Freedom + Hope: My Last Workshop + Sending a Query to Sandra Dijkstra

1. While I still have five more weeks of this semester, I'm officially done getting my shit workshopped forever! What an amazing feeling: Ah, the tangy taste of freedom! No, it's true, I'll be doing a private writing class with Aimee next semester, but that'll be one-on-one, the very opposite of workshop, in fact. Talking with Aimee is sort of like talking with a very insightful friend of yours who carries a pair of sheers with her wherever she goes + who is also way better published than you are. Not only do I not mind this private writing class next semester, I'm actually looking forward to it because it will force me--structurally, speaking--to keep working on The Ninjas of My Greater Self as I prepare for fields, which will be fun but also crazy stressful too. And while my workshops at SC were a 100 times more helpful for me than the pissing contests/genealogy of morals gang-bang I used to go through at Notre Dame, at the same time, I think I've plateaued with workshop just in general. I know what my strengths + weaknesses are as a writer. Now, it's really just about creating work that is its best version of itself. Through workshop + other venues, I've become very aware of what I do well + where I need help. So, thanks workshop. But now I'm gonna peace out.

2. I just sent Sandra Dijkstra a 25-page sampler of BLANK with a query letter. Hopefully she'll be intrigued enough that she'll want to read the entire manuscript. Based on her client list, I think she'll appreciate the strong, smart, independent female characters, the multicultural crew, the ambitious + intersecting plotline + above all else, the novel's return to history + culture, the love of language + the joy of storytelling in BLANK. But if for some--tragic--reason she rejects BLANK, I'm still planning on asking her if she'd like to see $67 for My Favorite Dictator, my collection of short stories +/or whether she'd be interested in reading Ninjas once it's finally done--whenever that is.

Because I Just Don't Know How To Listen

I'm a stubborn motherfucker. It's true. I don't think you can make it in this industry unless you're equal parts stubborn/delirious/delusional/suicidal/short-sighted. And even though I know that only 10% of Graywolf Press's accepted manuscripts are unsolicited, most of it, probably poetry, (which, obviously also means that 90% of it is agented--ho hum), I truly believe--because I'm stubborn/delirious/delusional/suicidal/short-sighted--that I have enough talent to burn to be part of that exclusive 10%, even if it's a long shot. That's why I just sent them my collection of short stories that I've been working on for five years now now called $67 for My Favorite Dictator.

What I've got going for me:

1. I've already published stories from this collection in the Kenyon Review, Quarterly West, ZYZZYVA, Stand Magazine, 3:am Magazine, Connecticut Review + the Notre Dame Review, so at least I've got that going for me.

2. Graywolf publishes a number of translations + likes writing that is both part of + is also conscious of the greater world surrounding the story + my stories take place in:

Kansas
Paris
Mexico City
Tokyo
Buenos Aires
Chicago
Portland
Burkina Faso
Los Angeles
Encinitas
New York
Lima
Toronto

3. My collection is mostly straight-up narrative, but there's also some flash fiction, conceptual/experimental short stories + two interlocked, language-driven pieces, so my collection has an amazing aesthetic variety.

4. Graywolf seemed to appreciate BLANK, so maybe, just maybe, they'll remember me.

Do any of these things guarantee a single goddamn thing in terms of getting published? Fuck no! Am I deterred? No! Should I be? Fuck yeah!

But that's just how I do.