This past winter I read my writing in public for the first time at local lit mag, Whistling Shade‘s issue launch. They published an essay of mine about Rome and John Keats last summer, so I was invited to be part of the reading. At first I was like ohno, not me, imposter, but I coaxed myself into saying yes!, and I’m so glad I did.
It’s crazy to me how strong the literary community is here in Minneapolis. It warmed my heart to see how many people came out on a night in January and crowded in the back room of a bookstore just to hear local people read original poetry and prose. Also, I have so much admiration for Whistling Shade, which has been putting out free magazines twice a year since 2001.
I especially loved this poem, Philando, by Norita Dittberner-Jax, who I got to talk to a little after the reading. I cut that poem out of my copy of WS and taped it to my wall.
I thought I would share my 2019 writing goals here on the blog even though I realize now it’s March, not exactly timely. I want to get more comfortable writing across multiple genres, so I set the very ambitious goal of writing one essay, one short story, and one poem every month, the thought being I’ll have 12 drafts of each by 2020. I totally nailed it in January, I did not great in February, and March is going a little better. I scrape together whatever writing time outside work when I’m not too stressed out. While a lot of the new writing, as with any new writing imo, is not good, I feel like I’m learning from the exercise of forcing myself to get words on the page. And every so often something comes out that I really like.
In January I also had a micro-essay / prose poem type thing, “Vesuvius,” published in Atticus Review. It’s really short, so possibly give it a read?
I was thinking about doing this new thing where I share some things I’ve read and really liked recently. So here are a couple:
- “How Should a Person Be?” by Sheila Heti – It’s described as a “novel from life” and on the experimental side of things. I found it a very deep and honest portrayal of young artists trying to decide what kind of person they want to be, which felt particularly striking to read at this time in my life.
- “Guide to Communicating with Your Dead Brother,” essay by Erika Kleinman – this essay made me cry like a baby.
Anyway, thanks for always being kind to my infrequent updates. Let me know if you read/liked any of the things I shared. And I’m always looking for recommendations as well!