I found out today that my novella, The Laws of Drowning and Rhetoric, is a finalist in Curbside Splendor's Second-Annual Wild Onion Novella Contest, which is fucking amazing and wonderful (though I won't let myself get too excited because the other three finalists are all talented and worthy). For those of you not familiar with Curbside Splendor, it's one of the best indie presses in the whole goddamn world (it's true). And what's even more awesome, Curbside Splendor is a Chicago joint, which makes me happy and proud to be part of this contest since Chicago is and will always be my hometown. The winner will be announced in the beginning of December, but I'm not gonna lie, it would be fucking incredible to win this contest. It would be a dream come true. It would help build my career. It would help me stay connected to my city forever. It would be incredibly encouraging too. And considering that I've been working on this novella for ten years since I started my MFA, it would be life-changing for all the work I put into this manuscript. But for now, we'll have just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed, man. Fingers crossed.
Today, I got the great news that a chapter from my novella, The Laws of Rhetoric and Drowning, was accepted by Hobart, which publishes fantastic fiction and interviews, among other things. I'm really happy to see this piece put in the public eye! Stay tuned for more deetz.
After a concentrated two weeks where LB and I saw both our families back to back, I'm finally getting back in the groove with my writing, revising, and submissions. And today I've realized that I'm going all out.
Recently, a bunch of my friends have been getting agents, then two-book contracts, thereby fundamentally changing their literary careers in the span of literally one year. A boy can only dream . . . Of course, because I'm human, I've been waiting by the phone too for the same phone call, waiting for the same miracle to magically transform my writing career into a solid object, but so far, I've been mostly stood up by publishing industry (literary journals have been much kinder to me). Agents are happy to tell me how talented I am, but their rejections are always about the fit. Truthfully, it's hard not to feel bad about yourself, especially when you stroll through the local bookstore and you see straight up shit on the coop. But I'm an eternal optimist, obviously delusional, and also very stubborn, so I'm not giving up. Not when I'm so close.
This leads me to the whole point I was making before I digressed earlier. Now that I'm back in action, I'm going all out, man. I'm submitting queries for NINJAS to a bunch of new agents soon (I'm still waiting to hear from three agents who are reading full manuscripts, but the longer time passes, the less hopeful I get). If Kaya rejects AMNESIA (they're taking their sweetass time, by the way), I'll send a query for it to fifty agents the next week. I just sent out several novella manuscripts to Plougshares and the Massachusetts Review. I'm also sending one of my best (and fave) short stories to several literary journals. Lastly, I'm sending my memoir to a few indie presses that I think would be a good fit aesthetically, conceptually, and structurally. Instead of staggering my submissions as I was forced to do during the school year, I'm now going full force. And that's not even including a screenplay I'll start revising/continuing this weekend about two bike messengers in DTLA.
And it don't stop . . .
12 small blurbs about the molecular composition of glass, the history of glass blowing
and 12 short shorts ranging from 2 to 5 pages each, that include the stories of:
1. a girl looking from the backseat of her car.
2. an alcoholic who pawns her grandmother's jewelry to buy a gold beretta
3. a japanese woman who stays in tokyo hotels to see her city for the first time
4. a father on the amtrak who is visiting his daughter with the creepy militia husband for the 1st time in 15 years
5. a man who walks through portland late at night to see his life inside the window display of stores
6. a woman who watches her schizophrenic neighbor through the peep hole of her door
7. a boy who turns his father in for stealing his collector's edition hans solo action figures
8. a girl who watches the city from juvie detention for ripping the gun out of a cholo's hands
9. a guy who gives his brother advice on how to sleep with smart chicks by wearing fake glasses
10. a woman who falls in love with a man working in a window office
11. a man who deliberately boards crowded el's in chicago to be touched by passengers
12. a man who tries to live his whole life with open windows
I'm going to include this novella in my second collection of short stories. i've already submitted many of these stories to journals like the santa monica review, sentence, boulevard, flyway, and others too. now it's up to lit journals to get their shit straight and publish them!
Now if i can just think of a name. . .
FC2's innovative fiction prize
The bakeless prize at middlebury college
2. Brick Magazine sent me a nice rejection letter that said "piano lessons" was engaging and stylistically beautiful. right then.
3. I'm still working on my short novella/flash fiction collection about people looking through windows. i'm almost halfway done. i'm planning on including this in my second collection of short stories once it's finished. Maybe.
4. If i don't get an agent or a publisher in the next 6 months, i'm gonna start submitting to some of the excellent small/indie presses: greywolf, soft skull, red hen, granta, stuff like that.
2. I got a short short ("Change Gonna Come") picked up in Fringe Magazine.