Projects, in Flight and in the Wings

I don’t want to go on and on about submissions, necessarily, since they may never see the light of day, but hey, a writing project is a writing project, and I’ll take all the behind the scenes cheering on I can get!

Recently, I submitted a story here: http://mrsexsmith.tumblr.com/post/5077984866/call-for-submissions-beastly-babes, so if anyone was hoping I’d give women a turn in my romantically-inclined writing, that person is in luck!  I won’t find out til October on that one, so cross your fingers. 🙂

Also, everyone should be proud that I finished a story in under 4,500 words.  This one did not grow wildly out of control, hurrah!

I’m hoping to make an announcement about a different upcoming publication pretty soon, so stay tuned… I’ve had the acceptance, just waiting for the details to firm up.

And right now I am trying to decide what to spend my August writing time on.  What I need to spend at least a hefty chunk of it on, quite soon, is working up my syllabus for the composition course I’ll be teaching in the fall.  Other options include this: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/pages.php?pID=7&CDpath=0, which I realize is cutting it a bit close… I’ve been kicking around another David and Andrew story, but haven’t quite gotten it off the ground.. and this: http://topsidepress.com/.  I started a story before I found that second call for submissions that I think would work for it, but lost steam and haven’t looked at it in a bit… so maybe I should dust that off.

I also really want to nail down a time to work on another story to submit to Cicada Magazine http://www.cicadamag.com/, since I got an extremely encouraging and personal rejection from them for the last story I sent there.  And there are some longer-term projects I’m working on, but I don’t want to say too much about them just yet…

Anybody have any suggestions of what I should pick?  Of course, it’s very possible I will end up going in other directions entirely, but these are the projects on my mind at the moment.  In addition to keeping this blog regularly fed, watered, and written in.

Sound like enough, with work and preparing for school and summer fun and volunteering?  Probably definitely enough.  Stay tuned for the actual results!

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Restless Spirits Looking for A Home

I don’t live alone.

I mean, I live with my girlfriend, you know that already.  But my not-aloneness is another kind of thing, and it’s something that occurred to me to talk about a little when I started talking about “The Hanukkah Surprise” in my last post.  It was interesting, thinking about that story again.  It made me think about the ways in which “The Hanukkah Surprise” is different from some of my other stories, and one way is in the characters.

David and Andrew, the protagonists of “The Hanukkah Surprise,” are characters I’ve been living with since college.  I haven’t been writing stories about them that whole time, though when I have to explain I generally say it that way.  “They’re characters my friends and I make up stories about.”  And that’s true enough.

But it’s not the only thing that’s true.  Another thing that’s true is that I have characters that serve as companions, living as part of me in a way that feels like some particular muscle is part of me: it does what it needs to do, and occasionally a feel a twinge or a pain or a tug, asking to be stretched or rubbed or moved a different way.  Its life is not a separate thing, but it can surprise me.

That’s how these characters feel to me.  To a large extent, that’s how all characters feel to me, but these and some others I have had with me for longer, and I didn’t invent them to be part of one particular story at one particular time.  Instead, I was telling my own story and found them there, part of it.  Companions.  Friends.  Other-selves refracted in fun house mirrors.

Sometimes, when I’m in trouble or when I’m lonely or I don’t know what to do, I gather them together on paper, in a circle, and we talk.  They tell me the truth about myself and about each other.  We speak in shorthand, in code, quick and silvery, the way you can’t quite do with other people in the world.

I think it has to do with identity, with the squeezing and the sacrifice and the rounding up and down that goes into making any legible self.  I can’t be a hundred things at once and still be a sane and legible person, not really.  But I can’t be just one thing and be fully myself, not really.  So I end up haunted, in the best of ways.  I don’t know if other writers and actors and character-makers of various kinds would describe their experience in these ways, but I think it is not an uncommon experience.

It’s the closest I’ve come to magic.  Real magic, transformation-style.  And I find that exploring these other kinds of identity, it is possible to connect to other people in magical ways, to connect to parts of them that otherwise might remain hidden.  Maybe that’s what all writing and acting and character-making is about, too.  Some people can recognize these others in my face, or when I speak, or laugh, or point out a particular piece of beauty in the world.  Some people can see this in me even if they don’t know these companionate characters exist.

I wrote about these concepts in my play The More-Than One, which was in the 2010 Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival.  I think in some ways these concepts are leading me to questions of identities that are not singular or pure in my academic research.  They weave around my life, and for lack of a better phrase, I’ve called them restless spirits looking for a home– though I might be simply talking about myself.

I don’t know if I’ve made sense here.  But I think some people will recognize what’s behind what I’m saying, even if the words are slippery.  I think what I’m trying to express is how much space there is between truth and fiction, and how amazingly fertile that space is when you slip between.

I don’t live alone in my heart or my skin.  I think, on many levels, most of us don’t.  Writing and theater are just two of the more formal ways I try to express that.

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours…