Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Great Pumpkin



Pumpkin latte
Pumpkin parfait
Pumpkin flambé

Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin fries
Pumpkin chai

Pumpkin cheesecake
Pumpkin pancakes
Pumpkin shakes

Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin mousse
Pumpkin juice

Pumpkin oats
Pumpkin compote
Pumpkin floats

Pumpkin spice
Pumpkin diced
Pumpkin n’ rice

Pumpkin gelato
Pumpkin dough-nos
Pumpkin gumbo

Oh pumpkin, late have I come to know ye



Monday, October 27, 2014

My Foreign Cities--or Places I Don't Want To Go

Lately thinking about mortality. Maybe it's because I have an impending birthday. Maybe it's because we're beginning to talk about retirement--not actually doing it, but the difficult conversation of "Are we ready?". Then there was the devastating news this week of a friend a few years younger than myself who got a terrible prognosis.

It was like a punch in the gut.

It's hard to talk about. In a phone call with my daughter who is only just getting started with all the big life decisions, I told her about my friend. Though she empathized and asked how I was doing, it wasn't something she could relate too. not yet. As it should be.

I remember as a kid my mom telling me about a friend of hers who had cancer. "In every part of their body." Back then cancer was synonymous with death. Most people didn't recover. I remember thinking that isn't this what old people are supposed to do. Die. But not in their late forties, is what I'd like to scream, right now.

But, in reality, death at any age is pretty unfair. It seems unnatural though it's supposed to be part of the natural process.

A book I read recently speaks to the issue of mortality and how it is an unfair master. The book by Elizabeth Scarboro is My Foreign Cities. It is about a young girl who falls in love with one of her high school friends, they date, go about their daily lives--and take the plunge to get married. Are they crazy!!?? He has a disease which will make the future untenable if not downright scary. But like two young and crazy kids they take the risk, and it proves to be doubly hard. Young married couples aren't supposed to have this kind of pain. It's unfair.

From a review from Booklist: Though Scarboro never idealizes the relationship—they can each be petulant and selfish—the power of the love she portrays is undeniable. With grace and humor, Scarboro shares the couple’s most intimate moments: her dismay at Stephen’s feeding tube, his dependence on painkillers, her grief-stricken decision to freeze his sperm.

It is a book that doesn't exactly have a happy ending, but one that reflects hope.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Best Summer Ever



Every time I change clothes I notice my tan line—which reminds me of this past summer. Already it is over—after waiting for it to arrive, it is now time to say good bye. Yet—
it was the best summer in a long time, for a good long time. It began with a bike ride. Trying to cycle around the south end of the lake, from Grand Rapids back to Chicago. But ended in snow and wind and a phone call from a hot chocolate shop. Come get me.

And on the way driving back into Chicago, after being rescued, I got a phone call letting me know that I’d been chosen for an artist residency at a dune shack at the tip of Cape Cod. Mid-May I was on my way to Provincetown. I had no idea of what to expect from a cold, unheated shack without electricity. What I got was sun. Lots of sunny days sitting out on a deck watching the ocean and birds flitting about, reading and writing and tanning. I came home refreshed with millions of words on paper. Some of them stories.

This summer I camped out, rode my bike to new places, grilled out at the lake, picnicked, did concerts in the park. It was as if my summer broke out of a shell like a bird or split the cocoon of winter like a butterfly. And got free.

At the very end of summer I went to Sweden where most of Scandinavia was having its best summer ever. There were days on end of bright sunshine and blue skies. I bicycled and backpacked and came glowing, healthy from being outdoors.

Now as the days are growing shorter and the street lamps turn on cloudy days at 4:30 in the afternoon, I catch a glimpse of my fading tan line—and remember. The best summer ever.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Art? What's it good for?

Imagine here the Edwin Starr song--War (What Is It Good For? with that booming Huh? Good God! thrown in.

In an article I read on-line for FREE from The Globe and Mail a Canadian newspaper, I learned that Iggy Pop is a poor struggling musician. Actually I shouldn't have been too surprised. A recent survey in the UK says that artists' salaries are collapsing. Seems no one wants to pay to read "content" or for photographs or for music. Not for that pesky TV programming or films that they torrent or download for free.

Elizabeth Renzetti in her article "When Iggy Pop can’t live off his art, what chance do the rest have" Answers her own question--with one word.

She ends her article with a quote from Iggy, himself:  “When it comes to art, money is an unimportant detail. It just happens to be a huge unimportant detail.”


 The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs is offering grants to artists of all disciplines. Some are fixed deadlines and some are rolling. Check out their website (DCASE) and see if you qualify to apply.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NOW 99 Cents (through Friday)



Our writing should be about taking the ordinary and turning it on its head. The home movies of our childhood—we love them not because they are unique or exotic, but because of their familiarity. They are the stuff of every-day life.
― Jane Hertenstein, from Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir


NOW .99!!
This book is helpful for those of us who are new to flash fiction and flash memoir writing. It is a good reference book to read when we have questions. As a writing teacher, I will continue to use it with my students--Glenda Council Beall
I thought this book was quite helpful. Good exercises, to help understand what flash is; prompts to use in writing sessions; and fantastic information on where and how to submit flash pieces.--Linda Schmidt
This how-to book looks at memoir in small, bite-size pieces, helping the writer to isolate or freeze-frame a moment and then distill it onto paper.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Places to Submit Flash



Emerge Literary Journal Seeks Poetry/Flash Fiction For 2014


Emerge Literary Journal is an annual print journal featuring poetry and flash fiction dedicated to emerging writers and their words. Now in its 3rd year of publication, ELJ aims to publish writers who are currently emerging on the literary scene. We love, prefer free verse and flash fiction—words with passion, voice, and place. We look for succinct images and dialogue that linger, narrative that we can take with us to bed at night, ideas used in magnificent ways. Bring us your castles. Emerge Literary Journal is published under its parent press imprint, ELJ Publications. www.emergeliteraryjournal.com

The Drunken Odyssey Needs Personal Essays on Beloved Books

The Drunken Odyssey, an amazing writing podcast, needs personal essays for its “Book that Changed my Life” segments. Send pitches for essay ideas to thedrunkenodyssey@gmail.com.

Gambling the Aisle Flash Fiction Call For Submissions

Submission deadline: Rolling
Gambling the Aisle is currently accepting submissions for Monthly Flash Fiction. Submissions must be self-contained, independent works of fiction 300 hundred words or fewer. One piece of flash fiction is published on the first of every month, and one of the monthly pieces is included in each of our biannual publications. To view our magazine and monthly flash fiction, and to submit, please visit gamblingtheaisle.com and select "Submit to Flash Fiction," or visit us on Submittable at gamblingtheaisleflashfiction.submittable.com/submit. We look forward to reading your work!

Microfiction Monday Magazine Call For Submissions

Online, Submission Deadline: year-round
Microfiction Monday Magazine is seeking exceptional stories told in 100 words or less for publication every Monday. There are no restrictions on genre or content, just punch us in the chest with characters we can feel, images we can't get out of our heads, and stories that are complete despite their brevity. Artwork submissions are also welcome. For more information and how to submit visit microfictionmondaymagazine.com.

AND REMEMBER
NOW .99!!
This book is helpful for those of us who are new to flash fiction and flash memoir writing. It is a good reference book to read when we have questions. As a writing teacher, I will continue to use it with my students--Glenda Council Beall
I thought this book was quite helpful. Good exercises, to help understand what flash is; prompts to use in writing sessions; and fantastic information on where and how to submit flash pieces.--Linda Schmidt


Friday, October 10, 2014

What Makes us Working Artists--Hint: not a paycheck

If you say you are an artist, but you make little money from selling your art, can your work be considered a profession in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service?

In a ruling handed down late last week by the United States Tax Court and seen by many as an important victory for artists, the answer is yes. The case involved the New York painter and printmaker Susan Crile, whose politically charged work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and several other major institutions. In 2010, the I.R.S. accused Ms. Crile of underpaying her taxes, basing the case on the contention that her work as an artist over several decades was, for tax-deduction purposes, not a profession but something she did as part of her job as a professor of studio art at Hunter College.

The heart of the case touches on a situation familiar to many thousands of artists — from visual artists to musicians and actors — who earn a living as teachers or studio assistants or stagehands while pursuing creative careers that they hope will flourish and someday be able to pay the bills.
***
Really? The IRS is going after poor artists? 

How about you--are you just a hobbyist? Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, I'm running a special starting Tuesday for Freeze Frame: How rto Write Flash Memoir. If you have friends who write or family interested in memoir, please, please, please Facebook them the link to my book. Again, the special begins Tuesday and it will go for 99 cents rather than $2.99--not that that is so bad either. --Since the IRS will be getting their share later.
http://tinyurl.com/lkm3mke