As I drove to hear her address the MFA students in the Butler University Efroymson Center for Creative Writing the other evening, I formed a question to ask during Q&A. I can never think of an original question at these things or have burning curiosity about anything I haven’t already read about an author in an interview, but there was one thing I really wanted to know from this Rebecca “Maud” Newton, who has been a champion literary blogger since before blogging was even a word. What I wanted to ask her was,
First off, we French are the direct descendants of those glorious Franks who conquered the Goths and Vandals after they sacked the Roman Empire, so the voracity with which my people fought should come as no shock to anyone. Second, let it be known that our attack was by no definition unprovoked.
The list was deeply personal to me, so I didn’t jet it out to every journal. I carefully selected two or three journals I trust to handle it with care. Two months later, I heard from the editor of Emprise Review. Two weeks later, it was published here.
Time slows, the dawn comes late,
Squirrels prepare to hibernate,
Mother Nature’s flowery, leafy day clothes are shed.
Stop thinking about others as competition. It’s hard sometimes to ignore what others are doing, but nobody’s path is the same.
Join Facebook even if it scares the living hell out of you. Keep in touch with your lit gang. Make some new lit and non-lit friends. Let people into your writing life. It makes it less lonely.
I did it because I didn’t just want to be someone with an MFA, I wanted to be someone with a shelf of books and short stories and screenplays with my name on them.
The fact is you will be much grumpier if you don’t write than if you do. You’ll feel better after you’ve written.
Sure, you’re going to submit work before you’re ready, but that is okay. Keep submitting work. New work. Re-revised work. Whatever. Work on it, make it the best you can, have more than one piece going out, and GO.
It does make me want to get a little smacky-smacky when I hear writers say, in whispered tones, “I don’t really read literary magazines.” Well, that’s a problem. The fact is there is a lit mag for everyone—slipstream, genre-based, anything and everything.
After precisely fifteen minutes of eye-dabbing Sally Field gratitude, my inner Woody Allen got to work sabotaging my joy and minimizing my accomplishment. It’s not the New York Times, that SOB said in my head.
I must admit, as a proser I was unfamiliar with this two-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s work. In fact, I wasn’t aware that the United States even has an official poet. (How cool is that?) Thank you, NPR, for shining the light into my darkness. In this story, I listened to the handsome octogenarian read one of his earlier, most famous poems. It has haunted me for days (in a good way), and now I will share it with you.
On the Second Story Blog, I read about the most radical notion today. I don’t think you can do it. I hope I can, because it looks more refreshing than a bottle of water on a hike above timberline on a July day. But let’s try, shall we? I dare ya. 10 ways to liveContinue reading “Live Actually? Are you kidding me?”