By Leslie Lindsay
Remember last week’s Musings & Meanderings?
You can’t be everything to everyone everyday.
Are you remembering to:
Rest. Read. Nap. Write. Spend Time in Nature. Surround Yourself with Nurturing Souls?
~Leslie : )
There’s more to this newsletter…keep scrolling!
It’s a bittersweet end: my fabulous longtime publisher, Woodbine House, will be closing their doors in June. This is a pandemic-driven decision. Woodbine House has been churning out top special-needs resources for 37 years, including SPEAKING OF APRAXIA.
The good news? All of their books are 50%, while supplies last.
The bittersweet news? SPEAKING OF APRAXIA is sold-out, at least from the publisher’s website.
We are looking at other options, too, for it to remain in-print, but that might be awhile to come to fruition. If you–or someone you know–could benefit from the book, the time is now.
What I’m Distracted By
- A Conversation with Ocean Vuong, author of TIME IS A MOTHER in Adroit. Get the book HERE.
- Are fragmented essays about white-space? Rooted in trauma? This craft essay in Hippocampus explores those constructs.
- Michelle Bowdler’s review of Melissa Febos’s new book–BODY WORK: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative in Hippocampus. I loved it, too.
NEW! Four Questions: A mini-interview series
Erika Krouse on her March 2022 release, Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation:
- Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say TELL ME EVERYTHING is about?
EK: Justice, for sure. Also PI work and technique, sexual assault and recovery, college football, corruption in higher education, Title IX and law, Colorado, fighting, anecdotal PI history, nature, ethical dilemma, childhood trauma, some psychology and neuroscience, and there’s also a love story and some sex work here and there. PI stew.
2. Where did you write TELL ME EVERYTHING? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?
E.K.: I always write at my computer because I can’t read my handwriting. I outlined, wrote, and revised Tell Me Everything in record time for me (15 months), because I was obsessed. I wrote for 11-16 hours on my “writing days” W-Sa-Su, usually from 7am until 10 or 11 at night. I had to do my other work M-Tu-Th-Fr, so on my “non-writing days” I still wrote for 4-8 hours every day after finishing work because the ideas had piled up. I didn’t take any days off until the book was done. By the end, I was a twitching mess.
I don’t think I can work at that breakneck pace again, although I will continue to outline a book before writing it—that saved me a few years, I think. I tend to chafe at rituals, but I know many writers who use them successfully. I think it’s important to tailor your writing practice to your personality, not vice versa. Anyway, writing is its own ritual, right?
3. If you weren’t writing, you would be…
E.K.: I have no idea. Here be dragons.
But I do other things as well. I have an independent editing practice, consulting with novelists, memoirists, short story writers, and essayists. I teach/mentor at the Book Project at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. I make unsuccessful forays into music composition, karate, hiking, dog-wrangling, and ceramics when there isn’t a pandemic. But I’m still always thinking about a story I’m working on. I don’t write every day right now, but it’s terrifying to think about not writing at all.
4. What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?
E.K.: Girlhood, by Melissa Febos. I had read an essay or two from the book when it came out, but I recently read/reread the whole thing in two days. It’s astonishing, an important and gripping piece of work.
[Leslie’s note: I promise, this wasn’t planned! Complete coincidence we both happened to rave about Melissa Febos. Are your ears burning, Melissa?!]
Erika Krouse is the author of Come Up and See Me Sometime, a New York Times Notable Book, and Contenders, a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Erika’s fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, One Story, and more. She teaches creative writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and lives in Colorado. Her debut memoir, Tell Me Everything, has been optioned for TV adaptation by Playground Entertainment.
Stuff You Might Have Missed:
- “Breaking Ground,” by Leslie Lindsay, flash fiction published in The Tiny Journal
- “Making Space: Cicadas & My Mother,” by Leslie Lindsay, CNF published in ANMLY
Calls for submission
- A call for your tiny-but-mighty writing: Split Lip is seeking poetry and prose of 275 words or less, starting in May.
- Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art & Words will have their new prompt May 1-15. The idea: generate a piece of writing from whatever image they select. One hour, 5-200 words. They only publish 100 per month.
- The LitUp Fellowship, part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club, is open for new applications. It’s for underrepresented women writers who are creating adult or young adult fiction.
- The Emerging Writer’s Contest is open at Ploughshares until May 15. Submissions of poetry and prose are welcomed from writers who not yet published a book.
- Creative Nonfiction’s True Story is open for submissions until May 15. This is a great place to find a home for longform pieces or standalone sections of a memoir-in-progress (5,000 to 10,000 words).
- Boston Review is reading for its poetry and short story contests, with a free entry period until May 31 for writers in certain locations and/or writers facing economic hardship.
How to Get an Agent:
Recently, I was asked: “How do you get an agent?”
I don’t have all the answers, and everyone’s experience is different, but here are a few thoughts: Some find their agent at a literary convention or workshop. Others have an agent approach them (what a dream), should they read their work in a lit journal or a contest entry. (‘winners get published and agent review.’)
Other tips for finding an agent:
Read the acknowledgements section of books like yours/your friends and see who their agent is (often mentioned if they’re a good one), QueryTracker (I think it’s free/online database), reading Writer’s Digest and Poets & Writers (I like the ‘first line’ column in P&W. They almost always list the editor/agent/publicist for a new/forthcoming title and if the title/first line catch your attention, then the agent might be a good fit for your/friend’s work, too).
I kept a big honking spreadsheet of the agency, agent’s name, what they are requesting for submissions (every agent varies–some want a synopsis, first chapter, first three chapters, first 30 pages, bio, first born, your mother’s wedding gown…haha! It’s always different), initial date of contact, date they responded, what they said, etc. You want to read carefully and track all you send. I made Mondays “Submission Mondays.” It was my goal to send 10 queries every Monday. I made a list–and started scratching them off. It takes YEARS!! At least it did for me.
A conversation with Kim Adrian, author of TWENTY-SEVENTH LETTER OF THE ALPHABET to appear in The Florida Review. This one is unique from a structure and theme perspective.
Also! An interview with Marie Myung-Ok Lee in The Millions about her novel, THE EVENING HERO, available in May from Simon & Schuster.
Later: In Conversation with Maud Newton, author of the highly-anticipated ANCESTOR TROUBLE, to appear in Hippocampus Magazine, likely in May.
And…a conversation with Jokha Alaharthi, author of BITTER ORANGE TREE: A Novel in Adroit Journal.
I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, on Wednesdays, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications. On Fridays, I’ll share any recent published fiction in this space as well.
There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.
What I’m reading:
The latest issue of Poets & Writers and also Family Tree Magazine. There’s a recent copy of The Missouri Review in my kitchen, too. And I’ll get to it.
What I’m listening to:
Olly Murs. I just wanna dance and sing when this guy pops onto my Spotify.
My inner voice and intuition. You know how sometimes the universe just ‘calls’ you? Well, that’s happening. Sometimes the world brings you things–you’re destined for and there’s something like that right now in my life. Also, in yoga, there’s a mudra about focus, patience, self-confidence, and intuition. It’s about mindfulness. I’m trying to keep all of that at the forefront.
In the meantime, catch me on:
Reviewing books and talking about them with others on-line and in-person is one small way to engage with & support the literary community.
Thank you for letting me guide you on your bookish journey.
Let’s walk this bookish path together.
Learn more HERE.