the iron bell of October

Here we are, mid-autumn already. Since we last spoke, dear void journal, I have been ferociously reading so many things, and planning so many new ones.

For most of late summer, I was busy with health issues. Nothing dire – just concerns of the dermatological and of the gastro-intestinal. Thankfully, both issues have resolved, and with the cooler wind’s balm, I am much happier and a bit more well-adjusted than during those steamy, torrid days of city-hot summer.

Unfortunately, during those months I was also pre-occupied with a great deal of depression and writer’s malaise. I was in a rut, spiraling in circles, unable to make headway on even the smallest poem. Everything I even attempted to write met an instantaneous (and unceremonious) end. But those issues, too, appear to have resolved – if only for now, and I’m pleased to be able to say I have been writing on a daily basis again, sometimes churning out what feel like complete little flash fictions, sometimes even hitting my stride and ending up with 5K short stories.

I am pleased to say, also, that I’ve done a little revamp of this here website – there’s new header image up top, and there’s now a bit more focus on the blog-posts, which I will attempt to get out more frequently.

A round-up, then, of what I have accomplished in the last few weeks:

  • One new short story, called “poppet” for now, clocking in around 5,000 words. I’m comfortable with the level of how uncomfortably-ended it is, because I’m becoming (slowly) accustomed to the idea of revision and tightening/tautening, etc. I’m also becoming aware that my process might involve drafting something, then putting it away for months, and returning to it once it’s sort of stopped haunting me. Some stories haunt longer than others, I’m discovering.
  • A new, completely re-imagined version of the second short story I ever wrote (September 2020!), still called “Wasp” for the time being. It’s still far too long, and it needs more pruning, but I feel like it’s in a much more stable place than it used to be, and I’m quite proud of it.
  • Tons of flash fiction, most ranging from >1K to just around 2.5K. Some of them are ridiculous, but I feel like I’m working through what constitutes a satisfying “ending” for me. It’s tough, slippery like an eel, but I’m happy with the progress I’m making. These titles include:
    • A Robbery, which is a short story in one sentence.
    • Flood, a piece about grief and rising waters.
    • ransom, a weird, misshapen piece about a ransom note.
    • small, a piece that started off as auto fiction from Joy Baglio’s Community Writing workshop and then veered into total fiction. I love how it ends, but the title might also be touch, or it might be something else entirely.
    • Good Hands is the first time I’ve ever been able to write about working in neurosurgery, and I’m very happy with this piece. It starts in second person, and then somehow moves to first person, but there’s also a draft where it’s all in first person, too. I like to play with points of view.
  • I have also written a list of books on craft/process that I have found illuminating, perhaps in preparation for a longer work on the different kinds of feedback/critique that can be given – based on my experience – and how to tell when one might be more warranted than another. This is a long-term project, as I am in no way qualified to write this kind of thing yet, though I do love to read other writers’ work and offer my thoughts/feelings on it, especially at a granular, sentence-building level.

That’s all for now. Look for another post coming soon with some of what I’ve been reading, and my thoughts on them!

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