i am so very pleased to announce that i have an essay in the 12th annual music issue of the oxford american magazine. if you squint, you’ll see my name in that little circle on the cover. the oa published my story “dream season” last year, and once again i’m so proud to be featured with so many fantastic writers. this issue turns its attention to the music of alabama and comes with a cd of fantastic music. you can read more about the issue here. the oa is available at most major bookstores, and you can also order the issue directly from the oa. in fact, a subscription to the oa makes a wonderful holiday gift.
i’ve been stalking my mailbox something terrible waiting on my copy to appear. i think i’m even more nervous since the piece is an essay. i’ve almost exclusively focused on fiction. until now. if you get a chance to check it out, let me know what you think.
43/32 the once again, you have everything you need edition
To be an artist means never to avert your eyes. ~Akira Kurosawa
she keeps writing and writing and writing. as i keep racking up days on my writing challenge, it is hard for me not to see the increasing numerator as a failure instead of an accomplishment. i’ve been revising on this chapter every day this year. on day 32 i thought i was thisclose to finishing this section. 11 days later and there is still so much work to do! i have been antsy for the past few days and instead of being completely present in the work i found myself judging my speed, my process, my progress. just generally distracted. on twitter, my fellow writer randa jarrar (our fiction appeared in the oxford american’s race issue together) hipped me to macfreedom, a utility program that disables the internet for a prescribed amount of time. as my patience and focus dwindled i decided to give it a try. using macfreedom for the past two days showed me how i had been using the internet to “avert my eyes”. what i needed to do is remain focused. then (and only then) the work would speak. when i can remain focused, push down the fear, the voices that tell me that i’m not good enough, the work isn’t good enough or that i’m just plain wrong, i am rewarded beyond my imagination. what i keep forgetting is that the frustration is part of the process. and just on the other side of a breakdown is a breakthrough.
today i saw a woman with a copy of the Oxford American’s Race Issue that contains my story. this is the first time I’ve seen someone that I didn’t know walking around with this particular issue. i restrained myself from running up to her and asking if she had read my story Dream Season. writing is such a solitary business and i am new to publication, so it still feels weird for me to think of people who i’ve never met reading my work. of course, that’s the point of this. i want people to read me, but it does make me feel kinda naked. excited, but naked. wait, does that sound naughty?
the beautiful artwork above appeared with my story in the oxford american. the artist is ruud van empel. i don’t think i could have found a better match for my work. the works are world #23 and world #30.
tooting my own whistle edition
remember when i cryptically mentioned some good news back in jan? well, i am sooo very pleased to let you know that my story, Dream Season will appear in the next issue of the Oxford American. Marc Smirnoff and his gang were so very incredibly wonderful to work with. I am in the company of some really fantastic writers. If you get a chance, make sure to check it out.