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So, you say, you want to write short stories? Novels?

The first mystery, where novels [and short stories] are concerned, is how anyone manages, ever, to write a book that’s any good at all.

Sure, go ahead, simulate life, using only ink and paper. Take the words offered by the dictionary, the same words that are available to everybody who can read, and arrange them so strategically that they simultaneously illuminate and deepen the mystery of human existence.

Do so in a way that’s cogent and compelling, that grabs readers with the opening line and doesn’t let them go until the final one. Don’t make it too neat and tidy—that will come off as trivial. But don’t make it too messy and sprawling, either—that won’t feel like much of anything at all…

~ Michael Cunningham on The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott, a Recommended Reading from Electric Literature

Still want to write after that?

If your answer is ‘YES!’: you’re crazy, but I understand. You must read-read-read and write-write-write though. So, start now:  subscribe to Electric Literature’s Recommended Readings, read Wescott’s The Pilgrim Hawk, or check out these suggested shorts (bottom of the page). You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, yeah, and then write. You have to because–remember?–you’re crazy. But, people like me understand.

~ N

Doodle by Billy Roids

Doodle by Billy Roids

 

“Hide and Seek with Summer” is now up at Citizen Brooklyn, a magazine

devoted to “unique energy, diversity, and expression.”

I just call Citizen Brooklyn edgy and provocative. It’s worth the look.

Hide and Seek with Summer

…watching my curtains rise and fall
my breath pushes in from outside
after I have drawn them against your heat…

<<read more>>

(Try reading the piece different ways: right column first and then left, left column first and then right, or top to bottom. But, no matter how I tried, it just couldn’t get it to work backwards.)

The poem was first published by Intersections in 2008.

Pay them a visit too, if you have the time.

Get “Bob the One-legged Robin” and other great stories in Short Stories, Vol. 1 from eChook Digital Publishing.

Authors include: Nick Boreham, Mark Budman, Claude Clayton Smith, Mindy Hardwick, Christine Pakkala, Dave Schofield, Megan Smith-Harris, Townsend Walker, and me.

To purchase the collection, visit iTunes.

Sign up at to receive pre-publication excerpts about other upcoming short story collections and ebooks for iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Android and Nook Color from eChook Digital Publishing.

Out of over 825 entries, this ‘ultra-short’ (under 150 words) story was selected as an honoree in the 9th Annual Ultra-Short Competition sponsored by The Binnacle. “Here Lie the Chicken Bones” will be published in late 2012 / early 2013 with the other fifty-two honorees and, of course, the four winners.

The Binnacle has published literature and art for over fifty years. They put out three publications annually: the Spring, Fall, and Ultra-Short Competition editions.

So, check one out.

Or, submit something. It’s always ‘no’ unless you try.

And, congrats to the winners!

Eric Svehaug – Married Love, Year Thirty (Poetry)

Cynthia Tracy Larsen – The Loyalty of Legs (General Fiction)

Lisa Ricard Claro – A Twisty Thing (Humor)

Jordan Gilletti – Roots (UMM Student Winner)

 

“Only Seventeen” now up at Citizen Brooklyn, a magazine

devoted to “unique energy, diversity, and expression.”

Only Seventeen

When they pick me up, Mother

won’t come

get me.

This lifts my runaway status,

sets me

free…

<<read more>>

The poem was first published by The Stone Hobo.

Pay them a visit too, if you have the time.

When I finally admitted that a paragraph did not belong in my novella, I cut it and sent it to the word cemetery for burial. Writers always kill their darlings though. We are accustomed to letting go and moving on, and our words learn to live with it.

The night of the cutting though, beneath moon-shimmer, my left-for-dead words arose, crept off together into the world and, in their innocence, stepped beyond the pale. But there, in that wilderness, the words gathered experience and cultivated their own ideas about what they should become. In time, they grew into a poem. At last they danced, but with a rhythm and an emotion true to their origin.

“Adventures of an Alaskan Barfly” would not be if I had left those words where they were, because nothing dances where it does not belong. So I continue, in what may be perceived as cruelty, to cut. So sorry, my darlings. You will thank me later.

(“WTF?!” artwork for the cover of Gargoyle #58 is by digital illustrator, Cintia Gonzalvez. If you are wondering, Papa, “WTF?!” means “Why the frown?!”)

Adventures of an Alaskan Barfly

Step out. Light up.

Beyond, the pale

January snow bank and moon-shimmer

melts

this darkness…

<<read more>>

~ Gargoyle #58, Paycock Press – get it at Amazon.com

Catching Maggie
 
“a beautifully sensitive story”
and
“very strong finalist” for the 11th annual Glass Woman Prize
 
The Glass Woman Prize is awarded for short fiction or creative non-fiction written by a woman on a subject of significance to women.
 
I will post “Catching Maggie” as soon as the story has a publisher. 
 
Check out my story “Revisions,” which made the Glass Woman Prize shortlist in 2009.
 

 

 
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