From the mind of Megan Arkenberg

February 20, 2009

The State of the Writer Address

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I’ve spent most of this month working on literary magazines; Mirror Dance, for which I’ve read, edited, formatted, accepted, rejected, solicited, and “illustrated” a decent number of quality stories, and my most recent brainchild, a historical fiction e-zine that I hope to begin taking submissions for in June. I’m making an effort to keep my resolution about shortening Mirror Dance’s response time, but there’s been an unusual influx of 7,000+ word submissions, which take a little longer to read and work through rewrites for than the 3,000 word variety. Not that I’m complaining; they all have much to recommend them, and I’m honored to be able to consider them for Mirror Dance.

I’ve taken a small break this week from formatting and art searching (though not, of course, from reading and editing) and worked on revising several tanka from my old notebook. I dislike revising fiction and narrative poetry, but I find it an enlightening and deeply relaxing process with tanka. Since nearly all of my tanka are written from life, I often need the revision time to flesh out the ideas that came spur-of-the-moment and half-formed during the original writing.

I’ve also taken a break from the swarm of meticulously planned-out short stories awaiting nascence on my word processer and begun writing a short novella by hand. It’s coming out with surprising coherence for not having an outline, and there’s something about hand-writing a story that makes the voice feel more organic. Which is a good thing, honest, even if it means I’m falling occasionally into the tone of a turn-of-the-century-esque city boss.

On Wednesday I finished reading Tanith Lee’s indescribably magnificent The Gods are Thirsty. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, particularly to my fellow French Revolution fanatics. I’m just surprised that I didn’t discover it sooner!

And finally, for those same fellow French Revolutionary fanatics, yesterday was the first day of Ventôse CCXVII in the French Republican Calendar. Vive la Révolution!


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