Every year, I look back at last years goals and try to assess what worked and what did not work for me. 2018 was an interesting year, bringing a considerable amount of stress and anxiety â€”Â and Iâ€™ve noticed a number of others have experienced the same, if not more in that regard.
Just looking at my goals from the previous year, I can see that Iâ€™ve accomplished a couple of things: my blogging year was pretty consistent and I did manage to launch and successfully fund a kickstarter, among other things. But some of the major projects I was hoping to complete (finish the novel, run a half marathon) did not reach completion.
During the second half of the year, Iâ€™ve especially been felt a sense of stagnation. I stopped running, attending few writing events, and in general felt that there was little progress on my personal projects.
But this feeling of stagnation is a bit of self deception, because if I consider things as a whole, then itâ€™s actually been phenomenal year for me in terms of writing and travel â€”Â a year I could and should be proud of. So, instead of worrying about what didnâ€™t work for me in the past year, here are some of the good things that have gone down in 2018.
“Stone Clutched to Chest,” a collaborative poem byÂ Laura Madeline Wiseman and I, has been published in the issue 41.2 of Star*Line. This print issue can be acquired at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (Â SFPA) website.
Our poem, “Stone Clutched to Chest” looks at the Beowulf epic from the point of view of Grendel’s mother â€” and is one of the many poems re-examining myth, folklore, and pop culture stories that will be published in Every Girl Becomes the Wolf, which is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Maybe check it out, watch the trailer, or preorder a copy?.
There are a couple of days left to giveaway some books as part of the Big Poetry Giveaway 2018 â€” or check it out to see all the books you could nab (link is also in the sidebar).
Other Good Things for National Poetry Month
“Science describes accurately from outside, poetry describes accurately from inside. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe,” notedÂ Ursual K. Le Guinn on theÂ intersections between science and poetry.Â “We need the languages of both science and poetry to save us from merely stockpiling endless â€œinformationâ€ that fails to inform our ignorance or our irresponsibility.”
Just about all the 2016 in review posts I’ve read so far have begunÂ the same way: 2016 sucked, but there were some good things, too. I feel everyone on that sentiment.
If I look back â€” past the overwhelming days, past the stress â€” there have been some great moments, a few of which, I’m happy to share here.
The Publishing Game
I sent out a total of 32 submissions in 2016 â€” including poetry, fiction, and chapbooks â€” with a total of six acceptances, one finalist placement for a chapbook, 20 rejections, and five still under consideration.
My first collection of poetry, a chapbook titled Pantheon, was accepted for publication this year by ELJ Publications and is scheduled to come out in August 2017. I couldn’t be more excited. The cover art is currently being developed and I’m sure there will be other developments as we get closer to the publication date.
Several ofÂ my solo and collaborative poems cowritten with Laura Madeline WisemanÂ have appeared in or are forthcomingÂ Â in several anthologies, including: The World Retold(The Writers’ Guild of Iowa State University, March 2016);Â Red Sky, an anthology on the global epidemic of violence against women (Sable Books, September 2016); Write Like Youâ€™re Alive 2016 (Zoetic Press, September 2016); andÂ Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More! (Apex, forthcoming in 2017).
Slink Chunk Press published “The Shadows Flight,” a flash fiction piece. It’s the first piece of fiction that I’ve ever published and I’m grateful to the editors for sharing it with the world.
What I Wrote in 2016
I left the novel on the sideline lastÂ year, focussing instead on smaller work like poems and short stories â€” trying to get drafts completed and edited and sent out into the world. Although I felt a bit lacking in productivity toward the end of 2016, I have to admit that it’s been a fairly productive year. I’m pretty sure I came close to doubling the number of submissions I sent out, which means an increased amount of words were written to enable that.
The bulk of my writing was completed while participatingÂ in three writing challenges â€” for ELJ Write Now, I wrote 30 poems in the 30 days of April as a series of Our Lady poems praising pop culture characters, which became the basis for the soon-to-be-publishedÂ Pantheon; Zoetic Press’ Write Like Your Alive challenge in the month of July drove me to complete another 23 poem drafts (of varying quality); and finally, The POEMING 2016 in October was a found poetry challenge in which poets were each assigned one novel by Stephen King and were required to create one found or erasure poem per day for all 31 days.Â I usually sign myself up for a month-long challenge at some point every year for the past few years and rarely complete them. So, I surprised myself by signing up for not just one challenge, but three and completing each one.
I also participated in a Short Film Scriptwriting Challenge through MMtB. Although my script was not one of the ones selected to be produced that night, it was an greatÂ experience that provided me with some contacts of people working on indy films in the Bay Area and reminded me how much I want to work on films.
More writing and editing and writing and editing happened throughout 2016, I’m sure, although I can’t remember it at the moment. Nevertheless, I feel confident about the work I’ve doneÂ and am feeling good as I move in to 2017, ready to accomplish even more. Maybe even move back toward working on the novel again.
I’ll put together another post on my writing goals for the year in a later post.
Travel in 2016
Most of my travel has been within the U.S. on a variety of work trips. Nashville was a delight â€” I loved the music and the history and food (oh, my goodness the food). I also ended up in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Alabama for a day or two at a time.
Closer to home was a weekend in Yosemite National Park. It was frigidly cold and so, so beautiful, worth every shiver and layer of shirt, sweater, sweater, coat, scarf, gloves, and hat that I had to put on.
I also made it out of Dusseldorf, Germany for a week (also for work). It’s a trip I’ve made several times before, made delightful by the fact that my brother joined me. We walked through the Christmas Market, tasted spiced wine, and rode the ferris wheel. So much fun.
Running in 2016
I’ve been continually trying to progress in my running â€” although like most of my goals, it sort of dropped off toward the last few months of 2016. I haven’t accomplished my goal of running a Half Marathon yet, but I did run the She is Beautiful 10K again, which is always a delight. Â Nevertheless, I have made progress Â â€” because despite skipping running for weeks at a time sometime, I can come back and get back into the groove fairly quickly. Apparently, I’ve been consistent enough for my muscles to remember, so that I don’t feel as though I’m starting from scratch each time I restart.
How was 2016 for you? I’d love to hear about some of your good things.
Oh, my. I’ve yet again skipped a week of my weekly updates, which makes them more bi-weekly for the month of June. The goings on are going on â€” mostly a lot of trying to get writing done and then binge watching television to recover from the trying to get writing done.
“A Gathering of Baba Yagas,” a poem cowritten by Laura Madeline Wiseman and I, is now up at Strange Horizons! This was the first poem Madeline and I wrote together and I’m thrilled to see it published.
There is some other GIANT news, but I’m not 100% sure that it’s okay to share it yet, so I’m just going to tease you about it for the time being.
What Iâ€™m Reading
I haven’t been doing much reading lately. Or rather, I have, but not as much for the shear pleasure of it. So it’s a joy to begin All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders. The story of a naturalistic witch and a young mad scientist is charming. This is exactly the kind of book to get me back into the reading mood and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
What Iâ€™mÂ Writing
Last week was primarily spent in finalizing and then submitting my Our Lady chapbook for publication. The collection, called Pantheon, is done and off and out of my hands and I’m going to say no more about that.
Since send that off, I’ve polished up The Things I Own, another chapbook which was a finalist in the Dirty Chaps Contest. With some tweaking â€” pulling out a couple of poems â€” and putting in of a couple of others, I’m hoping it will find a home elsewhere.
Coming up next is the Write Like Your Alive, a 31/31 project being hosted by Zoetic Press. Signups for the project are open until June 30th, with the opportunity to be published, if you complete at least 20 days. Let me know if you join, asÂ I will definitely be participating (because why not drown myself in more challenges and projects) and would love to be able to share the journey.
Goals for the Week:
Prep for Write Like You’re Alive and then write like I’m alive
“All of the goals I had set for myself in my twenties had come and gone. As a result I had simply shut down. For some reason it felt easier and more comfortable to resign myself as a failure than to risk actual failure,” writes Kate Maruyama in On Saying Yes: Fight the Fear.
I came to the realization halfway through writing this post that today Tuesday, not Monday. This is because I spent my Monday helping my mom clear out and transfer belongings from one storage shed to another in a grueling twelve hour period resembling the interminable curse of Greek gods. If we hadn’t been laughing so hard at the absurdity of the situation, I’m sure we would have been miserable. But we were laughing and we accomplished a hell of a lot and my mom rewarded my efforts with beer, so all was well.
In other weekend news, I SAW FLOGGING MOLLY at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and they were â€”in what was no surprise to me â€” amazing. They played all my favorite songs and introduced me to new favorites. I danced my ass off that night and sang my throat out and it was worth the next day’s pain. We also sawÂ The Brothers Comatose andÂ Gillian Welch play and they were both wonderful, as well.
What Iâ€™m Reading
I’m still working onÂ Celestial InventoriesÂ by Steve Rasnic Tem, which continues to astound me with its ability to present stories, ranging from deeply moving to incredibly disturbing.
Most of my focus has been on finishing an initial draft of a Sleeping Beauty story for the Brainery Workshop I started last week. I have the main outline and a good sense of how I want to approach it, but since it has some science fiction elements I’m not sure how much explaining I should do up front. I suppose I should just get the draft
Laura Madeline Wiseman and I have finished up a number of collaborative poems, which need to be sent out. At which point, we need to get started on some new ones.
Goals for the Week: Finish workshop draft before class. Submit some collaborative poetry and get started on some others.
Brainery Workshop â€“ Science Fiction Fairy Tales â€“ Week One
The first meeting of the workshop, which is run by the amazing Jilly Dreadful, was introductory, introducing us to our fellow writers and to how the workshop will work. My fellow writers (most of whom I met, although there was a switch in students at the last minute) are all amazing as far as I can tell from the small piece of writing they all shared and from their comments during the meeting. This makes me even more excited to see how things will go.
Our assignment for the week is as I noted above, a Sleeping Beauty story, which can incorporate some of the sleep science in various articles Jilly assigned.
Justine Larbalestier notes Our Heroes Are Fallible And So Are We â€” “We do not write in a vacuum. We write about the real world while living in the real world. Thatâ€™s true whether we are writing about zombies or vampires or high school or genocide or butterflies or all five. Our words have effects on other people.”
Afrofuturism Rising by Ytasha L. Womack â€” “While Afrofuturism is viewed as a tool of empowerment for people of color, the dual aesthetic and philosophy at large serves to provide answers for a gaping hole in the story of humanity. Afrofuturism values intuition, feminine aspects of humanity, and nature. Afrofuturism views the future, past, and present as one. Afrofuturism provides a platform to explore time and memory in the context of human life.“