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Random Musings, Because…

…because I haven’t written any reviews or critiques of the stuff I’ve been reading…

So, in the meantime, let me ruminate about a couple of things…tidbits of my reality.

1. I recently subscribed to both One Story and The First Line (along with TFL’s companion publication, Workers Write).

One Story publishes ONE story per issue and publishes every three weeks or so. Because of the format, they focus on longer (7-10,000 word) short fiction. I’ve read A Minor Momentousness in the History of Love, by Cheston Knapp and The Quietest Man, by Molly Antopol the last two weeks. Very good stuff. This is a really good outfit, from what I can tell, and I recommend checking them out at the One Story website.

The First Line is different. They provide a writing prompt every quarter, and EVERY story selected for the issue begins with that same first line. It is a fun magazine to read because it is always instructive to see how different writers take the same first line and move forward with completely different stories. I submitted a story for the issue that just came out (The prompt was, Working for God is never easy.) I received very positive feedback from the editors, even though my story wasn’t selected.

The companion publications of The First Line are Workers Write and Overtime. The two publications are sold as a package. You get one Workers Write, which is an anthology of stories centered around ONE workplace (the current issue is Tales from the Capital) and six bi-monthly Overtime chapbooks with one, longer story. The one  I just finished is called, This is How We Do Things at the Post Office, by Patrick M. Cook, and I really enjoyed it.

The best thing about these three subscriptions is they are all available in .pdf format, in addition to printed versions, so I can read them on my iPad. (More on that in a minute…) The digital subscriptions are dirt cheap, and if you have a portable reader or even just like hanging at the computer while you read new short fiction, they are a great fit!

2. Ok. Yes. I purchased an iPad. I’ll probably blog about it more in the coming weeks. Like, a techie kind of blog, though I’m not a techie or fan-boy. I made a decision when I was accepted at Queens University of Charlotte, for the MFA program, that I would purchase a netbook for writing on the go (I write a LOT in various locations: school rooms, libraries, book stores, coffee shops, beaches…) and I also wanted a Nook e-reader from Barnes and Nobel. But, there were these rumors out there, about a tablet device from Apple…an e-reader/netbook all rolled into one…and when those rumors proved to be true, and the start up price was $250 less than what I had anticipated from knowing how Apple’s pricing structure usually goes…well, it was the right thing to do. I’ve read three books and over a dozen short stories on it in the two+ weeks I’ve had it, and I’ve written critiques for my writing group, and worked on several stories on it already. It’s a dream for doing most of the things I need and want to do, and I can take it anywhere. More details in a later post.

3. Dorothy Parker is my meal ticket. Not really, because I’ve not made a dime off of this blog…but, big props go out to all of the Dorothy Parker fans out there. 90% of the visitors (up into the hundreds now) who have stopped by Stories I Read, Stories I Tell have stumbled in while searching for Dorothy Parker and/or her story, You Were Perfectly Fine. It is a fascinating story, and obviously it is being taught heavily right now…

4. I wrote two new stories while I was in Florida. My creative juices were flowing. I’m working up the drafts now, and will be looking for beta-readers soon. My plan is to use these two stories as my Large Group and Small Group submissions when I head back to Charlotte in May. Oddly, the titles (which often come early in the process for me…sometimes, even, first) are playing elusive games with me right now…more to come.

5. Last Summer I met Cathy Day, author of the brilliant, A Circus in Winter. She’s an Indiana writer living and teaching in Pittsburgh and her collection of related stories is easily one of my favorite books of the last several years. No offense meant to Sara Gruen, but A Circus in Winter is the better circus book, even if Water for Elephants gets the critical acclaim (and a movie deal…). Anyway…the theater folks at Ball State University are adapting Cathy’s book into a musical. Seriously. And it sounds like an amazing project. There is a reading Friday night, and another in Peru, Indiana later this summer. I’m hoping to go to one or the other…if you are able, read the article posted here, and check it out!

So, that’s my top five for today…if you’ve stopped by to read, feel free to say hello. Tell me what you are reading and/or writing. I’m always interested in finding other new stories to read…and to tell.


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