Monday, April 30, 2007

Some of my posts talk about how beautiful the moon sometimes is. Thought I'd show, instead of tell.

Writing quote for 4/30/07

The important thing in writing is the capacity to astonish.

--Terry Southern

Quote for 4/30/07

I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.

-- Pablo Picasso

Chicago, Chicago

currently following a chance to participate in the Harlem Book Fair Chicago. That would be fun and some great exposure. I wonder if you-know-who who lives, works and wields her mighty-moving-books-off-the-shelf-power in Chicago would attend. UPDATE:emailing the coordinator while I'm blogging. "We would love to have you on board" his last note says.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111 Got to send some info/work samples. Yay yay yay

Stuff off to the two L.A. events. One looks more promising than the other, but I'm still hoping for both.

Friday, an e-mail about a Virginia festival looking for readers. Oooooh, me, me, me!

A poetry reading series in Vegas. That would be fun. Put that in a "future" folder.

Detroit's this weekend and doing some research, found a possibility for a return to that city.

A reading series in Conneticut. "future" folder.

Another place to possibly read at in Atlanta. Put that in the folder with the black bookstores, the black newspapers, the tv station with the literary program, the name and address of a professor sitting right under my nose whose field is linked to my book and the info on a writer (based in Georgia, near Atlanta) who's just started a publishing company.

Years ago, when I first got this novel idea, I got myself featured in a black publication based in Atlanta (What's Within You)and this writer, who is a literary player, was featured in the same issue. I remember thinking how cool that was. Yes, I know it's a long shot that she would have read the article about me and would remember me, but I could always mention that later;-P

What I find interesting is this: from what I can figure, I end up on this professor's mailing list because of Reb's response to a post he made at a blog and Grisel sends me the information about the writer and her publishing company. Grisel, I met when I went to the reading series she and her husband run in San Antonio; the thing, the date I was given to read was not the date I was shooting for. In fact, I had to do some quick rearranging to make the date and while Grisel was concerned about the low attendance, my thought and what I told her was that there might be something else happening.

Because, too, I didn't meet Reb until I went to a reading coordinated by Didi who invited me to start blogging in the first place and Reb's post was about my blog!!!!

And I met Didi when I submitted a story to her magazine because I hadn't heard from the magazine I originally submitted it to and when Didi accepted the story, I wrote the first magazine to withdraw the work, but the editor wrote back and said it was never received.

I don't believe in "fate" or "destiny." We create our own fates, but I do believe that events that don't appear to be turning out in our favor it's because something better, more important is going to happen instead and those "mishaps" can be worked into the larger cloth of things that create a more beautiful tapestry, if you will.

Sometimes I think I'm going somewhere for *this* reason and actually I'm there for something else. Maybe I was to meet Grisel and Reb (by way of Didi) because I was going to be at this place right now and I was going to need the information they could provide me.

'Cause (yes, the story gets bigger) the novel is the one that agent Nat Sobel says is a "breakout novel" and besides Atlanta, it takes place in South Africa where Liesl lives and she reinvited me to visit and stay there when I met her in person just months ago because she "happened" to attend a writer's conference in Tempe, the very same place Carrie, friend and fellow writer, moved to just years ago and so she had a door nearby that she could open to me when I was packed and Life decided I ready to leave NM but not yet ready for Vermont (if that is the place I'm to be 'cause I'm not setting that in stone).

Hmmm, the dots are really connecting. You think? I do.

Life is funny (and supportive) that way.

The answer is NO, Gwendolyn. NO NO NO

I am having a very hard time accepting "no" as the answer in regards to this story I'm writing.

I wrote a rough draft months ago. I started reading Robert Olin Butler's book on fiction writing. There was an example he gave about writing technique that stuck with me. I went back to the story with a keener eye and rewriting the story, it became more emotional.

Okay, cool. But, then, I read the Asimov's magazine I had at the time and decided that making the story a science fiction piece would make it more unique.

I've mentioned that I wanted it to be along the lines of "Brave New World" and it would have had this shadow of "The Scarlett Letter."

I've also mentioned when I spoke to this man who runs a group for fathers of children with disabilities (for another story) that I realized that a sci-fi approach was not going to work.

So back to the story as a literary piece.

Then I met this guy who's going to school here and we got to talking about college; he's majoring in journalism and creative writing.

Hey! I've got a degree in journalism and I'm a creative writer!

What kind of stuff do you write, I asked.

Science fiction, he tells me.

Okay, he's cute but I'm suddenly in love with him for another reason.

I decide to entice him with the possibility of a major publication credit.

I've got this story I want to send to Asimov's. You want to collaborate with me?

He listens to my story and what the rules are of the world the main character lives in and then he starts giving me ideas and angles, all of which are interesting, none of which develop the story the way I want it to work.

Plus he brings up a factor I didn't consider which is a HUGE hurdle I'd have to jump in order to maintain credibility.

So the answer is no.


I know I should let the story be what is is; it's just that I've gotten attached to making this particular work "be about this" and that's not a good thing.

No agendas when it comes to one's art/work. If it can't be true and honest, then what's the point? And if I'm struggling trying to make this story be something it isn't, maybe the problem isn't with the writing, but the writer.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Angels With Dirty Faces

Flipping channels the other night and there's Cagney!! Oooooooh I love him. "White Heat" will always be my favorite Cagney flick, but he (like Jimmy Stewart)was great in any film.

Writing quote for 4/27/07

Being a writer was never a choice, it was an irresistible compulsion.

--Walter J. Williams

Quote for 4/27/07

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Writer Profile Project

Writer/editor Mike Young interviewed by Kelly here.

Quote for 4/26/07

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.

--Gail Devers

Writing quote for 4/26/07

Work every day. No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail.

--Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And also in those seas of emails. . .

some missed opportunities.

Oh, well, some more will come along. That's the nice thing about life.

You can afford to miss a bus now and then 'cause another's on its way.

And also while I was cleaning out emails and she's one of my favorites too

Susan had sent me a short story she wrote. A hot little erotic story. I finally got to print it out and read it and I loved it. The ending made me laugh out loud 'cause it was soooooooooooooooooooooo true and that's what I love about Susan's characters, they are authentic.

And she's going to have a collection of stories published. American Cool, and, according to Susan,"{t)here's some sex and some violence and plenty of cursing and drinking with a twist of gambling and a little shake of baseball thrown in."

Sounds like a recipe for some good reading, no?

Oh, MonkeyBicycle--Myfanwy is everyone's favorite!

Or she should be.

Still cleaning out the various e-mail addresses/boxes and there's a quick newsletter note from MonkeyBicycle, which says that
  • Myfanwy Collins
  • is becoming one of their favorites.

    Some of us have felt that way for years.

    Go here.

    Quote for 4/25/07

    No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.


    Writing quote for 4/25/07

    All words are pegs to hang ideas on.

    --Henry Ward Beecher

    Spring issue of GHOTI

    is online here.

    My story "Sometimes" is in there.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    it's been 3 days. . .

    since I submitted a work to this online publication. I think that's a good sign.

    Last time I submitted, the rejection came overnight.

    Monday, April 23, 2007


    Things have not calmed down, but I'm a little more organized to handle everything coming at me. All good and I wanted to sort through it, ponder it, enjoy it.

    Lots of opportunities suddenly making their way to me, but I've got to have balance. I need a book, not a chapbook (though I will have four of them this summer; I've just found and negotiated the terms for the artwork for "The Way Black Folks Be") a book book and that's where I need to focus and that's how I'll be spending my summer-- a novel, Gwendolyn.

    Next week I'm in Michigan for a reading. Looking forward to that. Tomorrow the stuff for a book festival in L.A. gets put in the mail. I'm looking to be on a panel or be a speaker and I get to send my resume and that's kind of impressive, I'm told, so I'm thinking that will turn out. Atlanta on hold temporarily 'cause I'm trying to coordinate things so I can go through there like Sherman 'cause that's where my novel that I'm sometimes thinking about, working on takes place (in part) and I want people to get a preview and a hungering for the book. A second L.A. gig, Baltimore, Chicago currently in the works.

    Still plugging away at stories. Had made an earlier post, realized I miscounted and that I really needed to get some rest 'cause I was doing the job then writing thing again and that makes me all tired and just a bit off, but I've been able to get some stories out.

    I found my marriage bed. This summer my attention turns back to the love of my life event. I've been looking for one(the bed-- well, the love of my life,too, but right now we're talking about the bed), it seems everywhere. Found it at Thomasville. Very gorgeous and romantic, but not in a girly way. A bit anxious am I? Nope. Just prepared, heh heh. And again, I restate my position: I get to choose the bed, he gets to decide what we do in it. AND I made sure it has posts;-)

    All in all, my life is so deliciously good and I am very very grateful for it:)

    Like Willie, I will soon be on the road again

    Another move-- and !!!!!!! (you've got to love Life's sense of humor) I'm going to the other place I said I would never ever never ever ever live.

    Life's gonna learn me yet-- you can find your happiness/do your work anywhere. Everything you will ever need is within you :)

    It's another temporary move. By August/September, the plan is to be all cozied up in Vermont.

    Ten boxes of books I've acquired that I have to move. Some more bears, a moose, a pig. . .

    One day me and my stuff will all end up in one place. One day!

    Writer Profile Project

    This week it's Jason Shaffner.

    Susanhad posted a link to this story of his when it was first published. I love it! Read it!

    A Friendly Game of I Never."

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Artistic quote for 4/19/07

    The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.

    --James Baldwin

    Quote for 4/19/07

    Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.

    --Sholom Aleichem

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    The sunflowers have broken through the soil

    I'm so grateful for mini-gardens:)

    Quote for 4/15/07

    Hope is waking dream.

    -- Aristole

    Artistic quote for 4/15/07

    It is not your obligation to complete your work, but you are not at liberty to quit.

    -- The Talmud

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    I will be back

    I've got Atlanta all up in my face, but I think I'm bypassing this event. Two opportunities for some Los Angeles exposure and Chicago sneaks in with something I've got to follow.

    Promotion starts waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before you have a book. I'm pushing that idea to the limit.

    The Writer Profile Project: Mary Miller and Jason Makansi

    Two very interesting interviews here.

    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    I am in need of a resurrection

    after today.

    grr to this working for a living thing!

    How come some white people. . .

    get in trouble when they use the word "nigger" or "ho" and some black people get paid to say it?

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Writing quote for 4/06/07

    I used to think that writing would get easier, the more I did it. I was wrong. It's harder now than ever becaue I keep pushing myself to write on a deeper more instinctive level. Human experience. Detail. Deep characterization. The innocence of wonder. Writing from the soul. The essence of struggle. All these are important for any writer.

    -- Robert R. McCammon

    Quote for 4/6/07

    We are each of us angels with only one wing.
    And we can only fly embracing each other.

    --Luciano De Crescenzo


    No work 'til 5 p.m.

    Writing, submitting new stuff (yes, again to the post office)and reprints.

    An acceptance. "We Talk With Our Hands" will be published in an upcoming issue of "Shine."

    Rejection, rejection, rejection otherwise, but of reprints, several I sent back out today.

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    Oh, lest I forget!

    We're celebrating poetry this month. The display at the library served as a reminder to me. Yes, I checked out several volumes. Reading Julia Alvarez right now.

    Go read some yourself. Ray Bradbury said you should read poems everyday. And you should.

    Sharon Hurlbut: The Writer's Profile Project

    Get to know her (as Ann Walters and herself) here.

    Like Douglas M, I shall return

    working, working, working

    no break 'til Monday.

    Not much going on this side of the Mississippi anyway;-)

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Quote for 4/03/07

    He that can have Patience, can have what he will.

    --Benjamin Franklin

    Writing quote for 4/03/07

    You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can't, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world... The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way ... people look at reality, then you can change it.

    -- James Baldwin

    done with

    my proscrastinating for the day.

    Print out the stories, Gwendolyn and get to the post office.

    My foray submitting to more print journals continues. I prefer submitting to online only because the response is most times quicker, but it's a "career move" of sorts.

    I will have to grow into patience.


    Did you see the moon last night?

    What a glorious beauty that was!

    Spring cleaning

    I've been cleaning out my email boxes. I have five addresses and boy can stuff pile up.

    Why I have five:

    I had two. One personal and one for writing stuff--submissions (so that if there was mail in that box, I knew it was an acceptance (or a rejection, ha ha). But an online journal printed the email address for reader feedback. So I created another address for submitting only and darn it, didn't that address get published and that happened again and then I learned to write THIS ADDRESS IS FOR CORRESPONDENCE ONLY -- PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH so that the address I use now for submissions is kept "secret," but of course I had other information going to those previous email accounts, journal newsletters, conference info so I didn't delete them but I'm going to. I'm going through the address books and changing addresses over.

    This is the month I straighten out my life.

    (cough, cough)


    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Prose poem/(very) short short contest

    The 2007 Mid-American Review Fineline Competition
    for Prose Poems, Short Shorts, and Anything In Between

    1st Prize: $1000 + Publication
    + Engraved Contest Commemorative Pen
    Ten Finalists: Notation + Possible Publication

    2007 Final Judge:
    Ron Carlson author of A Kind of Flying, At the Jim Bridger, The Hotel Eden, Plan B for the Middle Class, and News of the World


    Postmark deadline: May 1, 2007. Contest is for previously unpublished work only--if the work has appeared in print or online, in any form or part, or under any title, it is ineligible and will be disqualified.

    There is a 500-word limit for each poem or short.

    A $10 entry fee (check or money order, made out to Mid-American Review) is required for each set of three prose poems/short short stories. Entry fees are non-refundable. All participants will receive Mid-American Review v. XXVIII, no. 1, where the winners will be published.

    Submissions will not be returned; send SASE for early results (~ September, 2007).

    Manuscripts need not be left anonymous. Contest is open to all writers, except those associated with the judge or Mid-American Review, past or present. Our judge's decision is final.

    Note: All pieces submitted in verse form--i.e., poetry with line breaks--will be automatically disqualified, as will previously published work or pieces over 500 words.

    Send entries to
    Mid-American Review
    Attn.: 2007 Fineline Competition
    Department of English, Box W
    Bowling Green State University
    Bowling Green, OH 43403

    Writing quote for 4/02/07

    I think everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else.

    -- Georges Simenon

    Quote for 4/02/07

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Yay Mets!


    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    Season opener-- Play Ball!

    I was watching the game between the Mets (who I love in honor of Lee Mazzilli) and the Cardinals at the bar at work. When I left, the Mets were winning. A quick shower and then let's see if that game's still on. . .

    Writing quote for 4/01/07

    A writer's problem does not change. He himself changes and the world he lives in changes but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.

    --Ernest Hemingway

    Quote for 4/01/07

    Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.

    --Les Brown

    The job, the job

    still taking up too much of my time but I have no choice. I've got to finance a trip to Crockett, Texas so I can add a sense of physical space to the short story collection ant then it's off to the press. I'm excited about that so I'm looking at my job for what it so really is-- the means to an end.

    Have found another wonderful artist whose work may grace my chapbooks (if I get to be so honored). I have four chapbooks dealing with black life and culture--- "Jumpin and Shoutin and Carryin On," "Where I'll Be If I'm Not There," "The Way Black Folks Be," and "Going To Hell WIth My Eyes Wide Open," which deals strictly with the Harlem Renaissance. I am hammering out details with the artist, but I think it's gonna work. I will have an image for "Where I'll Be. . . " and the print I'm interested in fits the overall chapbook perfectly. Am still going through her gallery to see if there's one that may work for "Jumpin. . . ." 'cause I need that one by the festival in June.

    Tomorrow send off "Mother Love" to Unlikely Press. Revising and tightening those works. Hopefully I will have this chapbook in hnd by the end of April!!!!!!

    In fact, I have designated April as the month I pull things together. I have to unbraid my hair and I'm thinking of cutting it short. Real short. Like against my scalp in the back short. Maybe it's just the heat talking, I don't know, but I do need to do something and get some photos done so I can create a press kit. I'm so glad that I worked for a public relations office. I know how to get myself in the news. I'm gonna be on Oprah. Well, not like tomorrow, but that's the goal and I've already started to pursue it. I will first make an appearance in Essence magazine for which I've set some things in motion.

    I don't know know the editor of the "Life" section at USA Today, but we did have a brief correspondence when there was a chance I could participate in their "Open Book" program. Uh, yeah, guess who I'm emailing tomorrow.