Sunday, October 4, 2009

The semester that ate my life...

18 credit hours: never again. Oh, except next semester. But never again with one of them being a grad class. Oh, except next semester. Damn. Wake me up in April, I guess.

I feel like I've been sort of MIA from everywhere. In the small amount of free time I've had, I did manage to read this excellent story by Tim Jones-Yelvington. Necessary Fiction is just generally fantastic and really tends to publish things of a certain nature that really speak to me.

I have a story up at SmokeLong, which is incredibly exciting to me, as they are a fantastic publication and I'm super honored to be there. I am admitting that I have not even had time to read the rest of the issue yet, but Kevin Wilson's piece there is wonderful and I'm looking forward to everything else.

I did manage to make the time to read Dave Eggers' new book, as I will be seeing him Tuesday and would feel like a jerk not having read it yet. As non-fiction (and not in the memoir style), it read a lot differently than his other stuff, but I really enjoyed it. It's depressing what a mess this country is sometimes but important to think about for obvious reasons. That's not a very profound review, I know. But the point is: Zeitoun--well worth a read.

My contributor copies of Annalemma arrived the other day, and wow. I don't know that I've ever seen such a visually amazing lit mag. Kudos to Chris Heavener on combining the words and the art in a way few others are. Seriously lovely.

If you happen to be studying Kant, Gilles Deluze's Kant's Critical Philosophy is quite a lucid little companion.

Dogville is more of a headfuck than any other film I have encountered.

This weekend, I saw Disney on Ice, and also ate a lot of eggplant parmesan. Now, I'm going to do homework. I think I pretty much always sign off blog posts that way. Cheers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shameless again....

I've been kind of keeping this one under my hat, so it is even more exciting to share that I have a story up at The Collagist. I'm in awe of the names up there in both the first issue and this one, and totally honored to be among them.

Back to school.

It's almost 4 am, and here I am spending some quality time with Kant and Aristotle. I guess you could have worse late night/early morning company. It always takes me until a few weeks into the semester at least to realize that getting up early is something I have to do a few times a week and not some random fluke occurrence. Pretty happy about this semester, though. I dig Kant. Not in the "yup, he had it all figured out" way, but dude was seriously ambitious in his undertaking.

I am interviewed over on the Storyglossia blog.

I am saddened by the death of Jim Carroll, who I haven't read in quite some time, but who always stuck with me. Stephen Elliott has a really nice piece over at The Rumpus about Carroll. I think Stephen does a nice job of getting at that unique kind of mourning we feel when someone we didn't really know but loved anyhow dies.

Speaking of sadly departed writers, I have nothing profound to add to all the brilliant commentary that already exists about DFW. But in light of the recent anniversary of his death, I offer a quote from him which is probably my favorite quote about fiction ever: "I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves. Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering, part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering, necessarily a vicarious experience, more like a sort of "generalization" of suffering. Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple."

On that note, back to Kant.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So long, summer.

I'm not prepared to go back to school on Wednesday, but I am even less prepared for my child to start school on Tuesday. We homeschooled for kindergarten, so this will be school day numero uno. I'm excited. She's excited. But still: my baby is going to school.

Got an acceptance today, just when I was starting to feel like I was in a wee bit of a slump. Wrote something new I like, too. I keep trying to finish some longer-ish things in progress, and instead writing new super short ones, which is okay, too. I'm trying to decide if one of my older stories is submission and/or collection worthy. Usually I dislike old things when I read them, but this one I'm really undecided about. The original draft of it was the first short story I ever wrote that I was really happy with, back like 9 years ago. It's been drastically edited since then, but I'm not sure if I made it better or worse. I guess I'm always free to submit it and see what happens, but I generally like to know that at least I like something before I send it out.

I think with one or two more mid-length stories, I'm calling the collection at least tentatively done. That's exciting, I think, regardless of when and if anyone ever wants to publish it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A little bit of shameless self-promotion.

This is an exciting week for me. I have new stories up in issue 35 of Storyglossia and on Necessary Fiction. Both are journals I really admire and am really honored to be included in.

Also, over at the Pank blog today, I am one of three guest writers for a post about motherhood and writing. Thanks to Roxane for allowing me to ramble over there.

That's all for now.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is it just me, or is it really, really cold out?

I sort of feel like all I do here is complain about the weather, but seriously now. Seriously. Last year we were sweating and in the pool on my kid's birthday, and tomorrow it is supposed to be 64. 64! I love fall, but I prefer for it to not begin during summer.

My baby is going to be six tomorrow. I'm always sort of torn between feeling like she was born yesterday, and feeling like she's always been here and has always been old enough to roll her eyes and me and say "whatever." Though technically, I would like to protest that she is still not old enough to do those things.

I really love this week's Necessary Fiction by Ethel Rohan. Also, I really enjoyed this interview between Steven McDermott and Matt Bell over at the Storyglossia blog. Two great editors talk about editing. Good stuff.

Stephen Elliott will be coming to 826mi in October to teach a workshop and do a reading. I am very excited about that.

I wanted to do a whole lot of reading and writing in my time off school, and both have been kind of slow going. I think sometimes my brain needs a bit of time to recover after a brutal semester. I'm back in the writing groove now, though. I think I am working on something that I think will be a chapbook of some sort.

I am desperately hoping my Kant class is not going to be canceled due to low enrollment, because that would really make a mess of my schedule and everything else is full at this point and I am on a tight schedule here, people, and I need more upper-level philosophy classes and three out of four of said classes might be canceled because of enrollment, and I'm already taking the other one. I don't want to scramble to find another class to take a week before school starts. Stress.

I got a new haircut that was long overdue, and that makes me happy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Look, I'm blogging two days in a row, this no school thing is really nice.

I am trying to spend these rare few weeks off reading and writing as much as possible. I've been picking away at a few stories I'm working on, but not really in the groove at the moment and will probably really get into something right when school starts back up and interrupts me. But that's okay, because I have a workshop in the fall, plus my senior thesis, so I will be back to having excuses to write instead of no time to write.

So reading. I am finishing up Monkeybicycle 6, and Jason Jordan's "Shuttle Cock" just made me laugh out loud a few minutes ago. I really love humor in writing and I try to almost always be at least a tiny bit funny somewhere in a story, but I don't think I ever do anything that funny. And on the really-good-in-a-not-funny-way side of the coin, I just read Sean Lovelace's recent story at Wigleaf earlier today (I know, I'm behind, I'm behind at everything right now) and was super, super impressed. I love flash, but it so often becomes more of a playing-with-language kind of thing, which is okay too. But my favorite flash is stuff like this that does the same work as longer pieces of fiction, that distills all of these huge things down into one tiny moment. Yeah. Wigleaf is good stuff. I am excited for them to open their submissions again soon.

Partially, I'm also spending my time off school worrying about grad school. I feel super lucky to have one of the top MFA programs in the country so close to home, but then it's also impossibly hard to get into and there are no easier to get into MFA programs close to home. I know I can always do low-res, but I'd rather not go so into debt. And then, there are the arguments about whether it's really best to do a program at all, but I really do like the idea, and I also really want to eventually be able to teach. Stress!

Sometimes I need to stop worrying and tell myself I have a lot to be excited about. Right now, I have a whole lot to be excited about.

Also, I think my new goal is to have a collection published (or at least placed with a publisher and all in the works of being published, not necessarily already in print) by the time I'm 30. That's just a few months shy of 2 years away. Totally doable, right? I think so. Maybe.