Books giveaway, eyes, and mortuary science

The print edition of Harpur Palate 20.2 with my short story, From Scratch, is finally out in the world! Also! I have an extra copy of the journal that I would like to give away along with one other gently used book that I’ve enjoyed this past year (you can choose between: The Midnight Library, The Glass Hotel, or The Body Keeps the Score (non-fiction)). To enter, send me a message with your choice of a gently used book you’d like to receive with it and a good mailing address. While you are there, feel free to ask to be added to my infrequent newsletter. Your chances of winning are pretty good. My goal is to get more than 4 people to enter.

Harpur Palate issue 20.2, From Scratch was included.

I started writing what I think is a speculative non-fiction piece about my time at the ophthalmologist’s (had to look up the spelling for that one!) office. It’s making me reflect a lot on sight, something I’ve taken for granted all my life because I’ve had 20/20 vision up until recently. To be fair, my vision is still good and I don’t need glasses. Don’t roll your eyes just yet. It has come to light that I need further testing for glaucoma, it runs in my family and I have a couple of factors that are pointing to a potential deterioration in my optic nerve in the near future. Of course, I had to look up an anatomy of the eye chart which led to this diseases of the eye chart.

I’ve also been thinking a bit about funerals and sitting with grief. I’m thankful for places like The Dougy Center and people that can sink into the discomfort of another person’s pain. I’m working on this in myself and think about how meaningful it is for someone to be there for you when it’s hard for others to be there. Environments like hospitals, funeral homes, or simply being near someone in tears and having feelings of hopelessness are not places anyone clamors to. In terms of my life, I’m wondering how I can serve others in this way, to sit with them and their grief. Listening without judgment or solutions. Allowing the pain to wash out, to ebb and flow, but knowing that the shape of grief is never still. Never in one place. Anyway, I’m thinking a lot about this in terms of what my next career move might be. I’m a member of the Order of the Good Death founded by Caitlin Doughty already and a degree in Mortuary Science is not off the table. I need to go back and watch some Ask a Mortician YouTube series (also Caitlin Doughty). That may help me decide.

Visit my website any time and check out my other blog posts (I’m blogging more regularly again!).

Sign up for my e-news

I just published two short stories! Get a little background on the stories and then read them. I just sent out an e-news, but it isn’t too late to sign up and receive it. I also only send one out about 2-3 per year and you can always unsubscribe. But, really, they are riveting!

Okay, that’s all for now. I’m working on a new novel so that’s taking up a lot of my creative space. I’m almost finished with the first draft!

Photo below: I used to have this type of skateboard. I got it for Christmas one year. I wasn’t that good, but I learned how to do a couple tricks. I perfected doing Manuals on a friend’s skinny board, but that’s about it.

Two firsts & some distractions

In my last post, I mentioned doing a #fridayfiction post on Twitter. It didn’t actually happen until Sunday so I’m going to call it #fictionSunday. You can see my tweet about the short story I read on the STORY Magazine website. It was actually an excerpt of a longer story that will be in the print edition.

More new things! I finally signed up and participated in One Page Wednesday, an event that Literary Arts hosts. Right now they host the event on Zoom, but before the pandemic people went down to the Literary Arts space and did an in-person reading. Basically, there are featured writers each month who read at the beginning of the event, and then others sign up to read their page. One of the Literary Arts staff members emcees the event (December’s was hosted by Jessica Meza-Torres) and it kicks off from there.

This is me ready to read out loud to people other than my toddler for the first time in a couple years!

I didn’t get super nervous, probably because I was sitting on my couch in my house, I didn’t have to go first, and everyone on the Zoom call was very supportive. I loved seeing new-to-me writers and hearing what they are working on. I hope to join the call again next month.

Other items I have found of interest, amusement, or otherwise distracting:

  1. This music video by Vremya & Steklo “Troll” was the #1 song in Ukraine in December. I found while browsing Twenty-two Twenty-eight literary journal’s website.
  2. Perfecting my vegetarian chicken soup (instant pot!).
  3. Read a few articles about Omicron. Here and here. I’m sure new stuff will continue to be reported on.
  4. I learned a little about the Transgenic jellyfish from the e-news digest I get from Nature. Researchers are learning more.

“Jellyfish neurons seem to be organized in hierarchical patterns that independently control different body parts, the scientists say. Transgenic jellyfish could serve as a model for studying how brains and nervous systems evolved, they suggest.”

– Nature

What are you doing to keep distracted? Have you tried anything new lately?

Okay, that’s all for now. Hope you are staying healthy and sane.

Aiming for 100 rejections

I have finally decided to aim for 100 rejections (at this point it’s more like submissions/applications) for the year. I’ve been hearing about this idea for a long time and I always kind of liked it, but was never committed to putting it into practice. Lately, I’ve gotten some of my energy back after the depression, stress and horribleness of the past two years. I’m ready to take my commitment to my writing to the next level! First, here’s what I’ve been up to when I’m not too busy toddler wrangling:

  1. I applied to a fellowship! I’ve NEVER done this. I’m not holding my breath, but I decided that it was time I believed in myself enough to try for something like this. Next year’s goal will be to apply to more than 1.
  2. Slowly I am aiming to get back to jogging 3 miles three days a week. So far, I’ve been able to jog twice a week for a little under 2 miles. Part of that is due to time, but a BIG part is due to my lower fitness level. Running is HARD when you haven’t done it for years …
  3. Oh, um, I have a new obsession, Orchids. I am not allowed to buy anymore, but let’s just say PROJECT ORCHID REJUVENATION was a success! I’ll do a post on that in the future probably.
  4. One of my stories was accepted for publication back in December 2020 and should be published in the next couple of months. With COVID a lot has slowed down and publication timelines are no exception. If you want to get notification on when that happens, sign up for my tiny e-newsletter. I generally only send an email out 1-2 times per year.
  5. I wrote a new short story that I am really proud of. After trying to write it as a creative nonfiction piece, I turned it into a short fiction piece in one day. I revised it a couple times and had a writer friend review it before sending it out. It was based on a call for short stories from a journal I’d been pubbed with in the past.
  6. A few months ago I started writing a new novel. This one feels a bit different than my other ones. It seems to have more focus in many ways, but I’m only about halfway through writing the first draft so we will see what happens. It involves TIME TRAVEL!
  7. I signed up for a community event through Literary Arts called One Page Wednesday in December. It’s where you can listen to others read a page of their work in progress and if you want to read, you can too. I love this idea and have always wanted to go to one of these events.
  8. I also signed up for an online fiction workshop through Catapult. I’m excited about this one because it centers around time and how to utilize it in your novel. I’m very curious about this topic since my new project deals with time travel.
  9. And then I decided to see how many submissions I’d sent out this year. This includes three short stories, a novel, and the fellowship. I counted roughly 70 submissions, 10-12 of those are still pending. This led me to decide to rack up some rejections and start counting in 2022. This is where I’ve decided to aim for 100.

Okay, that’s my update for now. I can’t promise that I will update this blog more than a couple times a year, but we’ll see. What about you? How are you doing and have you set any goals for yourself?

The Matchbook Room

My piece was published on the Eunoia Review website! Check it out.

Eunoia Review

First performed by an actor as part of the Liars’ League Portland (now defunct)

What I wanted to tell you about was Grin. How she collected matchbooks and how it’s a dying art form. Her full name was Grinalda. She’d inherited her father’s modest collection when she was 25. At first, she didn’t like me, thought I was a know-it-all. Most people would agree with her, but I learned to soften my delivery, how to stop being didactic after a couple of shots of Four Roses whiskey. I liked it on the rocks and without flourish, but you don’t care about that. At first, Grin kept me around because of some familiarity or softness in my dark eyes. Later, I helped her make more money and became indispensable.

Tall, lanky, awkward. Grin muddled through the streets as if she were lost in a corn maze. We met when I found…

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