Sunday, May 24, 2015

Publication Alert: Facebook & WGT

Dear Reader,

It's been a good week. My pseudo seasonal-depression has been aided with the long overdue presence of outdoor weather; reunions with traveling loved ones are fast approaching; three (yes three!) solid drafts of creative writing were written in the course of seven days; and publications continue to come along steadily. Fortune must be in a pleasant mood.

First exciting writing news: Antiquarian Desiderium now has an official Facebook page, making it easier for all my fellow FB users to keep track of new posts and writerly happenings. (NOTE: the Facebook icon on the sidebar is currently under construction -- my apologies if it doesn't work.) The Twitter account is still up, too, although I continue to be befuddled by its inner workings (and that 140-character limit . . . what's a verbose girl to do?). Happy social media reading!

Second exciting writing news: For those who might have missed this announcement, I received word recently that one of my poems is destined to be published in Prairie Margin's Fall 2015 issue. More details on that as it approaches!

Third exciting writing news: It is with humble gratitude and great pleasure that I announce that Antiquarian Desiderium has, yet again, been featured on Writer's Get Together, an international writer-blogger networking site. I adored working with the WGT editors back in February, due to their genuine enthusiasm and encouragement of my work, so I was thrilled to have another chance to be featured on their site. This time they were gracious enough to publish my fan-girl praises of the sage queen-poet, Mary Oliver, which originally appeared in my two-part series entitled "Little Pink Notebook." You can view it on Writers Get Together here. Thanks again, WGT!

About the work:
There is not much that I can add to what's already said in the post itself. I am continually awed by the subtle brilliance in Mary Oliver's work. I've finally started to read her poetry in addition to her non-fiction, and have found it to be just as marvelous.

As I look back on this post, however, it causes me to reflect deeply on how much that tattered pink notebook has meant to me in the past few months. Yes, I still have it -- tumbling around in my purse, a few pages bent, illegible notes scattered so far beyond its cover that it may be time to think about a new one. Although it's seen a great deal of use, I hadn't really thought about its importance in my life until very recently, during a period of personal despair. I was ashamed of myself as a writer, finding that my computer folder of Personal Writings had been mainly neglected in the past four months. I had been lazy, I told myself; I had failed the test of being a writer on my own; perhaps I had forgotten how to write at all. I was a fake, I believed.

Then one afternoon, after having jotted something in my pink notebook, I paused and started to flip back through the pages. I was always adding things, but rarely stopped to actually go back through what I'd written, thinking it was all only momentary flashes but very little of anything reusable. When I read through it, I was astonished at what I found. There were repetitions, concepts that began in January and recurred intermittently through to May. There were real poetic excerpts, phrases that word-for-word would make a solid line for a piece. There were whole poems, essays, and stories fragmented throughout, needing only to have its pieces gathered and put together in the right order (to date, I've already made four poems and one non-fiction piece from my notes since January, and have plans for more works).

I was flabbergasted. All this time, I thought I hadn't accomplished a thing in writing for four months. I thought my ideas-well had run dry, and that I had nowhere to begin. All that time, all that material was right here, in this tiny little book, which I had been meticulously filling almost daily.

Turns out, I am a writer, after all.

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Publication Alert: Thoreau's Rooster (And Brief Update)

Dear Reader,

The last month has been one of chaos, confusion, and changes. One moment I'm flailing my way through final exams, the next I'm donning a cap and gown, walking up to a stage and shaking hands with the president of Westfield State University to receive my Bachelor of Arts in English. My undergraduate career is officially completed, and I'm left in a daze wondering how it ended so quickly. As cliched as it sounds, I mean it when I say that Westfield was my home, my life, the place where I developed confidence in my ability as a writer and human being. I am truly humbled by the loving support I received there from professors and friends, and could never repay them for such a beautiful experience if I worked my whole life for it.

Thank you so much Westfield, you wonderful, wonderful place.
My graduation cap, with a quote taken from poet Edna St. Vincent Millay
Regarding other matters of business, I just found out today that Thoreau's Rooster, a national undergraduate journal, just released their 2014 volume on their website. My short nonfiction essay "Then Autumn Came," which appeared in the print version in the fall, is featured. I'm so excited to finally be able to share it widely with friends and family. You can read it here.

About the work:
There's a special reason why I'm ecstatic to share this with essay with you: it was my first piece to be accepted for publication. Ever. I still remember the rocket that launched inside my chest when I came across that e-mail with the subject line "Congratulations!", and the string of all-caps texts that went out to my beau and family announcing the news. That rush of joy in your first acceptance is an incredible feeling; in that moment, all your previous self-doubt flies away, your love of writing swells, and that realization of "I'm a writer" pounds strongly. It's a wonderful beginning to a lifelong journey.
The subject of the piece, additionally, is one rather close to my heart. The weaving narrative form is known as the "journal" genre, in which the focus is not on a particular anecdote but on providing glimpses that make up a person's daily life. When I wrote this for my Creative Non-Fiction class, I was in a strange place. I'd recently been through a bad break-up of a 3-year relationship, and while dealing with this disorientation, I found my writing taking a turn. In previous attempts to write, I'd always struggled with the element of plot structure: how to build up to a believable but powerful climax, and how to resolve it sufficiently in a short piece; in other words, how to transform characters quickly. As I started to experiment with my writing more, however, I discovered that the appeal of a story need not be in a journey. Sometimes, simply exploring an existing circumstance, revealing what's already there, is enough. So began my greatest aim in writing: to show the value of daily life by not embellishing it, not resolving it, but only by showing it through a different lens.

Enjoy! Grace and peace to you.