Another misty PNW place that deserves a fairy tale…One day?
I’m over the moon. My story “Raven in a Jar” is in CICADA’s “Tricksters & Thieves” issue. CICADA is a YA literary magazine, part of a family of children’s publications. I used to subscribe to Cricket. In fact, I think Cricket was the first place I submitted my work. I was in the fourth grade, and it was a poem about Ottawa, I think. Not that I’d been there, yet.
“Raven in a Jar” gestated slowly, starting with my first visit to Victoria, B.C., in my first winter of the Pacific Northwest. I knew I wanted to write something about that place, had a clear sense of atmosphere, but it took another year for the story to emerge, inspired in part by the Haida myths about the Raven Who Steals the Light, and several more years of expanding, cutting, expanding, cutting, focusing…you get the idea.
Here’s how the story begins:
Young mouth in a hard line, Lala bundled her wool coat tightly around herself as she crossed the narrow pebbled beach at the foot of the bluffs. Her pockets and boots were stuffed with provisions — crackers, tins of sardines — and she lugged an exceptionally large jar filled with her grandmother’s custard. She extracted her father’s pocketknife and cut a boat from the dock near the house, rowing away. Sea gulls squawked and whooped. Dive-bombed.
I worked on revising this story as a part of my Made at Hugo House project, the story collection MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME. Happy this story found a fantastic home.
In case you couldn’t make it or wanted to watch again, here’s the video from my final Made at Hugo House reading. I read half of my story “Healers,” which I workshopped at the Tin House Writers’ Workshop this summer and which may be the final story in my collection MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME. Many thanks to Samudre Media for recording!
The 2012-13 Made at Hugo House Fellowship is coming to an end (sad day!), and the first of our three final readings is this very Tuesday.
Come see what we’ve been toiling away at all year:
- Poetry! September 10. Katie Ogle will read from THE SMALLEST GUN I COULD FIND which follows a conversation between a speaker and her homonculus (Latin for “little man”). Bill Carty will read from YOU TROUBLER (Ahab to Elijah: “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” Taylor Swift: “I knew you were trouble.”)
- Fiction! September 25.Irene Keliher will read from her dystopian novel THE VISIONARIES, Eric McMillan will read from CLEAR, his novel about the Iraq war, and I will read from my story collection MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME.
- Nonfiction! November 21. Elissa Washuta will read from her second memoir, STARVATION MODE, along with Claire Jackson and Catherine Slaton.
These readings will be amazing! Come, come, come!
It’s been a wonderful year meeting with these talented writers, hearing guest speakers on topics such as grants and first book publications, taking free Hugo House classes, and snatching up surprise opportunities along the way, like Hedgebrook’s Spring Salon. This year, I started to feel much more integrated in Seattle’s literary community. And the fellowship encouraged me to roll up my sleeves, get more writing done, and get my writing out into the world more aggressively than I have ever done before. “The Zoo,” the first story I wrote with the fellowship in mind (while nervously waiting to hear back about the fellowship, actually), was published in January, and two stories I’ve revised this year will be coming out later this fall (details to come). I workshopped what I believe will be the last story in MORE LIKE HOME THAN HOME at the Tin House conference, and I’m excited to read it on the 25th. Many thanks to Brian McGuigan for coming up with this program and to Hugo House for making it happen!
And check out the 2013-14 fellows!
(Whew. I think I exhausted my monthly allotment of exclamation points.)
On Saturday, I had the good fortune of attending the Spring Salon at Hedgebrook, on Whidbey Island. I loved it so much I wrote a piece about it for their blog. Here’s how it begins:
Upon turning in to Hedgebrook, we (a poet, a playwright, and a fiction writer carpooling from Seattle) crowed at its green loveliness. A scent of wood smoke wafted out of the longhouse. And, inside, an abundance of welcome, and bagels so good I almost cried. Outside, I met with my first workshop, “The Funny Bone is an Erogenous Zone,” with Jennifer D. Munro. On the walk to the cottage, Jennifer pointed out a bench with a view of Mt. Rainier, and my poet-car-sharer Elissa pointed out a heap of lavender in a rusting wheel barrow. It was almost too perfect.
Check out VORTEX,their next weekend event, May 31-June 2. Special thanks to Brian McGuigan and the Made at Hugo House program for connecting me to this special place.
In February, the Made at Hugo House fellows read from our works-in-progress. I read “The Zoo,” which I had written in October while nervously waiting to hear whether I’d gotten into the program, and which was published in Washington City Paper’s D.C.-themed fiction issue in January. It was a lovely evening!
Recently, a gardening-savvy friend got me excited about what will crop up in our yard as the weather warms – lilacs, cherries, and plums, oh my! I just have to get through these last cold, muddy weeks. Luckily, I’ve got three readings on the horizon that will sneak me right into spring, all at the loverly Richard Hugo House:
- Tuesday, February 5, 8 pm – The Castalia Reading Series – This is the monthly reading series for the UW MFA program, and I get to read as an alum for the first time. I’m reading alongside fellow alum & poet Rachel Welty and students Derek Robbins, Jay Yencich, and Kristine Greive.
- Friday, February 15, 7:30 pm – Made at Hugo House Midyear Reading – As a part of the Made at Hugo House Fellowship, the fellows (Bill Carty, Irene Keliher, Eric McMillan, Katharine Ogle, Elissa Washuta, and me) will be sharing new work produced in the first half of the program.
- Thursday, March 21, 7:00 pm – Cheap Beer & Prose – I’m reading alongside Nicole Hardy, Corinne Manning, and Kristen Young as a part of the series’ annual ladies’ night. Wee!
Addendum: At the Pine Box, Monday, February 11, 7:30 pm – Pacifica Launch Party – The literary magazine I help edit is launching its first issue! Lisa Nicholas-Ristcher, Maggie MK Hess, Sarah Kathyrn Moore, Leena Joshi, Joannie Stangeland, and Jake Uitti will be reading, and the book, designed by Ryan Diaz, is beeeeautiful.
I’m honored to have my story “The Zoo” included as one of four stories in Washington City Paper’s D.C.-themed fiction issue . Here’s how the story begins:
That’s what my brother calls it. The quarantined room at the end of the hall. It has two sets of windows: one looking into an air lock, where two white bunny suits hang on the wall, then another looking into the room kept pristine for the most fragile.