Friday, May 31, 2013

New Journal!

Greetings! I had a post about rejection all ready to go (oh, who am I kidding) in mind, but then this happened: A new journal, several months in the making, went live today! 

It's called Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing. And the Spring 2013 inaugural issue includes two prose poems by fellow Thunder Bay writer Cathi Grandfield, as well as one of my short stories! I can't wait to look at all of it. What I've seen is simply beautiful. 

And what a journey the Managing Editor, Canadian-(from Thunder Bay, even!)-in-Australia Suzannah Windsor, has been on these past months. She took great care--in selecting her teams, inviting content, ensuring beautiful layout, and supporting the work with with marketing and publicity--and it shows. Many people have worked hard to bring it about. I appreciate their efforts very much.

They're also accepting submissions for another issue this year. Ahem. I would repeat their submission requirements here, but you're going there to read it, right?
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Overhaul, Revise, Upside-Down, Invert

Those are just a few of the words you could use to describe what I'm doing to my writing schedule.

At the risk of trying to organize myself out of a problem I've behaved myself into,* I'm mixing it up a little, at least in terms of calendars, schedules, and "Butt Meets Chair."

Yep. I'm going to try using my morning hours for my work writing and the rest of the day for my own writing. For one thing, I really can do work-person-like writing in the morning. For another, working mornings--just accepting that I gotta work in the mornings--is going to prevent problems like the one I had this week, when everything came due at once and I had to get a deadline extension.

I hate that. I am not like one who easily accepts the need for extended deadlines. I am not at all like that one.

So yup. Upside down, inside out, backside front. A few hours a day instead of a festival of panic. That's not a festival I enjoy attending. So I'm overhauling, revising, upside-downing, and inverting.

*Don't do this. Change your behavior, not your organizational method. Don't get another calendar; just do the stuff on the one you have. Why do you imagine a fancy closet organizer is gonna make a difference if you don't hang up your clothes now? You'll still have to hang up your clothes. Et cetera. And by the way, businesses are the worst offenders. If sales are low, let's rejigger the reporting structure, because that's easier than hiring better salespeople or investing in training the ones we have. Oh look, I got started. But I'm stopping now.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beep Beep! Make Way for Awards

Y'all may not know that I was born and grew up in Oklahoma, but I did. And through the magic of Facebook, I have connected with many fine people I knew long ago.

One especially fine person, Jeanne Devlin, is the backbone and steel behind The RoadRunner Press, a literary publishing company "changing the world, one reader at a time."

Recently, two RoadRunner titles won 2013 IPPYs: Independent Publisher Book Awards! The Immortal Von B., by Scott Carter, won the gold medal for Young Adult Fiction, after winning an Oklahoma Book Award. And The Bulldoggers Club: The Tale of the Ill-Gotten Catfish, by Barbara Hay, took home the gold medal for Juvenile Fiction.

Thanks to the pleasure of my "day job," I had the opportunity to, ahem, read these books pre-publication. Both were a lot of fun, as were RoadRunner's new title for adults, Crimes of Redemption, by Linda McDonald, and Tim Tingle's soon-to-appear title, How I Became a Ghost.

These are all stories of Oklahoma, in all its red-dirt beauty (not to be confused with prettiness), sadness, humor, complexity, and diversity.

RoadRunner is also on Facebook, of course.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hello, World!

Good May morning, people! The snowbanks persist outside my office window, and we're due for another 10 cm (4 inches) tomorrow. But if you squint at just the right angle, you can see greening in poplars and grassy patches. I'm pretending that spring is on her way.

Meanwhile, I'm also a little late in shoveling out from under some writing and work commitments. For all that I'm in no way affiliated with formal schooling, this time of year -- this year, at least -- has a distinct "end of semester" feel about it.

But something else is at work, too. Recently, I participated in Liar, Liar, an integrated arts project funded by the Ontario Arts Council (thanks, OAC!). The work is currently in the Thunder Bay (Historical) Museum -- through June 2, in fact.

My participation in the project more or less ended when I submitted my short story, "Improvisation," for consideration. Four short stories about lying were chosen. Since then, artists in various disciplines have created work (paintings, glasswork, sculpture, collage, soundscapes) around those stories and that theme.

I finally had the chance to see the artwork at the exhibit's opening reception about ten days ago. (The cookies were a little hard but people still ate them.) (By "people" I of course mean "me.") What a strange and wonderful experience to see interpretations of a short story in other media.

One of the more striking works was the sculpture entitled "Toots" by John Books, a Thunder Bay artist. (I might be biased, of course.) My story featured a cat, a trumpet player, jazz, and some lying. It's a relatively light work -- I love the characters, in spite of their flaws.

John's sculpture starts with story elements but goes deeper to allude to the sad parts of the legacy of jazz, and death, and the price artists (and we all) pay for silence and for lies. The sculpture not pretty, but it's beautiful and arresting.

Writers often send words into the ether or onto paper and rarely find out whether their work has influenced someone else. Participating in this project has reminded me that words matter. I'm very grateful to Debbie Metzler, the artistic director of Liar, Liar, and all the other participants.

So that's what I'm sitting with, even as I also frantically tie up loose ends and find my work rhythm again after vacation. It's a lovely way to greet spring. Once she shows up for real!