Happy Earth Day 2010

Hello Everyone!

It’s Earth Day today. So, to celebrate this, I read the May/June issue of Adbusters, The Ecopsychology issue. Without giving too much away, this issue’s table of contents contains five sections: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Sound familiar? It would seem so. But what I love about this provocative and stimulating magazine is it causes me to look, feel and consider different perspectives on such things as the EARTH. Such things as humanity, politics, government, nature, beauty, money or death.

Another thing I did was devote more time to my latest favorite reads: Lydia Davis’s Collected Stories, Kim Chinquee’s new release Pretty, Dan Chaon’s Among the Missing. I adore stories, love to read them, yearn to write them.

And speaking of writing, I have been submitting. And submitting. I use an online resource called duotrope’s digest. It’s like having a personal assistant without the hassle of sharing one’s office. Duotrope serves as a research prompt, a file to save your online and print submissions, a way to find out which magazines are “Slothful, Swift, Challenging, or Approachable.” Of course, it is reliant on each writer to enter your own “data.” There is another category I like to watch called “Fledgling markets.” Like anything new in life, there is a learning curve to duotrope. It takes some time and patience to learn more about duotrope, but I feel as if I am on a ride, and I approach the writing market as I would any part of my “job” as a writer.

At latest count (as of January 1, 2010), I have over 50 different pieces in circulation (being considered). Some  are called “simultaneous submissions,” meaning I’ve sent the same piece to more than one magazine (only certain magazines allow this).

And I have had some success, as many of you know! Three of my shorter short stories have been published. If you would like to read them, I will post the links here:

“Double Barrel” published at 50 to 1:

http://50-to-1.blogspot.com/

“Gingko” published at Postcard Shorts:

http://www.postcardshorts.com/

On April 25th, “Gone Before Dawn” published at Short, Fast, and Deadly:

http://www.shortfastanddeadly.com/

I am exceeding grateful to these editors for selecting my work for their online magazines.

Last weekend I had the great fortune to be in the company of Karen McQuestion. She taught a workshop at Redbird- Redoak Studio called Self- Publishing. Admittedly not an expert, Karen’s insight and sharing her success through Amazon and the Kindle market was astounding. I have known Karen for several years, and at times, we’ve worked closely together on certain writing projects. She had excellent handouts, full of information about any question one might have about getting your work into the hands of others.

As some of you know, I write frequently with a small group and we do “prompt” writing. We pick a line, create a word bank, pick something in the room, use a quote. Whatever the “prompt,” we write for ten minutes. Then, we take turns reading them aloud. Many of my previous blogs came from these prompt sessions. Since all of my writing buddies are attending a WOMEN’S ONLY retreat (discrimination? LOL) this weekend, one shared some prompt ideas with me. Thanks, Sheila! So, I will do the same: here are some prompts for you to consider writing this weekend:

1) “This year, we doubled our stock of grandchildren, from two to four.” (from Robert Knisely, ’62 from Harvard Magazine)

2) ‘Clarity, clarity, clarity.’ (from The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White)

3) ‘The history of paper is complex.’ (from Great Ancient China: Projects You Can Build Yourself)

Lastly, on this great EARTH DAY, I want to leave you with a message from Thoreau:

“Let us consider the way in which we spend our lives,” Thoreau began one of his essays, noting that since time was short, he would “Leave out all the flattery, and retain all the criticism,” as was his way. “What is it to be born free and not to live free?” he asked his fellow citizens. “Is it a freedom to be slaves, or a freedom to be free, of which we boast?” (from Adbusters, May/June)

In that classic song Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

So, what am I holding on to? What’s keeping me from being free?

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, published author, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely found in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, BlazeVOX, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Managing Editor at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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8 Responses to Happy Earth Day 2010

  1. david says:

    fantastic.. la la la nana nana na na na.. Me and Bobby McGee.. yeah…

    windshield wipers turpentine..

    windshield wipers clappin time…

  2. Andrea says:

    Oh Lord
    Won’t cha buy me
    a Mercedes Benz?
    my friend all drive horses
    I must make amends
    been scared all my life time
    with no help
    from my friends
    so OH lord
    won’t cha buy me
    a
    mer
    cedeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees
    benz?

  3. Dez says:

    A great question, one I have been pondering since I read your blog yesterday. And these deeper questions are not easily answered, of course. Thanks for your insights and your writing.

  4. Wallace says:

    For me it’s the concept of “job.” And maybe the American Dream? Seems like that is shifting with my generation, too. (I’m in my late 20s)

  5. Shari says:

    Happy Earth Day, Robert!I remember you mentioning Adbusters a long time ago when we were discussing what we were reading. That magazine is very provocative and I have read it ever since. In honor of the earth, my sister and I planted trees on her farm in upstate New York- Japanese maples and oak. Felt great to get our hand dirty with soil, not cleaning products.

  6. Yasmine says:

    What have I been holding onto? Great question. Feels like so many possible answers! I’ll pick vanity, and the concepts of what I was taught by family, culture, and my own choosing.

  7. Hey Robert,

    Congratulations on your acceptances! I read the first two pieces and thought they were terrific, and will make a point to check out the third on Sunday. I’m so glad your work is getting the recognition it deserves.

    And thanks for the kind words about the RedBird-RedOak workshop. I was a little nervous going in, but I got over it pretty quickly. Seeing all the familiar faces certainly helped.

    As far as what I’m holding on to? Maybe past grudges? (Although some of those grudges are justified…)

    Karen

  8. JR Price says:

    What a great post and congratulations on your writing finding a home in the Universe. I knew it would only be a matter of time. Way to persevere, Robert. As far as what I am holding onto? Possibly alcohol, been thinking about stopping drinking for some time now. Not sure how that affects the earth? Maybe a better influence on my kids.

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