Published!!!

Way back in January I made some New Years Writing Resolutions, and no.3 was “Submit a short story to my school’s literary magazine.” Well, folks, I submitted one, and I was accepted! The release party was last night, and you can now find my short story “Cake” right here, in the 2016-17 version of The Peel, a very cool literary magazine.

I was asked to read the story at the release party, which I did, and I didn’t throw up, mess up, or start laughing uncontrollably into the microphone. The crowd was the kind that snaps when they like a line. It was an incredible experience, and the implications haven’t quite sunk in. I’m a person who’s been published. A published person. P U B L I S H E D.

The story is about a cake (surprised?) and only a page and a half long. It was actually a writing prompt I did last year and buffed up to submit on the last night of the deadline, which goes to show–well, I’m not sure what, but it goes to show something.

And after that brief celebration, it’s back to the despair of exam week. Good luck to any fellow students out there!

cake edit

Image 1: An attempt at a context-based visual pun

Surrealist Writing Games

Sounds kind of like Reindeer Games. But detailed instructions to surrealist writing can be found halfway through André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto, which requires at least two hours and a strong cup of tea to make any kind of sense.

Essentially, the goal is to tap into your subconscious. Sit, clear your mind, and begin to write–not focusing on what you’re writing or what you’ve written, only moving forward with the flow of the act. Writes Breton, “the first sentence will come spontaneously, so compelling is the truth that with every passing second there is a sentence unknown to our consciousness which is only crying out to be heard.”

A friend and I tried the practice out: It’s absolutely harder than it sounds, equally fun, and I invite anyone to try it out. We certainly had fun laughing at our results. Below is my most viewable piece.

Slashing and violent do the urges come to us, the authors, creators, merry-makers, weaving lost threads under the suns of our ancestors: what is sense? But the moment to moment daze, understanding flashes of white, of the apples which bloom beneath our feet to perish and make merry the ebullient tomatoes of servitude, sorrow, reminiscing. Do not but fear at the faint thought of the scavenger, whom to all else is nothing. Let carnage strip from beaks, flesh from feathers that reach the night. Every thought is fluttering, passing, self-aware. It hurts!

 

Writing Prompt Struggles

Every Saturday in a small building perfect for authors (read: cozy couches, stocked with tea, and next to a cookie store), I co-host a writing group. Mostly it’s free writing with company, but for the first 20 minutes we snag a writing prompt off a reddit thread and try to beat the clock. Sharing afterwards is the scariest part, and most of us chicken out of actually reading our piece aloud.

Before inheriting the group, I’d never actually done any kind timed writing prompt (AP exams don’t count). Suffice to say, this practice changed me as a writer. I discovered a deep, abiding love of prompts. The high of quick, nonstop writing, the freedom of inventing characters and plot on the fly–all slightly addicting.

But it took me a while to get into the swing of the short prompt and stop writing the beginnings of lengthy plots. (My writing career bypassed short stories entirely and dove straight into novellas and novels.) Figuring out how to tell something briefly and concisely was–and is–a challenge, but one I am getting much better at.

Of course, the lure of the extended adventure still pulls my prompts off course more often than not, but I’ve managed to trim a few of them into satisfactory self-contained stories.

stags-green

Pictured above: my good intention to write a short story (left) vs. my deep-seated urge to start a new novel (right)