The countdown to Halloween begins! I love Halloween. I’m back to submitting work after a frustrating 6 months or so of fighting with technology to get out two journal issues.
Tell-Tale Inklings #4 has been in limbo since CreateSpace began scaling back services. It turns out they are merging with KDP. Like a ninny, I edited Tell-Tale Inklings #3 over a few nagging typos–and ended up redoing the whole thing. It takes forever to format and upload and have page numbers bounce to the top of the next page, then format and upload and have page numbers bounce…. You get the idea.
Bitching and moaning done, I’m feeling hopeful about getting work done once the kinks are worked out. Also, it’s hard to be crabby in October. I love crunchy Autumn leaves, breathable crisp air, and all things Halloween. (Well, all silly, fun, and mind-bending things; I don’t dig extreme, gory horror. I like Poe’s tales and Stephen King’s movies (his books are to scary). September through mid-October mark some very difficult anniversaries for my family; so many relatives have died during those months, from my father when I was 16 to my grandnephew, who was only 17. So, I plow through leaves and silly my way through Halloween, in a state of semi-denial.
When I began this post, it was the first of October. Now it’s the second. I need some new material. Here is TTI #3 .
COVER IMAGE: Stephan Anstey Copyright 2017
Because the Bright World Weeps (Four-Forty-Four Press, 2013) – novella
By Jessica Harman
[W.o.W. Review by Mignon Ariel King]
Ruby is a schizophrenic woman with an internal conflict — trying to determine whether or not she is and can remain a good-hearted person. She sees the angelic on Earth and is deeply compassionate toward people around her, especially younger women, even while struggling with her mental health, the end of a romance, and the darkness of the human condition as well as its brightness. The language of the narrative is remarkable, imaginative and direct at once (which is no surprise to readers familiar with Harman’s poetry).
Ruby cannot talk to her friend Jed about “complexity in art, philosophy, my fear of everything, waterfalls.” But she can talk about angels and battling her “evil” impulses in pursuit of goodness. The simple pleasures of talking about nothing much with a friend at Starbucks help Ruby stay away from “crashing and going inward.” Later, just thinking about these smaller happy times helps her feel better without having to cling to a romantic relationship or the belief that love fixes everything.
At 38, Ruby attaches powers to objects as might a young girl. Her garage-sale find Virgin Mary pillow, not chosen for religious reasons but from belief that the idol is Good. “And you need Good influences in your life. She also sits in Harvard Square parks reading poetry, regardless of Massachusetts weather. Connecting to poetry saves her from ” The Pit” of depression. Ruby explains to her 21-year-old roommate, “You’re a being of light.[…] It’s a great responsibility.”
Explaining the Dilemma (in Chapter 7), Ruby says that she feels 80% good, but “[t]here will be those devilish moments when you wish the guy on the bus with heavy grocery bags would trip and fall.” Ha! Such unexpected humorous moments are woven into what might have been one of those pseudo-deep modern narratives. Harman keeps the reader moving through fifteen chapters by juggling the good and the bad in each of us, pinpointing this internal balancing act in stright-forward yet never dull prose.
Ruby admits, “I had just expected life to be better after high school, as if the light on the water [of the Charles River] would yield all its beauty to me then because I was an adult and had somehow earned it.” Didn’t we all, at least a little bit? Brava to Jessica Harman for describing and analyzing emotionally complex and confused beliefs in clear, poetic prose.
I finished revising the upcoming “A City of Trees: poems of tribute 1” this week. It’s the prequel to the Bukowski-inspired “What Good’s a View of the Charles…?” (2013). Both from ALL CAPS PUBLISHING.
And the proof arrived for “Playground: poems” by Margie Shaheed, winner of the 2014 Hidden Charm Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. So the book will be out this month.
So guess how productive I feel right now! Here’s my Amazon page, with three books I’ve written and the Extra MoJo! anthology I edited. I will post links when the new books are officially launched. Now, off to rest my brain!
I finished typing my first story collection Rosebud this morning.
I fixed my Goodreads Author’s Page.
Then I logged onto FB to veg for a bit…and found out that Maya Angelou died. So many Black women writers of my generation couldn’t believe how brave she was actually committing to ink what she thought and felt whether or not it was popular or acceptable. She made me feel a little less weird and alone in this world. Thank you, Miss Maya. You made my life better!
Now, in the spirit of keepin’ on, I’m going to start typing my next novella, Ramshackled.
I forgot my Feb. post. What’s to say? The pinched nerve in my back recovery and the chronic neck strains are better than one might expect in winter, so maybe I can get back to semi-regular walking (still dodging snowstorms here in New England 🙂 ). At least I’ve gotten in some typing, edits on the memoir -so it might be done in March. In general I have problems if I sit at a table instead of lying on 4 pillows to type. Typing lying down doesn’t work! Frustrating as heck.
1. Somehow I’ve managed to squeeze out two of my goal three books so I can publish in 3 genres in 12 months to celebrate the big 5-0! Instead of re-posting everything, here it is on HCP: http://hiddencharmpress.com/
2. I have a feature of the poetry on March 10, 2014. 8-10pm Stone Soup. $5 cover. My book will be $10 (if I have any left by 9pm, usual feature time). And I’m doing a radio show in spring. Perhaps the memoir will be out then too.
I’m feeling pretty good about 2013, my year of prose and transitioning to more Publishing, behind-the-scenes work. But I’m psyched to read. I haven’t read at all since August, haven’t featured since May? June?
There isn’t much to report in the bookmaking world. It’s no secret that a lot of small-press publishers have taken a beating in this economy. But, more disturbing, is how crabby and nasty some writers have gotten. We’re all poor, but some folks are more bitter about it. No small victory goes unpunished. So, here’s to writers, editors, publishers, book designers, et al. who are making it work somehow. Scale back where you must, but keep going!
This is actually the bad news section of my post. I started Hidden Charm Press in 2011 with hopes of pumping out 2-3 books per year. So far, Extra MoJo! (Feb. 2013) stands alone. I’m determined to publish my memoir 2013-2014, but I’ve given up hope of having a poetry chapbook contest this year. My goal is to keep the fee low yet be able to offer a cash prize as well as publication. Perhaps next year.
For a variety of reasons, my poetry has ground to a halt. I chose to focus on my neglected genre, fiction, this year and will be self-publishing my first novella within months via Tell-Tale Chapbooks (TTC). Of course, sacrifices had to be made – the biggest being the online journal U.M.Ph.! Prose; it will become an anthology via TTC (in collaboration with Stone Soup Poetry host Chad Parenteau) … hopefully next year. So I’ve produced two decent poems this year. It’s been a lonely summer without poetry, not something I can explain unless you’re a poet too 🙂 .
Now for the good news. This month, as I enthusiastically await the publication of my second book of poems What Good‘s a View of the Charles…? (ALL CAPS PUBLISHING), I’m also trying to prime the pump and get into poetry writing for the winter by writing 14 poems in November. A lot of people are writing 30. Hurrah to them, but not my goal! My point here is simple. We’re all struggling; we’re all discouraged. But we who are lucky enough to have words are holding onto them. We’re doing what we can, no matte rhow small or large, to keep the written word relevant, important. We need words…and they need to be written…and a lot of people are still comforted by reading them.
Autumn at last! My second book of poems is close to publication by ALL CAPS Publishing even as I remain faithful to my year of prose-writing commitment.
The cover for my first novella is in second-draft phase; typing is slow but sure for the microfiction collection. So I will have to wrestle with templates to get the Tell-Tale Chapbooks self-pubs done this year. That’s okay, there are 4 months left in the year 🙂
Finances being what they aren’t, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my memoir will not be out this year. Okay…breathe. There, I said it, and the floor didn’t crumble. Life goes on.
Photos and links when works are published. Sleep for now.
Having the attention span of a gnat in recent months, I haven’t read much. But it’s Spring, so I’m attempting to de-clutter my brain as well as clean my room, maybe squeeze in some words…in baby steps.
So I’m grazing among 6 collections of short fiction, trying to read a story a day. I’m slightly stuck on ZZ Packer, reading a third in a row <a href=”View” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2641579-mignon-ariel-king”>View”>http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/2641579-mignon-ariel-king”>View all my reviews</a>
I managed to send off the mss. of faction A Concrete Wish — an urban fable last month, then got slammed with a minor but voice-scraping bug. Let’s see if I can finish the mss. of memoir edits by the 15th…while pounding the pavement looking for academic jobs that crop up at the last minute, finishing a proof job and looking for more, going to the dentist, posting the next issue of U.M.Ph.! Prose…. Can we say STRESS, boys and girls?
Say, maybe updating the Online Lit. of Note page will be relaxing. It sure beats trying to concentrate when the sun is up. I need a job; seriously, I get zero writing done during the day. Employers, do you here that! Former English teacher with obsessive organizing skills and ability to ignore everyone while slaving away 7 hours per day seeks income-bearing work.
Say, I feel much better now. The power of writing, baby!
faction is fiction, so obviously based on a real person’s former or coulda-been life that it’d be dumb to play that coy writer’s it ain’t about me game.