
“Air War” by Crystal Castles
“Strict Machine” by Goldfrapp
“Obedear” by Purity Ring
“Old Friend” by Sea Wolf
“Gallows” by CocoRosie
“These Days” by Nico
“Turn the Wolves” and “Halo” by Lotte Kestner
“Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey
“Human Behaviour” by Bjork
“Into Black” by Blouse
“Sunshine” by Little Dragon

Misc.:

750words
Duotrope and Submittable
My 8tracks, always
Going back to paper and letters and writing in little brown notebooks
90s reminiscing: point-and-click adventure games, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Sakura Gelly Roll pens
Pumpkin pancakes
Anxiety workbooks
Nathaniel Branden’s “scandalous” relationship with Ayn Rand
Watching Divorce Court after school with my sister
Writing Spaces
Bright Wall, Dark Room
ReadLearnWrite
Underground NY Public Library
Kickstarter indie projects
Feminism, gaming culture, and Anita Sarkeesian
The Prisoner


Carousel #16

  1. Perfect for the holidays, here is Emily Dickinson’s recipe for gingerbread.
  2. Special thanks to my dear friend Caitlin for this find: Tori Amos talks about how poetry has inspired her and recites “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath. Very eloquent and moving interview.
  3. The lovely people at Foxing Quarterly are looking for submissions for their next issue. Deadline is the new year! Get to it!
  4. My sister has asked me time and again if I will ever get a tattoo for myself. The main issues is that I never really could decide on what I would get, but this serotonin tattoo is a distinct possibility. Maybe that’s something that will happen in 2013, who knows.
  5. This is refreshing (but also very miserable) to see: writer Jonathan Evison does a breakdown of the money he has earned throughout the years as a novelist. In the end, it is still very nice to see how he finally did catch a break, after all that time.
  6. And of course, this carousel wouldn’t be complete without end-of-the-year lists! Here is the Year in Reading series over at the Millions, which is being updated regularly.
  7. And, via BuzzFeed, here is a list of writers and the best books they read in 2012. Note: not necessarily books that were published this year, just good books that were memorable to them.
  8. Finally, the Atlantic compiles a list of the worst words of 2012.