Kinda disappointed, gente!

I put out calls for submissions for Microlandia! the journal-zine of microwriting last month, here and at my Tumblr.

Did I not press hard enough for submissions? Or give enough incentive? Was there some sort of magical formula that I could have used to garner writing from around the ether?

I grant that, on my part, there’s more than enough to preoccupy; I have to work out how not to get evicted from my humble abode, find work, and at least print a rough Issue Zero. I’ve also been recovering from a horrific brace of events, including two frustrating yard sale Saturdays, getting hit by a car (bruises and scrapes, but still traumatic), days in bed with a cold, and marking the third anniversary of my mom’s death day.

Still, I was hoping for some response beyond likes and vague happy noises. So imagine, if you please, my utter disappointment and frustration at the lack of enthusiasm–nothing, zip, zilch, nada, zero!

Now if I have to, I will go Little Red Hen and publish this as a chapzine. But I would have liked to read microwriting from other folks.

Time to regroup, I suppose. But I do mean to get Microlandia! off the ground, with or without other contributors.

So if anyone’s listening, and wants to leave their mark, stay tuned for a new deadline. But if this one falls on dear ears and numb hands, well, I’ll push on, all the same.

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Call for submissions!

Heads up, writerly writers! The premiere issue of Microlandia! needs your work. I’m looking for micropoetry (haiku, e.g.), microprose (fiction and nonfiction, 250 words max), micromemoirs (same word count), and writing prompts, no later than March 18, 2012.

I can only repay in copies of this journal/zine, but let’s start here and see how things shake out.

Submit your work at aherreracg@gmail.com, and include your name and street address, so I can send your copy to you. Thanks ever so!

Ephemera

The past few weeks have been depressing and frustrating by turns. 

I shan’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say, I understand that bad days may feel like forever, but they too will pass. In the meantime, I keep an eye open for things that bring inspiration, joy, wonder–and press on.

Went to a reading at Books and Books this past Saturday. The VONA series, presented by the UM Faculty, featured several authors and some open-mike time, before and after.

One of the poets there read an instructional poem, inspired by Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit collection. And that got the wheels spinning.

So far I have two pieces: one on Matthew Gray Gubler, another on Kirsten Vangsness. I’m wondering whether to continue through the cast of Criminal Minds or to move on to other topics. Also weighing the possibility of instructional micropoems for Microlandia

More thoughts on the latter soon. I still have some bugs to work out.

New Year, new…?

I’m not making resolutions.

Much like organizational systems, I find them dodgy: more the feeling that you’re doing something, which is, often, not the case. All the agendas, seminars, motivational materials on the planet cannot guarantee better work/use of time/personality.

Neither can the whole unholy host of resolutions people make for the coming year. Give up smoking? Fine. Lose 10 pounds? That’s debatable. Work on road rage?

…You get the picture.

What I do want to do, in 2012, is pretty straightforward, though.

When 2013 rolls around, I’d like to see Set List and MicroLandia in circulation; to bring local poets together for a Sunday reading affair; to find work; to get my quicksilver cat up-to-date on shots, neutering, what have you; to read at least five books a month; to cook more at home; and to pay back the kindness and generosity that I’ve received over the past year and a half.

Oh, I also look forward to laughing myself silly over all the Rapture rumors, especially when they fall through.

Bienvenidos a microlandia!

The Blue Christmas Party, last night, was great fun. Hearing John Dufresne, Diana Abu-Jaber, et alia read excerpts from the anthology lifted my spirits. (Of course, the blue mojitos, cake, and jelly orange slices didn’t hurt–neither did the friendliness of the audience. I ran into more than a couple of people I’d met earlier…)
Sunday morning rolled around, and found me in a funk. Took a little while to get up, but my cat, Ten-Ten, got fed, and so did I (peanut butter toast and iced coffee). Thankfully, I took an umbrella, or the squally weather would have kept me inside.
Divine Liturgy was good, though at several points I did feel that I might burst into tears. But the service passed without drama, and afterward, there was a rehearsal for the Christmas pageant–followed by lunch at Maroosh. The mezze alone were filling, and the kebabs (chicken and kofta) left me a little stuffed. Sadly, I did not snag any baklava or coffee, but that might have been overkill.
Came home, did a little washing, and took a nap, Ten-Ten curling into me. Woke up an hour later, got out. Tried to drop off a few DVDs at Ozzie’s–not there, so I just walked on.
I’ve been rereading Andrew Solomon’s The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, and mulling over the nature of this shadow sharer in my life. I suppose I’ve wanted to understand what this depression is, what triggers it, how it comes and goes, since I was a kid, and experiencing the pain and strangeness of my family’s disintegration. (Nineteen seventy-five was a traumatic year, let’s just say.) I’m not a psychologist, but I have learned a few things over time:
depression is pretty slippery and mutable; it never affects the same way twice; it has flared up around the holidays–and more recently, around the birth-and deathdays of my parents; it’s often accompanied by anxiety, which leaves me feeling dumbstruck; and I wonder how I can find a way to communicate what is going on.
People are kind (in the main), and when they advise me to take supplements, cheer up, buck up, yadada yadada, they do so with the best of intentions. Comforting, yes, but more often than not, frustrating. If I could flip depression off and on, oh, do believe I’d try to permastick the switch in the OFF position. It’s not as though I wake up and say to myself, “Hey, today I’m just going to spend the day shambling along like a sleepwalker. No–better yet–I’m going to stay in bed, sleep the afternoon away, and just pass time listless and apathetic. Call it a plan!” But I digress.
Working retail during the holidays has always been a draining experience. Between playing diplo with customers, fielding advice, the nonstop sensory assault of decorations, bad music, and the compulsory cheeriness that one must show in public, I’m surprised that I haven’t come to despise the season altogether. The last two Christmases have been stressful in their own way; I honestly did not want to spend the last one with D and his family. Not that they weren’t lovely or gracious, or that the dinner and company were horrible, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness that I couldn’t spend the time with my parents, my maternal grandmother, or my great-grandmother. Yes, it was wonderful to read Brodsky after the Nochebuena dinner; thoughtful to receive a cute bit of wall art; enjoy sangria and eggnog. But I wanted my mom. I wanted my dad. Kind as they all were, D’s family was not my family! And after the festivities, I felt guilty at the relief of not having to put on a face for company.
Moving along…
I wrote several micropoems today. I didn’t get much done yesterday with Set List, but writing lifted my spirits somewhat. I am toying with the notion of putting out a collection of micropoetry–but let me finish the first collection and get that published before I wear myself out! Since I have composed bilingual micropoems (Spanish-English, Spanish-Portuguese), Microlandia may make a great title. What d’you think?