It’s been several months since I declared I was going all in on writing, and as always reality interceded to make that otherwise. However, I’ve still been devoting a good amount of time to it, although one key thing I wanted to do was use this blog to keep me on track, the sort of digital writing accountability buddy, and since it’s the first of the month I figured now would be a good time to try to get back into that.
In order to benefit my mental health, I took a break from submitting stories and my manuscript during the month of November. Like so many other sectors of our culture and society, there’s a lot of anger in the literary world, notably literary journals, and it was leaving me in a very negative place. I have no issue with being rejected because someone else’s work is better, but it’s very disheartening to find so many places that reject me outright for things that are out of my control. Creating more wrongs cannot undo the wrongs of the past. After a month away to think about this, I’m going to delve back in today, hopefully with a better approach and ways to deal with this sort of thing when it does come up.
And so, I currently have nine short stories ranging from 400 words to 8000 words that I will begin trying to find homes for. Alongside that I am continuing to rewrite my entire first novel, historical fiction set in the 1940s, and it goes well. I finished the first draft about seven years ago now, and find myself cringing at a great deal of it, but I think that just shows how far I’ve come as a writer, which is a positive thing.
In addition to that I am working on a new short story, set at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where my best friends wedding took place about a decade ago. I found that just focusing on rewriting left me bogged down, that having a new short story to work on alongside it benefited both projects.
Lastly, I’ve continued to try to grow my YouTube page, named after this blog, Words Will Keep Us Together. I have several videos in mind to shoot during the month of December, but will see what actually comes of it.
As I’ve noted on my blog several times as of late, I’ve been slowly working my way through W. Somerset Maugham’s Introduction to Modern English and American Literature, published in 1943. It’s a great volume that I found for a dollar at a resale shop. It features many writers with whom I was familiar, but also others that have been more or less lost to history. Some of these were for good reason, and I struggled to finish their pieces, but others were surprises, to note a few: Andy Logan, Katharine Brush, William March, and Michael Arlen. I can’t say anything for the body of their works, but I thoroughly enjoyed the individual stories featured by each of these writers and would definitely read more by them
Stories accepted for publication
I’m happy to say that I have at least three stories officially accepted for publication, and that my work will be featured in Lit 202, Courtship of Winds, and Failbetter during the upcoming months. I may have got another story accepted this morning, but I’m waiting on official confirmation for that.
If you missed it on the blog, during the month of November I posted my latest video, this one of me reading my first published prose piece, posted a new original poem, and wrote about the loss of nature and boyhood ritual in modern Western society.
The biggest event for me outside of writing during the month of November was taking a trip to San Diego. I had not been on a plane for four years, and during that time developed horribly crippling anxiety. When my sister asked if I’d be interested to fly out to dog sit for her my initial response was “absolutely not” because just the thought of getting on an airplane, and in an enclosed space, where I could not escape no matter what, was absolutely terrifying. In the end I took the leap and, while flying is still not my favorite thing in the world, I did it and did it with nominal fear. Hopefully that will translate into further aspects of my life, proving to my brain that I don’t need to be so afraid of everything. While there, on the first night alone, I couldn’t sleep due to trauma issues and ended up googling deceased members of my family, during which I found the treasure of an image that I used for this post. It had to have been sometime during the 1940s, and shows my grandparents young and carefree, in a way that I’ve never seen them before. It made me very, very happy.
In physical health news I continued to try to figure out the numerous issues with my body, giving priority to the instability in my entire right leg. I first went to the ER some seven months ago after I could not bend my right hip without incurring blinding pain. Ever since then I’ve been seeing doctors and physical therapists, and investigating on my own, but that has proved fruitless. In November I decided to try working backwards by eliminating possibilities instead of trying to figure out the cause and so went to get full x-rays of my knee, which has seen a lot of pain and, after standing for even 10 or 15 minutes, feels like it is going to collapse. This has left me essentially unable to work, so figuring that out would be pretty great! The current working theory, after eliminating my knee, is severe nerve impingement in my back. Of course I’m not able to get into see a specialist until the end of January, so again I’m on my own, but maybe this is finally the thing, I hope.
Okay, so that’s enough of that, that was last month for me and the plan going forward, which I’m sure, as always, will grow and change day-to-day. I will continue to work on better adapting to that fact and learning how to ease into the flow of things instead of getting upset by them.
Have a great December everyone, time to go submit to some lit journals!