Yeah, it’s been a while since I unpacked anything here, so I’ll spare you a rambling preamble and just whip something out.

October was a crazy month, the worst US presidential election ever notwithstanding.  In between health-driven dips, I actually managed to add and edit a lot of words and some of them actually went places.

Here

First I want to go over my first public reading event, chronological order be damned.

I started on this thing months in advance, largely because nabbing a good slot at the venue, Denton’s Bearded Monk craft brew shop, proved a bit difficult.  Plus I wanted to make sure there was time to attract interest.  When you’re not-quite-locally-famous, this can be a challenge.  Naturally I leveraged Twitter and Facebook, but I figured the best way to encourage decent attendance was to make it about more than just me.

I reached out to a small multitude of DFW-area writers I knew, and managed to rope in four others.  I also wanted to make this multiformatted so area artists were included as well.  You can see the listing in the Facebook event description.

First I want to say that the participants were wonderful.  The readings went flawlessly and the art, mostly provided by my dear friend Stacy Tompkins, was stunning–especially since she went out of her way to create works derived from some of my stories!  That was a real thrill and honor.

But ultimately I feel like I let everyone down.  Only a small fraction of the expected audience showed up; there was significantly greater fallout than at an event I put together.  It wasn’t a failure to get word out–there were plenty of people reached.  For whatever reason, there were far more than the usual no-shows.

This is discouraging on many levels.  It makes me hesitant to organize future readings, but it also failed for sales/signings, the venue, and the live tee shirt printer, Nice Dudes Servicing Craft.  Everyone was gracious but I still feel I let them down.  Still digesting this one.

 

There

I believe my writing continues to improve and editorial rejection feedback supports that.  How’s that for defiant optimism?

Increasingly, editors are providing me more detailed reasons why stories didn’t quite resonate, and there have been a few almost-good-enoughs.  This is simultaneously encouraging and discouraging.  I feel like a runner who is close to the finish line but finds a last-minute treadmill thrust under him.

Still, the treadmill managed to vibrate a little closer to the goal.  To wit:

  • I repeated with an honorable mention in the 2016 Texas Observer fiction contest, with the post-apocalyptic short Any Time She Goes Away (scroll to the bottom here; more on this story later).  That’s two years in a row!
  • I managed to get one of my favorites, the Mars settlement story Karma Garden, on the short list for the 2016 Desi Writers Lounge contest (scroll to the bottom here).  At draft 7 I think this one is close to publishable.

 

Everywhere

So like most creatives the saw-tooth cycle of gain-lose has me rapidly vacillating between I am THIS close and Why The Hell Do I Even Bother.  If I have one takeaway from last month, though, it’s that my editorial eye is sharpening and I’m starting (finally) to recognize where my work comes up short and what I can do to fix things.

So yeah, status:  currently leaning toward THIS close despite innumerable, insufferable obstacles, and looking forward to getting closer.

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