Hello from Squaw Valley, California! I’m incredibly honored to have been selected to attend a fiction workshop at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. I got here on Sunday, after spending the night at a casino resort in Reno (which was 80s Casino Chintz Fabulous, but I lost $20 between one hand of Blackjack and one slot machine, so am kinda salty), and am excited to keep the week moving! I’ll give you a full report about this week once it’s over, but I wanted to briefly update you on some developments in my writing life.
While I was on vacation in Belgium, I received two pieces of great news: first, a well-respected DC-area literary magazine editor is strongly considering one of my short stories for inclusion in an upcoming issue! We’ll see what the final result is, but I’m just honored to have been so thoughtfully considered.
Second, also while I was on vacation, my first piece of fiction was accepted to a literary magazine!!! I was inspired to write this story after watching an episode of House Hunters International in which a girl moves to Germany to live with her “boyfriend,” some kid she obviously didn’t know all that well. So I asked myself, in what ways is this going to go terribly wrong after this episode ends? And, what if she were Black? I can’t say it was as simple as, “Then a story popped out.” It took months to draft, revise, edit, have friends read, workshop in a class, and all. But now it’s going to be published toward the end of the year, and I am ecstatic!!!!
Another development is, I finally, officially made up my mind not to pursue an MFA (at least for now). I realized that all I want is instruction and community, which I’ve been so blessed to receive from great women writers in DC as well as from all of the amazing conferences I’ve been to. I’ve built a team that keeps me accountable and keeps honing my skills, which is really what I would have been interested in a degree program for. So, I shall keep trying to go to these great workshops and keep in touch with the awesome writers I meet there, so iron can continue to sharpen iron.
Otherwise, I’ve got Bread Loaf next month, about which I am thrilled. It’ll be my only nonfiction workshop this summer, and I need that—I haven’t neglected my memoir (I completed a draft of my proposal and all) and I’ve enjoyed the time away from telling so much truth, but I realize that nonfiction is the area in which I feel less confident in my writing. I’ve been writing fiction for 20 years and nonfiction for two. That explains, mostly, but additional instruction will help trim down the learning curve, hopefully.
I should get back to my workshops, but keep me in your thoughts/prayers! I’ve got a lot going on and I want to maintain good vibes during all of it. 🙂