Wisconsin Summer

Hello Everyone,

Another two weeks have passed since I last blogged. It’s hard to believe all that has happened since then. Sometimes it feels life moves way too fast. Is that unreasonable? Yet, here I am in my study (still feel weird calling it an “office”) and the windows are thrown open. The sun pours into my room, I can hear the birds calling to one another.

I’m not sure if any of you are tennis fans, but I have to do the right thing by saying Wimbledon belongs to Rafa. Nadal was not able to play last year due to injuries, and still, against the odds (most people felt Federer would take the trophy and cheque but it was not meant to be) he came out on top. A nod also to Serena, who won the Wimbledon women’s trophy.

I joined the AWP: The Association of Writers & Writing Programs. So I am now a full-fledged member, whatever that means. I am also a current member of the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association. And the Academy of American Poets. So. It sounds like I have all my ducks in a row. Really what it means is about as vague as any title’s meaning.

I have been having modest success with more of my stories and poems getting published. Since I last blogged, here are sites where you can read my work online:

“Neighbors” and Therapists” at Postcard Shorts (thanks, Richard):

Postcard Shorts: Stories that fit on a postcard

“The Frozen River” at 50 to 1 (thanks, Glen):   50 to 1

“Pheasant Lane” at Orion headless (thanks, Sara):                                         Pheasant Lane | Orion headless

“When the Time Comes” at Negative Suck (thanks, Jeffrey):


“The Basement” at Underground Voices (thanks, Jim):


“Before and After” at Soundless Poetry:

Robert Vaughan « soundless

“Regarding Kay” at The Camel Saloon (THANKS RUSSELL!!!):

The Camel Saloon: Regarding Kay

A note about this poem: I wrote “Regarding Kay” the week that I found out my mother passed away in November 2002. Kay was a long term Alzheimer’s patient, and I was on vacation in NYC at the time of her final demise. It’s a complex illness, to say the very least, and this poem is raw, and angry, and complex, written in the throes of attempting to reconcile my feelings about my mother: the loss, the love, the memories, her life, and mine, now, without her in it. Russell, the editor and “barkeep” at The Camel Saloon, honored me when he e-mailed to say he was approaching his 100th post of literature at his site. And he wanted to honor me by giving me his 100th post. Well, that alone blew me away. There seemed to be no choice: Regarding Kay it was! Of course, the moment I e-mailed it to him, I had my doubts. Too personal. Too tragic. You know how the mind works. Well, Russell loved the poem, and scores of other people have since chimed in to tell me how it affected them. I could never have asked for a better tribute for Kay or my family. And I am eternally grateful to Russell for touching my heart so deeply.

That same weekend, the 4th of July, we spent a three day stint in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a nice get-away from Milwaukee, and yet the city has a completely different feeling. We took in a fantastic show at the American Players Theater in Spring Green. The Touchstone Theater had a performance of “The Syringa Tree” starring actress extra-ordinaire Colleen Madden. It was a tour de force performance in a role that requires no less than twenty or more character changes: black, white, young, old, male, female. It mattered not, she produced this seamless, flawless magic. Instantaneous standing ovations were not enough! If you can’t see her in the show, then do read the book by the same name by author Pamela Gien. It’s fantastic!

I am currently reading Dzanc Books Best of the Web 2010 edited by guest editor Kathy Fish and series editor Matt Bell. Next I’ll read The Pen/O.Henry Prize Stories with jury selections by Junot Diaz, Paula Fox, and Yiyun Li. So much material, so little time (again, this time crunch theme?)

Five or perhaps six weeks ago I had a goal of reaching 25 pieces published before my birthday in August. Well, I surpassed that a while back. I just had my 43rd piece accepted for publication, spread among 21 various online or print journals. It really does astound me, and yet I continue to write, to submit, to re-write and persevere.

I will be a guest on Lake Effect, Milwaukee’s Public Radio, talking about the state of online magazines and journals, one writer’s submission process, and flash fiction in particular, as I seem to have had much success of late with this form. I’m also going to read a selection of my work. We’re taping on July 20, so I will post the dates of airing, and links for podcast, etc.

And so, summer marches on. Yesterday we had hail, today Lance Armstrong looks like his chances at yet another win in the Tour de France might have ended. What will tomorrow bring? What might be some new adventure for you this summer that you have always wanted to do, but just haven’t yet?

Take the plunge. The world awaits.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a 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 books 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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12 Responses to Wisconsin Summer

  1. Andrea says:

    Congratulation my best friend, congratulations. Carpe carp. LOL! WOO HOO!!!

  2. Shari says:

    Your writing just keeps on blossoming, Robert. Like the lovely summer roses that are here, keep bringing beauty and your vision to the world. Thanks for the new blog.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Brilliant! Way to go with your new work. Can’t wait to read your first collection of shorts!

  4. Theo says:

    On the radio…you and Donna Summer! Way to go, Robert. Where do you find the time to write all of your pieces? I am amazed.

  5. Harry says:

    Your prose and poetry are great. I really like The Basement story, it was spooky. Great writing.

  6. David says:

    fabulous I’m crying you can listen to my stream tomorrow 9pm EST WHPC… you will know what parts are for you

  7. David says:

    wait a second you joined something that has the word REGIONAL in it?? how do we feel about that??? REGIONAL

  8. Cynthia says:

    Wow, gorgeous writing Robert. Keep it up!

  9. Dez says:

    I am thrilled for you, buddy. So many new stories to catch up on, and keep them coming. My favorites, for whatever it is worth, was the “Pheasant Lane” story and your poem “Regarding Kay.” Very sad, but heartfelt. Well done, your mama would be proud.

  10. Tim says:

    I came across your blog site from The Nervous Breakdown. I really enjoyed your article you wrote about Joan Rivers. I did see her movie and like you mentioned, it changed my views about her. I also enjoy your fiction. Thanks for sharing places on the net where you have your work. Any work in print?

  11. John Hull says:

    Thanks for the probing question at the end of your blog, Robert. One thing I am doing this summer is learning how to scuba dive. I’ve been taking lessons and I will be going to Bonaire in August with my wife, and another couple. Supposed to be great diving!
    Take care and keep up the great work.

  12. Becky says:

    You write like one of my favorite teachers used to when I was in high school. Everything is going along so smoothly, then wham! So, nice job with that. Surprise factor.

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