March 29, 2014

Writing Confidence

White Cabbage Butterfly | Photo: Bruce McArthur

"On a Tuesday I see myself as so gifted that I think the cornflakes I left over for breakfast should immediately be wrapped and sent to some Literary Museum for bronzing and held for posterity... Come around on Thursday and I will grovel at your feet to take me on as a shipping clerk in a dockside factory that manufactures 'I Love New York' ashtrays. My confidence not only blows with the wind but is susceptible to the currents caused by a butterfly at rest."

-Neil Simon, The Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Vol.2

March Writing Links


Building Stories. Peter McArthur House

The Province. Canadian writers share their horror stories

Sundog Lit Blog. How to Submit: Leesa Cross-Smith

New York Times. Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling

Book Riot. Is Hannah Horvath a Believable Young Woman?

metaphysical conceit. first drafts and writing longhand

The Millions. Creativity and Madness: On Writing Through the Drugs

Jody Hedlund. 6 Key Things to Consider When Developing Characters

Bookslut. An Interview with Wells Tower

How Creatives Work. 5 Reasons to Read Hunter S. Thompson

March 3, 2014

"Thank You for Disappearing" in PANK



One page from this story was written over two years ago... and then another page a year later. It wasn't until last summer that I wrote a complete first draft. This is becoming a reoccurring process: fermentation in the brain for long periods of time before pen goes to paper, fingers to keys. Workshopping the story with a first reader and my writing group during the revision process was invaluable. After submitting the story, an acceptance letter from the prolific Roxane Gay, co-editor of PANK, was fantastic news!


More online fiction:
"Little Hawk" in Little Fiction
"Rivals" in Joyland
"The Promise of Puppies" in Dragnet Magazine
"Hybrid Love" in Lies with Occasional Truth

January 29, 2014

January Writing Links


Dazed. Lena Dunham vs. Judy Blume

Salon. What Virginia Woolf taught me about failure

Flavorwire. 10 of the Greatest Essays on Writing Ever Written

Guardian. Dear diary, how did you become part of our literary culture?

The Town Crier. The Puritan Marks its Progress

Buzzfeed. Not Here to Make Friends: On the importance of unlikable female protagonists

99u. 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal

Ploughshares. Fictional Writer Master Class: Stop the Presses

The Millions. Commercial Grammar

Book Riot. 10 More Fabulous TV Author Cameos


I've been posting literary links at the end of each month for a few years now, giving each year a slightly different title. You'll find all of these under the literary links label.

2011: Literary Links Roundup
2012: Literary Links
2013: Lit Links
2014: Writing Links

January 28, 2014

Reading List 2014


"When you think about it zoologically, Grimace is clearly related to the same species as Sesame Street's Cookie Monster. Both have similar body shapes - dark colors, mottled hides, those darting black eyes and, most significantly, both have an obsessive compulsion to consume one single item of American junk food. They're practically twins. Of course - and this is crucial - Grimace is less of a moralist about the whole thing. Unlike Cookie Monster, Grimace doesn't care if you can count from one to ten, he just wants his milkshake. "Ya, ya, C is for Cookie; J is for Just give me my fucking shake, okay?"
-"The Return of Grimace" in Certifiable, David McGimpsey

So... here goes. A new year with new books and maybe the return of a few favourites. Most of my books come as lenders from friends and the library, or from second-hand shops and the Sally Ann. It's rare that I go out of my way to find a specific book to read, but that might change. I ordered my first two books online! The only thing I've ever bought online before were football shirts and winter boots with someone else's credit card. And although I still don't believe in credit cards, I was able to do it with a gift card. I've had a backlog of books I've wanted to read filed away in my brain... hoping to get to some of these this year.

2014 Readings


Dance of the Seven Dwarfs by Zsolt Alapi
Certifiable by David Mcgimpsey
Hellgoing by Lynn Coady
Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marques
Hero of the Underground by Jason Peter with Tony O'Neill
A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
Getting Naked with Harry CrewsInterviews | edited by Erik Bledsoe

I would also like to read more than I did last year... but am happy not be in a reading paralysis. For a great list of reccomendations, check out Roxane Gay's My 2013 in Reading