I love making goals for the new year and usually create a long list of plans and resolutions to guide me. In 2019, I resolved to be more active in the literary community, and then a friend let me know the Raleigh Review was looking for a few new fiction readers. I applied, crossed my fingers, and now I’m on a masthead. Not bad for the first week of the year! I’m really excited for this opportunity, and think it will be a great way to make some new writing friends, contribute to the lit scene, and read a ton of short stories. Submissions are currently open, so don’t be shy!
I’m thrilled and honored to share that I’ve been named the Weymouth Center’s 2018 Cos Barnes Fellow in Fiction. This is an annual, merit-based award for North Carolina writers, and the prize is a week-long residency at the Weymouth Center and a $500 stipend. While the money is nice, I’m most excited for the residency. As most writers-with-full-time-non-writing-jobs know, time is our most precious resource. I can’t wait to spend a week devoted entirely to my craft. Thank you, once again, to the judges who chose my piece and to the Weymouth Center for supporting North Carolina writers and literature.
Monkeybicycle is one of my favorite journals for short, powerful fiction. So I was thrilled when the journal accepted my piece “An Ocean This Big.” Like most of my writing, this short story went through many drastic revisions – at various points, it was in every point of view, featured a subplot about an advertising agency, and included an extremely awkward sex scene. In the end, the version that worked best and landed with Monkeybicycle is simple, streamlined, and striped down. I’m so grateful to the editors for giving it a home.
I’m happy to share that my piece “Material Remains” appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. The work in Flyway “explores the many complicated facets of the word environment – whether rural, urban, or suburban; whether built or wild – and all its social and political implications.” Given that focus, it’s the perfect place for this particular piece, which is about two young girls, their broken family, and the very deep hole they dig, literally and figuratively. Thanks to Flyway for publishing it, and thanks to you for reading.
Right after I graduated from my MFA program in 2014, I wrote a strange short story about a cul de sac of suburban swingers. I submitted the story over the years and it was rejected a grand total of 24 times – many of which were kind and encouraging. Each time I plunged into another revision, because I really loved the story. Sometimes, that’s what writing is – believing in your work despite the pile of rejections. Lucky for me, it paid off in the best possible way. Joyland accepted the story and published it this month, under the title “We Wives.” I’m so grateful to this wonderful journal, and particularly my editor Kyle Lucia Wu, who suggested perfect edits and helped me take this story to the next level.
Over the past few weeks, a lot of my writing and thinking has fallen into the financial sphere. I re-launched my blog with a focus on personal finance, frugal living, and homesteading, and I was fortunate to publish two pieces about money and the role it plays in my life. One was a guest post for YNAB about my success with their budgeting method; the other is a short essay about the financial risks and and spiritual rewards of beekeeping, which appears in The Billfold. Thanks to these spaces for sharing my work – I look forward to more essays and articles about these topics in the future.
I’m very grateful to Cleaver Magazine for publishing some of my flash fiction in their Spring issue! The piece is called “Anatomy Lesson,” and was originally written as part of the Cameron Art Museum’s She Tells a Story exhibit. This publication is particularly satisfying because it marked my fifth time submitting to the magazine. They’d sent me four personal, encouraging rejections in the past, which made me all the more determined to find them the right piece. I’m thrilled that it was this one.
My short story “Dark Matter” appears in the Spring 2017 issue of storySouth, out this month. For the last few years I’ve been working on a collection of stories that all take place in the same suburban town on Long Island. This installment is set in what is, to me, an iconic Long Island monument: the mall. It’s also about loyalty, ambition, lust, commerce, and violence. Thanks so much to storySouth for giving this piece a home!
On Sunday, January 15th, I was honored to take part in Wilmington’s Writers Resist event. During this reading, local writers came together at Pomegranate Books as part of the national program of readings planned across the United States. This event coincided with Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and promoted “compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy.”
Excited and grateful to share that my short story “The Arborist” was published in Necessary Fiction. This piece is part of my Long Island series, and is about secrets, hunger, and suburbia. I’m so happy it’s found a good home.
I was thrilled to be a part of UNCW Writers Week this year! Hosted by the UNCW MFA program, this annual event brings together writers, editors, and publishers and is open to anyone with an interest in publishing and literature. I was part of the “Beyond the MFA” panel, and had a great time talking about writing, community, marketing, and the importance of health insurance.
My essay “The Great Escape” appeared in the October issue of Salt Magazine. I have a small fascination with the sudden popularity of escape rooms and spent some time thinking about where they came from, how they work, and what they reveal about our fears.
My piece “Anatomy Lesson” was part of the She Tells a Story exhibit at the Cameron Art Museum. Exploring the catalytic relationship between visual imagery and text, CAM invited fourteen Wilmington-area writers to compose new work inspired by these selections, then displayed the written pieces alongside the artwork that sparked them. It was a wonderful exercise in ekphrastic writing, and a great opportunity to connect with other area writers and artists.