Yay! My mini-chapbook for the Origami Poetry Project is out!
Well, it’s been out since last week, but since I was away and internetless at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival,(*) I only found out about this last night when I got back.
My chapbook Watching the City is on the home page right now, but you can also print it from my poet page. After printing, fold it according to the instructions here and ta-da, you have a mini-chapbook! Tiny poetry!
As I mentioned in my previous post about this: consider this mini-chapbook a prelude to a longer Helsinki-inspired chapbook/collection that I’ve got in the works. So much in the works that it’s basically already done, all that’s left is sending it out to potential publishers. That’s required enough energy that I’ve had the project on hold for quite a while. Will do my best to get it sent out this summer!
(*) After a series of ridiculously unfortunate events, my folk dance group finally got to perform. And we danced well!
I didn’t realise that my novelette “Moss” had already appeared in Silver Blade Magazine – but it has! This is my longest published story to date – a novelette, eeee! I feel so happy it’s out and I can share it with everyone!
Read “Moss” here!
Note: trigger warning for (implied) incest: the story was inspired by the fairytale “Donkeyskin” and some other variants of Aarne-Thompson motif #510B. It’s not graphic at all in “Moss”, just implied, like I said, but I thought I’d warn about it anyway.
“Moss” is set in the forest world of “Boat-husk” and “The Ruin” . Timeline-wise, this novelette is set way back in the world’s history compared to “The Ruin” – the apocalyptic event mentioned in “The Ruin” is still far, far in the future for the protagonists of “Moss”.
I really enjoy this world I’ve built/am building! I hope you do too. 🙂 (I should do something about the zero draft of a novel I wrote last Nanowrimo, also set in this forest world…)
Do you have things that you constantly try to capture in writing, but only rarely succeed, and if so, only partially?
I have several – well, everyone probably does – but the two that I struggle the most to capture are music and dance. I’m deeply into the contemporary Finnish folk music and dance scene; there’s some strange magic in the fiddle harmonies and subtle rhythms, and in the ability to find the perfect dance steps for the tunes. I’d want to be able to write this into my fiction and poems.
So many times, I’ve tried to capture a certain feeling in writing – that feeling I get when I’m dancing, when there’s a group of folk musicians playing, when there’s a perfect trinity of connection between my body&soul, my dance partner, and the music weaving between us. I’ve tried both in English and Finnish. One time this spring I got pretty close, in a Finnish poem. There’s always something missing, though. But that’s part of writing, I suppose – always striving for some unattainable goal.
I’m always trying to capture elusive beasts in words. Intensely physical experiences like dance or the emotions caused by music are perhaps among the hardest things to express in such a different medium. But I always have to keep trying. With every attempt, I may capture even a shred of the moment. Perhaps one day those shreds, as poems and stories, will form a broken mosaic expressing what the experience of dance, of the deep tear-wrenching joy of music is like for me.
During May a lingering flu, grant applications, and other PhD work basically ate up all my energy. But now I’ve been getting into the writing groove again. I finished and submitted a story on Monday in a glorious frenzy. I submitted two more stories yesterday. I’ve been dipping my toes into poetry again. I’m pondering diving back into the novel I started in April. Before I do that, though, there’s a short story to write in Finnish for a tiny competition. Writing! Huzzah!
This summer is going to be really busy: a work trip to the UK, a folk music festival, a friend’s wedding, and a two-week summer school. Plus a load of other academic work. But despite all the work-busyness and travel, I will keep writing as much as I can. I’m super into my PhD work; but creative writing is what keeps me feeling like me, and I need to keep doing it or I’ll start feeling miserable.
The lengthening nights are making it even more difficult for a night-owl like me to go to bed at sensible hours, but I don’t mind. Oh Finnish summer, this glorious three-month burst of sun, joy, bright nights!
I’ve had a flu for the past eight days and it doesn’t seem to be going away. I think it’s going and then… back it comes, mostly in the form of a sore throat. So, I haven’t had any extra energy to spare. I’ve tried to keep up with PhD work, but creativity has been difficult. I tried to get a story submitted to a fairytale anthology but missed the deadline because my energy levels have just been too low for creative work. It sucks, and I’m tired of this lurgy.
Still, I thought I’d post because it’s been a while since the last rec post! Here’s a wonderful story that made my day brighter when I read it:
Under Wine-Bright Seas by A. Merc Rustad (in Scigentasy) – this gorgeous story brought me to tears by the end. Sisters being sisterly, yay (one of my favourite things)! Awesome trans protagonist, yay! Hopeful ending yay! Merc’s writing is so beautiful. Also, the artwork (by Jake Giddens) is fantastic and really suits the atmosphere of the story.
Long time no post (not even Sunday recs – sorry about that). This month has been ridic busy. So much work, so many other things I’ve been taking care of… I think I haven’t even mentioned that I decided to do Camp Nanowrimo this month. Anyway, I did! 😀
Because of all the busy and the stress, I had times when I thought I’d just give up on my Camp Nanowrimo goal of writing 10,000 words for the novel (let’s call it Beast). Well, last weekend I finally came up with some things that turned the plot around and made me excited for the project (yay!). Yesterday I finally had time to actually knuckle down to writing some scenes. Unfortunately, I was feeling exhausted and a bit flu-ish, so it was all rather painful… but I managed a lot of words. And today, I sprinted 4,851 words, bringing my word count total beyond 10k! Including worldbuilding notes and such – but that was within my parameters for Camp Nano. Around 7k is actual novel text, anyway. Written in two days.
So: MUCH CAMP NANOWRIMO SUCCESS. Also: I love Scrivener. I bought it at last, and it’s working out so well. Am thinking of trying it out for PhD stuff too.
Now I can just keep on improving the outline for Beast and writing more scenes. Note to self: it’s allowed to be zero-draft level text even if this novel is based on a previous novel draft of mine. After all, a lot of things are different both plot- and character-wise.
In addition to continuing Beast, I have a few stories I want to write and submit for various things. And May will be super busy PhD-wise. I’ll have to be mindful of self-care as well: I don’t want to collapse just because I’m doing too many interesting things.
Still, writing-busy on top of work-busy is worth it, after all – because sometimes there are moments like today, when writing makes me lose all sense of time and the words hurtle out. When I want to write even when my ears are blocked and ringing, when my body is aching for rest.
But now I’ll go and engage in some self-care. To sleep, perchance to dream!
My poem “The World in Springtime” is now up in The Stare’s Nest. Yay!
Here is the direct link to the poem.
It’s still not very spring-like here – it’s rainy and grey today. I wrote this poem in late April 2013, though, so there’s always hope that in about three weeks’ time even Finland will have some proper spring action going on. I think it’s so unfair that here in Helsinki we had an unsatisfying winter with way too little snow, but now the weather isn’t even compensating with a warm, lovely early spring. Bah, I say!
The crocuses in my apartment block’s yard seem to be ready to burst into bloom though, so we may have hope yet. 🙂
Three of my poems are included in April’s Short Poems issue of Snakeskin:
Read “Pomeranian”, “Lauttasaari Bridge”, and “Human Nature” here!
“Pomeranian” is part of a silly series of dog poems I’ve been writing occasionally, with an emphasis on cuteness and word-play. I really like other people’s dogs (would not have the time or inclination of one of my own). I’m glad to see this little doglet-poem see publication! Also, I absolutely adore the Pom picture that the editor George Simmers has added. 😀 SO CUTE.
“Lauttasaari Bridge” is one of my Helsinki poems, written last summer while – surprise – I was biking across Lauttasaari Bridge, near-ish my home. The sunset was incredible, and thus, I poemed.
“Human Nature” was written in January 2013. I was upset about news of some sort, desperately needed comfort that wasn’t available at that moment.
Aaand a wee announcement: I am finally on Twitter now as suchwanderings.
I’ve procrastinated over getting a Twitter account for well over a year because I’ve been afraid it’ll swallow up all my time… but the writing conversations over there are so interesting, and it seems like a great way to keep up with all that. I’m going to have to be strict about how much time I spend there. Anyway, 2am last night I was just like “OK LET’S DO THIS” because clearly past midnight is the best time to start figuring out a new social media platform! I am currently very confused by the format and etiquette and everything, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.
Which is to say, follow me if you wish but expect a lot of beginner-level “I am so confuse” action!
Tonight I’m feeling inspired by Rose Lemberg’s great essay (originally published as tweets) on perseverance and the editorial process.
Rose talks about the importance of not self-rejecting your work, and of daring to submit, and re-submit to a publication that’s rejected your work before. The whole essay is very much worth a read for any (aspiring or published) writer! Especially if you (like me) suffer from some form of perfectionism and self-doubt.
It was such a huge leap for me to start submitting my poems in 2012. I’ve been writing (both prose and poetry) since forever, and my poetic voice has been getting stronger since 2009, but it took me so long to dare to submit my work. I was really afraid of rejection, of not being “good enough”. And those first rejections really hurt. I hadn’t developed a tougher skin yet; I felt like the magazines I submitted to were rejecting my whole self, all of my writing forever, &c. &c.
As time’s gone by, it’s got easier. I still feel a sting when I get a rejection, especially if it’s been a long time since an acceptance. But I understand better now that rejections a) are just one person’s (editor’s) opinion, b) can happen for any number of reasons, c) do not mean I’m a terrible writer. I’ve learnt to feel happy about personalised rejections, and the ones that actually give a snippet of feedback on my work make me feel good. I try to believe the editors when they say “please submit to us again”.
It’s been harder with stories. Quantity-wise, I produce far less of them than poems, which flow out at a much quicker pace. Story rejections still sting more, and make me doubt my skills (“oh noes I am the WORST AT PLOTTING FOREVER”). But how will those skills develop if I don’t keep writing and submitting? They won’t. So I have to keep trying.
Because after all, my perseverance so far has got me a long way from where I was three years ago. I’ve been published in a lot of amazing magazines – and I still feel giddy when I think that my story is going to be in An Alphabet of Embers. I just have to keep on daring, even when I feel afraid.