Sunday, October 13, 2013

MONEY (Grab that Cash with Both Hands and Make a Stash...)

This summer, the VCU Journal Blackbird accepted one of my weirder little stories - which was incredibly exciting, and kind of a happy ending after one of those publishing stories I'm starting to learn are pretty common.  I'd gone to a conference last year that offered a "speed-dating" session with editors of literary magazines from the Philly area.  Showed my story to one guy who said he loved it, said send it to him and his colleagues with a note saying we'd met and he'd publish it.  Which was amazing!  I was really excited!  I sent it off and didn't hear for six months when I suddenly got a generic rejection from them.  ARGH.  Total depression.  I had a bit of a wallow, then I looked the story over, did a little editing and sent it to Blackbird.  Which I knew was a stretch.  But they took it!  Hey Mikey! And I did a little dance, and I updated my CV, and I had my daughter take a pretty decent picture of me for the because they requested it and sat back to await the publication which the editor said would be in either November or May of next year.

And I'm feeling good.  It's a great journal - highly respected and to be honest I kinda can't believe they wanted my weird little story and so even though I'm excited, I have to admit, I'm still waiting for someone from Blackbird to send me another email - something like - we're so sorry we got your story confused with that of a much better writer and we're actually passing on this -   

THEN - I get this email: Thank you for your contribution to Blackbird. In order to process your payment of $200 for the publication of...

WHA!?  They're paying me?!  I didn't even know that was a possibility.  

I'm pretty used to being paid in contributor's copies.  Come to think of it, I'm pretty used to being paid next to nothing for just about everything - I do a lot for free.  And adjuncting isn't exactly making me rich. I've never been a girl with particularly high self esteem, and so I've never really questioned what I've always considered to be my value.  Right there - I had to resist writing value as, "value" - you know?  As if I don't even deserve to write about myself and value in the same sentence.  And it's stupid.  It's stupid because it keeps me down, and it keeps me from working, and it keeps me from having fun with the work when I'm doing it.  

It's not going to be easy - but this week, I'm willing to raise my value from nothing to $200 bucks.  That seems manageable, at least until the next set of story rejections.

While I write I've been listening to:

Pink Floyd 

Every Minute in Paris, David Cohen

Olafur Arnalds

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

VCFA Post Graduate Conference And Everything After (Walter Benjamin)

So, I took a trip to the land of mountains and cows.

I haven't really processed my time there yet - but let's just say the experience for me ran the gamut from intense to fascinating to (as usual, for me) somewhat embarrassing.  I'm terrible in groups and always manage to freak out a little and embarrass myself over something.  Plus, regrets.  Didn't go to enough of the talks, didn't work on new stuff, should have spent more time mining the huge brain of Michael Martone (my new favorite writer ever), should not have read the Zombie story (wrong audience) should have read the Mother story (audience of mostly women that day).

bla bla bla.

Mostly good old fashioned self-defeating stuff about my failure as a writer and a person.  Good times.

Perhaps I should force myself to look at the good: Met some amazing people including Michael Martone (my new favorite writer ever) and workshop leader whose brain moves faster than a speeding train* and is larger than all outdoors.  Plus there was Radhika, and Justin and Nathan (who lives close by) and Esther and Jerry - supportive and killer smart workshop participants.  And Amy and Jen and of course, and the best surprise of all - my dear friend Kabi who I didn't even know was attending until I got there.  We haven't spent that kind of time together since our NYC salad days - which is crazy since we get along so incredibly well.  I'm pretty much going to stalk her and go to every conference she signs up for from now on.  The level of accomplishment at the conference was also impressive (although as usual, a bit draining on my self esteem) (oops - self-defeating girl snuck in damn you S-DG!)  And I forced myself to talk to people including several of the famous writers - which is no small feat for me.

And best of all - I came home and wrote hours and hours and have thousands of stories to show...



Today is the first day of school for my youngest, and tomorrow is the first day of school for the eldest, and I feel time opening up before me like a flower filmed in slow mo - And because I suddenly have all this time today (7:30am until I have to leave to teach my class at 2:30pm) I turned on my laptop and went immediately to the interweb and started perusing. 

This is what I found:

I've always had a crush on Walter Benjamin - in grad school I used a quote from Illuminations in almost every paper. 

This tip might be my favorite:
Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.

Now that's some advice!  Be governmental about your notebook!  Be like the dark suited, aviator sunglassed, passport and visa checking Immigration dudes - be tough! and implacable.   Yes.

I'm going upstairs to dig out my aviators, put them on, then look in the mirror and give myself a hard stare.