Free Writers Studio Tucson class this Saturday, April 10 and information about my upcoming Spring 2021 workshops.
The 39th Annual Tucson Poetry Festival is coming up in two weeks! Registration is available on our website for poetry workshops taught by our featured poets on Saturday, April 17, 2021. They will also be reading that evening and there will be an open mic (would you like to read one of your own poems?!) on Sunday afternoon, April 18, 2021.
A lot of my friends and family were concerned when I reported side effects from my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I appreciate your love and concern and I'm so sorry that I scared you! You make me feel cared for and loved!
I want to be clearer about this than I was last time: a sore arm, mild fever, headaches, body aches, and/or other side effects over a period of 24-48 hours are all healthy signs that your immune system is doing its job, without killing you in the process! Your immune system is reacting to something that is, fortunately, practically harmless, and this will prime your immune system to recognize and respond safely to something far more dangerous than a vaccine: the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The high anxiety I felt in March and again in the summer hasn't materialized in the same way with the latest, even greater peak of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, which may reflect complacency and exhaustion during this never-ending pandemic. My outrage and despair that much of the Federal government, several state governments, and many fellow Americans have totally abandoned us, however, has never been more acute. It's a stab to the heart and the collapse of my stomach every time I fathom the true scale of this inhumanity.
I really love every story in this issue. Everything had the right amount of tension, chills, and ambiguity. There's an image of attendees at a party after the party is over in "Girls Without Their Faces On" by Laird Barron that will haunt me forever. As will the Dorset Ooser from "We, the Folk" by G.V. Anderson, which can you can find on Wikipedia and elsewhere. It's real. AHHH!
Fantasy Magazine has been on hiatus for several years, but new editors Arley Sorg and Christie Yant have relaunched the magazine starting with Issue 61 and four short or flash prose pieces and two poems, along with interviews. In their opening editorial, Sorg and Yant discuss why they’re bringing the magazine back now; it’s a timely relaunch, to be sure.
There's a humorous tone to some of the stories in the latest issue of Lightspeed Magazine I don't think I'm really in the right place emotionally right now to completely appreciate, which might explain why my favorite story in this issue is probably "Burn the Ships" by Alberto Yáñez. It's dark, but also deeply satisfying by the end.
Know that this franchise is mostly awful and an embarrassment to horror. I honestly don't know why this franchise is popular. Terrible. Just terrible.
My flash fiction story "A Bird Watcher's Guide to Malformed and Buzzing Things" earned a spot on the close-but-no-cigar shortlist shout-outs for the annual Flash Monster contest from The Molotov Cocktail!
I truly love Autumncrow by Cameron Chaney, a perfect-for-October and Autumn book, with fun and wicked, but frequently dark and troubling, stories that whisper to me about my own trauma and personal history, suggesting dark and light new ways for me to look at things. Chaney has a knack for seeing right into the soul.
"I must / still look for / him. My constant / resentment. / Unrequited."
A mix of flash and short fiction, Stories We Tell After Midnight from Crone Girls Press and editor Rachel A. Brune is an uneven mix, with several gems.
To participate in the fight against fascism and bigotry and for social justice, as well as to manage despair, I'm going to need assigned tasks between now and the election. It looks like the RGB Memorial Challenge will provide some of that guidance and discipline.
"I see how police officers and forces and governments react when they are challenged for their violent policies and racist behaviors. I see how they empower and embrace white supremacy groups and vigilantes while targeting Black people, people of color, peaceful and agitated demonstrators. I see how so many Americans have opinions about rioting and looting but stay quiet about the murders, violence, and oppression that prompted the latest historic demonstrations and remonstrations."
True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik is a difficult book to read, for sure, but what's so remarkable about it and why I continued reading is how the author navigates this brutal material.
One of the most exciting and enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had this year. I’m enthusiastic because in a year of great anthologies, Coppice & Brake from Crone Girls Press and Editor Rachel A. Brune is an absolute favorite. I love every single story, which I cannot say about most anthologies.
"Beyond the scarred surface, I saw the bones of the Moon, / the geology of a crime. He would not speak of it."
The University of Arizona Poetry Center, Arizona Public Media, and the Pima County Public Library have launched a poetry contest for K-12 students in Pima, Santa Cruz, and Cochise County in Arizona, with submissions accepted between June 16 and July 16, 2020.
Professor Geta LeSeur at the University of Arizona introduced me to Frederick Douglass's "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" speech, a speech I now read or watch being read every year on this day.
Editor-in-Chief Janel Spencer and Editor Lynn Finger have launched Harpy Hybrid Review, a new online literary magazine based in Tucson, Arizona.