Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Starting to submit to Literary Magazines

I'm sprucing up "Woman of After" and going to send it off to three different places later tonight. I am researching and trying to be a good bunny and know exactly what this magazines like to publish but I also know that a second person POV piece will either get me an automatic "no thanks" or a nice long look. So it's a crap shoot. All submitting is a crap shoot. I want to start getting my rejection notes. I have a goal of ten by Christmas. So here goes! I'll have to make a folder for them once they start rolling in. In the mean time I've found a few amazing websites and resources to help me out on this journey and I wanted to share a few of those here.

  • Duotrope - a database of literary and genre magazines which highlights periods of open submission as well as if they accept simultaneous submissions. Amazing information. Highly recommended by faculty and mentors of my Grad program. To get the full benefit of this site you have to subscribe. It's $5 a month or $50 a year. Worth every penny in my opinion and I've only just scratched the surface of what this site has to offer.
  • The Review Review - I haven't spent much time here yet but I learned about it during a class at Solstice. From what I understand they review various publications and are a great resource to consider when getting ready to start submitting. Their blog is great, too. I found this page to be particularly helpful: What Editors Want.
  • Neon - this is actually a site for the Neon Literary Magazine but I found a tremendously helpful blog here about "How to Submit," which gave me a link to an excellent and easy to understand description and example of the format for submitting short stories: Proper Manuscript Format.
  • New Pages - a site that is also a great way to look up various literary magazines but it also has a section where magazines call for submissions. It's good to keep an eye on this site because submission openings come and go pretty quickly in the literary world as it turns out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I've got my Masters, but the Journey is far from over!

The Residency was an emotional roller-coaster. For the most part it was exceptionally uplifting. But those were tempered by moments of great sadness. I will miss the family I've made at Solstice. I know they are still my sisters and brothers and I already have plans to see some of them again in the near future, but distance is difficult. And expectation is difficult. All four of my mentors were at this residency and they all four built me up in different ways. I am still in awe of some of the things that they said to and about me. Sandra in particular was tremendously supportive. She wants me to keep emailing her with my progress, letting her know where I am in terms of getting something out there. I'm at the point where the novel has turned into three novel and given me a larger scope through which to reveal all the delightful little secrets of my world. So I'm a bit overwhelmed you might say. And also nervous about the future.

One of my dear Solstice sisters has advanced cancer. I'm caught between eagerness for her to get her book published and create something immortal in her wake, and a fear to put any pressure on her at all. I want her to fight this beast. I want her to get better. Have a remission. Live another year. Love her family and enjoy each and every minute she has left on this earth. But I so want her to publish. Because I know that her time on this earth is running out very quickly. The odds are not in her favor and by this time next year the world may no longer have her in it. And this thought makes me shudder. I want her book out there so I can touch it and read it and love her in this sweet special way. She is a writer, which is to say her soul is a writer's soul and I hope, very much, that she will find a way to negotiate the drive of her heart and the needs of her writer's soul with the time she has left. I won't barrage her with 'my sympathy' but I will remind her whenever I can, that she is loved and that her work is necessary. 

My return to real life is proving to be a bit of a challenge. And in light of my dear friend's struggles, I feel guilty for each and every complaint. I am bitter over a coworker's constant need to try and exchange dates. I am upset that my car door will not open any more. I'm sad that I love my job yet must seek another one to make ends meet. I'm moody because the sunlit hours are growing shorter and shorter. I'm overwhelmed because I have bills to pay, a cat to groom, a room to clean, car tags to renew, a doctor's appointment to make, and people who need me when I'm not ready to be needed. But I also have good things. I have friends and I have my Hannah. One of my friends is going to keep doing packet exchanges with me to keep me writing. Another friend took Hannah and me out to lunch today and gave me a check for a lot of money as a graduation present. My cousin is coming to visit in a couple of weeks. And a Solstice sister is coming a few weeks after that. Another friend of mine is going to apply to Solstice and I'm so happy for her! And Hannah and I are going to write and submit and really push to get our writing lives started. 

The good with the bad, the beginning of this journey has been intense. I have to work tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to it. But that's because what I really want to do is meditate for an hour then write a crap ton of cover letters to various literary magazines and get some of my crap out there. My goal is to have ten rejection letters by the new year. And who knows? Maybe one of those letters won't be a rejection. Still, I'll celebrate like hell if I get ten. That will prove to me that I'm a member of the writing community. That I've joined the literary conversation. And that's what getting an MFA was all about. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On the eve of my last Boston adventure...

Well, it may not be my last Boston adventure. But it is the last one in this capacity, as a grad student attending Pine Manor College. I still have a few things to work on. I'm having the panic. Lots of the panic. Not as badly as I have in times past, but I'm definitely stressed and nervous and fretting. Tonight I'm over at my neighbor's house talking with her and Hannah about the section of my novel which I will be reading at the graduate reading. While there are many sections I really enjoy, I think the part where Matthias wins the 'tooth' game at the Arena is probably going to be the one I go with. I need to write a small introduction to the piece and then practice it a few times for pacing. When E graduated I listened to her during her practice run and I'm sure she will do the same for me. 

I'm worried about E. She just went through a really upsetting breakup and I hope that I can be a positive and wholesome distraction for her while I'm there. I'm also worried about the hotel costs and the costs of everything in general. I will have to sit down with her and chat when I get there. This education adventure has put me into mega debt which is okay because honestly it was worth it, but at the same time, financial stress is making me feel ill.

In other news I turned in my application to be part of the Pagan Ministry Council for the Inland Empire Pagan Guild. I think it was a pretty decent letter of interest if I do say so myself. I will know before I return whether or not I am accepted as a member of the council. Here's hoping that Hannah and I are approved.

My next post will be from Boston! I have a list of to-dos. I want to eat at Papa Gino's at least once, I want to do girly things with Eileen such as making our nails look fabulous for graduation, I need to get a shot glass of the Boston skyline for my coworker, and I want to do some tarot readings in the hotel room. I'm excited for the time at school as well as the time away from school. I am absolutely desperate to reconnect with many of my dear, dear Solstice Sisters and Brothers. Right now I feel like rambling and procrastinating and curling up in a ball and waving a white flag of surrender. Ugh. I want to go but I am also just done.