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The wonderful and keen-eyed Ana and Thea over at The Book Smugglers are the first to buy a story of mine. Bless their prescient and literary hearts <3
The Book Smugglers' Banner

Back in November I posted some of my writing goals, which included this goal:
“Work on story for the Book Smugglers “First Contact“-themed issue (if you haven’t read their first issue, Subversive Fairy Tales, do it!)”

Well, I did work on two stories for the “First Contact” theme, and the story I decided on I sent to Ana and Thea, and THEY ACCEPTED IT!

More wonderful news: My story, “Application for the Delegation of First Contact: Questionnaire, Part B“, is going to be a real boy, (ahem), I mean, a real questionnaire, which means YOU will not only be able to read it, you will be able to fill it out. That’s right–you get to apply!

A Splendor Seldom Seen - Saturn from Cassini

A Splendor Seldom Seen – Saturn from Cassini

Exciting News Coming Soon!


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Let’s just say you’ll be able to read something of mine at a very awesome site in the near future!

Also, it’s that time of year again!–time to apply to writing workshops. I’m applying Story Standards - What IS Good Enoughto Clarion this year. Odyssey was amazing and wonderful. I learned so much and met great writers many of whom are now my friends and writing partners. I’ve developed my craft and critical eye (read: I can’t just read a book or watch a movie anymore–I’m constantly analyzing and wondering at the poor writing, or awesome writing, as the case may be).

In the mean time, my apologies for having not posted lately. I’ve been writing and revising and general life things. Also, I’ve been thinking about re-working this website and/or starting an official website focusing more on writing and literature/cultural critique rather than the everything I’ve posted about here, in the past (which, granted, includes writing and literature stuff, but a whole lotta other things thrown in there as well).

I’ll report on my exciting news soon! Hurray!

Goals, NaNo, Revisions


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I did it! My first pro-market re-write request re-written and submitted! Just now. *Whew* It feels good. I get to check off a writing goal on my dry-erase board, log another submission at The Submission Grinder, and feel accomplished.

Other goals in this fine (read:cold cold and barren but I’m trying to look on the brighter side of things) month of November:

You know, nothing too big, just ambitious enough to motivate my dragging ass.

My friend and fellow writer and Odyssey ’13 grad, Sofie Bird, is the genius and impetus behind the modified NaNo goal. Only hers is significantly more ambitious–she’s planning on writing ten short stories in November. She’s blogging about it here.

And you know where I’ll blog about my progress.

Fall Poem


Fall Poem

It falls

like a hand over your mouth,
Autumn’s hush of colors.
The false blossoming
of gold into lush orange into faded yellow
into brown
into dirt.
Fate falls upon leaves
with the clinging of first frost followed
with the finality of Winter’s deepest freeze.
The air is choked with their fluttering
and falling,
this burgeoning of hollow fortune.
The crushing as you walk–
the ground littered with the wealth
of fallen things.
naked tree crop

Inspiration is Everywhere


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While gathering seeds to plant next spring (Morning Glory and Nasturtium) I came cropped seedpod alienacross a Wooly Bear caterpillar hiding out under cover of the mass of Nasturtium leaves. And I found this seed pod:

Reminds me of a certain alien opening its mouth to implant unsuspecting hosts (it is a seed pod, after all–that’s what they’re designed to do).

Coupled with the alien graveyard I found earlier this year:

alien husks

and the myriad moments of awe and intrigue I experience every day just observing the world, Nature is simply full of inspiration, stories, wonder, and possibility.

What have you seen recently that inspires you, that made it (in some form or another) into a story or work of art or into your imagination?

Happy Autumn (Northern-Hemisphere-ers)!

That Four-Letter Word: Plot


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Perhaps this is why I’m a poet first and a fiction writer second. Because I think young_boy_ponderingdepth and spirals before I think linear and omg, this three-act structure monstrosity, I struggle with the unnatural thing, I tell you.

So I’m intrigued by discussions of plot that describe it in a way that I can understand (that doesn’t leave me baffled or shuddering). Generate Nerve-Shredding Story Tension—Power of the Secret-Keeper at Kristen Lamb’s Blog did just that.

As Kristen Lamb put it: “Plot merely serves to change characters from a lowly protagonist into a hero…kicking and screaming along the way.

One element that is critical to understand is this:

Everyone has Secrets“.

It’s the tension of misunderstanding, of balancing the keeping of secrets with staying healthy/happy, of keeping your world view in tact (because no one wants to rethink their world view unless they have to–it’s a shock to the system, to “reality” to be forced to notice that what you think is true is just another story you’ve told yourself and it isn’t true).

key_smallIn storytelling this means your characters will “have to reveal their sins, but this will cost them the ‘perfect version of themselves’ they’ve sold the world… (and frankly, themselves)”.

This I can do. This I can write about because it is layered, it is human, and it is what causes so much pain and grief in our daily lives.

This I can do because it is what I try to show in my poetry–that things are not as you believe them to be–they are and they aren’t–they aren’t because they have their own lives, their own stories or no story–they are, because you make it the way you want to see it in your story.

Because there are no observer-less observations.

Because of light’s particle-wave duality. Because of quantum entanglement. Because there IS NO STORY, NO tidy Plot to life. Because patterns exist only when you leave out all other data points, which means there are no patterns.

Because life is beautiful nonetheless, or because of, or despite all this and THAT is something I can write about, and if you want to call that plot then go ahead, but it isn’t and THAT is also what I want to show.

[All quotes from Kristen Lamb’s blog post “Generate Nerve-Shredding Story Tension—Power of the Secret-Keeper“. Read the article and find out what other secrets characters keep that keep us turning pages!]

Blooms and Bugs and Posts


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I reblogged a post from Elodie Under Glass, or at least tried to, I’m not sure it worked. What I wanted to share was this: Reader Letter: Random Paper Airplanes because it’s awesome and has everything: Anne Lamott; how to clean your home when you’re not the Clean One; mindset; etymology of “experience” and “expertise”; quotes like “you’ve reached an Age, and you haven’t unlocked the required babies and car achievements for that level”; and gifs. Go read it!DSCN0670

Sharing some photos of the garden. This is the first year I’ll have been here the whole summer. It’s very exciting, thingDSCN0674s grow! I mean, it’s amazing. DSCN0676









Nasturtiums have edible flowers. They taste peppery and look lovely atop salads. They also help deter animals from eating the strawberries planted behind them.


And here’s a busy busy bee.

I, too, must get busy with the words and the writing.

Enjoy summer (you Northern Hemisphere-ers). Enjoy these pictures of flowers if you don’t have your own to wonder at. Enjoy Elodie’s blog, everyone.


Goals, mini-update


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But first this blog post, “Still Writing, A Year After Odyssey“, by Bill Powell, one of my dear Odyssey class of 2013 fellows.

One thing with goals is to remember what they were and acknowledge when you’ve reached them. For instance, last year I’d told myself that I was going to a writing workshop. If I didn’t get into Odyssey, Clarion, or Clarion West I would sign up for workshops through the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. But one way or another, I was going somewhere and dedicating time, energy, and effort to my writing.

And I did. Which means I achieved a major writing goal.

It’s important to remember that I did this thing. Otherwise it’s a never ending list of what I must do’s without the acknowledgement of accomplishment or work and achievement.

And now I have a new goal with a deadline (end of August): I’m beta reading one of my other dear Odfellow’s novel. How exciting! So for the next seven weeks I’ll be reading, taking notes, and writing a critique of her novel.

And I’ll be focusing on my own writing (again, having fallen out of the habit for a few weeks). Which is a less concrete goal. More on how to deal with that later.

Almost a year since Odyssey. Thousands of words written, revised, submitted. Most of us are still together in regular contact. That’s accomplishment.

One of the wonderful things about that? As Bill wrote, we’re just getting started.

Pen On Top of Papers

Pen On Top of Papers

Goals, part 1

Dear Reader,

I’ve a tiny heap of partial blog posts sitting over there staring at me, and a too long gap between posting dates. (Connection?) The last post I started but did not finish was about goals: what they are, how they relate to writing, basic philosophical treatise that went nowhere. Clearly my brain knows things and is elbowing me trying to get my attention, because goals! I need to consider, write down, and clarify me some goals and then, you know, adhere. Follow through.

My writing habits and my goal-making follow the same pattern I use to do chores–I multitask. And what happens when I multitask? Less gets done than if I’d just stuck to some one thing (okay, or two things, let’s not get carried away) and followed it through. But the divergent multi-layered dance of thoughts in my mind! How will I keep all those thoughts and their relationships to one another and the interconnectedness and weave of interplay if I only follow one thought? I’ll lose so much.parabola

But I lose plenty, too, when I try to follow them all because I rarely finish. This is undoubtedly somehow related to goals. I’m pretty sure.

So is organization. Something I’m still working on. Something that should be taught in schools–I know, in theory that’s what we learn while doing other things, like learning how to write and essay and a by-product of writing out all your “work” to math problems. But that’s not the same as learning how you think and how best (not only just one best, but you know, all the bests) to organize your thoughts according to your own special neurological processes.

This is the beginning. This is how we learn–we become aware of a need that is not being fulfilled, we imagine something that is not but could be, and we try to figure out how to get there to that place where that thing we want is. This is how goal-making starts. At least, I think it does.


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