Jul 21

Among Friends: Books Published or to Be Published

16 January 2009

Just to show it does happen, a list of recent book publications/acceptances (2008 and early 2009) by local writers I personally know and like:
  • Claire Applewhite, The Wrong Side of Memphis (L&L Dreamspell), novel
  • Mary Ann deGrandpre Kelly, Marlene Miller, Niki Nymark, Marilyn Probe*: Nothing Smaller than Your Elbow (Bluestem), poetry
  • Mary Ruth Donnelly: Weaving the Light (Cherry Pie Press), poetry chapbook
  • Pamela Garvey, Fear (Finishing Line Press), poetry chapbook
  • Colleen McKee* and Amanda Stiebel, Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak About Health Care in America (Penultimate), anthology
  • J. Roger Nelson*, The God Whom Moses Knew (Thomas Nelson), novel
  • Niki Nymark, A Stranger Here Myself (Cherry Pie Press), poetry chapbook
  • Angie O’Gorman*, The Book of Sins (PlainView Press), novel.
  • Catherine Rankovic: Fame: Writers in St. Louis in the 1990s (Penultimate), nonfiction
  • Suzanne Rhodenbaugh, The Whole Shebang (Word Press), poetry
*=formerly my student!

I would LOVE to see in this list next year:

Denise Bogard (novel)
Janet Edwards* (nonfiction)
Rebecca Ellis (poetry)
Matt Freeman (poetry)
Julia Gordon-Bramer (poetry)
Susan Grigsby* (poetry)
Tim Leach (poetry)
Steven Schreiner (poetry)
-- and YOU.
Jun 27

Tally for 2008

Completed: About 23 poems. Drafted This Year: 18 poems, 0 essays. Submitted: 14 poems. Rejected: 11 poems. Poetry Readings: 2; Prose Readings: 1; Anthologies Appeared In: 1. Contests Entered: 2; Prizes Won: 0. Workshops/Seminars Attended: 18. Poetry Readings Attended: 9; Submissions of Book Manuscript: 2; Rejections of Book Manuscript: 1. New Books Purchased: About 20. New Friends Made: 15 to 20 (a really great year). Friends Self-Publishing First Books: 6; Friends Publishing First Books: 5; Friends Publishing Second Books: 1; Friends Making a Living at Writing: 1. I don't make a living. However, as you can see, my life is fabulously rich.
Apr 05

Turning Away from Toxic Friends

People who make me cry in bathrooms at parties are now off my list. "You," said a former friend, "are a representative of the literary establishment in this town, and I want nothing to do with that, so I don't want anything to do with you." We'd been friends for 20 years, close friends for 10. There was no reasoning with this person, who had been alienating friends one by one, so I'd heard, and had said uncharacteristically hostile things before, but I blamed it on hardening arteries. I hid and cried. There was nothing to do but cut this person -- and I hate doing artificial, gamey social shit like that -- at the next gathering where this person called after me, "Hey, Catherine--" Jerk me around? Uh-uh. I choose my mental health.

Former good buddy lies around now smoking pot, having ruined his finances by investing all in a business scheme, complaining in an endless loop about how he's been blackballed and there's no use looking for work. Tells me he's going to write a novel, will I read it when he writes it? I am no longer getting any pleasure from this friendship.

Distanced myself from former very close friend who broadcast something personal I said in confidence. We still must interact, but trust this person again? Never.

I look askance now at a likeable person who wanted to make sure I'm still teaching ONLY at the night school while this person holds a slightly more prestigious position.

Years ago a close writer friend and I competed for the same prize. I won. Never heard from him again. That's probably a good thing.

A dear friend needs to be steered away from the toxic topic of why this friend isn't published in Poetry and why universities aren't begging this person to teach and do readings. I said, "You've got to go to them." This person replies, "I shouldn't have to." I explain that things have changed since the days of Allen Tate. This conversation is toxic both to this friend and to me.

Am sad when people remain miffed that they were not interviewed for Meet Me. I couldn't interview everyone in town. There are two writers I deliberately and with forethought chose not to include: David Clewell and William Gass. There's plenty of stuff about them in print and online. Writers, if you want to be interviewed, do something new or notable and then put yourself in the path of interviewers.

Writers and non-writers, keep positive people around you if you are going for your dreams. And you need to be a positive person yourself.


Jan 22

I Remember This Girl I Hated

"Mickey," as she called herself (her name was Vivian) just loved to be wide-eyed and creative and stoned, and wear Danskins, and play with her food if someone was watching, and hang scarves from her apartment ceiling, and so forth. This was years ago; if it were today, she'd be designing slow-moving, psychedelic websites. She thought that although I said I was a writer, I was not creative. I lacked a cute haircut, a creative job. I wasn't taking a class in American Sign Language, lived in a basement I didn't bother to decorate.

I said creativity was not a feeling, or at least not necessarily a feeling. Writers create one step at a time, word after word after word, sentence following sentence. Creativity, yes, but sort of through a funnel. Plus some research and training.

She found this distasteful and made a childlike face, wrinkling her nose. If I had been five and not twenty-five, in return I would have stuck my tongue out.

Stoners, fake Buddhists, parlor pinks, and scarf-twirlers -- there they are, shelved in the past, where they stay, and where they belong.