Woke up to this very unexpected news: "A brief excerpt from your story at New Flash Fiction Review has been selected to project as part of The Creative Process's upcoming exhibition for the European Consortium For Humanities Institutes and Centres and shown at University of Leuven in Belgium (from April 4th to June)."
I honestly have no idea how this happened. NFFR is an online journal focused on flash (very short) writing. It seems crazy that the last 10 lines of my essay, “Why You Move to New York, v. mid-80s” will be part of an art exhibit in Belgium. But that's the thing about being a writer. It may feel at times that your work is disappearing into a black hole out there, that no one's reading it. But by even getting it in the smallest outlet it can do work in the world you may not know about, and couldn't possibly have imagined.
"With every story, long or short, there is an implied silence that is broken. The same silence that obtains when the conductor walks out and the audience quietens, and he steps up and taps the little stand where all the music is waiting, and then he raises his arms, and presto! Beethoven's ninth symphony comes into the world again. It is the same, in its way, where writing is concerned. And if you ask yourself, during revision, 'why has the silence been broken here?' you can reach into the very center of the piece, its heart. And work outward from there. And then remember that the broken silence is your voice going out into the world, and it will still be sounding in these words and phrases when you are long gone. Whether anyone comes to it or not, it will be there. And so in that one lovely way, you are never effaced. You have made the joyful noise."
— Richard Bausch
"The secret to any voice grows from a writer’s finding a tractor beam of inner truth about psychological conflicts to shine the way.”
— Mary Karr
"There is no such thing as writers' block for writers whose standards are low enough."
— William Stafford (one of my very favorite poets)
"Running into the inherent difficulty of the task and not knowing which way to turn is not being blocked. It's just encountering the terrain, the territory where you will be spending more time than you ever thought you would spend anywhere. Relax. As I've said before, if you're spending the time struggling with it, then it's going well. It is ALWAYS going well if you're working, whether you're finding it easy or not. And if you're not working--not taking the chances and suffering the stumbles through it--then get to work. Be stubborn and go on and make the mistakes and take the blind alleyways. That's the way it gets done. I'll repeat myself here, too: you can't ruin it. You can only make it necessary to do it again. So, you do it again. And again. As many times as it takes to become itself, solid and so strangely, happily, separate from you."
— Richard Bausch
"In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I've worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior."
— Ray Bradbury
I just found out my flash nonfiction piece, "Give Me a Hug," will be published in Jellyfish Review this spring. Thanks, Jellyfish Review!
Last year I was in a position to nominate a handful of stories for the Pushcart Prize. Lit people know how damn near impossible (the numbers are staggering) it is for a nominated story to make the Pushcart anthology. So I was absolutely thrilled to return from a trip yesterday and find inside the 2018 edition one of those stories – “A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness” by Jai Chakrabarti, originally published in A Public Space. Congratulations, Jai. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story.
“The thing of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor. The point of being an artist is that you may live.”
— Sherwood Anderson in a letter to his son