The new issue of the Big Fiction Magazine is ready. Big Fiction celebrates the "long story," and the two included in this volume are the winners of their Knickerbocker Prize (judged by Lauren Groff). First Place - Steve Yates' story "Sandy and Wayne. And Second Place - My story "Half-Boy."
If you've been following along with my writing life, you know how pleased I've been with the deft editing hand of Heather Jacobs. And what a thrill it is to be part of such a beautifully produced journal. Here's how you order one. Or better yet, subscribe.
Each year it seems the word count limits for journal submissions drop. The reasons given range from our supposed diminished attention spans to the goal of including more writers in each issue. For me, the result is that I write shorter. Shorter than I used to. Sometimes shorter than the piece should be.
But now there's Big Fiction: Long Shorts with Style. They take pieces up to 30,000 words and nothing less than 7,500 for their hand-designed letterpress issues. And they offer the Knickerbocker Prize. And this year I came in second place. Which means the editor and I worked on revising my story ("Half-Boy") and you know what? She found places where she wanted more. We ended up making it longer not shorter. It was as if the story was allowed expansive breaths that rushed oxygen into the sentences.
It just arrived in the mail - my author's copy of a new anthology from Jane's Stories Press Foundation. Included is my short story, "The Chassahowitzka," and there's work by Pat Spears - one of my dearest writer friends. It's a thrill to be together with her and all these other fine poets and prose writers in a collection that "creates a space for women from all over the world to speak in their own rhythms." Big thanks to the editors Glenda Bailey-Mershon, Linda Mowry, and Shobha Sharma.
I wouldn't be surprised if, in the next few months, all of us Florida based contributors have a reading. But get your own copy now. Here's a link.
The Fourth River has just published my short story "Marine Biology." Here's an excerpt.
Roxanne has lost track of the conversation. She hates having hot flashes in front of the students. She imagines the arctic seas, the pool at the hotel where they'll be staying, the beach, and braces for the post-flash anxiety. This time it is more sadness than anything. It separates her as if she were in a one-person submarine with a single portal that giant squid bump into and stare at her with their sideways eyes. She is never going to be a marine biologist. It's too late. For the first time Roxanne understands that choices have been made. There's no longer enough time for everything. Her knees weaken with the grief of it, and she reaches for the desk.
Here's how it happened. In July, 2009 I took a short story workshop with Lauren Groff that produced the beginnings of this story. By February, 2010 it was done enough to submit to Fourth River. In June, 2010 they accepted it. And just now, October, 2011, it was published. Yep, it takes awhile.
Did you know that the North American Review is the oldest literary journal in the United States? That it was founded in 1815 by Nathan Hale (the nephew namesake of the "but one life to give" guy)? And did you know that they want to publish one of my pieces!
It's the essay about kayaking in the Everglades and looking for lesbian love. Do you think Mr. Hale is resting easy?
Aliesa Zoecklein, poet, is now published in Cream City Review ! Do you have a writer friendship where you invest yourselves in each other's work, where it is totally okay to rush over to her house and thrust a revision in her face, where her successes are as important as your own, where when you look at the Cream City Review Table of Contents with her name listed you just want to pee yourself in excitement? Well, today is a Maxi-Depends day for me.
It won't be available for a week or so, but here's a preview of the cover. It's beautiful, isn't it? These Blue Crow guys are doing a great job. And if you squint, see, there's my name in the list of contributors.
Blue Crow Magazine, a print journal originating in Australia but through the wonders of POD available everywhere, has accepted a piece of my writing! It will be out in April. Do not fear, I will saturate your air waves with the news.
Here's a link to an article about this phenomenom of "a generation of tech-savvy, culture-minded writers have spawned a wave of DIY [do-it-yourself] presses not unlike the alternative record labels that once energized the music world."
My reaction was similar to Tayari Jones' tweet on the subject - "So when marginalized ppl do it, it's self-publishing, but when MFAs do it, it's Indie-Lit."
Whatever. I have a color-coded chart of all my submissions, and it is way fun to change green (pending submissions) to blue (acceptances) instead of red (rejections).
The anthology Something to Declare is available from any of your local, independent bookstores. And on page 72 (not that I have it memorized) is an essay by me about a kayak trip on the Withlacoochee (North) River. There is just no way it's not fun to see my name in the table of contents.
I've started reading the other pieces. Whew, there are some good writers in this anthology.
And here's an important thing to know if you're a writer sending things out, getting rejected, all that. This piece was turned down by TWENTY-ONE journals and anthologies before finding a home. Now, I did revise it a couple of times over the years, but please, keep sending things out there into the world.
This anthology is coming out from the University of Wisconsin Press in September. Check out the list of contributors!
Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Louise A. Blum, Rebecca Chekouras, Jane Churchon, Tzivia Gover, Kate Lynn Hibbard, Jourdan Imani Keith, Gillian Kendall, Sandra Gail Lambert, Pearlie McNeill, Lesléa Newman, Sheila Ortiz Taylor, Suzanne Parker, Sima Rabinowitz, Ruthann Robson, Lauren Sanders, Patty Smith, Lori Soderlind, and Hannah Tennant-Moore
I arrive home after a 14 hour day of tucking my mother's whole life of belongings into one small room and leaving her for her first night in the new place, and in the mailbox there it is - a journal with my name in the table of contents. It was such good timing.
Collective Fallout, edited by Eric Crapo, is a twice yearly journal "dedicated to queer-themed sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery fiction and poetry." It's available in print or as an e-download. Just click here to order.
Now, here's the place where I would talk about the other contributors. However, I came home that night, my arms full of old papers of my mother's, tired into stupidity, and after flipping through the journal, I fell asleep. I woke up, went right back to moving chores, and now, I can't find the journal. I've looked everywhere. It might be in that box with my dead father's Army Air Corps enlistment records from 1938 or maybe under the stacks of old checks from just decades ago.
Looking obsessed me for awhile, but I've given up and ordered a replacement copy. I can tell you my story has lesbians, the Everglades, a swamp goddess, a serial killer, and infidelity with a park ranger.
First Person Queer (with my essay "Theories about Bodies and Truth" in it) is shipping from the publisher today! Which means it will arrive in a warehouse in Tennessee by the end of the week and then, I think, gets sent to many fine bookstores by next week. Yippee!
And to celebrate, I will be reading and then signing copies at Wild Iris Books on Friday, November 16th, at 7:30pm here in Gainesville. Please come.