I have been working on this flash collection, Monstirs, for a little while now and have begun sending pieces out, and started getting rejections and acceptances back. Flash (and harder-to-class fictions) that will be included in the collection have been published or are forthcoming now from:
Literary Orphans (as you might remember I recently posted a link to this)
A couple are older, such as ‘Boy Cyclops’ (Smokelong) and ‘Pretty Dead Girl Takes a Break’ (The Toast). Overall, I’m excited by how things are starting to shape up. Meanwhile, there are some things going on with my first novel, Kilea, which are giving me pause for consideration. I am sorry, as ever, to be vague. I’m just not sure what is afoot at the moment. So I’m glad to have this other project, which seems so much more simple with its narrow scope – capable of shifting focus in the writing away from my weaknesses and foregrounding my strengths. I can fail in ways that can be undone. I can cull and bud new branches almost simultaneously. Adjusting the measures. And while engaged in that, I’m enjoying discovering new magazines and new writers, and playing roulette with flash fiction competitions too. I’ve also started on Jacob’s Room, by Virginia Woolf, continuing my slow attempt to read every book she ever wrote. In the picture above I’ve tried to make a still life of an ideal afternoon. Not pictured: tea. Or the music I’ve been listening to this morning on 8Tracks.
The important thing as a writer, for me, is to continue to be ambitious – i.e. to push myself towards improving the words, while at the same time learning to open my eyes to what it is I want to be saying. What I wish to give, and whether I am doing that. To learn to filter the words of other people, their criticisms in particular – to glean what is pertinent and sift out what comes from a place of bias. It was good, necessary, even to read Roxane Gay’s essay on her experiences working towards and finally succeeding in getting her first book published. The essay is called ‘I will Never Stop‘, and it’s everything that matters to me. I love, too, how she has the courage to say what needs to be said, having reached this high point, to the industry that has so often let down women and women of colour in particular. I love that she doesn’t apologise, doesn’t allow herself to be diminished. I love that she notices ridiculous statues. Her novel is An Untamed State, and you can find it here.
Back to work now, for me.