Friday, August 28, 2009

No Longer a (Pushcart) Virgin

I just nominated works for the Pushcart Prize for the first time. My identity as an editor is finally sinking in AND I LOVE IT. Maybe too much.

Some of you may have already read my post on the Folded Word blog giving the official announcement of what, who, and why I nominated. But here's the rest of the story:

I am a perfectionist. Not with housecleaning, but definitely with words. It took me hours to write and print my cover letter and the nominated works, stressing over every little formatting nuance. I finally printed it, but the regular paper wrinkled slightly in my laser printer. So I brought out the big guns: crisp sheets of 25% cotton watermarked paper. Mmmm, felt good to sign the cover letter on that with my fine-tipped art marker. Nice.

Then came the part I HATE--addressing the envelope. My laser printer makes a hash out of envelopes. So I pulled out my manual typewriter, but it was leaving smudges. I figured clean handwriting would be better than smudged typewriting, held my breath, and then used my calligraphic training to address the envelope in precise strokes. Trust me, it'll take some intern's breath away. The personal touch from an indie press. Right?

Lastly, the postage. Of course, my postal scale was out of battery power and the battery drawer was out of 9 volts. So I took the packet in to the post office. The envelope was right on the borderline between rates, so the clerk put one stamp on it to see if the weight of the stamp would change the rate. It was a Bob Hope stamp--slapped on sideways by the rushing clerk. Ordinarily, that kind of imperfection would drive me nuts. Except somehow the sight of that quirky man perched at a quirky angle on a VERY serious letter made me giggle--even after the extra postage got slapped on in an even quirkier angle.

Maybe you had to be there.

All I'm saying is that I've always tried not to take myself too seriously with Folded Word. To have fun with everything I do there. And even with the gravity of losing my editorial Pushcart virginity, I laughed.

So here's to you, Nathalie & Mel. May your pen always flow and your words forever dance. I'm so glad your works were my first;-)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lights. Camera. Question!

Yesterday I gave my first national news interview on camera. The topic was fiction on Twitter, both stories I've written (see links at right for Nanoism & escarp) and other writers' stories I've edited/published on PicFic. My interview was part of a larger story--they've been talking to loads of people. I'll post details later if/when it will air. But the whole experience has been surreal.

Going in to it, I wondered whether or not I would freeze in front of the camera. I wondered whether or not the interviewer would constantly dig for dirt. I even wondered whether I would break into nervous, hysterical laughter and blow out someone's ears.

But I needn't have worried. Since the team in charge of the news story is based in DC, I drove into my local affiliate. Instead of being interviewed in a studio, I was tucked quietly into a conference room. Junior watched from the end of the table. Cameraman Mike took a shine to him, so showed him how to use his camera (see photo above) and gave him a tour of the newsroom.

After the 40 minute interview, I also had to re-read some of my stories while the camera rested on my shoulder to view my notebook and then repositioned to focus close-in on my face (SCARY). They also filmed me navigating to this blog, PicFic's Twitter stream, and PicFic's archive.

I hope it went well. I feel like it did. Of course I'm dying to know where and when the story will run, but I'm not super-anxious about whether any of my footage will make it in.

Most of all I'm JAZZED that fiction on Twitter is getting some national attention. It will be a real boost for all the contributors to PicFic (and Thaumatrope and Outshine and Nanoism and escarp and 7x20 and Tweet the Meat and...)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mary Anne's Home on Mars

Cue Julie Andrews:
Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things...

There really is life on Mars. Or in Mars, rather. That's right, space cadets. Fuselit's Mars issue is finally for sale. And tucked within its pages? My very own Mary Anne Randall-Smith in "That's Why She Bought a New TV Today."

There is no online version. So to read my poem (on page 28-29 as J Sudborough) along with the brilliant works of Philip Burton, Ben Fergusson, Chrissy Williams, and many more, you'll have to pop over to Fuselit and purchase a copy for the bargain price of £4. And yes, that's a bargain. Because this isn't just a print issue. It has a mini-cd with audio works. And a clever activity book as well. Oh, and did I mention that they don't charge extra for overseas postage?

Thanks so much to Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone for giving this silly Yank a voyage she'll never forget!


Safety Goggle: Fuselit: Mars

think before you read
my content *page 28-29 = TV-PG
other content = TV-PG & TV-14

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hint Fiction

Caught this link to a call for submissions via Mel Bosworth's Twitter stream. It's an interesting concept: a story that hints at a larger story, all told in 25 words or less. As PicFic's editor, I insist on a distinct beginning, middle, and end to any tweets I accept. But Mr. Swartwood doesn't want such a closed loop. He wants a piece that grabs the imagination and doesn't let go until multiple scenarios have played out in the mind.

If anyone else is interested, you can find submission guidelines for the W. W. Norton hint fiction anthology here. I'm going to give it a shot. Will you?