Despite the utter disaster that 2020 became, I had a pretty good year of Reading and Writing and Publishing.
My first was a Non–Fiction piece in Hobart called Confessions of an Anti-Job. It’s about the week leading up to my father’s death and also about my life in general, the kind of reflections that gathering in a hospital to watch your dad die can inspire. I think he would have loved the story, but hated being the trigger of it this way. He didn’t know the difference of Hobart and my own blog, but he would have been happy at how happy it made me to have this home at Hobart.
I didn’t write a lot of new flash for publishing this year. I wrote a lot, just not single pieces that I was sending out. I wrote this one called Willie that appeared in the Daily Drunk, but I can’t find it in their page, so I posted it on my site. I wrote it for my writing group, the Flash Monsters!!! and it was inspired by reading a lot of Barthelme this summer.
It was really fun to start the Flash Monsters!!! blog and we’ve ran a lot of great interviews and I’m excited to do more soon! That group has been a huge part of my writing year.
This one called The Love You Make was in Pigeonholes. It’s a micro I wrote one night for a private Facebook group and it was in their Lost issue.
Understanding Taco Nun appeared in No Contact. I first wrote it the weekend of the Trump inauguration and a lot of places rejected it. I ended up revising the ending and reading to the Flash Monsters!!! who encouraged me to send it out including to No Contact. I’m glad I did! Another awesome thing they do is host video readings. Here’s me and Taco Nun.
I wrote this one this summer, and a ton of places rejected it too! I still really liked it, so I self-published it basically by including it in our Editor’s Issue of New Flash Fiction Review.
Flash is so tricky and so personal. Something I really feel or love might not translate to story or to something that other folks are excited about or want to publish. It definitely can be the why this story and why now situation. It doesn’t matter, getting rejected, the thing that matters is the writing, the thinking, the creating. Even knowing that, and knowing how instinctual the difference between acceptance and rejection can be while editing New Flash Fiction, it still is mentally challenging. Hurt isn’t quite the right word, but there’s something that feels un-zen-like about the pursuit of acceptance in publishing. Even if you “win”, it can be unfulfilling. I’m trying to center my pursuit on the creation. The art. Even if that means submitting a lot less. I think I’m also just moving from wanting to write condensed. We’ll see.
A very big fun “win” of the year was making the long list and then the short list of the Bath Short Story Prize with my short short called Redemption Drive. I first wrote it around 2013 and it sat for some years and then I came up with a different way to voice it and I shortened it from 1600 to 1000 and I think it found a good spot. As a result of making the short list, my story is included in their anthology.
On the chapbook front, still no word from Redbird Chapbooks if or when they are going to publish my chapbook, For Those About to Rock. We signed the contract in early 2019, so it is disheartening to not know it’s future yet. Possibly this is a victim of the Covid Era, but I don’t know. I’ll try again to find out soon.
On better news, I wrote a brand new one this year I’m very happy with and I’m going for third time’s a charm at the Bath Novella in Flash prize where I have twice shortlisted, twice missed the publication cut. Here’s hoping 3 is a charm although I expect there to be a lot more entries this year than ever. They have done a great job promoting the form, and opportunities to publish are actually rare. I need to keep working on my own work for a while, but I do have thoughts mulling around about starting a chapbook press. I’d like to at least get a few of mine published first, and then perhaps that will be a good side project.
For 2021, I would like to publish some of my longer form short stories and continue to write more of those with eyes set on an eventual short story collection. I have 3 or 4 of the traditional length and would like to write 6-8 more and see how they stack together. Might still be a few years out for that!
I really appreciate this post. It is so helpful to hear about your process, and all the twists and turns your own submissions have taken. Good luck with everything on your writing agenda!