Monday, June 05, 2006

Time to Make the Donuts

for the Summer issue. Sheesh, all those times you wonder why it's been six months and the editors of the journal you've submitted to haven't gotten back to you, it's because we're buried, under submissions, design, administrative tasks, promotion, all in the few hours each day when we're not working, working out, eating, spending time with our loved ones. It is never-ending.

But we wouldn't do it if we didn't love every minute of it.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Storysouth's Million Writers Award Nominations

Check out JMWW's nominations for Storysouth's Million Writers Award 2006. Congratulations Michael Hartford, Kirsten Noelle Hubbard, and Penelope Horn!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Conference: The Write Stuff

April 7-8, 2006, Allentown, Pennsylvania

One-page critiques, workshops, lectures, agents. For more information:

Monday, January 30, 2006

Baltimore City Lit Festival III

April 8th, 2006 at: Enoch Pratt Free Library (downtown) from 10 am to 5 pm.

This year's guest is Paul Rusesabagina, whose new autobiography An Ordinary Man tells the real-life story of the hotel manager who housed more than one thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia (as dramatized by Don Cheadle in "Hotel Rwanda,” which will also be screened at the festival).

This year's festival also includes:

Thomas Glave—a professor at SUNY Binghamton whose area of expertise includes the work of James Baldwin, Nadine Gordimer, Jamaica Kincaid, and contemporary work by African and African-American queer authors—will discuss his latest book, Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent...a powerful collection of essays on prejudice and injustice inflicted upon black gays and lesbians.

David Kipen, newly appointed Director of Literature for the National Endowment for the Arts, and Baltimore-born publisher Michael Cader ( will discuss the state of literature today during a session presented by the Maryland State Poetry & Literary Society.

Acclaimed Chicago-based performance poet Tyehimba Jess (recently named one of 18 new poets to watch by Poets & Writers magazine) heads up the poetry schedule reading from Leadbelly.

For mystery lovers, join Laura Lippman and some of the contributors to Baltimore Noir for the first public reading of this latest offering from Akaschic Books' cool city-themed series.

And others...

Contact Greg Wilhelm, President and CEO, CityLitProject, for details.
Phone: 410-274-5691

Monday, January 16, 2006

Two Girls, Fat and Thin

I just finished reading Mary Gaitskill's Two Girls, Fat and Thin. I had wanted to check out her newest, Veronica, but it wasn't at the library. I suppose you know what you're getting into if you check out Mary Gaitskill—tales of sexual deviancy and psyhological discomfort, which I'm admittedly not a big fan of, but I was able to get beyond that and really appreciate the amount of detail that she puts into her characters and their universes. (An ability in which I am deficient.)

That said, it was weird to read this novel, to delve so deeply into two women's lives (one "fat" [Dorothy], one "thin [Justine]," each of whom are connected in some form to the writings of a Ayn Rand-esque character) and to come away feeling empty, feeling I was no closer to understanding their present-day decisions, particularly Justine's (albeit whose story was written in third person and did not have the same painful immediacy as Dorothy's first person).

I suppose I was disappointed because Justine and Dorothy form a bond at the end not by individual, conscious choice so much as by circumstance and luck, especially when they both had opportunities throughout the novel to forge conscious connections with each other. Unless this is Gaitskill's point, that, much like their childhood, their ability to find healthy intimacy is based primarily on circumstance and luck and cannot be overcome by simple desire (as the realist guru Anna Granite [Ayn Rand] would have one believe). However, I don't think that is her point, and I do believe you can overcome the circumstances of one's upbrining, whatever it is, and find intimacy and sexual satisfaction. Although I'm not an Ayn Rand fan. Believe me.

Anyway, I think the idea of this book was intriguing but the execution was terrible. Such a waste for someone whose ability with details is far more suited to the novel form than the short story. However, this was her first novel, so perhaps they get better. Any Mary Gaitskill fans out there?

Phillywriters Net

Check out Beth Ziesenis's Philly Writers Net when you get a chance. Whether you live in the city of brotherly love or not, the site has an active participation of writers (unlike ours), is ethestically pleasing, and reminds me a bit of the Poets & Writers speakeasy forums (at least in terms of the information exchange).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

King of Mice

I am presently about 50 pages into John Irving's A Widow for One Year, and I'm already hooked. The question, of course, with an Irving novel, is whether I'll stay hooked throughout the rest of it. All of his works are long--I've read critiques that compare him to Dickens, and I suppose the main difference between them is that, as far as I know, Irving is NOT paid by the word--and some books can be a challenge to get through. Irving is not a subtle writer; he explains pretty much everything, and he sometimes smacks you with symbolism until your eyes want to bleed and you want to scream, "Quit it! I get it already!"

But I really like him, although I haven't read much of his recent work. Aside from this one, I guess the most recent I read was A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I almost gave up on that one, for the reasons listed above. But I plowed through, and the ending definitely justified everything else. My favorites, though, are all oldies that I've read several times each: The Water-Method Man (arguably the funniest of his books), The World According to Garp (which is about a writer), and The Hotel New Hampshire (which, along with Garp, includes all the early Irving trademarks: bears, wrestling, New England, Austria, rape, death of a child). The 158-Pound Marriage is the only novel of his that I really disliked and would never recommend--the characters are all hateful, and the story was indulgent. Setting Free the Bears, his first novel, is flawed but interesting.

Thus far, Garp is my favorite. What's your favorite? Or, what do you think of Irving?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

WordHouse Blasts Off

Be sure to check out WordHouse, Sam Schmidt and Virginia Crawford's bimonthly e-magazine for Maryland poets and writers. Once fully operational, it will provide plenty of resources for the writing community, in addition to book reviews and poetry.