Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Encouragement is a wonderful thing

NPR's All Things Considered program recently finished up another Three Minute Fiction contest. The story had to start with the line "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door." Not the greatest opening line in the history of open lines. Also, it had to be under 600 words. Quite a challenge!

I didn't make it as winner or in the selected favorites, but got some great feedback from others who submitted pieces. I won't post the piece here because I'm planning to send it off to a few other contests. However, I will strut a strut or two and post a few of the encouraging comments I received from the contest's Facebook pages. Each quote is from a different commenter.

Here goes!
"I think the heart of this piece is the contrast between Abraham, who is willing to sacrifice his child according to God's demands, and Yaeda who ultimately puts her devotion to her child above that to her deity. I do find that compelling - what does it take to make a person lose faith in their god, to put a love for one's fellow humans above a love for god."
"What a gentle love song this story is. I am especially struck by what I see as a Mother imagining her own, darker apocalypse the post apocalyptic world she already inhabits. I feel great tenderness for her, and admiration for her acts of love both physical and spiritual. One doesn't need to be a religious person themselves to appreciate the acts of faith she performs and the great meaning in quite literally swabbing her daughter in holy words. Very very well done. Thank you."

"This is very well done. I don't usually like stuff where the voice of the narrator is so booming. To carry it off, the piece has to be perfect, and I think this one is nearly that. Everything she describes dwindles-- these sentences are a good example: "Emptying her first of energy, then of humor, then of color. No toddles left, no gurgling laughter, no shining eyes." Though now that I've quoted that one, I'm not sure I'm a fan of "no toddles"."

"Suzanne, I loved this story. I am not at all familiar with the Song of Solomon (I wouldn't have known that is what is was if others had not posted it) but that doesn't harm the story, in my opinion. It leaves me like the grandmother - not really knowing or understanding the import, but observing and understanding the excruciating decisions all the same.   Overall, it is a haunting tale - we take for granted things like paper, medicine, etc. The reminder that they are luxuries hits with impact."

"Well done, Suzanne. I am really in love with this piece. You write about an imperfect place. It makes sense that the imperfections should show so beautifully in the telling."

"Suzanne this is a powerful and beautifully written story. The juxtaposition of that particular book and that particular illness shouldn't have worked, but it did work because of your skillful writing and the passion that permeated every word. Thank you for sharing this story."

"Very strong sentiments, images . . . I want more."

"Really beautiful, haunting and moving."

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Read all about it! My profile in Hollywood and Vine Magazine

Remember the post from a few weeks ago about a literary agency's mass rejection email? Turns out one of my fellow rejects works with the online and print magazine Hollywood & Vine, and decided that the publication should cover the story.

The latest issue does exactly that. Here's a link:

The story starts on page 8. It includes profiles of some of us. I'm number 10. My quote about rejection in the "Mantra" section is cut off, but I'm not complaining. I'll take every weird little publishing credit I can get.

Viva la 238!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interesting things about apartment life

I've been living in an apartment for a year, after having owned my own home since 1986. Something that happened this morning made me think I should tabulate some of the things that make it an adventure.
Here goes. I'll add to the list over time.
  • Thin walls with back-to back-bathrooms equals periodic synchronized peeing.
  • Having skinny neighbors means there's always someone to climb through the small bathroom window if you lock yourself out.
  • Passionate mid-night arguments from across the hall remind me to be grateful that those days are finally over.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thing's I'm learning from car-free living

I thought it might be interesting to capture some experiences of life without a car. I'll add to the list as new things come up.
  • Time is relative. When making a round trip bike ride on the same route, one direction may take 5 minutes, while the other may take 15.
  • A terrier can smell the dog park from 1/2 a mile away.
  • I doubt I'll be buying mega-sized packages of toilet paper for a while.
  • Riding a bus is interesting.
  • The first few times you ride a bike after not riding for a long time, you don't know how to get started, you don't know how well the breaks work, and you're afraid of cars. Be prepared to look like a dork.
  • Walking in the rain is fun.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day One

It is the first day of carlessness for some months to come.

I'm looking forward to it despite the skies being gray; imagining purposeful walks in the rain and sunlit bike rides. I wonder if I'd be panicing if it hadn't been by choice. Frightened of how to manage details like groceries and doctor's appointments.

But here, behind my laptop, starting the first day, I'm feeling nothing but anticipation of all the things to come. Money saved. Weight lost. Health improved. Creativity sparked. Life observed.

I'll keep you posted.