Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mosquitoes, opportunities, and readings

Spring seems a fairy tale in the southern parts Texas. The weather pretty much goes from mildly cool winters to hot, and the hot is here. Bring it! I have my sunblock and mosquito repellent at the ready. Finding a way to exercise outside in summer in San Antonio, however, will be a challenge.

I'm thrilled today because I had time to read for a long stretch this morning. I recently finished Len Kuntz's The Dark Sunshine, which was put out by Connotation Press, and Stephanie Dickinson's Love Highway, which will be out in nine months or so. Kuntz's book is a collection of short shorts, each potent and delicious (a few slightly disturbing as all good fiction is). Dickinson's book is necessary, vibrant, a novel that is so filled to the brim with pain and truth that it tips over to a sort of thankfulness more beautiful than I could have imagined. To sum up: Good books. I also read a lot of short fiction, some good, some okay. Funny, I've had no time but what time I have had has been spent the best possible way.

My book-to-be (no publisher to-date) earned semifinalist status in the Sarabande Books 2014 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, which is encouraging (Sarabande Books publishes some of my absolute favorite authors). I also got some really great feedback from a friend, so I'm going to begin shopping it hard. Also good is that I got into the Art Farm, a residency in Nebraska. My residency would get me away from the relatively bad heat of SA and offer me the time to finish another book. If I get my way, I'll have two completed manuscripts by 2015. But, I have to get the official okay from work. Seeing as how I just got a new position there, it's a sort of gamble but I have a good feeling that all levels of approval will be met. If not, I'll deal and write as much as I can from home. Residencies are so fantastic for people like me who haven't traveled much. I'm not saying a writer has to travel, but it sure does awaken my creative awareness.

In the meantime, I'm off to walk my dog, a dog that needs to walk more apparently because she hid and ate two of my bras and a shoe in the time between folding laundry and putting it away. She's a sweetheart. :)

Have a beautiful week. -Jen

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