Those of you who check in with me here know that I’ve been submitting my short story collection around to small presses for a while. The collection has gone through some changes–big changes–since I first started sending it around and, thanks to my friend, Michelle Ross (There’s So Much They Haven’t Told You, Moon City Press), it finally came together in a form that makes sense and I hope is more satisfying and entertaining to readers (which really is the most important thing). Happily, WTAW Press has scooped it up and it is slated for release in October 2018! If you’ll be in Tampa for AWP, I’d love for you to join me and other snazzy writers for a reading on Thursday, March 8 @ Irish 31 Hyde Park from 6 to 7:30PM. Then I’ll be signing copies of a new chapbook at the WTAW Press table at the book fair on Friday from 9 to 9:30AM. The whole point of AWP, as far as I’m concerned, is to meet up with all the friends I wish I could see every day and to make new ones, so I hope to see so many people there. And after a couple of months of a gray, Missouri winter, I’ll admit that getting some of that Florida sunshine sounds awfully good, too (even if I’ll be painted in sunblock).
If you’re not sick to death yet of reading about my short story, “Not From Here,” check out this lovely little review of it over on Ann Graham’s blog. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a story get this much attention before, which I’ll credit to the good folks over at Carve Magazine. Many thanks to Ann Graham for giving my story a read and review!
My newest short story, “Not From Here,” is out in the Summer 2015 issue of Carve Magazine, a really terrific online and print journal. I don’t usually write in first person, but this story was sort of an experiment in taking on that voice and I’m pleased that the good people at Carve enjoyed it enough to put it into print. This is also one of only two stories that have made it to print that take place in my real “home”: southern Missouri. I’m not sure why I’ve been so hesitant to set stories in this place that I know better than anywhere else in the world, where my own family has been since early in the 19th century. I think that a lot of us from southern Missouri have a love/hate relationship with home, especially if we left. The Missouri Ozarks brings with it images of hillbillies and backwoods witches and everything else Branson can market and sell, most of it completely fictional. It’s not uncommon for people to believe that the hills are filled with highly superstitious, mystical people, a stereotype that I’ve come to believe is actually grounded in our deep and abiding love for stories, including ghost stories, and practical jokes. Every native family has stories to tell of the pranks pulled by their immediate family and ancestors to scare neighbors and friends, hoaxes pulled off sheerly for the entertainment value. In short, native Ozarkians are more into having a good time than actually believing in magic, but people believe what they want to believe.
In any case, I’ve made my return in fiction writing to the Missouri Ozarks and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a greater, deeper exploration of home. If you’re looking for some additional insight into the writing of this story, pop over to the “subscribe” button on Carve and buy yourself the print edition. Carve does something really incredible for its featured writers by following up with an interview and giving information about the rejection history of every piece–a comfort to anyone slugging it out in the lonely business of literary publishing.
It feels like this interview should hand in hand with the post from yesterday. Take a look and enjoy this interview with a young poetry great.
I’ve wanted to be in the college classroom for years–as a teacher, rather than a student–and tonight I’m getting my chance. This evening will begin my 4-week course, “Writing the Short Story” (Tuesdays at the Meramec campus from 7-9:30). On October 26, from 9am-2pm, I’ll be conducting a non-workshop course in which I will try to condense into a short, user-friendly format all those things I’ve learned about the writing world over the last 10 years or so. No prob, right? Uh, right. But, seriously, if you’re looking to sort your way through the maze of writing conferences, workshops, journals, online sources, MFA programs and more, then come join me. Sign up info is found through the link that’s right HERE: