NPR

It’s Not Cabin Fever Exactly… It’s More Like Cabin Anxiety

This past Monday, I attended the novel critique group meeting at Gina’s. I’ve never worked this way, handing over twenty–now up to 25 pages–at a time. As I’m revising “The Life and…” I’m realizing I really have to slow down the pace. The recent installment included an added scene I thought I’d get slammed on, but they seemed to enjoy it–Mary said it felt like I’d nailed the voice. I’m glad of this, as I felt I had lost it and that’s why I had to take it back a few pages so events I’d glided through in the rough draft could be strengthened. I think the end result will be tighter, but I’m only a quarter of the way there. I know, I said I’d send out agent queries for Ellie’s Elephants, and I did get two out after the ambiguous “this doesn’t sound like a form rejection, but I don’t know how to respond either” response from Sobel. Meeting new people is hard enough. Needing to introduce myself and say, “Please, like what I write, too”…that makes me anxious.

So, I had enough “when I” and put brush to canvas. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever made, and I’m nowhere close to finishing it, put it’s a start. It felt good to mix colors and paint. The longer I was painting, the more that came back to me–including the fact that you can’t finish a painting in one sitting. Well, the one guy could, but I’m not him nor do I have my own show on PBS.

2.6

Speaking of that realm…WBFO, my local NPR station is doing an extra pledge week. OMG, enough. Here’s the thing, I love their work, the coverage, etc. However, they are on there telling me if I don’t pledge, my favorite shows will disappear. How many years and how much money have proved that to be a lie? Everything was great until Mark Scott retired. The resulting crapola version of a program lineup disgusts me. Why this station pays for programs that are great but plays them when no one listens and plays boring shows when people are tuned in is just stupid. There was a time when pledge week ended early. The reason for that was simple. They had there shit together; now it’s not worth it. If you also tell me how I have to pay to keep the programs I want to stay on the air, I will recite the ones they dropped when I sent them a few bucks and when I say I, I mean Husband. Whoever is in charge of programming is clueless, or trying his best to kill off this station and the rapid decline in listenablity has me thinking it’s the latter. WBFO, please, hear this and fix it. The person in charge of programming needs to go.

Otherwise, I’m excitedly looking forward to the 15th when I get to do my first official reading. It will be at the West Falls-Colden Library where I volunteer, so I’ll have the home field advantage. I find it a bit strange that they have a signup sheet for it. I mean, that makes sense if it’s a card making class, but a reading? Gary Earl Ross will be there as well as Susan Solomon, George Morse, and Lou Rera. We will be reading from Queen City Flash at 1:00-3:00 on Saturday 15th if you’re up for it. Jeff Schober did a reading there on the 1st while I was working. It was good to see him again. Boneshaker is a follow up to Broken and Profane and he’s working on two more in the series. 

Anyway, I’ve had a few “close calls” on acceptances. I was told one piece made it to the final round of cuts. They only take four stories per issue, so I guess I made their top five or top eight, which is nice, but I then sent that piece to another venue where it didn’t make it past the first cut. *Sigh.* I also got INK!!!! from The Sun. They held it for 8 months, so I’m considering that something. I sent that story to two places yesterday. I don’t know what it is. It’s gotten so many “almosts” but that just makes it more frustrating that it hasn’t found a home yet. I know, I’ve heard the stories yet those don’t make the personal rejections any less disappointing.

So, enough of this ranting about the problems I have because I love them all, including the fact that there’s more snow and I can’t wait to go for a walk in the woods, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ah well…

 2.6b

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

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Name Dropping & Linking All Over the Place

After posting last time, I went shopping. Upon my return, I found an email from one of the women in my RL writer’s group. There was a writer’s conference in Westfield on Sunday and if I was willing to drive, she’d pay my conference fee. On Saturday, Husband took me to Eden so I’d know my way to her house. We stopped in and had a lovely visit. Then on Sunday, she and I went to the gorgeous Patterson Library.

It was the first time they had done a conference there and kudos to Peter Hamilton for putting it together. Mary Jo and I went to the same sessions. The first was done by James Goertel who tackled the Writer’s Craft . He’d just gotten back from AWP (I was so jealous! He could have heard Roxane Gay  give a reading while he was there. I would have!) and even though James was tired, he was a motivated instructor.

We broke to listen to LouAnne Johnson, author of My Posse Don’t Do Homework which turned into the movie Dangerous Minds. She read from Muchacho. It was very entertaining. She sat at the same table as we did for the lunch which was held at the church across the street.

After lunch was Marketing Your Work by Linda Lavid. I thought it was informative and I found out a few things I hadn’t known. Some things I was doing already and it turns out they were the ‘right’ things to do which was gratifying to hear.

Then, the people who signed up drew numbers to choose the order to read their work. I went second and read “Wildflower Wishes.” Mary Jo went fourth and read from her book, “Under Cover.”  While the conference had been scheduled to go until after six, we got out of there around 4 p.m. It was a great day all around.

Facebook revealed a chance for women’s essays to be included in an edition of Brevity titled Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count and in response to the recently revealed VIDA and its nearly identical pie graph which shows 75% of most magazine’s contributors are male. I sent in “Finding Peers.” An editor of the new cool zine to read, Jumping Blue Gods asked for my submission. (Much appreciation to Jennifer Bridges!)

Robert Tucker at Chrysalis Reader sent the edits he made to “Delaware and the Rip-Off King.” We disagreed on a single line and he agreed to use the one I offered, so that is now wrapped up.

This past Saturday, I happened to see in Gusto that there was a reading being done at the West Falls library. I went and listened to Jeff Schober. Oddly, as he was signing my book, he mentioned the Arcade & Attica Railroad Mystery Train. Turns out, he was writing the script for this year’s production and he had been an actor in the last one with Betty. Tiny little world, isn’t it?

Then, later on this past Saturday, there was the most awesome news: The return of NPR’s Three Minute Fiction! Round Eight was announced. In case you missed it, hit the link above. I heard about it on FB before the show started and didn’t take long to come up with a story and write it. Seriously, maybe an hour tops to write–though I think it was closer to twenty minutes. I’d thought of an ending line, then two characters arrived, and as I wrote toward the end line, the story took me to a different place.

I trimmed it until I could read it in under 3 minutes, then read it to Husband, who–get this–thought it was nice. I sent it in. Usually, I end up with regret when I send things in so soon after they’re written, but the next morning, I still thought it was a good story.

On Monday, I sent it to Chyo, and except for one word choice, she thought it was fantastic. I wound up in a brief email exchange with Long Distance Friend and sent it to him. He not only liked it, but wanted to share it with his Secret Girlfriend. Now, I wait on Guy Roz and the judges at 3MF to decide if they like it, too.

In a teensy tiny way, I’m a bit on edge over the idea of finally having one of my stories chosen by 3MF. I mean I am the self-proclaimed Susan Lucci of this contest. Can I give up that continuing sting of disappointment? Well, it’s out of my hands now. And if it isn’t chosen as the winner, I hope it isn’t chosen as an also ran. I have three magazines I want to submit the story to. Sigh. We’ll see how it goes. In the other rounds, I’d written to win. This story I wrote because it was something I wanted to read.

Speaking of which.. One of the things Chyo said was that the story I wrote was a piece which would cause her to look up other work by the same author. She then told me of series of books she’s bought because of short stories she’d come across in an anthology. So, while I’m waiting on yet another person’s thoughts on Ellie’s Elephants, I’ve opened up the third book of the Dreaming Lettie series, and I think I’m falling in love all over again… How could I forget about the Dreads!

Until next time!

*These are just my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.