Writerly resolutions: November status

Continuing the research this month. My trThe book stacks are getting shorter, even with some new arrivalsip to the USHMM was productive and the stacks of books are dwindling, although research has generated some new books to read so the stacks have gotten a little shorter. I had hoped to get them down to nothing by the end of the year, but it looks like research will spill over into January. Meanwhile, I’m still finding useful details in the research which has yielded about a dozen pages of notes so far.

Got a new story workshopped earlier this month, it still needs some work, but there’s a little hope for it to get into submissions sometime in the new year.

Only two rejections this month, form rejections for poems (including one very old submission which I was wondering if I should give up on), which is not surprising given my low submission activity this year.

Writerly resolutions: October status

And still more research work. Next week I will spend a couple days The (slightly) shrinking piles of to read books for the novelat the USHMM research center for more primary source research. I’ve been adding occasional new reading to the stacks of books which will be evident to those closely inspecting the pictures accompanying these posts. I had hoped to be done with research reading by year’s end, but I suspect it’s going to spill over into January. I still keep stumbling across useful reading, most notably Half-American by Matthew F. Delmont which is the book on non-combat African-American soldiers in World War II I’ve wanted for at least a year or two and that was just published a couple weeks ago.

Not much progress on the story work, although I’ve ended up writing some new poetry. A couple form rejections this month along with a near-miss rejection.


The Big Countdown

My life expectancy has bounced back up from 82 to 88 Grave stone for Donard [sic] Hosek, 1940–1940 [sic]this year. I was expecting it to stay low, but the extra six years will be welcome. I think the fact that I’m losing weight probably helps a bit. 

The last year has not been the best of years although I guess I’m doing better than some at least.

As of tomorrow, I will have outlived (in no particular order):

  • Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker)
  • Jackie Robinson (first African-American in MLB)
  • Babe Ruth (another baseball great)
  • Vladimir Lenin (co-founder of the Beatles)
  • Jim Henson (creator of the Muppets)
  • Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein)
  • René Déscartes (he thought, therefore he was)
  • Jerry Garcia (namesake of the best flavor of ice cream, Cherry Garcia)
  • Marc Antony (he came not to praise Caesar but to bury him)
  • John Denver (you came on his pillow)
  • John von Neumann (depressingly brilliant mathematician)
  • Maria Callas (amazing opera singer)
  • Ivan the Terrible (Russian tsar)
  • Linda Lovelace (porn actor)
  • Carolyn Jones (the original and best Morticia Addams)
  • Johann Pachelbel (composer of a canon which is not a canon and who, looking at last year’s entry, apparently died twice)
  • Gene Siskel (film critic)
  • Jack Nance (Eraserhead!)
  • Spike Jones (the musician my dad wanted to name me after)
  • Anne Heche (actor)
  • Louis Adamic (the only Slovenian author I’ve ever read)
  • Frederick Rolfe (author also known as Baron Corvo)
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Something interesting: Notes from the road

Another tardy posting on my mailing list. It’s about religion, road signs and the KKK. There’s also a recommendation and links to recent publications.

Writerly resolutions: September status

Research continues apace. I discoveredThe latest stacks of research books. A few books gone, a few added, but the stacks are shorter now. a PhD thesis courtesy of the exhaustive index at the USHMM website that is almost exactly what I would have wanted to read at the start of this process. I am definitely going to do a research trip to DC in November to visit the research center of the USHMM. Meanwhile, I’m writing this at the Regenstein library of the University of Chicago where I’m watching survivor testimonies in hopes of finding some good background material.

I’m close to a complete second draft on the new story, although the rewrite work on the revision story is being a bit tough. I had a turn at workshop this month and pulled a piece out of the novel that I thought might work on its own and it got a better reception than I expected. I pulled that to the top of the stack for the rewrite since there was a themed submission call opening today which it would be a good match for.

And I would be remiss to ignore the fact that I had poems published in September in Invisible City and I-70 Review this month with readings for both (the latter in-person in Kansas City).

Ceci n’est pas Graham Greene—a mystery solved

About four months ago, I stumbled across a picture which was incorrectly identified as being Graham Greene. I recently had someone (via Hacker News, of all places) identify the mystery individual as Artur Lundqvist, a member of the Swedish academy.

Now, this is especially ironic given Greene’s storied history with his non-receipt of the Nobel Prize in literature. It was largely considered to be the result of a personal dislike of Greene on the part of several members of the Swedish Academy, and wondering if Lundqvist was part of said “cabal,” I did a Google search on “Graham Greene Artur Lundqvist” and turned up a 1980 article in the Washington Post in which the question was put directly to Lundqvist. Lundqvist offered a number of excuses, none of which was particularly compelling: “I think his work has declined.” “Greene is too popular.” “He doesn’t need the money.” Overall, he came across as peevish and defensive. I suspect that if anything, this particular interview may have resulted in whatever small chances Greene might have had of receiving the Nobel in his last decade of life vanishing.

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Upcoming readings

For the first time since my MFA, I’m part of a couple of public readings of my work.

Invisible City Reading 9 17

On Saturday, 17 September at 1p PST, I’ll be part of a Zoom reading to celebrate the release of the latest issue of Invisible City in which I have a senryū entitled, “宝石の十字架” (don’t worry, only the title is in Japanese). Since it’s short, I’ve been offered the opportunity to read another poem, so I’ll likely read one of the print-only poems from my Chicago Sonnets series. To avoid Zoom bombers, they’ve asked people to RSVP at this link.

Then, on Friday, 23 September at 7p CST, to celebrate the publication of my poem, “A song of Isaac” in I-70 Review, I will be reading in person at The Writer’s Place, 31W31 Nonprofit Village, 31 W 31 St, Kansas City, Missouri. This will not be streamed, but on the off-chance that anyone reading this is anywhere near Kansas City that evening, I’d love to see you there. I-70 Review is a print publication. Copies can be ordered from their website for $15 plus $5 shipping and handling and will also be available for sale at the event in Kansas City.

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Writerly resolutions: August status

No fancy graph this montTwo stacks of books representing my research reading for the novelh as it’s all-research time for the novel. I’ve managed to get eight of the books from my leftover research stack finished as well as going through ten survivor testimonies from the Yad Vashem website that had transcripts (there’s no way I would be able to follow spoken Hebrew with my limited language skills). I’m currently digging through resources from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to find what’s available online and what would require a trip to D.C. to decide whether a research trip would be worthwhile.

Minor progress on the new story rewrite and the revision story rewrite although I think I’ve made it through the toughest part of the latter.