rejection

Clichés are dumb, but they tend toward truth…

On Tuesday, I took Kobe to the vet and was there for less than an hour. When I returned home, I had two rejections – one for a contest and one for a fellowship. Being a writer is filled with all sorts of delightful occurrences like these…

*Sigh* I’ve been in a sad funk. Apparently, even if you care nothing about a person, it still bums you out when you’re told by them that Nazis should kill you. Who knew? The fight with Husband and the assault on my senses, which was snow flurries on April 30th, didn’t add any merriment to my life either.

Luckily, I have a great friend named Kellie, and during my downward spiral, I read her newsletter that was about dragons – of all things. Anyway, the message came across as you can either lie waste to everything you’ve built with fiery breathe – OR – you can polish and repair the minor nicks in your scales. I’m still not in a great mood, but I took down the firewood platform, cleaned the floors, and rotated the living room furniture today. As I write from this new spot, I feel better. Kobe is supportive of the move, having curled up to my right. (Of course, he walked away when I picked up the phone to snap a shot. I’ve never seen a more picture-shy dog in my life. The vet’s assistant can attest to this as she spent seven minutes trying to take a picture of him for his file but only has a fluffy blur of ¾ of his face)

So, I guess the take away is that life – especially the writing life – can be daunting, but there are people out there who can help it along. I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I believe in signs (see a recent previous post about that) but here it is, May 3rd and the flowers are out,

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the frogs are lounging in the pond,

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and no Nazi’s are currently at the door ready to take me out.

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(As I’m preparing to post, I do want to say this minor shift in surroundings and thought has gone to remind me how lucky I am, and the amazing friends I have, so shouts outs to Nina, Gina, Mary, Jim & Julie, Betty, St. James, Dan, Wendy, I can go on for a very long time… Seriously! What was my funk about exactly?)

The GORGEOUS May/June issue of Ink in Thirds is out and one of my pieces is included with the likes of the amazing Timothy Gager, Tara Isabel Zambrano and Meg Tuite!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Cheers!

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I don’t “do” Saint Patrick’s Day, but I wish you well with your celebration.

I was ill. It wasn’t pretty and if I hadn’t been doing Pilates regularly, I wonder if I wouldn’t have ended up in the emergency department. Hell, last Friday, if I’d been able to get to the phone I would have called Nancy to take me. I think everything is fine now, but it took a lot more out of me than I would have expected.

The writhing in pain on the bathroom floor unable to find a comfortable position was actually the highlight of my week. My heart broke twice with agent rejections and I know, I know, I KNOW it’s a love match and I’m supposed to be grateful I didn’t end up with someone who doesn’t love my work, but right now, I don’t feel like anyone ever will…and as I say that, I need to remind myself that a story of mine made it to the final round of Best Small Fictions.

Trust me, that high didn’t come close balancing out those lows.

Another bright spot is that “Closer to Whole” is up at Pure Slush in the Suits Issue. I am thrilled to have my flash in the same issue at Susan Tepper, Gay Degani, Cezarija Abartis, and many more amazing writers. Many, many thanks to Matt Potter for including my piece.

Last night, Nancy and I went to see “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” Tina Fey did a great job. There were a lot of interesting characters and I’ll be buying it when it comes out on DVD so Husband can see it.

It’s hard to believe the weather is as nice as it’s been, but here’s proof:

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The “normal” crocuses didn’t come up this year – or they did and I missed them thinking it was too early. I haven’t seen any growth where I planted tulips in the fall, but the hyacinth is pushing through in a ring around the flowering pear tree. Husband and I went up the hill on Saturday; the paths were clear.

After posting this, I plan on starting some tomato and pepper seeds. Maybe this year the garden fence will go up…and maybe I’ll find an agent…though giving up is a possibility, too.

I told you being ill took a lot out of me.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by for a read and if you’re my devoted fan in Brazil, thank you for checking in so often. I only post twice a month, in case you were wondering.

*These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences will vary.

If it’s the 19th, I must be up to 31673 words.

 

{~Photos graciously provided by Joseph Fleckenstein~}

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Participating in National Novel Writing Month is a process that continues to fascinate me. I won’t say it gets easier, or that I am any closer to having a “real” book by the end, but each time I find a rhythm. I completely “pantsed” this year and so far, I’m finding my way – though by now, the beginning needs major reworking. Oh, how I love the problems I have.

 
I forget which “law” it is, but to me, writing is motion and once engaged, I write even more. My co-workers have been nailing comments on pieces sent to Literary Orphans, so I’ve mostly bowed out of commenting there because, “What Len said” and “Brittany summed it up nicely” grows tiresome, even to my own ear. I do read, and I vote. That is the loveliest thing – if you submit to LO, your piece is read by at least three people.

There’s more responsibility and leeway at r.kv.r.y. I made an executive decision Sunday night. A writer sent a piece and said he’d appreciate any feedback. It’s customary to wait a week before responding – I don’t know why that is, it just is. Anyway, the writing was good but the story wasn’t “there.” I offered my reasons and reasoning as to why I wasn’t accepting the piece. It was a bit scary – one never knows how another reacts – especially to rejection.

In the morning, the writer, Joseph Fleckenstein – my guest photographer today – responded with an abundance of gratitude. My time spent reaching out and talking to another writer ended in an offer of four beautiful images to choose from for my very own. The first was of a thistle. I chose that one because of it being a talisman to the family I married into – a thistle was on Gideon Whitson’s gravestone – and if the story I got from Husband is wrong, I’m sure my beautiful niece will correct me. So at the top and bottom are two gorgeous photos of thistles by Joseph Fleckenstein. My many, many thanks to him.

‘Tis the season to be grateful, isn’t it?

Nancy Leone came by yesterday with flowers, fresh rosemary, and her final notes on L&C. She had one major point I know I should consider fixing. It’s at the end and won’t require a lot, but I wish that book was “done” done. I know, it won’t be until it’s published – should I be that lucky, but it’s gotten to minutia and I’m tired. I want to move on. Is that wrong? Besides which, someone wondered if I wasn’t allowing too many critiquers into the pot, but the last major rewrite pleased him so I just don’t know anymore.

What I do know is that I took a break from a private office in Zoetrope. I didn’t think I was being useful and the prompts weren’t working. Late summer and early autumn are full of depression triggering time bombs. Events conspired, I wrote a creative nonfiction piece – something I shy away from writing, but I posted it and then could see the flaws. It felt great though, to dip back into flash. So, to you Kim Chinquee, I want to give my thanks for leaving that office door open. And thanks to Gina who has been such a positive guide. Thanks to Mary for her belief in me. Thanks to my incredible and kind Husband. To Sidney. To Alex. To Chyo. To XOMan. To my niece.

I could go on for a VERY long time naming people and things I’m grateful for but this post is already topping 600 words. That’s longer than the flash I wrote…which just proves the law I was talking about…

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thank you again, Joseph Fleckenstein!

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

One thing done, twenty more added to my to do list.

Here it is, the fourth of June and the garden is finally planted. The screened in tent went up last night and I moved the swing in there this morning. The weather man said it was supposed to be sunny today, but that is not how the sky appears. It is the start of fun part of the year where I’m better off waking early to get outside to beat the muggy heat and the biting bugs. I am not a morning person. I’m not sure I’m an outside person either.

 
The author and my editor liked my review of Muscle Cars. I’ve been asked to conduct an interview with an author I’m unfamiliar with, so when I get a chance, I’ll be expanding my repertoire at The Tavern. Also, I may be revisiting a part of my life soon. I’ll know more on Tuesday, and I don’t want to jinx it, but it involves politics.

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Husband and I made it to our 15th anniversary. It fell on Sunday and he brought me The New York Times, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and these gorgeous flowers. They are holding up well. I guess we are, too—at least we haven’t killed each other yet. The day before our anniversary, there were a few iffy moments.

 
Condensed to Flash: World Classics is out and available at Amazon. I am honored and proud to have a story in there. It’s a gorgeous book with so many great stories by incredible writers. Many thanks to Mark Budman and everyone at Vestal Review Press.

 
Last week was brutal with rejections, so I’m hoping things turn around soon. I’ve got 5 new flash pieces from the workshop—well, one wasn’t directly from there, but the association is close. I’m going to run them by a few friends and then submit. I’ve slacked off with that part of the process recently, but it is difficult not to go outside and enjoy being able to do just that. This winter was unrelenting and I’m so glad it is over. We’ve had the daffodils, the irises are blooming and soon there will be peonies.

 
Thanks for stopping by!

 
(These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.)

Fun with Cell Phones

042903_1502[01]If you know my husband, you know he doesn’t text and his spelling skills are…special. Yesterday, he was in the elevator shaft, someone called his cell, he climbed out, chatted, set the phone down and climbed back in. A bit later, Ryan, the guy he’s been riding into Buffalo with, asked him if he just texted him. Husband said no. Ryan asked if he knew where his phone was. Husband grabbed for it and found it was gone. He looked where he set it down and it was there. Ryan cryptically told him, “Don’t leave your phone out where Don can get it.”

Okay, so Husband says he said something about it to Don and after some back and forth, Don told him he’d need to sort things out with Norm. At that point in the telling of the story, I’m like “What the feck! Give me that.” I opened Husband’s phone and Don had texted to Ryan, “Can I sit on your lap and steer the truck?” I read it and after laughing for several minutes was finally able to tell Husband what it said.

Don texted to Norm, “I miss you,” which wasn’t horrid, but Norm texted back “I know,” upon which Don added, “What are you wearing?” No response. (All the words in the texts were spelled correctly and there was punctuation. Dead giveaway that Husband had nothing to do with those texts!)

I told Husband he should tell Don that I found the texts and got upset and woke him up in the middle of the night to explain. Apparently, he did and Don didn’t believe him, so Husband just called and I had to listen to Don grovel and say he was sorry for his bad taste in jokes. The whole time, I wanted to laugh, but restrained myself until after we hung up. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It is stupid, I know, but it’s also kind of nice that the jokester got joked.

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My first “real” book review comes out tomorrow. I’ll link it here when it goes up and if I remember. There are just a few more days left in the Flash Fiction Workshop with Meg Pokrass. The story for the second prompt gave me trouble. It was too long and I was frustrated. I went back to it, finished it and wound up with 1340 words. From there, I trimmed. I cut. I eviscerated. At 995 words, I posted it and got good reviews. She thinks it may be “the one” to get me into Pank or Smokelong. Here’s to hoping. There are three more prompts, so after I post this, it’s back to work.

Otherwise, it’s been disappointing, this writing life. Several rejections arrived, I did not make the final cut for an anthology, but I did get an encouraging note from one place. I guess that is something.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.

 

 

Critiquing, reading, and the first snow

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Husband is driving me insane at the moment. I went to my novel critique group tonight and by the time I got home, he either developed a urinary tract infection or some man peeing problem. If that’s too much for you, imagine how I feel. I can’t do a thing to help him and I’m annoyed. I thought I’d have a few minutes to look over the notes from tonight and let them inform my re-write and/or my next twenty pages I need to have sent to the group by the 17th of December. Instead, he’s up, down, in the bathroom, drinking water…poor thing. 

So, other than that…I’m behind in my NaNoWriMo word count, hence writing this blog post the night before I post it. With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to get up early tomorrow and write enough words to get where I need to be if I’m going to “win” this thing.

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Oh good, Husband listened to me, put a bathrobe on and that “fixed” his problem. Marriage is an interesting concept. I can’t imagine what he’d write about me if he had a blog. Probably how I am the bitch who brings in wood, keeps the fire going, the dishes washed, the laundry taken care of, meals prepared. Yeah. It’s worth noting that he is the most awesome guy and he fixes all the broken appliances, cleans the chimney, builds me things, plows the driveway. We take care of each other out of love, concern, and respect. 

But some days…I bet we’re both ready to kill each other and make it look like an “accident.”

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I got slammed with three rejections on Monday, by mail, email, and Submittable, oh yeah. Trifecta from hell. My reaction? I sent out four submissions on Wednesday and I plan to get out another four by the end of Thursday. *Sigh.*

Being a writer is a crazy. It’s gumption and sauce, talent and desire, and in the end so sad. I mean it is insane that some critically acclaimed writers had success but ended up offing themselves while mediocre ones are eating up people’s time and money. I know it’s always been this way, but as I get closer to being a “product,” the more I wonder about the parameters and which one I want to be…loved while I’m here or after I’m gone.

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Yes, I do love the problems I have. And where I live.

Thanks for checking in.

 

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

Prepping For NaNoWriMo

I still have pepper plants flowering in the garden as I write. Who knew the combination of the pergola and garden shed would serve as a sweet spot where frost in the valley didn’t touch my babies? I’ve been raking leaves and taking care of things in preparation for winter. With temperatures so high, it’s hard to imagine the cold to come.

So, it kind of sucks that an arbitrary decision by a guy I used to know affected my life as much as it did. It was like being thrust into a horror film without signing a contract. Whatev…We’re here now. He’s dead; I’m living. Lately, I’ve had the weirdest vivid dreams…

Beyond that, I’ve been reading so much… The beginning of three different novels in progress in preparation for a tryout for an amazing novel critique group, stories for r.kv.r.y., the latest Oliver Sacks book. I’ve also gotten back to submitting my work. It’s weird being a writer. Tomorrow, I’ll be checking into doing something insane: taking a zip-line ride across the creek. I have no idea why I’m choosing to do it other than I can and the experience might end up in a story. Why else do I live on?

I have the vaguest sense of the story I want to write this year for NaNo. I hope the end comes to me soon. Once I have the end, I know I can finish the novel. I’m also looking into using Schrivner this year. Index cards do not work for me. Ah well, I love the problems I have. I want to get more stories sent out before November first. Rejections don’t seem as important when I’m working on a novel–possibly because I don’t have time to dwell on them. So, I’m off to look up guidelines and submit. Thanks for reading! I hope to have good news to share soon.

In the meantime, I’d appreciate your support in this: Bards and Sages, which published “Cosmas, Reporting for Duty” in the October Issue is running a contest for best story of the year. If you could, vote for me here: Reader’s Choice Thank you!

I love you all. I am required to say that since I may dive to my death soon. Hugs! I’ll try to hold on.

(These are just my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)