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Words about words

Last week, the issue #12 of the wonderful Drunken Boat dropped. It includes a story of mine. You should go read it! It’s free!

Another thing that happened last week: I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a PhD level writing workshop with George Makana Clark in Milwaukee. Toying, as in, I was all ready to pull the trigger, but with the short week last week, it didn’t occur to me until 2 pm that Monday was really Tuesday, which was also the first day of classes and if I had any hope of making that first meeting, I had to basically shit or get off the pot in thirty minutes.

After much hemming and hawing (with a side of more hemming), I decided that I was being silly. After all, as amazing as it is to sit in a workshop with graduate students and put forth credits toward that still-niggling PhD, it is a not inconsiderable time commitment. I mean, sure, one night a week, but it’s like 250 miles round trip, once a week, plus three hours in a class, and not one minute of that would be spent producing fiction (arguably, I would write two new short stories for the class, but that would be outside of those hours). That’s like 5-6 hours a week that I could be putting toward That Thing I’m Doing. So screw it, I decided to keep Tuesdays sacrosanct and use them as writing nights, where my husband would simply pretend that I’m in Milwaukee, sitting around a table talking about graduate student first draft stories. All of this, I can do right now and put no wear and tear on my car and instead, spend many cozy fall nights sitting in my office reading chair with a computer and a pug in my lap. No brainer? Probably, but I’m a slow learner.

As all this was happening last week, I got an email congratulating me on another story acceptance. I had had high hopes for that story, as it received some good early reaction in my master’s committee and actually won the Faculty Fiction Award and was chosen as my program’s nomination to the Best New American Voices series (alas, it did not place) and had been puzzled that no one seemed to RECOGNIZE THE BRILLIANCE. Supposedly. In my stupid little writer’s brain, I took this as proof that see? See? I am just a lousy writer and everyone likes me too much to point out that I suck.

Writers are stupid people. You know that right? The worst wallflowers that ever walled. Or flowered.

So, acceptance! Cool! Sure, it wasn’t the New Yorker or Glimmer Train, which are weirdly my two markets that I will have a braingasm should I ever be accepted, but at least it was finally going to be read by a few people. I didn’t remember submitting to Blackbird and it didn’t really click to me immediately, for some reason I was thinking it was a teeny tiny little journal somewhere so I went to look it up on their submission thingy and whoa, I submitted it back in November 2009. And then I did a Google search to find out how long they normally take and…


I don’t know why the name of the journal didn’t click with me. Probably because there was drama with my grandmother’s chemo appointments and things were going south personally, and really, fuck the chemo excuse, let’s face it, I assumed that because the piece was finally getting accepted, it was a lesser market and not a “top-end literary fiction market” as mentioned by one reviewer.

Please see above re: stupid writers.