End of Year Writing Roundup

Publications in 2020Red berries on winter bush

It felt like 2020 wasn’t a very good year for writing.

Let’s face it: 2020 wasn’t a very good year for anything.

As the year began, I was at work on a novella-in-flash made up of linked stories about twin sisters caught up in (ironically enough) a climate crisis and global pandemic. Living through a real-life global pandemic caused me to put that project on the back burner. Instead, I wrote microfiction. Lots of microfiction: 13 out of 20 stories published this year were under 400 words.

I did a lot of online writing meetups and informal prompt workshops, and I credit these with nurturing my creative spirit and inspiring me to keep going. I also taught quite a few classes, and I’m really proud of the success my students have had with their writing.

Awards/Nominations

“Slip,” nominated for Pushcart Prize by MacQueen’s

“Road Runners,” nominated for Best Microfiction by Milk Candy Review

“Snow Day,” Runner-up, No Contact magazine’s No Contest

Microfiction (400 words or fewer)

“Road Runners,” Milk Candy Review, November 12, 2020

“Seeing the Sights,” The Ekphrastic Review, November 12, 2020

“Snow Day,” No Contact (Runner-up, No Contest), November 7, 2020

“Coffin Bell,” Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, August 25, 2020

“Slip” and “War Bride,” MacQueen’s Quinterly, July 2020

“Paul’s Room,” The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), June 7, 2020

“Church on the Hill,” The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), June 7, 2020

“Follow It Down,” Flash Flood, June 6, 2020

“Devil’s Breath,” 100 Word Story, May 24, 2020

“After Wings of Desire,” Milk Candy Review, April 23, 2020

“Attachment Theory,” trampset, March 31, 2020

“The Artist Poses his Muse Before a Goldfish Bowl,” New Flash Fiction Review, March 7, 2020

“Mary’s Dress Waves,” Large Hearted Boy, Flash Dancers/Ekphrastic Singles Series, No. 1, February 6, 2020

Flash Fiction

“Skywalkers,” The Phare, November 5, 2020

“El Rancho Divorce-o,” Wigleaf, September 16, 2020

“Knock,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, May 2020

“Upstairs, Downstairs,” Ilanot Review, Vol. 19: Home/Work, Winter 2020

“What the Selkies Know,” Atlas and Alice, February 24, 2020

“In the Time of Climate Change,” X–R-A-Y Literary Magazine, February 8, 2020

“In the Shadow of Their Wings,” Ligeia Magazine, Winter 2019

Workshops

International Women’s Writers Guild –  Flash Fiction Distillery (January-February, 2020)

Truro Center for the Arts – Flash Fiction: Prose Distilled (Summer 2020; forthcoming Summer 2021)

Cleaver Magazine – The Art of Flash (Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020; forthcoming Winter 2021)

Microfiction Masterclass with Meg Pokrass (forthcoming December 26-31, 2020)

“Snow Day” Published in No Contact Magazine

Snow Day

“Snow Day” was a runner-up in the No Contact “No Contest” competition. You can read all the winning and commended stories in Issue Thirteen at No Contact magazine.

New Class, New Flash, New Micro

This summer I’ve been busy teaching flash fiction workshops for Cleaver Magazine and Truro Center for the Arts, but also managing to get some writing done.

What’s next: I’m teaching Afterburn: the Art of Flash Revision for Cleaver starting the first week in August.

Two new stories were just published in MacQueen’s Quinterly: A new flash fiction piece, “Slip,” and a microfiction, “War Bride.”

Doe in woods

 

The first time he kissed her he asked permission; he hasn’t asked permission for anything since, as if saying yes once was a blanket permit.

Read “Slip” at MacQueen’s Quinterly.

 

 

 

Woman with vintage plane

 

Everything trembling and hopeful and uncertain is in her face, her nervously wide smile.

            Read “War Bride” at MacQueen’s Quinterly.

 

 

 

 

Where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the head?

Where is fancy bred?

Stories Published This Spring

The pandemic spring, when time moved strangely and everyone swam through a dark dream, until reality shone a floodlight on us all.
It felt like I did nothing this spring. I often berated myself for doing so little. But I taught a few classes and I wrote a few stories.

“Paul’s Room,” The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), June 7, 2020
Since when do you have a ferret, I said, because not a boy in that family had ever been able to keep even a cactus plant alive.
What it is: Micro flash inspired by a Write-In acrostic prompt and three bonus words
Where it came from: I did this exercise with my May-June Art of Flash workshop students

“Church on the Hill,” The Write-In (National Flash Fiction Day), June 7, 2020
It makes me think of the news, back when there still was news, a constant crawl of panic. It was a relief when all the satellites went down, and nothing worked.
What it is: An excerpt from a work in progress, All I’ll Carry
Where it came from: A Meg Pokrass novella-in-flash workshop

“Follow It Down,” Flash Flood, June 6, 2020
He only likes me in the dark.
What it is: Dream-inspired flash fiction
Where it came from: Woke up with the first line in my head and worked on the rest in my writing group

“Devil’s Breath,” 100 Word Story, May 24, 2020
Some days there wasn’t enough starch in the world.
What it is:
A photo story, inspired by a picture prompt in 100 Word Story and by my great-grandmother, Jessie Sharp Drake Walker Willis Ethier
Where it came from: We worked on this as a group in my winter 2020 flash fiction workshop for IWWG

“Knock,” Women’s Studies Quarterly, May 2020
You imagined that car, parked outside, startling the sensible black Fords and tan Studebakers of Tiogue Avenue with its pale-green  glamour, like a visiting luna moth. But he didn’t offer, yet, to take you for a ride. He knew the power of the pause.
What it is:
Flash fiction piece with a mid-century gothic sensibility
Where it came from: Woke up with the first five lines in my head and worked on it in a Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop

“After Wings of Desire,” Milk Candy Review, April 23, 2020
You belong to the past, like nips of peppermint schnapps at the vampire girl’s grave.
What it is: Ekphrastic flash inspired by the film Wings of Desire and the words past, future, and silence
Where it came from: A Meg Pokrass prompt workshop

Flash Fiction Boot Camp

Do you sometimes need a push to get writing? I do, especially in this time of quarantine, when normal life structures have been lifted. I find it helpful to have deadlines, prompts, and someone to hold me accountable.

That’s why I often sign up for writing workshops, flashathons, silent writing sessions, and other creative classes–to challenge myself. Just immersing myself in a world of writing, where other people are creating new work, is energizing and motivating.

I also find inspiration from leading writing workshops, and I’m teaching several this summer.

Right now, I’m teaching a flash fiction workshop for Cleaver magazine. A second session will start on June 20. This four-week class has weekly readings and writing assignments.

I’m also teaching a one-week intensive flash workshop for Truro Center for the Arts, June 15-19. This class will meet for three two-hour Zoom sessions in which we’ll generate and share new work, along with reading and discussion. Sign up here!

And coming later in the summer? A revision workshop.

Sometimes we all need a little push.

Feet dangling over river

 

The Monday Prompt, #5

Mix tape

The Mix Tape

Write a flash prose piece (fiction or nonfiction) that begins with a line from a pop song. Aim for not more than 400 words, and in the body of the story, use at least four other words that occur in the song lyrics (but no other complete line–just individual words).

The Monday Prompt, #4

Color My World

Pick a color that appeals to you from the color wheel, or a box of crayons, or the Pantone color web site.
Set a timer or stopwatch for one minute and brainstorm all the words and images that the color suggests to you. For example: blue = ocean, sky, blue note, having the blues, etc.

Next, pick a color that is the opposite of your original color. Set the timer again, and brainstorm all the words and images that come to you with that color. For example, yellow = sunshine, daffodils, banana, mellow yellow, etc.

Finally, set your timer for 10 minutes and write a short prose piece or poem that incorporates at least 3 words or images from each color prompt. If 10 minutes isn’t enough, keep going!

The Monday Prompt, #3

Opposites Attract

This week’s prompt: write a flash fiction (or nonfiction) story, or a poem, using pairs of opposite concepts, such as light/dark, sun/moon, sleep/wake, summer/winter, etc. You can brainstorm some specific opposites first, then use either the actual words or images that suggest them in your work.

Keep writing!

Salt and Pepper

Attachment Theory

New Stories in a Strange Time

We’re at it again, pretending nothing’s changed.

“Attachment Theory” published in trampset

_____

I liked that we could craft whole conversations around lines from 1940s crime films. Or country songs. I liked that we could change the rules at any moment and not have to explain.

“Upstairs, Downstairs” published in Ilanot Review

_____

He never tells me to smile. He says he likes me best for my perfect blankness.

“The Artist Poses His Muse Before a Goldfish Bowl (after Henri Matisse, Woman Before a Fish Bowl )” published in New Flash Fiction Review

The Monday Prompt, #2

Rainy Days and Mondays

How are all of you doing out there? Are you writing? I know I’ve been having a hard time focusing, tuning out the rest of the world to get into that state of creative flow. Living through a pandemic can do that to you!

I miss my writing group. I miss the days when writing about dystopian futures meant writing fantasy. But I’m still going to keep up posting a new writing prompt every Monday. Some will be words, some will be pictures, and some will be specific writing challenges.

No deadline, no pressure. Use these on your own, however you like. I hope they provide some inspiration!

This week’s prompt: Write a short prose piece OR a poem that begins with a line (or fragment of a line) from a song lyric.
Also incorporate the following:
– A word having to do with rain (could be rain, rainy, storm, cloud, etc.)
– A day of the week
– A type of fabric