CHANGES

Hello. I’ve been doing tons of writing lately, in my notebook, and then on my legal pad with a gel pen (yes, I still write by hand, until it’s finished and ready to go to the computer). I especially wrote a lot in April, when I spent three weeks in eastern Tennessee, with a weekend devoted to time in South Carolina for my younger brother’s wedding. In those three weeks, my friends Hannah and Jim would be gone to work all day, so I had the house and all the time in the world to read (Southern writers, of course) and write. And go for short walks when I would take a break. Tennessee was already in full spring mode, so the walks were not only refreshing, but lovely. And when I returned and went back to whatever I was working on, I had a renewed energy, but no loss of where I was in the writing; it was like I’d never stopped.

And what was I writing? And have been these last few months? Well, poetry of course, which is branching out and really going places. But also prose. Yes, PROSE. I don’t know why; it’s just what flowed out of my pen. The prose is poetic, and some of it is quite experimental, and uses some devices more akin to poetry, but it is definitely prose. Mostly fiction, but some prose poetry. And even as I continue to publish poetry, I am also starting to publish fiction. I’ve had two pieces published recently; one of them, a short story named “Wade,” (you can find it on my publications page), won Editor’s Choice for Fiction 2016 in the Spring issue of the journal Inscape. I didn’t even know there was such a thing or that I was in the running, so I was stunned when I found out. And I got real cash money and copies for it. And a nomination for the Pushcart Anthology 2017. Whew! Nothing will come of that, but still, it’s an honor.

So my writing is branching out, and changing, both in verse and in prose. I read a lot of poetry of course, but I also love to read short fiction. One of my favorite journals for the latter is Glimmer Train Stories, a beautifully put-together both as a physical object and as a quarterly collection of some of the latest, varied writing. I hope to get good enough as a short fiction writer that I will one day be included. Anyway, I’m changing, in both my poetry and my prose, and am taking more risks, and maybe even getting a little good-crazy. One of the prose poems I recently wrote was called “Dorothy and the Atomic Rainbow,” with some physics and quantum mechanics thrown in. (Just a note: it was prompted by a photograph, captionless, of a pair of red shoes hanging on some hurricane fencing. The prompt was for a short–up to 750 words–story. Well, naturally I thought of the famous ruby-red slippers from the Wizard of Oz. But I also realized everyone else would think of that–it was too obvious–so I tried to do other things. And then one night in Tennessee, as my friends and I were sitting around the fire pit drinking whiskey and water (wine for Hannah), we talked about quantum physics, Heisenberg, and the whole shooting match. And the next morning, I knew what I was going to do and did it. (I didn’t actually finish it until I got home, but I had a first draft.) The deadline was 24 August, so I had plenty of time to get it together. When I did, I went to check the contest’s submission guidelines, and discovered the deadline was AUGUST 24, 2015, not 2016 which (no matter what my physicist friends might say), is where we are. But I laughed and tossed the magazine aside. I had an original take on Oz and inhabitants, I had a blast writing it, and I’m going to send it out with some other stuff (bona fide poems) in June.

And most recently–this week, to be exact–I finished a very experimental short story. I can’t tell you about it because I’m going to submit it in August; my readers say it’s “awesome”; I hope some publisher agrees and picks it up. I’ll tell you that the title’s “A Life,” and it’s an unlikely variety of things woven together. If it gets published, you’ll have to read it.

I guess what I want to say, and I don’t mean to make a joke, Dorothy notwithstanding, that my writing in the last 18 months, has taken off in quantum leaps and bounds. I’m having fun, I’m learning tons, and I’m publishing lots. Mazel tov to me.

Shalom.

Christopher

 

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