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“Crashing” wins finalist in Lascaux Prize

Out of 600 entries to the 2020 Lascaux Prize in Flash Fiction, my very own Crashing came in as one of the final three.

Lascuaux has been on my “Must Get In!” list for years. I am beyond tears. I’m in awe of the way things work out. Literally: the announcement reached me as I was

checking email after spending the wee hours (as I too often do) reading prize-winning flash fiction, looking for places to submit. Apropos of nothing (OR SO SHE THOUGHT), I went to the 2018 publication of Crashing, re-reading and thinking how much I loved this piece.

As a finalists, Crashing will appear in the journal’s annual anthology, to publish some time in 2021. Crashing will go live on Lascaux’s site as soon as they finalize the art. Oh, don’t you worry; I’ll let you know.

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A seasoned piece in a seasoned journal

The Jewish Literary Journal has been publishing since 2013, “here to help foster and publicize the unique(ly) Jewish voice espoused through creative writing (they don’t call us people of the book for nothing!), including those that may be difficult to relate with if one is unfamiliar with the religion or culture.”

In their November issue, The Jewish Literary Journal will reprint one of my favorite pieces, Girl Feelings, originally published in Literary Mama in 2008. Trigger warnings all over this one, you guys: sexual abuse, a parent’s mental illness. Tread carefully.

How could I mother a girl? I’d been abused as a girl.
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A new piece in a new magazine: Survivor Lit.

Survivor Lit is a brand-new and very good magazine run by Kirsten Ott Palladino. I am thrilled to be involved, even in my small way, with a review of the new anthology, Whatever Gets You Through. Visit Survivor Lit for my work; stay for the rest of it.

Latest flash nonfiction: “A Mensch with an Edge.”

Rabbi Yisrael Pinson and Becky Hurvitz describe the Yiddish concepts of beshert as such: “Imagine you are sitting at your kitchen table with a bushel of apples, and you split them all in half. You mix all the halves up and then try to fit them back together, looking for the halves that fit so perfectly that you can’t even tell the apple was ever split. A true beshert marriage is not a union of two parts, but a reunion of two halves. Just like the first human was a composition of male and female, so too each soul has a counter part. When we come into the physical world, we are separated, and now we look to reunite with our other half.”

I didn’t get into the Halacha (Jewish law and jurisprudence, based on the Talmud) or Kabbala (true Jewish mysticism; not the Madonna stuff) behind the beshert of myself and Cliff when I wrote it for last week’s “Beshert” column in Moment Magazine. Just the facts – and bit of Alle’s signature joy. Please enjoy “A Mensch with an Edge.”

About Writing X-tra Credit: Soapbox and Such

Alle Enjoying the Grub

My heart, am I reveling in the current on-line class I am taking through Boston’s famed GrubStreet creative writing center–a spiritual sister to my beloved Richard Hugo House, in Seattle.

I’m taking the six-week Novel Revision Intensive w/Kate Racculia, author of Bellweather Rhapsody and, most recently, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. Naturally, I am ironsmithing my Crappy Second Draft of Crazy Medicine. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve done thus far:

Our first step was to review each other’s opening pages. Next–this was a killer–we each re-read our book and wrote a letter to ourselves describing what worked and what didn’t. Apparently, it’s a Stephen King Thing. We weren’t suppose to edit; although, of course I did. You won’t tell anyone, will you?

Ella, the leggy Texan coke whore

Another part of the letter was to “To Do” list of what needed to be done with the subsequent draft. I came up with: splitting in half two chapters; and adding three chapters, one of which is from the point of view of Lena’s love-nemesis, Ella.

We haven’t discussed Ella, you and I. I need her to be more of a presence, but I’m not sure who she is, except that she comes from Donna, Texas, population 9,ooo, and she would be played in the movie by a young Charlize Theron. Oh, and she’s a leggy coke whore who becomes a meth addict. Character arch!

Next, we wrote a synopsis of our novel, up to 3500 words. This as a fantastic exercise for a novel-in-progress. I saw many places where I had to address transitions, character motivation, oh! All sorts of fun stuff. (And some not-so-fun realizations that I’ll get to, in a different post.) Finally, we had to read each other’s synopses and give feedback.

This week, our assignment is to write a query letter for an agent. During all this, we are continuing with our To Do list.

Next week is our final assignment. What will it be, what will it be?