Filed under writing

Beautiful Sentences: Taylor Koekkoek

The way she looked was something I felt in my guts.

Taylor Koekkoek, “The Wedding Party.” 


Beautiful Sentences: Annie Dillard

After all, I was the intelligentsia around these parts, single handedly. The intelligentsium.

Annie Dillard, An American Childhood.


Beautiful Sentences: J. Courtney Sullivan

They were surprised that the nuns did not proselytize or try to get them to see the light. They just listened. Some only came once or twice. But the ones who returned again and again began to realize on their own that the conversations were about God, even if He was never mentioned. God through the lens of their own lives.

J. Courtney Sullivan, Saints for All Occasions.


Writerly resolutions for 2019

This will be the year that I finally get a full draft written of We, The Rescued. I currently have 25,000 words written, so it shouldn’t be beyond reason to write another 50K or so.

Also, I want to clear out my backlog of half-finished stories and story ideas. My goal is to get a story a month into submittable shape that isn’t something that I’ve taken to a full draft and previously submitted. Hopefully the long story (which hasn’t decided if it wants to be a novella or just a long short) won’t act as a big logjam towards this goal.

I intend to check in here once a month to reflect on progress towards the goal.

2018 in rejections (and acceptances)

After a few years of trying, I’ve finally hit my goal of 200 rejections (and then some). This meant that I got a lot more submissions out. The year started strong with a short story acceptance each month from January through April (plus a poem accepted somewhere in there), but then things went quiet for most of the summer before I got a couple more acceptances in the fall.

Graph of fiction acceptances and rejections

My positive response rate dropped somewhat, from 36% to 27% and my acceptance rate also declined from 4.2% to 3.6%.

My poetry numbers confirm that I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to writing poetry and I exist as living proof that a blind monkey throwing darts is bound to hit the target once in a while.

Graph of poetry acceptances and rejections

For those craving numbers, my acceptance rate for 2017 was 0.4% (up from 0% last year!) and my positive response rate was 8.2% up from 3.4% last year, although both numbers are down from 2016 which remains the acme of my poetry career.

Beautiful Sentences: Nnedi Okorafor

She got that plant to do the opposite of die.

Nnedi Okorafor, “Tumaki.” 


Beautiful Sentences: J. Courtney Sullivan

Live long enough, and life teaches you that God is not your lucky rabbit foot.

J. Courtney Sullivan, Saints for All Occasions.


Beautiful Sentences: Katie Kitamura

Translation is not unlike an act of channeling, you write and you do not write the words.

Katie Kitamura, A Separation.


Beautiful Sentences: Brit Bennett

She couldn’t stop calling or writing or driving past the house. That was what it meant to love someone, right? You couldn’t leave them, even if they hated you. You could never let them go.

Brit Bennett, The Mothers.


Beautiful Sentences: Julia Álvarez

Perhaps this is the only way to grieve the big things—in snippets, pinches, little sips of sadness.

Julia Álvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies.