I can’t remember how I got the idea for the story, and I won’t say much about the plot because the title already gives too much away, but I did do research on ants in order to write from the ant’s point of view, and I learned some interesting facts. One I didn’t use but found richly evocative was that when army ants get confused, one of the line can end up following a scent trail from an ant farther back. This leads to the ant mill, a circle of ants all going nowhere except to their deaths. The largest one ever observed was 1,200 feet in diameter.
A terrible symbol of human futility.
I was pleased to learn today that my horror flash, “Ant Death,” which deals with the death of an ant (shocker), was accepted by Editor Richard Edwards of Every Writer’s Resource and will soon be up among other Halloween horror stories. Although I am generally a positive, happy person, I seem to let out all my pessimism regarding my species in my horror stories, and this one is no exception. I look forward to seeing it up on Every Writer, where it can keep company with an earlier, adventure/noir flash, Confession.
My son, who is attempting to get a master’s degree in 7th- through 12th-grade social studies education without being allowed to do any student teaching in the schools, has been with us since March. He is primarily interested in history of just about any kind, college and pro football, film, and Star Trek and Star Wars. After accumulating a following on Twitter and getting impatient with the effects of the unmanaged coronavirus on our school system and his credentialization, he has decided to launch a podcast in which he will branch out to contemplate the 2003-2010 Battlestar Galactica.
To enhance the entertainment value of the podcast, he has recruited me to be his interlocutor on the show. We had fun watching some of the miniseries/pilot today and giving our take on it. So if you want to see what a historian and Trek fan and his mom who does not love most sci-fi have to say on this subject, head on over and give the podcast a listen. If you adore Battlestar Galactica and can’t bear to hear it criticized, please refrain from death threats.
Today I received the welcome news that out of thousands of submissions to the new magazine, Coastal Shelf, my poem, “Dreaming to Updated Mountain Songs” was selected for the first issue. Moreover, because one of the editors made a strong case for its inclusion, Editor Zebulon Huset plans to publish my poem together with a “mini-essay” by the editor who especially appreciated it.
I am very happy about this because I like this poem a lot. It was inspired by a recital you can listen to here, and specifically by Robert Beazer’s “Mountain Songs for Violin and Guitar.” I highly recommend the whole recital, but the “Songs” begin at 45:36.
I liked the combination of traditional idioms with a new sensibility and new techniques in the piece, and later I liked how imagery came together in the poem in a way that was dreamlike but at the same time made a forceful statement about my feelings regarding what has happened to my country, not only recently, but repeatedly over the years in different places and in different ways, as ignorance, greed, and violence tragically put their stamp on the land and its inhabitants. It is good to know that someone else appreciated my statement, and I look forward to seeing precisely what that editor took away from the poem.
“Peekaboo Monster,” the children’s poem I wrote about here, is now out in the above volume, which also contains work by Jane Yolen, whom we worship because we love Commander Toad and are generally in awe. Here are links from the press, so you can obtain copies of this phenomenal anthology:
Amazon hard copy: coming soon
Amazon ebook copy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KYM27ML/
Direct Purchase from B Cubed Website: https://www.bcubedpress.com/…/ogng73wevgm46clwojz7rk11b…
B Cubed Press further recommends: “read, rate, review, share. We can’t do this without you.”
I have been reading other works by the press while awaiting this volume’s publication, and they are high quality and fun. So be sure to supply the poetry needs of all the special children in your life. Order your copies today. 🙂
Photo: Government buildings reflected in another government building across the Spree in Berlin. Taken by me. Summer, 2018
In the midst of my usual panic when there are a few weeks between acceptances, I was happy to learn that my poem, “Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” was accepted by Editor Michael Prihoda at After the Pause, “an experimental online literary journal, based in Indianapolis, IN (with strong ties to other parts of the Midwest), and published quarterly,” according to its home page. I am exceptionally grateful for this acceptance both because of my recent dearth of acceptances, and because I am fond of this poem.
It was written on the trip my husband and I took for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and in the shadow of the occupation of the White House by Donald Trump, or as I am now calling him, the moldy yam. It was heartening to be in a functioning democracy that had arisen from a horrible dictatorship. I was struck by the government buildings built since the War. They seemed to have a playful quality, while also assertively literalizing transparency and reflection in government.
So that’s what the poem is about, and Editor Prihoda deemed it appropriately experimental for After the Pause. I don’t really understand the term “experimental.” It seems to just mean a little out of the ordinary in some way or other. If something is really out of the ordinary, it’s “avant-garde,” even though avant-garde is, if anything, more experimental. Clear as mud.
Regardless, my somewhat experimental poem has been around the block a few times, and I am glad it has found a home. It will be out in December.