We woke up to bright sunshine, but in true July fashion, a sudden summer storm surprises us at Whale Tail Road. Perhaps my bougainvillea will dreamily shake her blossoms, Sara Teasdale-style.
Today two of my flash fictions make their appearance in the July 2018 issue of The Birds We Piled Loosely. Read “Etymology in the Neighborhood” and “We Are So Sorry” by clicking on the cover of the magazine and scrolling to pages 15 and 25.
All of the work is distinctive in its own way, particularly poems by Emily Parker, Rich Ives, and Ally Young as well as evocative image-text pieces by Emma Sheinbaum.
This past month I’ve kept busy revising stories that I began in May’s “Story A Day” Challenge and already I’ve submitted several shorter pieces for publication.
Last week I wrapped up a one-week class offered by One Story: Write a Story with Hannah Tinti. I’ve taken online classes before but this was one of the most engaging I’ve ever experienced. It focused on structure, something I don’t always think about when in the heat of composing a story. And in just six days, all participants had the opportunity to craft, day by day, a solid draft with a viable structure. More importantly, it was FUN!
But today, as rain pounds our roof, I’m thinking more about poetry. I’m going to comb through my word boxes and see what magical combinations arise….I’ll be building dandelion suspension bridges, kitten-heeling my way into a sunset altar, and exploring the sovereignty of cookies.
I did it! For each day of May, I drafted a story every morning. This means I ended up with 31 rough drafts, more than enough to see me through a summer and fall of solid writing.
It wasn’t as easy as picking black raspberries, but I’m so glad I did it. Most of the stories are still rough drafts but I now have at least 10 viable starts to longer pieces. And yes, looking back, there’s a little bit of “chaff” that may never see the light of day. Uh, what was I thinking?
So how did I do it? In the beginning, I leaned heavily on writing prompts from other sources. One of my more finished pieces is based on a mythological story–a love triangle resolved through clever debate (Thank you, Fred White, author of The Daily Reader.). Another one is based on a prompt from Story A Day, Write a Letter (Thank you, Julie Duffy). I also pulled out a few latent ideas of my own that I’d been hoarding. Many ideas, however, seemed to just spawn themselves, a freaky synthesis of my own experience and writing mind, if that makes sense. One idea ended up yielding two separate stories!
Having worked on longer pieces for so long, I was a little out of the habit of generating new ideas. So I found the discipline of this effort extremely useful. As they say, we first make our habits, and then our habits make us. Not surprisingly, the more you write, the more ideas you get.
I also managed to make a little jam (strawberry and early peach). And yes, as another reward, I’ll be treating myself to William Trevor’s collection of last stories very soon. And for now, I’ll be revising, revising, revising….