Musings & Meanderings
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Musings & Meanderings: Taking risk with your art, going hybrid, planning your 2023 writing year, classes and workshops, where to submit, author interviews, reading recommendations


By Leslie Lindsay

A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more

Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book

~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~

Hello, Friends!

I shall now tell you an embarrassing story about myself.

You may know this, but I am a Type A Personality. I am also very stubborn. I usually have my reasons. [If that doesn’t sound stubborn!].

Listening to others is important because I like to consider lots of alternatives, because, also: I am an overthinker.

Most of the time I ignore these thoughtful folks and do what I want anyway. I am a grown woman and responsible for my own life, right? Often I lead with my gut–my heart–my intuition, and it turns out swimmingly. Sometimes not. I’m totally okay with that, I would regret not trying or doing or saying something.

You might be wondering what the thing was that I did…and while it doesn’t really matter, it made me pause.

Did I do something wrong? No.

This person and I are just different. We have different expectations, different modes of being, different experiences. I could dwell on the negative things, because that’s what humans do. But really, there are positives here. I know who I am. I operate out of heart and compassion.

We have about three-and-a-half weeks of the year. That’s plenty of time to take risks with yourself and your art.

If you’re not ready to take a risk, who the eff cares? You do! Why not gear up for the risk?

I have this idea to write about something in an unconventional way. It will involve narrative of course, but some experimental stuff, too. Vignettes. Maybe some visual elements–photographs, collages, floorplans–and I love this idea. I tell others and they just kind of look at me as if I have six heads.

But then I discover books like this and think–aha!–they did it! I can, too.

I made a binder for this project (did I mention Type A?). I hate outlines, so I created a ‘guide.’ Just that word alone makes me feel like I am not in HS Honors English all over again! I secured a writing partner.

She said she loved it. She said, “I LOOOVE what you’re doing here…you could tone it down to make it less weird and more commercial, but I don’t think you should. The readers who need it will find it.”

I’m going to keep that in mind.

When she mentioned that the experimental stuff was good, but a little distracting, I’m going to listen to that. Maybe less of it. Maybe it’s about placement within the narrative.

I really want to some fun stuff, some risky stuff. Where I spend my time approaching the book from different angles that have more to do with aesthetics rather than nuts and bolts.

So here’s what I’m doing:

Reading lots of poetry every day.

For one, I gotta attain my reading goal for the year (Type A!). Two: It helps with writing concisely. It helps with really cool words.

Sometimes just researching.

That means digging into the internet to look at images of my childhood home, going to Ebay and finding this Colorforms set I loved as a kid featuring the cross-section of a house. Maybe it means coming up with a playlist for certain sections of my book.

Visiting with a childhood friend.

I spent time with a friend whom I have not seen or spoken to in at least twenty-five years this past fall. Oh the memories! We picked up right where we left off and it was crazy-fun how much we remembered from some of our really young years. I mean, like, when we were five!

Discovering art & literature from the time period I am writing.

I just read (well, haven’t finished) Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing and it was published in the 1990s. That’s approximately when I am setting this story. I also came across other work–art installations, sculpture, movies, that were popular then, too. It helps.

How about you? What kinds of things are you doing to take your work to the next level? Are you taking some creative risks?

Respond here in a comment, or find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

xx,

~Leslie : )

By the way, I do not get any ‘kick-backs’ or other kind of payment (in-kind, or otherwise) for mentioning these classes/workshops/books/individuals. Sharing because it helps me and maybe it’ll speak to you, too.

I’ll keep my obsessions short because this time of year…our bandwidths are, too.

What’s Obsessing Me:

  • Lights. I don’t know…I’m noticing them everywhere. In bathrooms, lampposts, in tiny houses (like figurines), fairy lights, in trees…maybe it’s because the winter solstice is fast-approaching, maybe because I just like twinkly little things.
  • Books that use unconventional narrative, flash, that kind of thing.
  • Collage and art. How fragments make up a whole.
  • Speculative non-fiction…and is that like creative non-fiction? Is that splitting hairs?
  • Ragdale. Pretty sure I’m going to attend a retreat there and I really cannot wait.
Photo by Izabella Bedu0151 on Pexels.com

Some Writerly Things:

  • Writing Workshops has some great offerings coming up in the New Year you want want to check out. Add it to your holiday wish list!
  • If you have some poetry, CNF, Fiction, or photography (bonus if it includes blues, greens, and teals–totally my jam!), Solstice Literary Magazine is seeking submissions for Spring 2023.
  • The Ninth Letter is looking for CNF and poetry for their next print issue. Subs are open thru Feb 28, but FREE until December 31.
  • And if you’re writing stuff that’s kind of on-the-edge, or maybe a hybrid thing, you might want to check out the U.K.-based Fieldnotes.

Some Readerly Things:

  • Books make great gifts! Check out this list from LitHub ‘s staff featuring their favorite books of 2022. Consider ordering from or visiting your local bookstore and give everyone on your list a book this year. Inscribe it. It’s better than a card. Beats even a gift card. No local store nearby? Try Bookshop.org. My shop is Always with a Book.
  • And this one, too: ZIG-ZAG BOY (W.W. Norton, Feb 2023) by Tanya Frank, who’s youngest son develops psychosis while away his Freshman year of college.
  • Can’t make book club this month? One person I know, who’s book club I am not in, says they don’t read a book for December. Instead, they go out to dinner and chat about books for the upcoming year. What a great idea!

Some Recently Published Interviews, Prose, Etc.:

  • Kathryn Gahl in conversation with me about her poetic memoir, THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, September 2022), about her incarcerated daughter, perinatal mood disorder, more in MER, November 28, 2022.
  • Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s HALFWAY FROM HOME (Split/Lip Press, Nov 8) in Hippocampus Magazine, about her working-class unconventional childhood in California, moving across the country to pursue writing, home, displacement, and so much more November 13, 2022.
  • A conversation with Sheila O’Connor about elegantly exploring the nonlinear, (a total obsession of mine), in her EVIDENCE OF V: A Novel in Fragments, Facts, Fictions (Rose Metal Press, 2019), in Fractured Literary, October 25, 2022
  • Prose in SEPIA Journal Oct/Nov 2022 issue. Interiors is about an Appalachian family, black bottom pie, trains, and ear aches. It was inspired by my own family lore, and also: this journal is STUNNING!
  • An interview with Lauren Acampora about the pursuit of art, the suburbs, growth and stagnation, more as related to her highly anticipated novel, THE HUNDRED WATERS, in The Millions
  • A review-in-dialogue with Kristine Langley Mahler about her debut, CURING SEASON: Artifacts, in Brevity. We unpack home, displacement, found forms, more.
  • An essay about an experience at a workshop/retreat, featuring design/architecture, and how we are all works-in-progress, in The Smart Set.

Coming soon:

  • A book review of YOUR HEARTS, YOUR SCARS (Bellevue Literary Press, January 2023) by Adina Talve-Goodman in DIAGRAM
  • A photo essay in On the Seawall featuring miniatures, houses, and a family besieged by mental illness.
  • A a hybrid flash non-fiction piece about the mysteries of ancestry in ELJ Editions Scissors & Spackle.
  • Other interviews forthcoming in HippocampusMagazine…Juliet Patterson’s SINKHOLE: A Natural History of a Suicide (Milkweed, September 2022).
  • A conversation-in-review with Nicole McCarthy on her genre-defying A SUMMONING (Heavy Feather Review, September 2022) to appear in CRAFT Literary in 2023.

I’ll be sharing my published interviews here, after they’ve ‘gone live’ with their various publications.

There’s more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling.

Photo by Loow Invernissi on Pexels.com

You are reading Musings & Meanderings, a consistently inconsistent weekly newsletter about the literary life from Leslie Lindsay, and home of an archive of bestselling and debut author interviews. I’m also on twitter and instagram. I try to answer comments as best I canFeel free to find my book suggestions on bookshop.org, and also check out the authors I’ve hosted in in-depth interviews HERE.

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.

THANK YOU!!

Some of you have been reading my reviews, interviews, and meanderings for more than a decade now. That’s huge and I am so humbled. Thanks for being here.

More than 2,800 folks read Musings & Meanderings.

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Created by Leslie Lindsay. I’m a proud book nerd. Connect with me on Instagram, and Twitter. See what I’m reading on Bookshop.org. Find my reviews on GoodReads. I’m also a Zibby Books Ambassador.

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