Another year older – where’s my presents?

I’m 28! Do I seem older, wiser? More mature? Should I start saying it like ma-tour instead of ma-chure? Maybe I’ll save that for 29…

Yes, the rumors of my increasing age are all true. Thanks very much to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs for throwing me a big party in Boston – sorry I wasn’t able to make it again this year, guys. Also you’re a week late, but it’s the thought that counts. In related news I’ve decided 28 will be The Year I Fight Off Scurvy, so I have committed myself to eating lots of citrus. My fingernails have gone a bit orange but I feel strong and mighty.

In case you forgot to get me something, no worries, I will absolutely accept Beverly Cleary’s childhood home as a belated b-day gift. Look how adorable:

THIS adorable!

So adorable! And who doesn’t want to live in Portland? Of course everyone wants to live in Portland. I bet if I’d been raised in Portland instead of NJ, I’d be a much cooler and more successful artist. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad!

Off to eat oranges until the pain subsides…

Submit so that you may not be a chump.

Gulf Coast’s blog has a great bit of advice/pep talking for submitting one’s work. (Oh! How timely!)

Submit so that your work might be worked on by dedicated editors, dedicated editors who might respond generously and ingeniously with ideas that can teach you about your work.

Submit so that readers might read your work alongside the work of other writers.

Submit so that your work might be in conversation with the work of other writers.

Submit, above all, so that you might be productively humbled by rejection.

Submit, above all, so that you might be productively humbled by acceptance.

I am going to try to stick some extra padding on my delicate writer skin, ovary up and submit some things. I might take the month of March to prepare myself. (It’s my birthday month! Nobody wants to be rejected during their birthday month!)

Still not publishable!

Can’t believe I forgot to mention this in the last post! I got my first rejection of 2013 recently! First of many, I am hoping, since I have been such an unforgivable slacker when it’s come to submitting work in the past, oh, three years and have only recently (very recently) decided to start playing that game again. I celebrated my decision with submitting a flash piece, and the universe celebrated my triumphant return by telling me to give it up and go home. Jokes! Just jokes! But, jokes aside, I am back to living it up in the slush pile.

So, good for me! One down, 100 million to go!

Still living, still not blogging…

At least it isn’t March yet, so I can still claim to have written every month of 2013 as far as the old blog goes. February has been a relatively slow month, though it’s still February and therefore inherently fucking terrible. I got my winter doldrums out of the way earlier in the season and now I’m just feeling very prickly and short-tempered. Most people are clamoring for spring, but I’m the asshole outside shaking her fist at the sky, demanding to know where all the snow’s been hiding. It’s a pervasive myth that Pittsburgh it’s a snowy place. It’s not. It’s a perpetual disappointment in that respect. Can a girl get a blizzard here or what! One good storm! Signs point to “no,” and also to “hell no,” and also to “lololol no.”

I did have my quarterly I’m awful and I can’t write and everything I do is terrible and I am the least creative person ever and my entire identity is a fraud! I should just GIVE UP! crisis, so we’re on track in that respect. I mean, thank goodness. I need some predictability in my life.

Oh, jeez – more good news from January! Yes, January was my biggest month ever, for sure. I got engaged! Which is pretty exciting, and the fact that I put this bit of news below whining about the weather and airing my authorial insecurities is in no way indicative of how happy I am or how disgustingly in love we are. To answer the only questions anyone seems to care about: No, we haven’t made ANY plans yet. No, we don’t have a date. No, seriously, I have no idea about anything, stop asking.

So.

February. February’s almost done, March is days away. Which means my birthday is coming up and I feel pretty good about 28. I said this last year and I was right, so I’m going to say it again: I think it’s going to be a good year.

I’ve been writing a bit, trying to find something to occupy me now that Clementine is over. I haven’t settled on anything yet. Some things are brewing, but…we’ll see. I don’t know! I feel unmoored. Maybe I’ll just keep writing volumes of Clementine and her further adventures…

I have been reading a TON, of course. My current tally is 12 books started in 2013, 13 finished (one started and abandoned). I read Natasha Tretheway’s Thrall and would not shut up about it. I finished listening to Moby Dick and was really pleasantly surprised by the novel as a whole – Melville is so funny! Who knew! I read Jim Harrison’s newest novella duo, The River Swimmer, and fell deeper in love with him. I finally got around to The Fallback Plan and enjoyed it.

Currently I’m reading Percival Everett by Virgil Russell and…enjoying it? I think? No, yes, I am. I am! It is one of my failings as a reader that I always have to KNOW. I like to be centered. I have trouble going with the flow and letting stories unfold at their own pace. I like to know, or be able to figure out without a lot of fuss, what’s going on and to which characters and why and when, etc. This is not that kind of book, so that’s been an adjustment for me. But I’m a little more than halfway through it and intend on finishing it, so, good for me.

I hit this passage today and felt better about everything:

Not to complicate matters, as if I give a fuck about that, but I’d be remiss if I did not make clear the complete absense of clarity regarding one pressing and nagging matter, that being: just who the fuck is telling this story? There are readers, dear readers, and I use the plural modestly as to really mean possibly only one reader, counted repeatedly on different days, that require a certain degree of specificity concerning the identity of the narrator. Is it an old man or the old man’s son? Not that I am by nature disposed to behaving deferentially to any reader, or anyone, but I will clear up the matter forthworth, directly, tout de suit. I am telling this story.

This is why Percival Everett is A Big Deal and no one takes me seriously. Lead on, sir!

WOOHOO!

So I didn’t win the contest – boohoo for me. Actually, it’s the opposite of boohoo because they’re publishing me anyway!

YAY!!!!!

My darling Clementine has found a home. Oh My Darling comes into the world in early 2015.

Thanks, Black Lawrence – and congratulations on your good taste.

Exciting news!

In September, I finished Clementine. I said to my writing group, “I think I’m done. I think this is the final draft.” And they said, “excellent! Put her out into the world!” So I did.

Out of the 3 chapbook contests I entered, I already know I didn’t win one of them. Another had its deadline extended till the spring, so it’ll be spring/summer before I hear anything. But the third one – the magical, wonderful third one - released its list of finalists and semifinalists over the weekend.

Yup, my baby, my girl, my second chapbook, OH MY DARLING, is in the running!

I am of course beyond excited – BEYOND excited – and I feel a little light-headed just thinking about it. I love this project, my group and my readers have loved this project, I even landed a scholarship to a conference last year off a section of Clementine, but it’s nice to get some outside gratification too. From a publisher no less! A publisher who could be my publisher!

All right, I have to stop. I’m getting too worked up. Anyway, I should find out in the next week or so. Fingers crossed!

(3 posts in 2013 already! Look at me go! As with every other year, I told myself I would be more active here in 2013. So far, I seem to be keeping to that promise. LUCKY YOU!)

WHOOPS

I forgot to include one book on my 2012 reading list completely – so I’m +1 from what I previously reported (a novel, of course, though not finished in one sitting). It’s The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. Fully deserving of all the praise it’s been receiving lately, if you ask me.

(I told my mom about it, and how sad it was – it IS sad, gracious it is sad – and then on Christmas she was unwrapping a present from me, a book, and she said, “This better not be that Yellow Birds book…” Oh, Mom! For the record it was not The Yellow Birds, it was serious literature. Jane Eyrotica.)