Discussion → yes!

  • Daviderlewine.thumb
    David Erlewine
    Oct 06, 10:08am

    wonderful, Cynthia, so glad you started a group! somehow i deleted hurlophobia but will add it right....NOW and then add to this group. love what you have going. 3.3 is full of deep, beautiful stories.

  • Raven.thumb
    Andrew Bowen
    Oct 06, 10:12am

    I'll raise a glass to that, Dave. Welcome PotS!

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    Mel Bosworth
    Oct 06, 04:54pm

    welcome welcome indeed!

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Oct 06, 11:06pm

    Welcome everyone, and thanks so much for the kind comments! Dave, I'm so glad you're enjoying V.3.3. I am surprised all over again with every issue.

  • Daviderlewine.thumb
    David Erlewine
    Oct 07, 06:35am

    That's so wonderful, Cynthia! It must be so satisfying, seeing issues come together.

    When I first started writing again last year after a five-year layoff, I read Vol 2.4 and was overwhelmed/inspired by the stories, particularly Shellie Zacharia's "One Bed, Two Stories."

    I'm coming up on a year since then, and I must say that writing "Hurlophobia"/placing with you remain two of my biggest accomplishments.

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Oct 07, 05:56pm

    It is, Dave. The journal inspires so many other things, and it's hands down the love of my life.

    Was your five-year writing layoff self-imposed? I'm intrigued. The same thing happened to me, and the only thing that brought me out of it was the journal.

    Congrats on everything you have been writing since coming back into your own. You've been prolific. It makes me wonder how the writer's brain works, whether our stories have to undergo some sort of gestation period until they're ready to hatch.

  • Daviderlewine.thumb
    David Erlewine
    Oct 07, 08:18pm

    Thanks, Cynthia, I appreciate your saying that. I'm sort of an oddball, overall, and the writing thing just fits into that. I graduated from law school in '98 and worked a ton of hours for years, not writing anything. Then I went to St. Thomas and was pretending to take long showers so I could hide from my then-girlfriend and write stories at the sink.

    I left the law firm and went to the government but was still thinking about stories all day, unable to concentrate at work, not sleeping at night...so I quit law for a year and moved away from Baltimore to write in 02-03. I wrote a lot of short stories and a few flashes...and then a novel, which nearly killed me. By the end of the year off, I was so fried/frazzled from everything that after getting married and having kids, etc., I sorta figured I'd had my year and that was that. During the five-year break I wrote two stories in 2006, both about stuttering government employees, which got published (SmokeLong and Slow Trains). So, I was like, okay, cool that's out of my system. In mid 2008, I had this idea to write a story called "The worst story to read your stuttering child." I wrote it and put it on zoetrope and it got murdered. Then in November 08 I joined facebook b/c my law school friends kept harassing me about it. While on there, I looked up Dave Barringer, a great writer I'd gotten to know a bit in 02. He wrote me back and asked if I had anything to contribute to an anthology he was putting together...but he needed it quick b/c going to press. That weekend, I worked on that stuttering story a lot with him and felt more exhilirated than I'd felt in years. The antho had folks like Molly Gaudry, Lee Klein, Spencer Dew, Mike Ingram, Dave Housley...names that when getting the book didn't ring many bells. Now, looking back, I'm even more excited to be in such company. After that weekend, I've been pretty much writing non-stop. The most surreal part is that if I hadn't randomly sent him a facebook message (I was curious if he'd even remember me)...I don't think I'd have written anything this year. Truly bizarre. Wow, sorry to go on so much. I should cut this down, but that's only how I write fiction. :)

    In any event, I'm thrilled that both you and I have come back storming from layoffs. Was yours self-imposed? I'm intrigued! Bet you can't write more than what I just did. :)

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Oct 07, 09:03pm

    Oh, but I do love a challenge.

    ...and how wonderful that you came by writing again partly through a random social contact, Dave. Maybe you would have found your way back to it even if it weren't for that?

    I'm not sure I even understand where my block was coming from, just that I thought about writing every day and every day that I didn't added a little more mortar to the wall. I had started two novels that just...stopped, and then started a third that, like the others, was loaded with potential (in my very subjective opinion), and which came to a halt like the others. I don't know. I would sit down to write and nothing that I wrote seemed right. As soon as I had the chance (time), I started the journal to try to pull those walls down, or maybe not even consciously to do that, just to reconnect with writing in some way, to contribute to it again, and to provide a publication medium for writers more talented/disciplined/in touch than me. The community it has become and the networking that has resulted from it have fed me in so many ways that don't bear going into here. The reviews I wrote for the journal, and for several others, landed me a job as a staff writer at a newspaper, where I started a book review column, so it was great because I thrive on deadlines and schedules, and had no choice but to write on a regular basis. I also learned a different angle of writing--journalism. At this point, I think that there's a certain memoir I need to get out of my system that's been roiling around and building for so many years, and who knows, it may be the source of the "block." Though I've been writing again fairly regularly, it's a trickle through a dam, and I know there's a deluge waiting behind the wall. Hokey metaphor, maybe, but to me it's what makes the most sense.

    I love being an editor and reading so much of other people's work. You learn to fine down your sense of what works and what doesn't and why. Of course, you don't have to be an editor to do that, I could have just started a local writing workshop or something, but I'd much rather provide a platform to a much wider community. And writing is so much about community, which is why sites like Fictionaut are so great (no, they didn't pay me to say that). :)

    I'm going to stop now, before I start feeling too self-serving and ridiculous for rambling on about a term I've always thought was a little ridiculous, i.e., "writer's block"...

  • Daviderlewine.thumb
    David Erlewine
    Oct 08, 06:43am

    Cynthia, you beat me! Not only did your text exceed mine, but your insight/story was much more interesting. My favorite line was "I would sit down to write and nothing that I wrote seemed right." I will confer with Jurgen/Carson about whether I can fave such a comment. During my little five-year break, every fourth or fifth month I'd wake up in the middle of the night, overtaken with a feeling of having to write. Inevitably, I'd drift back to bed, having written a variety of wrong words, sentences, paragraphs.

    You also nail what I love so much about editing/writing. Even during the five-year break, I was still occasionally reading Zoetrope, meeting/becoming fans of folks like Kathy Fish, Pia Ehrhardt, Randall Brown, Ron Currie Jr., etc. Now that I'm editing flash for JMWW, I am finding myself more and more able to think like an editor. My time on Fictionaut and Zoe has certainly helped hone that part of the brain.

    I also know exactly what you mean when you say -- "Though I've been writing again fairly regularly, it's a trickle through a dam, and I know there's a deluge waiting behind the wall. Hokey metaphor, maybe, but to me it's what makes the most sense." I don't know of a better metaphor to describe such a feeling/situation. I have a piece upcoming in FRiGG that is about 4000 words and deals with a lot of the stuttering issues I've grappled with since learning I would never speak right. The story was "easy" to write in that all of this stuff poured itself into the 4000 word draft and the edits weren't terribly difficult either. It had been a story I'd been working on for years, ha ha, and writing it was incredibly cathartic. Even though only slivers are autobiographical, as a stutterer it feels like the realest story I've written. After Ellen accepted it, I sort of crashed, not writing another thing for a month, just burned out like I felt in 03 when I "quit" writing. Eventually, reading enough good stories got me going again and I'm back to my old tricks - not sleeping enough, thinking about stories all the time, whittling, etc.

    In any event, I'm thrilled to hear how wonderful editing Prick of the Spindle has been/is, along with the doors that have opened for you. I majored in Journalism and Creative Writing in college. It's great you parlayed things into a book review column/staff job!

    Thanks for this dialogue and continued successes! David

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    Cynthia Reeser
    Oct 09, 09:23pm

    David, thanks so much for your, well, comment about my comment. :) Yes, you know your writer's brain has been activated when you are waking up in the middle of the night needing to write, or snaring pellucid sentences from the air or those that filter through your brain which are obviously part of something else. I love those moments.

    It's interesting that you mention speech...I know this maybe isn't true for all writers, but writing makes the most sense (to me) as a form of communication. (For what it's worth, speech is something I struggle with too for a few not-so-common reasons, so I can really relate to what you're saying on that count.)

    Do you know when your story is coming out in FRiGG? I'd love to give it a read.


  • Daviderlewine.thumb
    David Erlewine
    Oct 11, 09:38pm

    Thanks so much, Cynthia. Indeed, last night I finally crashed after four-five nights in a row of waking up at 2 or so to write. Uh, gotta avoid burning out again.

    I think w/o my stuttering issue...I wouldn't still be writing. Maybe I'm wrong, but the inability for me to tell jokes or attend all the parties/events I'd like...keeps me angry and bitter and productive! :)

    My story should be coming out on/about Oct 15...so very soon! I'm quite excited. I need to chillax, as the neighbor kid says (not about me generally, mind you, he just says that about everyone I think/hope :). I hope you like it. I'll make sure to drop you a line when it hits. Thanks again, David

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