I’m excited to receive my copies of A Monster Told Me Bedtime Stories! I wrote about “The Perfect Doll,” my story in this collection, here. I reread it today, and I really like the way it combines humor, horror, and my sense of the magic of ancient Northern European paganism. I look forward to discovering the monsters in the other stories editors Gabriel Grobler and R. C. Bowman have selected, and I encourage you to pick up a copy.
Unfortunately, the monsters of the volume are not the only monsters I am dealing with. I am not a fan of Gutenberg. What this new WordPress editor thinks of as “clutter” and eliminates is what I think of as useful information. It’s like having someone clean up your house, and afterwards you can’t find anything. Or that’s how I imagine it, anyway. I never let anyone clean up my house.
An additional annoyance, though a less monstrous one, emerged from my bootless attempt to purge the Gutenberg. If you have commented and I didn’t get back to you, I am sorry. I only discovered today that I had all kinds of comments awaiting approval about which I had never been informed. I will be checking there more often and also responding to the comments belatedly.
This post has already cost me much more time than it should have, thanks to the uninvited Gutenberg, so I will take my leave because I have a lot of reading to catch up on in the various publications that have been kind enough to accept my writing. As we continue our lab experiment of sending children to school here in the USA, I hope all of you are healthy, careful, and busy reading. If you read my story, please leave a comment and tell me how you liked it. I promise to look for it, no matter what obstacles WordPress and Gutenberg put in my way.
Today is Escape Wheel‘s official release, and Editor Jane Ormerod wants to make sure you can get your hands on a copy, as do I, because I want you to read my poem, “Elephant in the Room.” Therefore she sent the following information, which I am sharing:
Our preferred way for people to purchase in the US is through our store atbookshop.org. For those that don’t know, bookshop.org was set up as a competitor to Amazon and helps support small publishers and local bookstores. You can buy any book through it.
Escape Wheel can also be ordered through your favorite bookstore, and through Barnes & Noble, etc.
I was happy to learn recently that Editors Rudri Patel and Beth Burrell of The Sunlight Press had accepted my poem, “Again Rubbed (Not Quite) Smooth,” for publication. I was a little worried when I read in their About section that they “want to hear the ways people turn toward light and hope” because I do not generally write about this. But they also said they were interested in how people “respond to the darkness and navigate unknown spaces,” which is right up my alley. So I sent in one ultimately happy poem and two sadder ones, and they chose the grimmest. Who knew?
This poem grew out of a strange and unsettling experience. I realized that a relationship I had thought was caring but just didn’t work out was actually traumatic and abusive. It was upsetting to come to believe that someone I once cared about only wanted to hurt and control me and that I had fallen for his act. It was surreal to have to rewrite my life to reflect what I believe to be a more accurate understanding, and for a while I felt unsure about all my relationships.
But some good did come from this experience. First, knowledge is power, even if it doesn’t feel that way at first. I have belatedly learned a lot and put the experience behind me. I also got two poems out of the whole thing, one of which is “Again Rubbed (Not Quite) Smooth,” in which the idea of the palimpsest becomes a metaphor for the way we all have to rewrite our lives all the time.
I look forward to having my palimpsest poem published in The Sunlight Press, and in the meantime I will enjoy checking out their poems, whether light and hopeful or otherwise.
Today my copies of Escape Wheel, the 2020 anthology from great weather for MEDIA, arrived. The cover is unexpectedly lovely in the same way the poems of the preceding volume, Birds Fall Silent in the Mechanical Sea, are. I have been savoring those poems while I awaited the release of Escape Wheel, and I look forward to savoring this volume now it is on my coffee table.
I wrote about Escape Wheel and the poem I have in it, “Elephant in the Room,” here. It is appropriate that it arrived this week, just after my mother’s death, because it is about death (a significant elephant in all of our rooms) and the passing of generations. At the same time, it is strangely fun and whimsical, often recalling childhood play. I felt I took a lot of risks in writing it, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had had a hard time finding a home. I’m thankful to the readers and editors at great weather for MEDIA for embracing its eccentricity, and I hope readers of the volume will follow suit.
Photo credit: Construction netting and shadow. Taken by me.
Samantha Edmonds, Fiction Editor of the Doubleback Review, has just emailed me the welcome news that the review has nominated my story, “Elf Houses,” for Best of the Net 2020. Because both Doubleback and the Best of the Net anthologies are affiliated with Sundress Publications, my story cannot win (to prevent perceived conflict of interest), but it could be a finalist.
I wrote about “Elf Houses” here and here. Because my mother died Sunday, I want to say that although the story is based on the darker side of my childhood, my mother was a kindhearted person and a survivor of child abuse who battled PTSD and other mental health issues and tried to be a loving wife and mother, though she did not always succeed. No one was ever prouder than she of any success I might have, and I miss not sharing this one with her.