Friday, January 15, 2016

Publication Alert: Thoreau's Rooster & Prairie Margins

Dear Reader,

Happy New Year! My hope and prayer is that your 2015 ended smoothly and that your 2016 began with joy. For my own part, the New Years stretch was a bit rocky (finals right to the end, plus some traveling mayhems), so it is only now that I've had a chance to update you on the good end of 2015: two new publications!

It occurs to me as I write that that it is only the conclusion of what was a very full and wonderful year of publishing -- over 20 pieces in 2015 alone! (Whoa.) I realize how fortunate and rare it is to have that kind of success (even at non-elite, non-paying venues), and I'm extremely humbled by it. 99% of the time in this field, I'm a self-stabbing self-critic and a frightened rabbit; it is only with love, support, and patience from my mentors that I can even muster up the courage to submit anything. So, thank you, to everyone who helped make last year a successful year for me.

Now, back to those publications . . .

Both pieces are featured in major undergraduate literary magazines, due to my submitting them just before graduation. My nonfiction essay "Bella" is my second time appearing in Thoreau's Rooster, while my poem "Sometimes a Banana…" is my debut in Prairie Margins. It's always a privilege to be re-featured in a national publication, especially as I'm in the company of some wonderful beginning writers at Thoreau's Rooster. Prairie Margins, moreover, is an enormous honor since the magazine is historic: founded in 1963 at Bowling State Green University under original title Inkstone, the yearly publication has over fifty years of experience publishing new writers from around the nation.

While the websites do not yet reflect the current issues, you should be able to purchase print copies of the 2015 magazines by contacting the editors of Thoreau's Rooster and Prairie Margins via these links. Prairie Margins also updates its Facebook page relatively frequently, so I'd recommend checking that out here.
Beautiful spot to write (taken during a hike on my recent travels)
About the works:
Both pieces were written during my undergraduate years at Westfield State -- "Bella" in Spring 2013, and "Sometimes a Banana..." in Spring 2014.

The first piece is meaningful to me on many levels: it was composed not only during my first semester as an English major, but also in my first creative writing class. I was still tentative about pursuing creative writing at that time, especially as I hadn't attempted to write creatively since I was a young teenager; so this class was me testing the waters. The entire course ended up changing my life, but "Bella" was particularly impacting for me as my first breakthrough in nonfiction, both stylistically and emotionally. Its subject matter dealt with a family tragedy from some years before that I'd never properly processed; in writing, it was always too difficult to talk about myself and my thoughts at that time, especially with any kind of traditional story arc. After reading Lois-Ann Yamanaka's "JohnJohn's World," I suddenly found myself asking: "What if I told this story from someone else's perspective? And what if it didn't have to be a story, but anything I needed it to be -- fragments, scenes, pieces of a life? What would the impact be?" So began "Bella," along with my ability to talk about a subject that once paralyzed me.

Fast-forward a year later, and I was writing "Sometimes a Banana" for a poetry class. Its backstory is a little humorous. I'd been slightly frustrated with a teacher who put a perverted spin in his explanation of one of my favorite poems, which I'd interpreted as mere innocent beauty. In addition to this, there was an ongoing inside-joke among my friends about how paranoid I was of writing something that could accidentally be interpreted as sexual. (Oh, Freudianism abounds in English departments!) In response to this self-turmoil, I ended up penning this poem as a way to poke fun both at myself and at how much Freudian analysis has taken root in the literary world. Hope you get a good laugh!

In other news, Grad School Semester 2 starts next week, I've just returned from a beautiful and perfect trip abroad, and I'm looking forward to making some big changes in my life. (Including exercise! Oh boy...) More updates soon, I hope. Enjoy the works!

Grace and peace to you.

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