I’m long overdue to update here. I’ve had two publications since my last entry. I published my birth story, “Breathing Through” at Mutha magazine in two parts in September. And then, I published a memoir piece about my entry to the fiber arts, “Clothing Myself in Joy” in Body of Work. Both publications are meaningful to me, and I’m so happy to have them out in the world.
“Breathing Through” is a piece I read at the Bad Mouth reading series in Albuquerque, New Mexico a few months before the pandemic in late 2019. I never would have started submitting it if it weren’t for that reading. I figured most wouldn’t care about a birth story. But after I read, multiple people asked where they could read the whole thing, and when they heard it wasn’t published yet, they encouraged me to submit it because it was ready. I submitted it the next day, and kept submitting it throughout the pandemic. I sent it to around 30 literary magazines, but didn’t get any acceptances. Finally, I sent it to Mutha, which is a magazine I love and where I’ve published before. I let them know that I knew it was more than 2 times their maximum length limit, but that I thought maybe they’d be interested? And could publish it in installments, or request just a part of it? And to my delight, Meg, the editor, wrote me back and proposed they publish an edited version of it in two parts. Then she gave it loving attention, cutting the parts that weren’t needed, and streamlining it into a much better piece of work. I’m grateful for the careful editing, and even more grateful to have the story out in the world.
My publication in Body of Work is notable for being my first time that I was paid to write a piece, and also the first time my work is behind a paywall. Most of my friends and family actually haven’t read it, as they aren’t knitters and thus aren’t moved to pay money to buy a knitting magazine. But ever since I published, I’ve had hits on this website every single day from outside the United States and Canada. Many days, the majority of my hits come from Germany or the Netherlands. I make sure to show my husband, who has Norwegian heritage, when I get hits from Norway. And I sent my father a screenshot of my stats the day I got a hit from Montenegro, which is the country his father was from. I haven’t been doing much traveling, but my words have, and that is a thrill. I’m eager to write more about the fiber arts. I have multiple ideas brewing.
I attended another Bad Mouth reading just this weekend. All three featured readers were people I know and care about who write work that I admire, so going was a no-brainer. It was a great reading and I was glad I went. I was also asked to read again for the series, in 6-9 months depending on how the schedule goes. I said yes, and am thrilled to have another deadline to write towards. One problem with writing outside of grad school is that I rarely get a real deadline, and I find them so very useful and motivating. But I’m definitely going to have something new ready for this reading, I think something about the fiber arts and living with bipolar and PTSD. I have a break from the fundraising writing I do for my Unitarian church coming soon, and that will leave me with more writing energy and a place to focus it.
I also submitted a proposal for a piece to a fiber arts magazine recently and should hear back in December or so. I have no idea if they’ll be interested, but it felt good to try. If they accept my proposal, then I’ll have a smaller piece due in May or so. I hope to write about my pre-dawn spinning practice. Knitting is for daylight and evenings, but for me, spinning is for the pre-dawn hours before the sun or my family rises. I have a little lyrical piece about that brewing in my head, and I’m hoping hard this magazine will ask me to write it.
I’ll update this blog again sooner rather than later. My year of chasing joy is drawing to an end, and I have things to say about it, and about my plans for the new year.