Showing posts from June, 2017

More Excellent Company

Exciting news: one of my new essays will soon appear at Full Grown People , an online publication specializing in for essays about "The Other Awkward Age." Namely, adulthood. I have admired the work there for some time. It's such a wide-ranging group of contributors, and they (soon to be we!) create a resonant hum of recognition in readers by sharing unique experiences. For example, "Going to Ground" by Sarah Einstein is a recent and especially vivid evocation of how lives have changed in the past year. I highly recommend it. But don't stop there. For example, the Submissions page advises writers to carefully scrutinize the endings of their essays. So go there and root around a bit--there's a lot to see.

Such Excellent Company

Today, The New Quarterly announced the longlist for the 2017 Edna Staebler Personal Essay contest, and I have an essay on it! At the link, you'll see the other writers in whose company I am thrilled to have work. (She said roundaboutly.) The folder holding drafts of "Atomic Tangerine" is several inches thick. No kidding. It's been, as they say, a journey, one I'm still on. I've had really insightful and substantive feedback from writers whose opinions I value very highly. So it's lovely that the essay is recognized at this level. And now, back to work on three other pieces that are still forming and swirling and shedding dead weight, where I hope to apply what I learned from all those drafts of "Atomic Tangerine." Many many thanks to The New Quarterly for administering this contest--they're a lot of (often rewarding) work, and I appreciate the opportunity to participate as an entrant.

Something Else She Was Right About

"She" being my mother. Of course. What she was right about: talking about something only to vent, without aiming at a solution, isn't particularly helpful. Yes, sometimes people "think aloud," and sometimes people just need to express frustration. But not every issue requires--or benefits from--my input. The world doesn't need another horrified person expressing anger or horror or sadness. Besides, if too many people are talking, who's left to listen? I don't mean to imply I'm not writing (revising/editing/dreaming)--I am. I'm doing my own work, even when I'm not sure of its originality or cosmic value. I'm doing the work that is mine to do. And in the rest of the time, I try to keep my mouth shut and listen--for new voices, new ideas, new resolve.


June brings longer days, shorter nights, and chores--ongoing, unrelenting, neverending chores. Both continuous and continual. Still, there's always time to read. I recently finished Medicine Walk , by Richard Wagamese. So much to ponder. Two things stand out immediately: how the characters stand so firmly on the land, and how physical work is described. Picking up the book at random, here's a short sample of a chore (from page 186): The ground was stony beyond the scrim of topsoil. It was gravel, mixed with sand and rocks the size of bread loaves. He bashed away at it and had to get a pick from the trailer and he swung it hard, the clink and the clip of its bite echoing dully off the trees. He'd broken a sweat by the time the hole was cleared enough to get the post-hole digger at it. I've never done work that hard, but I've broken a sweat like that, felt daunted by the first post-hole-equivalent in that way, and been glad of a water jug, just as this characte