Monday, May 21, 2018

Crescent Moon (a Poem)

A silver scythe
Drapes and pierces
The necks
Of empty, glittering
Nestled in sand
Like small, black eyes
Gleaming with tears

Little indentations
Lover's footsteps
Pock the ground
Small, dry kisses
Away from open sea
Farther still
From a blanket
And a silhouette
In shadowed hues

Rough hands
Clench helplessly
At empty air
Where she once was
The sound
Of panting, relentless
Churn thoughts
Of passion spent
Under a crescent moon

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day Jewelry (Photos)

My mom asked me for some beaded jewelry for Mother's Day.  Below are the finished products.  What do you think?  
 A ring and bracelet set made from crystal and glass beads.  I call it, "the wedding look".  It goes with anything.
 All the beads in this set are made out of genuine gemstones, though it doesn't look like it.  Peace signs were an "in thing" when my mom was a kid.
 My mom loves pink.  I added a pop of it with the classic design above to give it a different feel.
This is a ring my mom requested specifically.  Apparently, white stones with a black band are popular now.  She wanted little silver glass beads (like the ones in the bracelets above), but I thought tiny crystals would make more of a pop.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz & The Nobel Prize

Junot Diaz is accused of sexual misconduct. He is the latest, though far from only, man in the Literary Community who is a predator and/or scumbag.
Earlier this year, Sherman Alexie's victims came forward.
Today, it was announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature will be cancelled for 2018 due to their own "sexual assault scandal".

I'm sure there are many more examples of horrid people in the publishing industry/literary community, but these are some of the biggest and most recent.
A lot of writers react the same way when another victim comes forward:  "This isn't Hollywood! What the hell is going on?". As if terrible people don't exist in every field, as if having immense talent makes it impossible for someone to hurt others.

It's a difficult thing, to realize our idols and heroes stand on cracked pedestals.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Editor Bighead Takes to Twitter

Late 2017, a minor stir broke out on Twitter when a man responded to a literary magazine's call for flash fiction. The man, instead of asking for clarification of a guideline, said (I'm paraphrasing):  "I've submitted to you three times, and you've rejected me every time. The pieces were all taken by other journals. Good luck finding better writers than me."

Now, everyone has moments where they think, "Ha! Take that, you rejecter of immense talent!" But... few people say it. Because it's not professional. Because it's quite petty and a little snide. Because it's not what a good "Literary Citizen" does.

His egotistical Tweet fluttered around timelines, mostly as a cautionary tale. At least one well-known author commented on it, and Bighead got kind of nasty (then deleted some of his most derogatory remarks). He was all-in. When I was alerted to the scuffle while scrolling, I immediately went to Bighead's profile.

Make that editor Bighead. He edits one of the oldest literary magazines specializing in his genre... and he was acting like some entitled, snot-nosed brat who just received his MFA from BetterThan U. It shocked me.

Editors know how the selection process goes, how subjective this business is. Bighead, too, must reject stories that are perfect for someone else. So... why?
Was he having a horrible day? Is he secure enough in his career that burning bridges provide warmth? Does he think he's God's gift in under 1,000 words?

I don't think his little outburst will alter his writing career in a negative way. But, I know for sure I'll never submit work to him (not like he'd care). I'd rather work with someone who has a bigger heart.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

My First Acceptance of 2018

It happened!  The dam of rejection has broken.  A horror poem and a flash fiction piece will appear in Lonesome October Lit at different points this year.  Acceptance alone is enough to celebrate, but there is another reason it feels so sweet.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a painful rejection to a story I wrote.  Afterward, I shelved the story and moved on.  I couldn't submit it again.  It felt tainted, like the worst story ever written by anyone.  How could I even call myself a writer?  

Early this month, I decided to submit my "nasty" story.  The one with the "too practical" writing.  And the editor enjoyed my story.  

Everyone says art is subjective, a saying both frustrating and true.  But comments can influence how artists see their work and (in some instances) themselves.
I'm glad I put my work away for a while instead of trashing it, and hope I can remember my "icky" soon-to-be-published story when I feel like giving up.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Glitter or Gold (a Poem)

Brave lightning bugs on bedroom
Walls beep luminescence like
Miniature uncapped glow sticks flung

Flitting reckless, they stream like
Golden goddess harp strings
Between the checkerboard of night

Feisty fireflies fear not the dark

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ghost of College Past (and DIY MFA Rekindle)

I lost college over a decade ago.  I went through the year of depression and the slow emergence from the darkness.  During that time, I got married to the love of my eternity and we moved into our apartment; I had huge events and goals to plan for, so it gave me direction amid the rubble of my plans.

After settling into our apartment, I thought I could pick up college again.  I talked about it... what it would take.  But a condition of public housing (the only thing we'll ever be able to afford) is that my husband and I don't attend college.

And then... my complex health decided to turn into a pretzel of insidious tomfoolery.
From the time I could speak, everyone assumed I'd go to college.  I started school at age three and was considered "bright".  Teachers told me I'd do great things.  My mom would tell me how amazing and smart I was... definitely college-bound.  Relatives said I'd live a life sewing buttons on shirts at Goodwill if I didn't go to college.  I was asked if I wanted to be a useless lump on public assistance my whole life.  Worse things... more pressure from strangers and family alike.  

And I wanted to attend college.  It was my golden ticket to the Wonka Factory of my future.  Everything good and prosperous began with that degree.  I wouldn't make enough money for my medical insurance without it... couldn't afford a $30,000 accessible van without it.  It would help me be a productive citizen.
I still feel like I need college, even though it won't be possible unless I win the lottery.  Maybe it's because I was told I'd be nothing without that piece of paper.  Maybe because I feel like I'm not a legitimate poet without it (which is untrue and poetry wouldn't be my major, anyway).  Perhaps because I'm used to having big, life-changing goals to work towards and now... nothing.

What would I get out of it?  My chronic pain and other disabilities/conditions make a full-time job impossible, so it wouldn't help me that way.  If I want to stare down a big accomplishment, I can reminisce fondly about getting through the hell that was radiation therapy.  If I want a fancy piece of paper, I can print and frame one.  I'm (sadly) not the kind of person to acquire a bunch of friends and contacts, either.
The only real benefit I can take from college is knowledge, but I don't need college to learn.  There is a plethora of resources out there on pretty much every subject imaginable.  There are even some free college-level courses out there, if I feel I need something similar to academic instruction.

Since knowledge seems to be the benefit, I might try another DIY MFA experience.  The last one I did produced mixed results, partly because it's so difficult for me to find my own community.  I just hope it feels like I'm doing something big enough to quiet the "must work on huge goals" section of my brain.