Wednesday, December 31, 2014


"New Start" by Ryzaki

Happy New Year!!!

As you may know, I am a big fan of resolutions. I am a huge fan of new beginnings. In order to begin anew, however, one must take stock of where she's at. As much as I'd love to let Facebook do it for me, I think I'll sum up my year myself, no algorithm, just plain old human memory bank.

In 2014, I traveled to Seattle for AWP in February, I began work as a research analyst across ICT markets, I published a fiction chapbook that I love even after print, Don't Tease the Elephants. I ventured to Nebraska and had truly life-changing time at The Art Farm. I visited my family in Massachusetts, and I struggled to write a novel. I finished a novel. I spent good time walking and dining with and hugging my husband and dog. We found a new living space and set up home. We spent a lot of money on Christmas decorations and enjoyed a solitary if beautiful holiday. I made new friends. I decided to do more in 2015. This is all the good stuff, the stuff I talk about. I also had surgery on my ear; took my husband to many, many, many appointments; worried over family and friends; beat myself up here and there for not doing better, looking better, being better. But to bring it back home, I am grateful for this year. So incredibly happy to have survived another one and to have made it to the year Back to the Future Part II took place in. To 2015!!!

I'll post a new prompt next week. Proud to have these final publications for 2014:
writing to art in:
& my piece on not having children in:

2015 Resolutions:
  • Be good to my friends, love them unconditionally
  • Write more regularly, find my routines
  • Find representation for my novel and work on the second one diligently
  • Have fun
  • Keep believing that things can happen at those moments it doesn't feel as though they will
  • Travel more, host literary events, give back to the literary community
  • Laugh more
  • Try a new food, at least one
  • Meditate regularly, to keep perspective
  • Zip line some damn where
  • Go to Honduras, go home, attend a residency
  • Do more of what is in-line with who I am
  • Have fun!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Closing out 2014

2015 is the year of the Ram in Chinese astrology. Jupiter is in Leo. Technology will continue to converge. New mobile gadgets will be created. My dog will hit the magical 2-year birthday in which she is supposedly going to calm down a little bit and lose her taste for my shoes.

I can't wait. I am ready to resolve to begin again.

I've been relishing the holiday break. Spending some time writing and reflecting, hanging out with my husband with no rush to be here or there has been divine. On Christmas Eve, we were treated to a free four-course meal at a Jason Dady restaurant, Tre Trattoria, in San Antonio due to a reservation conflict. We ate caprese salads, cioppino, rainbow trout, and Nutella dessert 3 ways. Divine. We bought a bottle of wine and tipped generously to show thanks and will most definitely return again. On the 26th, I was thrilled to find Room Magazine in my mailbox, which so lovingly contains my piece "My Children in Times New Roman." It is perhaps my favorite piece to-date, mainly because I wrote it not only for myself but for all women who cannot or do not have children.

Also, given the time off, I was able to begin planning a March reading at San Antonio College. I've invited Melissa Studdard, JP Reese, Amy King, Jane Hammons, Bill Yarrow, Meg Tuite, and Lynn Beighly to read at SAC on March 7th, and I do believe it will be a blast. If you're in the area, plan on coming to hear us from 3-5PM. After, there will be a party. Before that, I head to Otterbein in Columbus to assist in a workshop about literary citizenship. I love that my year will begin with so many literary events, as I've felt a lack there since mid-summer.

In lieu of writing a story this week, I recommend writing an extra set of resolutions. One of your own, if you so please (no diets allowed) and one of a fictitious character - who will appear in a story later on. For my part, I will write Rattle's resolutions. I hope you have fun with this one.

Happy New Year! I'll post resolutions next week. xoxo Jen

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I have been missing posts here, after such a good run. I have, however, been writing here and there. Here, at Fiction Southeast, I have a micro essay on why I believe we still read, despite claims of lowered attention spans and tech-assisted laziness. I also have a piece forthcoming about online personas and their value to the modern-day artist.

BUT I haven't been here. I suppose it's partially due to my busy schedule, school winding down for the term, the holidays, the freelance work I've picked up. Perhaps I have something I want to talk about but can't. Yet. Nevertheless, here I am with a prompt. For you.

Write a story with three characters. Character A is missing and Character B is looking for him/her. Character C finds Character A but doesn't tell Character B. Why? 

It's something of a mystery, and if you write to it, let me know how it goes.

I'm not with my family this year, so I will be having a quiet holiday with my husband and pup. It's strange how not being with family makes you appreciate them all the more.

I wish everyone reading this a very happy holiday season. Enjoy your families and friends, and if you are alone, do something good for yourself. Or for someone else. Enjoy, eat well, and don't feel as though you have to purchase needless things. Only give what matters.

San Antonio looks nothing like this, but this is how I still think of the holidays.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Prompt and story

The first full week back to work after a holiday is a long week indeed. I am currently wrapping up my fiction writing class and preparing for yet another break in January, and I'm psyched because I'm tired (see: fewer posts to blog).

I had a Rattle story come out this week, in Superstition Review XIV entitled West on N Road. I am particularly fond of SR because it is the journal that published the first story I wrote that I felt was complete and whole. It's available in issue IV. West on N Road is a longer piece, but I hope you'll read it. Another one, a sort of prequel, will be out in Per Contra soon.

For kicks, and because I begged him, Chris drew up an older Rattle for me, which I love. This piece captures a part of his final journey (it is not the end).
Rattle for West on N Road by Christopher J Shanahan

I find that images are very powerful ways to bring out stories, so in lieu of a textual prompt this week, try to write to the following image. Just examine in a while, set a timer for 20 minutes, and GO!

Have a great week, all! xo Jen

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