Bread Loaf

Bread Loaf

In a class I took with Susan Breen, one of my classmates, whose name I’ve totally forgotten, told me that I ought to try to get into Bread Loaf, which is held at Middlebury College in Vermont. I asked why, because I had become so cynical about things, and she said she was certain I’d get in. Did she get in? No. But she knew I would.

Well I went home and checked and discovered I had missed that year’s deadline (2016), but I put it in my calendar to submit once the submission period was open for 2017. I did, and it turned out she was right. I got accepted as a participant.

I was still very cynical about it — in fact I think I tried to sabotage the whole thing by missing just about every deadline; not reading up on the teachers or the fellows or the agents or editors, and not even looking up the books that they’ve written. But every step of the way I got a reminder that I was late and so I ended up in a class with Robert Cohen and Natashia Dion.

Basically Bread Loaf was a wonderful experience. It’s 10 full days of writers being around other writers, going to workshops, lectures, craft classes, meals, dances and tons and tons of readings, and one of the things that made me sad when it was over was that, although it took awhile, I realized I had just spent ten days not feeling like someone who had to explain himself. I don’t know how true it is for others, but often in the “real world” I have this vague and somewhat constant discomfort at having spent my life chasing a career in writing. As Emily Dickinson once wrote, “The longest day would pass me on the chase,” and that’s sometimes exactly how I feel when someone — almost always American — asks, “What do you do?” I feel like I can’t really tell someone that I was compelled to try this; that I’ve had modest successes that to most of the world probably don’t look like success at all; that I still feel the need even if people don’t like my work; and that I quit a career I had in computer technology, in order to keep chasing this thing called writing.

But for two weeks or so at Bread Loaf, you don’t need to explain anything. Everyone understands why you want to be alone and why you need an inordinate amount of solitude. As my teacher said we have the odd need to isolate ourselves from the world in order to go down and write about the world and then bring it back to them in the form of a novel, which they immediately, mostly, reject. There’s no explanation for it. But I had a great time and now, “Bread Loafer,” is part of my resume.




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New Millenium Writings

Here you will find Lorain Ohio Easter basketmy name listed as an Honorable Mention in the Short Story category at New Millenium Writings. (Dot Org.) I entered a story with them once before that didn’t get any sort of mention so I suppose this is a step up. Sometimes I am wary of places that charge entrance fees for their contests, because when you do the math, they probably only give away a very tiny portion of what they take in. But the market is in such turmoil now, it seems unlikely to expect that everything be done for free. Zoetrope, which is accepts submissions, receives 12,000 stories a year. That’s more than thirty per day. I honestly believe the only way they can keep that up is because of Francis Ford Coppola’s name and business acumen.

Anyway, I was told to “use this” little honor by my current teacher and submit the story to other places, so I have tried the following:

Glimmertrain, One Story, Ducts.Org, Tin House, and Word Riot. I was going to try as well, but they want stories shorter than 3,500 words and mine is about 4,500. Another which a friend told me about is called, but they also want shorter stories.

I guess I will try to make a page with a linkable list of these places as I’m always trying to find a useful site that lists short story publications and most are outdated with broken links, etc. Glimmertrain and The New Yorker are consider the top choices, and of those two, Glimmertrain is the only one that anyone, not already famous, could possibly have a chance of getting into.

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Miss Over

VerticalCoverfor Ebook

My second book is Miss Over, which is the story of a school teacher from Illyria, Ohio who takes a long needed dream vacation to The Okavango Delta in Botswana. As she travels deeper into the delta, aspects of her past start bothering her and eventually threaten to overwhelm her.

This is a link to the paperback version and below it is a link to the Kindle version. There will be other electronic versions available later, but at the moment I am limited to Amazon because of their restrictions.

Miss Over (paperback)

Miss Over (Kindle)

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NewCoverIllyria front in JPGIllyria was my first book — first published book that is. The original cover was a photograph my father took of me when I was a toddler at the beach, trying to carry a strange looking beach ball. My brother Richard is in the carriage behind me. It kind of expressed everything I felt about trying to write this novel, which was difficult. The second cover used a painting from the 17th Century in Spain, which somehow managed to capture almost perfectly one of the scenes early in the book, when the three boys are playing a board game in the woods: one with great intensity, one less interested but observant, and the last very worried about something.

Paperback edition

Kindle edition

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