An Ode To Clarity

February 15, 2018 § 13 Comments

Members of the Brevity staff sporting their formal writing daywear

Some time ago, I wrote at The Review Review:

…when a magazine elides their lack of cash compensation or makes it hard to find, they insinuate it should not be the writer’s concern, or a criterion for submission. It becomes another subtle signpost to writers: Your work shouldn’t be for money. At its worst, not actively sharing the information says, you shouldn’t care, writer. You shouldn’t ask. As if it’s money-grubbing or disgraceful or besmirching the purity of the art.

It’s not.

It’s perfectly in keeping with being a writer—even a “literary” writer—to want to be paid.

Today, jet-lagged and still trying to track down payment info, I am moved to poetry. With apologies to Tennyson and Elizabeth Bishop–

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I sit and surf the internet
My list of brand-new journals set
There’s just one thing they oft forget
To tell me if they pay.

Their mission statement’s pure and strong
They’ve published memoir, poem and song
Their limit’s twenty pages long
Now tell me, do they pay?

I read through issues old and new
Decide that I admire you
One detail more I need to view–
To find out if you pay.

We’re literary citizens
Buying chapbooks by the tens
Sharing work from all our friends
No matter if we’re paid.

We’re told to have a long-term plan
Submit near-daily if we can
But our hearts turn pale and wan
From never getting paid.

I’m happy to publish for free
Or for an honorary fee
To choose a venue for prestige
And sometimes I want pay.

It’s not a crime to build on love
To work together for the cause
It’s just that I would like to choose
To sell my words for pay.

It’s not enough to think it’s clear no
stated fee means no pay here. Oh
don’t default to author=zero,
Own it! “We don’t pay.”

There’s lots of ways to sweetly say:
We pay in copies!
Old jalopies!
Just the fame–
We’ll make your name!
We’re all hard-working
No-one’s shirking
We’re not sad or even mad
If your rule is iron-clad
For newer rags we’ll join the bet
But please be clear, “no budget yet”
For big-deal pages we’re excited
Just the print makes us delighted
But let us please decide ourselves
Whether to donate or sell
And tell us journals, far and near
(we promise we’ll still hold you dear)
Just make the information clear
Please tell us if you pay.

____________________________________
Allison K Williams has been Brevity‘s Social Media editor since 2015. She promises to wait another three years before again committing poetry.

Some Thoughts on Choosing the Right Writers Conferences

February 6, 2018 § 6 Comments

hippocamp17 tee shirt - SIZEDBy Lisa Romeo

During several periods in my writing life I attended no conferences, and other times I could get to just a few, dictated by a confluence of budget, geography, travel logistics, day-job demands, family obligations. When I could attend, I had to be picky.

I came to understand that a conference will not make me a better writer or a more published writer by itself. But the right conference can help to make me into a writer who better knows how to identify, create, pursue, participate in, and evaluate the writing life, career, projects, and submission/publication plan that will work best for me, and make me happy.

So, I thought I’d offer this list, and hope it has some value for others. All these things lined up for me last year when I attended HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers, and I hope my list might be helpful to others attempting to choose the right conference:

What makes a writing conference right:

It directly, seriously, fully, and openly addresses, embraces, and celebrates the genre or category of writing most important to you. If you can find it, specialization rocks! One big reason I love Hippocamp is that it’s focused on CNF writing. Yes, I learn a lot at conferences that aren’t so specialized, but a hyper-focused event means you are with your tribe. Everything that happens, each break-out session, panel, reading, or other element is for folks who write what you write.

Enough of what’s on offer is for writers at your skill and/or experience level. Yes, it’s good when some sessions push you to extend your reach; that’s good for learning what to aspire to. But do you want to spend all day, or most of many days, feeling either completely overwhelmed because you have no idea what the speakers are talking about, or bored and antsy because you already know and have mastered what’s being covered.

The mix, intent, and focus of material jives with what you want and need now. Only craft-related sessions? Hands-on (“generative”) sessions? Lecture style only? Workshops (with feedback)? Presentations with opportunities for Q-and-A? Marketing/submission/querying skills?

The size fits. I love a mid-sized conference best so I can make personal connections. Small to mid-sized events usually also foster casual, follow-up interactions with speakers and presenters at meals, breaks, and just wandering about the venue—another thing I like. (I do occasionally like a huge conference, but for very different reasons.)

The conference organizers respect every attendee, and don’t play favorites. This is one of those intangibles that, for me, can make or break a conference experience. At Hippocamp for example, I’ve heard attendees describe the organizers in ways you might reserve for your favorite teacher, coach, or BFF: they listen, help, and care. Every person on the grounds is IN THE CLUB. (I’ve attended way too many conferences where some writers are made to feel inadequate and lesser-than because they don’t “have a book,” are not sufficiently well-connected, and find themselves feeling left out in an us-and-them kind of way.) At Hippocamp, the club is everyone in the room. Look for that.

The fees make sense. Who wants to be someplace where you feel the conference is mostly interested in your wallet? I happen to like conference fees that also include meals, coffee, snacks and parking; offer hotel room discounts; and small goodies that make me feel welcome. If I can get that, and it also lines up with reasonable travel costs, I’m in. (Don’t go broke attending conferences.)

Everything’s included, but there’s also an a-la-carte add-on menu. One year at Hippocamp, I paid for agent pitch sessions, other years not. Twice I took a pre-conference workshop. Choices like that can add value to your time away from home, and (for someone like me who likes to cram every hour with something useful), make the conference a more robust writerly experience.

There’s a little bit of fun built right in. Door prizes? A casual open mic? Fun snacks? Optional, casual meal meet-ups for when it seems everyone else has made dining plans? We’re writers, not robots, and only some find it easy to organize themselves socially.

The conference encourages, and facilitates, continued learning beyond the time limit of each program element. I like to leave a session with something that I’ll consult later (besides my own notes) — handouts, recommended links, the speaker’s email address or resource website, maybe something I’ve been urged to generate during the session. Even better if (as is the case with Hippocamp), I can find some speakers’ entire slide presentations on the conference website later.

There’s a balance between too much and just enough. One day? Four days? Five break-out sessions running concurrently? Or 25 to choose from simultaneously? A crammed daily schedule or one with breaks and free (writing?) time built in? Each is likable for different reasons, by different writers. What do you like at a conference?

The organizers want your feedback. Whether it’s a matter of listening sincerely to an in-person complaint or suggestion during the conference, or providing and urging attendees to fill out post-event surveys, I like it when speaking up about what didn’t go quite right, what was stellar, and what might be a good future addition (or deletion), feels welcomed.

I’m sure I’ve left something out. What do you love about, and look for in the conferences you attend?

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A slightly altered version of this post ran previously on Lisa Romeo Writes. Reprinted with Lisa’s kind permission.

You can get more information on the next HippoCamp Conference here.
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Lisa Romeo is the author Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love After Loss(forthcoming from University of Nevada Press, May 2018). She teaches in the Bay Path University MFA program, serves as CNF editor of Compose Journal, and nonfiction craft essays editor for Cleaver Magazine. Her work is listed in Notables in Best American Essays 2016, and has appeared in Brevity, Under the Sun, New York Times, River Teeth’s Beautiful Things, O The Oprah Magazine, and many other places. At HippoCamp 2018, she will be leading a workshop on “Transforming Essays Into a Narrative Memoir Manuscript.”

Treading Uncomfortably in Social Media

February 5, 2018 § 11 Comments

Jennifer Lang small head shotBy Jennifer Lang

In fall of 2006, Facebook made its debut appearance, available to anyone with an email address over the age of 13. The following year, my 14-year-old son joined and helped me create a profile so I could monitor him. But I just wasn’t into it, and he didn’t need me there. “Why do you want all these people you barely know to see this post?” I asked him on more than one occasion. “It’s so public.”

When high school classmates I hadn’t seen since graduation in 1983 sent friend requests, I mocked not them but the medium. When people posted birthday wishes for worldwide viewing, I squirmed. When I missed a childhood friend’s son’s bar mitzvah, asked to see photos and she said check Facebook, I felt hurt.

By the time Facebook became a verb, my page had withered from inactivity.

When we moved from New York to Israel in 2011, another new immigrant said, “If you want to know what everybody’s up to in this town, scroll Facebook at the end of every day.” I’m not proud, but I turned into a Peeping Tom, skimming people’s posts on a still irregular but more often basis. I neither liked nor commented.

That same year, I opened my own yoga studio and started posting. I taught writing classes and started posting. I launched my blog and posted it. Using it professionally didn’t bother me as much as personally. One new friend teased me, calling me old-fashioned, and email—always my preferred means of communication—obsolete.

Three years later, I entered a low-residency MFA in the U.S. where I made writer friends every one of whom, it seemed, posted with abandon: links to essays, photos from residency, calls for submissions. Sometimes I responded. Sometimes I didn’t. Something still held me back from liking news about a friend’s pet passing or an old classmate’s cancer or a colleague losing a job.

During my second-to-last residency, I attended a panel on literary citizenship, a term I’d never heard before. Its gist: how important it is to support each other, to share each other’s work, to comment for the writer to know and others to see. When our class graduated, one of my friends gave a lecture on a related topic. A year out of school, I attended a writers’ retreat in Ireland, where the instructor insisted we devote a certain number of hours a week to social media, to reading our fellow writers’ stories, to responding to them, to understanding the give and the take in this community.

All throughout these years as writer, I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga too. Back in New York, I attended a weekly teachers’ practice offered by my teacher, Susan. She taught me how to jump from an arm balance called Crow to a low push-up, how to transition from Crow to headstand, how to jump into handstand with both legs. When a fellow yogi mentioned that she was scared to fall, Susan said, “I get it. Me too. Sometimes we might. And that’s okay. Because if we always stay comfortable in our poses and in our practice, if we never let ourselves fall, we’ll never grow.”

Now, whenever I open Facebook, I think about those who have taught me the meaning of being a good literary citizen and about Susan’s message. I think about how in order to grow I have to push myself to tread in uncomfortable territory.

Ten-and-a-half years after I created that first profile, I check it often, to read posts and pieces that otherwise might not have flashed before my eyes, to applaud writers for their beautiful words and to spread them around on social media. I’ve even joined Twitter. On the early vs late adopters scale, I’m on the extremely late, uber slow side, Jennifer Lang, the laggard. I’m not proud, but at least I’m present.
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Jennifer Lang’s essays have appeared in Under the Sun, Assay, Ascent, The Coachella Review, Hippocampus Magazine, and Full Grown People. Honors include Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays nominations and finalist in 2017 Crab Orchard Review’s Literary Nonfiction Contest. Find her at http://israelwritersalon.com and follow her @JenLangWrites as she writes her first memoir.

In Praise of Submission Fees

February 2, 2018 § 9 Comments

zz Nik book fest high resBy Nicole Walker

There is among controversies, a controversy that can divide liberal from progressive, intelligentsia from academic, diversity embracers from intersectionality champions. It is the great issue of of Submission fees, especially via Submittable. And I am here to claim my stake on the wrong side of this story because I just spent three hours sending three submissions to three different journals. First, I googled the magazines and saw, to my distress, that they wanted me to send them via mail. But instead of saying no no no no no, I said, OK. I have half an hour before I pick Max up. I can do this. So I looked at the guidelines. I had to back into the document because some of the journals needed page numbers on the upper right hand corner and some wanted my address and my email and some wanted blind and that was just three so I said, OK, no more than three. I fixed the documents. I pushed print. I went upstairs to my printer. Forty-eight pages of different documents covered the carpet. Thank god the submission guidelines had called for page numbers. I collected the pages into their constituent essay and put a staple into each of them. And then I thought, I should check the pages to make sure I have them all. So I checked the number of pages and their order and page 12 was missing on one and page 5 was between 9 and 10 so I unstapled and went back upstairs to find page 12. I found page 12. Resorted. Restapled. Then I remembered, I have to write cover letters. So I went back to the websites to find the addresses and opened some cover letters I wrote in 2015 the last time I tried this experiment. Then, I printed each cover letter and went upstairs to get the cover letters. I came back downstairs and remembered I needed Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes and where do I keep envelopes? Upstairs. I addressed those envelopes and then looked around for some big envelopes for the big essays and cover letters and SASE’s but couldn’t find any so I said, that’ll do and I went pick Max up from school to take him to a haircut and while we waited our turn we went into the crappiest Family Dollar that ever existed and wandered and wandered until I found 6 big envelopes for, guess how much, one dollar. Max got Cheetos (Flaming hot. I tried not to look) that cost $1.50. Then we went to the car to address the envelopes and stuff the envelopes. I put one cover letter in the wrong envelope so I had to unstick it and pull out the wrong cover letter and restuff that one and restick the other one and also use the little claspy thing for safety. Then we went in to get Max’s haircut which took an hour because Great Clips is apparently the new Aveda and the woman cut each of Max’s hairs one at a time so we were late to get Zoe and she had been waiting in the cold and was frozen and I felt bad but we still had to go to the post office. Max and Zoe waited in the car and I just walked in right after some guy with nine envelopes headed straight for the self service machine, and even if you are expert with the machine you have to answer 19 questions for each envelope to certify no you are not a terrorist and I waited and waited and kept checking the nice-people-will-serve-you-but-you-might-die-waiting line and realized I was going to die either way and the woman inside did not care nearly as much about what I was mailing as the machine did and she said that will be $4.03 cents and now it was almost five o’clock and traffic was bad and I had to call everyone who was driving a jerk which my kids hate because it just makes me look like the jerk but I am here to say please, poetry gods, please allow me to pay you $3.00 a submission for the rest of my life from the comfort of my chair and with the click of two buttons.
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Nicole Walker is the author of two forthcoming books, Sustainability: A Love Story and A Survival Guide for Life in the Ruins. Her previous books include Where the Tiny Things Are, EggMicrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg (only every third book has the word “egg” in its title)She also edited Bending Genre with Margot Singer. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona where it rains like the Pacific Northwest, but only in July.

Simple Strategies for Getting Through the Hellish Landscape and Existential Loneliness of Memoir Writing

January 31, 2018 § 18 Comments

KV_C4336-2By Kelly Sundberg

In November of 2015, I placed my memoir proposal for Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival with an editor at HarperCollins, and in July of 2017, the final manuscript was accepted. Getting that email back from my editor—the acknowledgment that I was done — was one of the most validating experiences of my life, but can I tell you a secret?

It starts with this—almost exactly, a year prior, in July of 2016, my favorite writer had kindly offered to let me live and write in her beautiful San Francisco home for two weeks. I was stalled in my book writing at the time, and I thought that being in this writer’s home would be just what I needed. Her writing is so sharp, so insightful, and so beautiful. Surely, some of that magic would rub off on me? I sat at her dining room table with my laptop, and I did feel the magic. I wrote some of the most beautiful sentences of my book while surrounded by this writer’s energy.

At the same time though, my abusive ex-husband (about whom this book was written) was remarrying. One day, I walked to a nearby coffee shop and set up residency at a table. I started writing a chapter titled “I Love You” that was about my complicated relationship with the words “I love you.” I wrote about all of the times when men had told me they loved me, but the love hadn’t lasted. I wrote about feeling that my ex-husband’s love would last. And I wrote about the birth of my son and the love that grew from that. As I wrote about the birth, and about my husband holding my hand and telling me that he loved me, it suddenly hit me that the baby my then-husband had put into my arms was—at that moment—at his father’s house preparing for the new family that they would have. And right there, in that coffee shop, I burst into tears.

A young man was mopping the floor near me, and he stopped, looked at me hesitantly. I wiped the tears from my face. “Thank you” I said, then packed up my stuff and rushed out.

And that’s where my secret comes in—I rushed back to the generous writer’s house, and then instead of writing, I climbed into bed, and spent the next two days watching the entire first season of Grace and Frankie on my laptop.

At one point, I changed from my pajamas into cleaner pajamas (I only wish that I was kidding about that).

GoodbyeSweetGirl_EditBut, finally, on the day of my ex-husband’s wedding, a writer I had never met in person, a poet, Donna de la Perrière, asked me to come to Oakland so that she could take me out to dinner. I didn’t want to go, and messaged her that I was feeling too down. She gently messaged me back that she thought I should just do it, that it would be good for me. Since I’m not good at saying no, I agreed. I got out of bed, took a shower, put on some clothes, and took the BART to Oakland. She took me to a restaurant, bought me two fancy cocktails and a delicious dinner, and we ended up having a great discussion. After dinner, we walked around Lake Merritt, and she said, “I have something I want to show you.” She carefully selected a stone. She said, “This stones represents your regrets. I want you to think of those regrets, then throw the stone into the Lake. Watch it sink and let go.”

I stood there with that stone, and I thought of my regrets. I had so many. I threw it into the lake and watched it slide under the smooth, dark, water.

I went back to the house that night, and I stayed up writing this. The next day, I was back to book writing. A year later, the book was complete.

So, recently, when a friend reached out to me to ask if I had some advice for her as to how to get through the process of writing her second memoir without sinking into too much despair, I had some strategies for her. They’re not guarantees, and they might not work for everyone, but these were some strategies that got me through the hellish landscape of existential loneliness of memoir writing.

  1. I changed up my writing routine quite a bit–went on writer’s residencies, wrote in coffee shops, wrote at night in my loft office, wrote in airports. Changing the routine kept me from associating any one place with the pain of reliving the experiences I was describing.
  2. When I knew that I was going to be writing material that might make me cry, I wrote it at night. Something about writing at night made it easier for me to let myself lean into the pain, and I had to do that in order to write the scenes honestly.
  3. I gave myself permission to take lots of naps. I’m not a good sleeper anyway, and I tend to retreat from my feelings by napping, so I would let myself nap, but I set a timer. I couldn’t nap all afternoon, but I could nap for an hour and a half. That gave me the chance to get through a full REM cycle of sleep, but didn’t leave me groggy.
  4. I planned lots and lots of lunch dates and dinners with my friends, so that I had regular escapes.
  5. I did aerobic exercise almost every, single day. Getting my heart-rate going seems to be the most effective thing I can do for managing my PTSD.
  6. I created rituals that rewarded me, so for example, if I wrote during the day, then I would make myself a delicious meal in the evening and watch Nashville because that’s something I really love to do.
  7. I planned vacations with friends, so that I always had something to look forward to.
  8. If I stagnated and wasn’t producing, then I gave myself permission to take a break from the writing. Those were good periods for reading.
  9.  If something from the material triggered me into a breakdown, I let myself break down.
  10. I reached out a lot–to my friends, my family, my therapist, my agent. When I was feeling overwhelmed, or anxious, or sad, I reached out. Writing is a necessarily solitary act, but that doesn’t mean that we need to do it alone.

Here I am now: I’m fifteen pounds lighter from all of that PTSD exercise. I’ve watched the entire run of Nashville. I still haven’t finished Season 2 of Grace and Frankie. I’m a better cook. I have more friends than ever because I learned how to really reach out when I needed it. My book is coming out in June, and I’m still alive.

If I survived it, so can you.
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Kelly Sundberg’s essays have appeared in GuernicaGulf CoastThe RumpusDenver QuarterlySlice Magazine, and others. Her essay “It Will Look Like a Sunset” was selected for inclusion in Best American Essays 2015, and other essays have been listed as notables in the same series. She is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Nonfiction at Ohio University, and she has been the recipient of fellowships or grants from Vermont Studio Center, A Room of Her Own Foundation, Dickinson House, and The National Endowment for the Arts. Her memoir, Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival is forthcoming from HarperCollins on June 5, 2018. She is, we are proud to say, a former managing Editor of Brevity.

Ursula K. Le Guin Has Gone on Ahead

January 24, 2018 § 25 Comments

0815-ursula-le-guin-2_qrm2pmby Jan Priddy

As soon as I open a document and before I begin typing, I select ‘Layout’ to indicate margins on my page. The guidelines do not show when I print, but they help me know where I am as I write.

Ursula K. Le Guin helps me know where I am.

She is not gone.

The obituaries are respectful. They list her more obvious accomplishments—the awards, the publications, her activism and generosity to other writers. They want to label her a “popular fantasy” writer, though these are not terms she would have chosen. “Why Are Americans Afraid of Dragons?” she asked in 1974. We dismiss what we consider “unrealistic” in our country, but that is a mistake. In the hands of a philosopher with substantial anthropological credentials, essays and poems, novels and stories are not escapism but challenges to our imagination.

For more than twenty years, I began my Junior English classes with Le Guin’s “The Wife’s Story” (1982) from Buffalo Gals. I read the five pages aloud, and then we talked about the nature of betrayal until the bell rang.

That most famous story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (1973), provokes questions: Would readers walk away or stay in paradise. Are we willing to allow another pay for our perfection? They are troubling questions, but contain another, underlying moral assumption: Must someone pay? In our superstitious faith in balance, do we demand another’s pain for our pleasure?

She gives us the suffering child in the basement because we insist that child exist.

“If you cannot or will not imagine the results of your actions, there’s no way you can act morally or responsibly,” Le Guin said in 2005.

My husband was standing at an information desk in Powell’s Book Store, a couple of years ago, when he recognized Ursula coming up the wide stairs and duck around into the Purple Room.

“There goes Ursula Le Guin,” he said to the millennial behind the counter.

“Who?”

We laughed about this again just the other day. Young sales clerks being what they are, they will learn.

Imagination is not mere child’s play, it is the only way we pursue what is possible, what is grand and just and beautiful.

She should have had the Nobel. She should have lasted longer because we need her here. We should have appreciated her more while we had her. My deepest sympathy to her family, her closest friends, and to all the rest of us.
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Jan Priddy took classes from Ursula K. Le Guin, took tea in her Cannon Beach kitchen, ferried her to readings, and attended Jane Todd’s writers’ book club where Molly Gloss sat on her right, Ursula next, and Cheryl Strayed on her left. She read her books. They both had two years of Latin in high school and loved the beach.

 

After the Summer Writing Workshop: Back to The Real World

January 22, 2018 § 5 Comments

fastBy Melissa Fast

I noticed the moseying around the quiet little town of Gambier, Ohio—stop by the Amish basket maker, peek in the bookstore one more time, grab a bite to eat at the Village Inn (Ohhh, the tater tots).  Suitcases were already packed and most of the writing workshop participants had boarded shuttles to the airport or loaded up the car and left. The few of us who remained didn’t want to leave. The spell would be broken.

I know I’m not the only one who thought it. Once home, I scrolled through Facebook and Twitter feeds and saw the same kind of sentiment—magical, fantastic, unbelievable. Status updates tried to encase the week-long experience of The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, perhaps to hang on just a bit longer.

I more than willingly entered this other world. For an entire week, I was spellbound in words. I dis-remembered contrary business partners and less-than-desirable job duties, while I also dreamed about what transition may await in the real world if only I could collect enough courage to leap upon return.

Last summer I imagined going home with containers full of new seedlings that I would nurture and trim and watch grow. Perhaps, one would rise so sturdy, I would climb to the top to reach great riches. The generative workshop was especially important last year. Having nearly finished a project that has haunted me for more years than I care to admit, I was afraid if left alone, I might stop writing.

During the week, my writing sprouts surprised me. I’d expected certain themes to surface that I’d been stamping down for years, but all it took was a supportive community (and a few nights of sleep deprivation) to start thinking on the page about dusty secrets.

When I wasn’t hunched over a composition book or my laptop, I was sitting with my kindred talking about favorite mechanical pencils and the pros and cons of ballpoint pens versus fountain pens. And is writing with an old-school, quill pen charming or pricey (new definition thanks to one of my classmates)?

Conversations with people from around the world or just around the state, newbies or those I’ve idolized, revealed not only that we are all serious about the craft of writing, but that in most cases we’re full-on nut jobs—all worrying if we are good enough, smart enough or have enough cheek to get words on a page in a way that others may read.

As I meandered through the bookstore one last time Saturday morning, I ran into one of the fellows from another class. We were talking about which souvenirs we should take home, and I said something like, “Well, we gotta get back to the real world sometime.”

She smiled and said she had said something like this to her instructor, to which the sage replied, “What if this is the real world?”

I felt the heat of renegade tears coming and excused myself. Standing outside in the sun, I tried to convince myself I was simply tired from one long, exhausting week, and goodbyes were always hard.

Admittedly, it was great to be back in my own bed after a week of sleeping on a dorm mattress that felt like it was stuffed with plastic coat hangers. Nonetheless, my dreams fitful—part of me here and part of me still at Kenyon.

Tears were still with me when I awoke.

I expected re-entry to be tough. This was not my first journey to never-never land. From pencils to syntax to craft, I have always loved the complete immersion into all things writing, and yet, I knew my day-job woes would still be there when I returned.

The only difference is that I think my people at Kenyon helped me see that my two worlds may need to be one, and once upon a time may be now.
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Melissa Fast is a nonfiction writer from the Midwest. She spins words during the day as a public relations professional in the nonprofit world. In her free time, she slugs large quantities of French-press coffee as she plays with words in hopes of making sense of the world around her. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and was selected as one of the winners in the 2017 Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards from the South Carolina Writers Association. Her work has also appeared in Minerva’s Rising and Bluestem Magazine.
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** Registration is open for the 2018 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.

 

 

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