higher tier rejection

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.)

Celebrating a Higher Tier Rejection from the Paris Review

Happy July 4th (even if that’s not a holiday for you.)

I’ve got to say you look incredible. Have you lost weight? Is that a new haircut? Whatever you did, you’re looking fine. As fine as I’ve been feeling recently…

The Paris Review sends out nominal slips of paper with rejection. I’ve gathered a few. I just got a different one. This one said they liked my work and would like to see more. Fantastic, right? Except now I’m wondering what to send.

I absolutely love and adore the problems I have.

If you’re following along, I am four days into Camp NaNo. The story I’m seeking advice on as a possibility to send to TPR was written in the first two days. Last month I subscribed to The Southeast Review’s prompts–a great (and cheap) amount of inspiration if you are thinking about doing it. End shot: I didn’t do every day’s prompt but I did do most. I wrote what I consider two solid stories. I sent them in as contender‘s for their best story written from the prompts. Rough contest–you had to have them sent in by the end of July 1st. The last prompt was interesting, but what I wrote for it, I couldn’t have revised in time to send–just saying it’s intense, but worth it if you look into it.

Anyway, I don’t expect to win, let alone be a finalist, but I feel really good for having written those stories. Like I said, I’m a few days into Camp NaNo and it is also intense, but this time I’m in a “cabin” and my fellow campers are an inspiration and I love the friendly competition.

There are slugs and weeds in my garden. I’ll be out there soon, combating those beasts, and it’s all good. I’m registered to go to a playwriting workshop. New form. New challenges. New hope.

I think I’m ready.

I do love writing. I probably have a crush on you if you must know. As if you’re reading this, I’m all shimmery from your attention, dear reader.

Thank you.

(These are just my overly  happy to be writing creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

One Trip Leads to Another

This week I feel as though things are returning to what passes for normal. Our regular postal carrier is back, I volunteered at the library on Saturday, a few rejections have rolled in, I read the NY Times on Sunday, etc. but now it’s time to make a list and pack a few bags.

Soon after I arrived in Boston, my brother-in-law suffered a heart attack. It was scary and surreal. I thought my niece and I would be changing plans and leaving for Pennsylvania, but we didn’t. The blockage was removed. A stent was put in. He made it to a medical facility in time…

Rachael drove home this past weekend. Husband and I are going this weekend. We’re going to visit and make sure he’s ok.

I talked to him last week. He called his heart attack a “wake-up call.” I wonder how far he’ll take it. He’s quitting smoking (again) and choosing better foods. I think it’s a great start, but he confessed he had a beer already. I thought it was a bit too soon.

Currently, I’m on the “preachy” side of sobriety where I am well aware of what drinking does–and doesn’t do–for me. I stop drinking every year for Lent. Somehow, it is easy. Then I restart. Searching in old notebooks for notes on Ellie’s Elephants, I came across a thought last year that maybe last year would be the year I just stop drinking for good. I’ve had the same thought this year, too, but I sense the reason I do restart is that it makes life easier.

This realization is a complaint of sorts, but I don’t think I’ve made it before. Being away from home during Lent let me see things in a different way. Yes, Husband is not a neat person. I don’t think it would kill him to help a little more. Nothing drastic–just not rip open the shower curtain so the hooks come off the rod OR hooking them back on when he’s done. Little tiny things. I know I ask him to do these things and occasionally he’ll remember to, then he forgets. I think I go back to drinking so these things bother me but I can block them out, get up the next day, notice more minor irritations, block them out or sleep them off and begin again.

Sad, isn’t it?

Right now, I think it is sad, but, will I turn that realization into a “wake-up call” for my life? I don’t know…

What I do know is that I’ve gotten a milder wake-up call–a nudge really–from a few places about my own poetry. I received a few higher tiers and a personal rejection in the past two weeks. A writer friend wrote “…however, you are a poet; prolific it seems to me, but you don’t let the poet come out very much in your workaday writing…” I had decided to be mad at him for that, but a story I read for r.kv.r.y had me look at something in a way I hadn’t considered before, so maybe being a “poet” is what I’m trying to recover from, or block out or choose not to deal with because poets rarely get respect, let alone paid, and then a poetry submission to r.kv.r.y. from someone I briefly met in Boston came in and showed me beauty and passion with a few words so perhaps–this is just my sobriety speaking–perhaps being a poet wouldn’t be the most tragic thing in the world ever to happen to me if I decided to pursue it. Maybe.

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