Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Summer Writers Plan

Dear Kitchen Table Writers,

Below is a list of summer reading I plan to do — and I recommend for you. I’ve dipped into each of these and am eager to find a hammock somewhere and read for hours on end. Share your reading list in the comments!

Summer Reading List

Let Me Out Here, by Emily Pease, What Luck, This Life, by Kathryn Schwille, The Shaman of Turtle Valley, by Cliff Garstang, Magnetic Girl, by Jessica Handler, Nice People, by David Jauss, A Delicious Country, by Scott Huler (nonfiction).  I’m sure I’ll read more!

Do you have a book you read every summer? Mine: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis.

Literary Journals

Here’s a list from Kathryn Milam – suggested literary journals to try. I suggest you spend two hours every week reading from these journals and writing a two page story. Find a short piece you like. Use the first line as a prompt to write your own piece. In your final revision, revise the first line so that it belongs completely to you. Then send it out!

LIT JOURNALS

SAND Journal

The Antigonish Review

The New Quarterly

The Fiddlehead

The Malahat Review

Literary Orphans

PANK

Elimae

Boston Literary Magazine

Sonic Boom

North American Review

Red Fez

Mudseason Review

FIVE:2:ONE magazine

Angel City Review

Drunk Monkeys

Lunch Ticket

HOOT

Five Points

SmokeLong Quarterly

Ploughshares

The Missouri Review

Gulf Coast

Cheap Pop

Yemassee Journal

Newfound Journal

Paper Darts

Print-Oriented Bastards

Great weather for MEDIA

The Baltimore Review

Bat City Review

Broadsided

The Tishman Review

Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

Friday Flash Fiction

Cabinet

Antioch Review

The Southampton Review

Puerto del Sol

Chicago Quarterly Review

Crannog

Gargoyle

The Istanbul Review

Modern Shorts

Room Magazine

r.kv.r.y quarterly

Tahoma Literary Review

Blackbird

Image

Tin House

The Threepenny Review

Epoch

Spiritus

KYSO Flash

Barrelhouse

Day One

Hobart

Faultline

Bodega

Gravel

Passages North

Wigleaf

Eleven Eleven

American Short Fiction

Steel Toe Review

Matador Review

Wildness

Booth

The Monarch Review

Inch

Avalon Literary Review

The Writing Disorder

Luna Review

Cease, Cows

Pleiades

Mojave River Review

Alice Blue Review

Wyvern Lit

Synaesthesia Magazine

Quarter After Eight

The Citron Review

Neon Literary Magazine

100 Word Story

The Stoneslide Corrective

Quick Fiction

Failbetter

Black Warrior Review

No Tokens

Corium

The Butter

Gemini Magazine

The Iowa Review

Seneca Review

Northwest Review

Subtropics

McSweeney’s

Catapult

The American Reader

Lenny Letter

StoryShack

3:AM Magazine

Nanoism

Matchbook Lit Mag

Mascara Review

The Virginia Normal

The Stinging Fly

Juked

Threadcount

Calamus Journal

The Conium Review

Great Jones Street

Hayden’s Ferry Review

Ad Hoc Fiction

Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Flash Fiction

Prime Number Magazine

 

  • The BOLDED journals are ones that I know for sure accept flash fiction. The others probably do as well, but are devoted mainly to flash.

 

The Pushcart Listings

Finally, here’s a link to a great discussion of why you should use the Clifford Garstang Pushcart listings. Trish Hopkins blog

A Quilt, A Novel, A Field

AJ Quilt Indigo Field

Thomas Wolfe wrote,

“. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door;”

in his seminal novel Look Homeward, Angel. I was inspired in part by Wolfe’s incandescent sense of place to write my first novel, about a Field. A Field so full of layers of history and mystery, plants and animals, people and hauntings, that it shimmers with life.

Over the many years of drafting, my talented friend AJ Coutu has been listening to my frustrations, my wine-infused rhapsodies, my struggles and triumphs on the page. We go on regular retreats together, where I tear out my hair and write, and she calmly quilts, draws, makes other kinds of art.

This week she surprised me with a quilt.

A quilt so full of life, it shimmers. A quilt that spookily tells the story of my Field, though AJ has never read my book in whole, only parts. Gorgeous images, a fish that is a rainbow, a wild woman dancing, suns and stars, patterns and squares, gros-grain ribbon that could be just the thing to mark a passage in the Bible, and spirits loose in the land. My heart is full. I will sleep under this quilt and dream. I will dream that this novel will somehow get loose in the world. And AJ can finally read it.

The marvelous fabric designer who created the center panel is Laurel Burch, an extraordinary California artist who died in 2007. Her inspiring life story is here. 

Hemingway in Pittsboro

Hemingway - youngI used to think that as a writer I had to hole up in my little room and write and write, and never come out until I was done.

But it dawned on me that unlike in journalism, with creative work nobody really cared if I ever finished something. That gets a little weird after a while. It turns out that’s a bad idea for me to hole up that way, and a bad idea for most writers. Think about it. Even in those first days in Paris, Hemingway got out of his little room and went out drinking, got great coffee in cafes, hung out with a writing group at Gertrude Stein’s place, and got into fights for fun and exercise from time to time.

This Tuesday is the first session of my Fall 2014 Kitchen Table Writers at Rosemary House workshop, and it’s always a great time to reflect on creating a writing community. What we do in workshops like this is provide the structure, the deadlines, the group support–and the coffee and cookies that every writer needs, whether she’s in Paris or Chatham County. It’s important to set goals, to finish drafts, to keep revising until that draft is really really good, then revise again. And it’s important to know that somebody cares if you finish, and if it’s really really good. In this room, we are all each other’s Gertrude Stein. Lucky us.

Some of my students have heard me say the magic number 26. That’s how many deep revisions David Huddle gave his first story, Poison Ivy. It was the story that won him attention, got him a book contract, and made his career. When he was done revising that story, he’d learned that it’s worth it to keep going, and I’m guessing it was just a little bit easier the next time.

So, for 12 Tuesdays this fall, we are going to be keeping each other going. We’ll connect on the level of the work — which is a great privilege. Good writing goes deep, and we get to know each other quickly through its pages. The writers’ passions will show. Also their blind spots. We’ll point them out to each other, but always with respect and support.

By December 2, our last session, I hope all the writers will have completed at least one revision. I plan to be inspired by their passion and discipline to kick in my own revisions on my novel draft. And I hope they will know that although we all have to sit in that little room alone to do the work, it’s actually really fun to come out and share your work when it’s ready to see the light.

PORCH rosemary-house-bed-andAnd it’s especially fun in Pittsboro. To steal Carrboro’s slogan, this is my Paris in the Piedmont.

Something I learned in today’s workshop: in addition to giving your subconscious assignments before you go to dreamland each night (fix this character, what’s my next plot move, etc.), you can invent an imaginary group of mentors. Put your writing problems all in a line on an imaginary conveyor belt (yes, just like the luggage-go-round at the airport), then imagine they are all passing by your favorite writing/life mentors: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Gertrude Stein, Anne Lamott. They will do their magic and your work will be ready in the morning with blessings upon it. Be ready with pen and paper. You never know what might happen. Thank you, Adams!

Kitchen Table Writers Read at McIntyre’s

We’ve been talking about it for more than two years. First we thought we might read at the General Store Cafe. Then we thought Davenport and Winkleperry. Then, we thought, why not McIntyre’s Books, where the writers read?

Peter Mock checked the schedule. There was a Sunday afternoon open. Most writers could come. So we did it! Our first Kitchen Table Writers Recital with Reception. Parents and friends, professional writers, teachers, and fans of all kinds came to listen. We had been writing and revising for months — some of us for years. We had some good stuff to read, and the audience was riveted.

Some days a teacher gets to just sit back and enjoy. Today was one of those days!