Shutting Down, Opening Up

Recently, I’ve had a few things of mine published: “Soft Power,” in One Forty Fiction (Twitter-sized stories) and “Playing Female,” in Monkeybicycle. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s also been around a year or so since this blog’s inception, so I decided to give it a makeover (if you hadn’t noticed it already). I updated my writing and reading sections too. The literary magazine I read for, Hobart, also got a really beautiful upgrade. They’re trying to update the site with more regular literary goodness.

I’ve been writing a lot more regularly now too, due in part to the genius that is 750words. It motivates you to write at least 750 words (oh really, now?) a day. It’s been pretty successful, I would say, even though sometimes I don’t get to 750 words exactly. You should really check it out, especially if you’re someone who spends a lot of time on the internet like I do.

Lately I’ve also noticed that a few literary magazines I really liked have come to a close: Dark Sky, kill author, and American Short Fiction (although someone else may possibly take over). Sad day. If you know of any good ones that are just starting, please let me know. Help to fill the void.

The other day, my sister and I went to an art show at Studio 18, where we saw a few local artists talk. There was an artist my sister really liked, Jacklyn Laflamme, who does a lot of psychedelic creatures and big teeth. There was also this community project that we were a part of, where we were given little squares to paint.

My sister had two squares on that wall and I had one. I am not an artist by any means, but it was fun to see. There was wine. My sister said she felt like Dr. Niles Crane. I agreed.

The First Rejection

I got my first official rejection this week. It was sort of strange because I honestly thought I would be much more disappointed – in myself, obviously, or perhaps in the journal that didn’t believe in me. But if anything, I actually feel more excited now. More excited to write and more excited to try again.

I’ve started to use Duotrope to track my submissions and the subsequent rejections/acceptances. It’s useful for organizing everything simultaneously. Maybe this is a bit too obsessive for some people, but I’m the type that keeps lists and likes to pin things down so I don’t go completely crazy.

I’ve also been helping read through more submissions at Hobart. I really hope we end up publishing a novella or two. But I’ve been talking with the editor and we’ve noticed how most of the submissions have been largely disappointing. There’s a few really great ones, but it made me realize just how many rejections will be sent out anyway. It’s made me realize how rejections are constantly happening everywhere out there and how everyone will need to keep trying again and again. It was sobering. Maybe that’s why I’m not as angry and dejected as I thought I would be with my own rejection.

Carousel #5

  1. All I really want for my birthday this year is Scrivener. Sounds absolutely perfect.
  2. Have some chiptunes I came across. Music made with a GameBoy, for those not in the know.
  3. Here’s an interesting article about Tumblr as the modern commonplace book. I’ve never kept one of my own, although I suppose this blog has become a sort with the inclusion of these carousels.
  4. I recently discovered the fantastic Dear Sugar advice column. Anonymous questions (often difficult, sometimes quite strange) are sent in and eloquently answered by the always compassionate, level-headed Sugar (who recently revealed herself as the author Cheryl Strayed, by the way).
  5. While the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games enjoying a huge success at the box office wasn’t all too surprising, it was surprising to see how some fans reacted to some of the characters being portrayed as black. I haven’t read the books myself, but the response is quite shocking to say the least. On the heels of this whole debacle, here’s Toni Morrison discussing racism.
  6. Aaron Burch, the fantastic editor over at Hobart, wrote a eulogy for the closing of a bookstore he used to work at. Sad to see all these bookstores go.
  7. Something I’ve noticed when it comes to fiction novels these days: there are a ton of books out there with the titles “The _____’s Daughter,” or “The _____’s Wife.” Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has picked up on this. Maybe the titles have a nice cadence, and maybe people do pick them up because they’re familiar, but I think it’s about time we retire them.
  8. Flannery O’Connor is one of my favorite short story writers, and it was her birthday last week. A big volume of her complete works sits on my shelf. Lacy Marschalk, a writer and a teacher, recounts her visit to Ms. O’Connor’s house in Georgia and the farm. Plus peacocks!
  9. This week, poet Adrienne Rich passed away. She was one of my favorite poets as an undergrad. Read and listen to her poem “Diving into the Wreck.”

Internship, First Ever Publications, Guest Blogging Adventures

I’ve been keeping quiet lately about some of my projects because I haven’t been sure of what’s going to happen and what isn’t. I didn’t want to build myself up only to have myself torn down before anything was even clarified. My god, I’m still so incredibly insecure. But I guess I’m still nervous because this is the first time I’m having anything of mine published. Fortunately, things have been going fairly well and I feel confident enough now to divulge some of these things:

  1. I’m now an intern over at Hobart. My job is to help read and review some of the submissions. This is my first time helping out with any kind of literary journal. Currently I’ve been reading through novellas. I recently heard about how some of the stories that have appeared in Hobart are going to be anthologized this year in The Best American Short Stories series, which is pretty exciting.
  2. I’ve been working on an essay/book review of the novel Zazen by Vanessa Veselka. Specifically, it focuses on characters raised in dystopian societies who refuse to rebel. It’s supposed to run in Paste, although I’m not sure when exactly yet.
  3. I finished writing a guest post for Read.Learn.Write. It’s about my attempts at converting non-readers (specifically, my family) into readers, as well as my own awkward stumbling into the habit of reading. There is a backlog of guest bloggers, but I’ll let you know when it goes up.
  4. I submitted a short story to Little Fiction, but I’m not sure when it will be going up. It might not be for a while. What drew my attention to them originally was the idea of “listerature,” which is a short story form – popularized by Jennifer Egan – written in the form of a list. I decided to try it out myself and liked what came out of it. There’s already been a compilation of listerature already, so maybe they’ll include mine in the next collection.