Showing posts with label Dangerous Writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dangerous Writers. Show all posts

11 September 2009

chocolates and bagels

It has been over a year since I sat in workshop with Joanna Rose and Stevan Allred, so I thought I would be out of practice to start again. Instead it was a remembered comfort like visiting family (those ones who like you). Weds evening started a new session, and I was there with 11 other writers. It was all very exciting - the reading, the writing, the chocolates and bagels.

My breath still locks up in my chest when I start to read. Nerves. But by about page 5, I was fine. By the last page, I was already satisfied with my experience - even before the comments. The feedback was just gravy.

It's a good group. I am looking forward to next Weds. We'll see how well I'll be able to read, if at all, what with the emergency oral surgery I had on my jaw today (ice and Advil are my friends. But I digress...)

Launching into Chapter 5 and 6 this weekend to refine voice of the narrator, Jude Wildish.

Speaking of Wildish, I drove out of my neighborhood a couple weeks ago, and where there was a building the night before, there was nothing but a pile of rubble and some uprooted Redwood trees. It was shocking. Worst of all, gone was the big blue sign with a mountain tops and in big lettering: Wildish. I am crushed that the inspiration for my family name is gone. There is renewed construction on the lot, but for now, the Wildish family saga will have to go on without the sign.

Ah, well. Things change. Buildings go away. Screws fall out.


19 February 2008

How many licks does it take?

Yesterday was a weird day.

First my story Falling Away at the Edges was accepted by Duck & Herring Co Pocket Field Guide Cold Weather Edition 08. After 62 submissions.

Also yesterday, my story Black Bird was selected as a finalist in the Lunch Hour Stories Magazine 2007 VERY Short Story contest. 2 submissions. It kind of skews the statistics, doesn't it?

Then there's the whole thing about getting 2 acceptances in one day. Against only one rejection: 2-1. Double weird. The good news about the rejection is that it does save me one withdrawal letter.

Here's the thing. Falling Away is a story that came out of a single line that arose from a 5-minute freewrite warm-up about my family history combined with a Christmas turkey tossed out the window. It has been a much shorter piece and a much longer piece. It has been workshopped through 2 different groups, Dangerous Writers and Hot Pages. I love the story. I love the characters. And while it is not my family exactly, the setting is literally in the home of my teenage years, in farm country of southern Idaho. It evokes all the warm fuzzies, if I had any in there from those years of teenage angst.

"Black Bird" on the other hand, is a short-short piece written in a single sitting during the 3rd quarter of a Giants/Falcons game on Monday Night Football immediately after some earlier discussion with the Hot Pages crew about the characteristics of a sociopath. There is a poetic rythmn, no dialogue punctuation, one of my sisters wants to know why I chose that particular name for the girl (it is what it is, Sam, nothing personal), and my dad says it just leaves you hanging. But I guess that was the point.

Eckhart Tolle said, "All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness." Apparently my inner stillness seems to manifest during football. I think I'm alright with that.

Yesterday, I also gave my two weeks' notice at work. The new job starts March 3. Gotta make the doughnuts. It will be nice to get my feet back under me at some point.

In the meantime, I might have to make a run to the store for Tootsie Pops.


06 February 2008

How do they get those big teeth into the Mammoth?

Last year I made a total of 346 submissions to a target group of literary magazines and anthologies. As a result, 6 pieces were accepted. 1.734%.

Granted, my story "Black Bird" skewed the statistics since I wrote and submitted it during the 3rd quarter of the Monday Night Football Giants/Falcons game and it promptly won (as did the Giants) the Whidbey Writers Student Choice Award the next day (the story-not the Giants). Definitely my unicorn.

But I digress. If it takes 346 submissions to achieve 6 publications, how many does it take to get a novel published? Or does that just count as one piece?

Three years ago (has it been so long?) I couldn't even fathom writing a novel. Heading up Dangerous Writers, Joanna Rose and Stevan Allred kept telling me it was possible. One bird at a time.

Now I have the first draft of a novel - working title "Something Big Far Away." And another in progress - "Thicker Than Water." Although lately I am inspired by Jim Harrison's novellas, so perhaps it is a short novel.

OMSI opened up the new dinosaur exhibit for members only. We had no idea there were so many other science geeks in Portland. What a relief.

2 rejections today. 2 submissions. Who says there's no balance in the world?