The Rattling Wall: Submission Deadline May 1st

imgresThe three year old LA based literary journal is accepting sophisticated short fiction (yes please!), travel essays (hm, something to think about) and poetry submissions (try something new, anyone?).  

They may be too young to nominate for the Pushcart, but don’t overlook this one.  It’s a style heavy magazine with great writers and a selected artist for each issue.  

Polish up a piece now and send in, snail mail, by the end of the month.

A Creative Retreat at Camp NaNoWriMo, April 1st – 30th


Are you ready to breath some fresh air into your writing practice this Spring?  Let it be hot air if you’d like, as long as you lift yourself above the daily grind of revisions and drift into the midst of some new ideas. If conferences and residencies aren’t in the plan for you this year, then check out Camp NaNoWriMo, the April program for storytellers and word counters.

National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short, takes place in November every year.  It’s a call to writers to set aside our self-editing in the service of completing a first draft of a novel, defined by the word count of 50,000 words. That’s the promise you make at the beginning of the month and if you fulfill your promise you “win”. Continue reading A Creative Retreat at Camp NaNoWriMo, April 1st – 30th

Abandoned Cabin Reading Not Scary At All


I love a good alternative reading series.  This seems like a good time to thank everyone who participated in the Litwrap readings at 61 Local this year.  We are looking forward to hearing more of your works-in-progress in 2014.

Mostly, there’s just something about getting out of a bookstore and into somewhere with good booze or snacks, that wets the palette for a new kind of story.  Not that box wine doesn’t do it for me sometimes.  It’s just a little variation can open up the mind and also extend the community from the established pro to the working joe. Continue reading Abandoned Cabin Reading Not Scary At All

Quickie: A Short Post on Sex Writing


This past weekend I took a sex writing class with Edan Lepucki, the founder of the Los Angeles Writing Workshop and author of the forthcoming novel CALIFORNIA (Little, Brown 2014).

I learned that cliches glare but trite kills. Romantic urges overwhelm but too much distance alienates. Language can hit too hard or too soft (pun intended).  Without the body, the mind is unmoored (and same goes with the inverse statement).  Also, asking too much or too little from the scene will leave you unsatisfied.

So when you sit down to write sex, make sure that your craft kit is organized and your tools are sharpened and ready to go.

First prize for the stamina of a sex scene goes to: the sixty pages devoted to Wolf and Phoebe from Jennifer Egan’s first book, Invisible Circus.

Recovery, Religion and Writing

In the documentary, Bird by Bird, with Annie, a reader asked San Francisco based writer Anne Lamott what she wanted for her upcoming birthday. She said that she already had everything she wanted.  She had grown up to be a writer.

Do you too have such hopes wishes and dreams?  According to Anne it takes a lot of practice with patience but the answer to your prayers will come.  “Please God, help me get out of the way, so I can write what wants to be written,” she says when she feels herself getting stuck.

And if you’re still not writing? Here’s another word of support by the non-ordained Reverend Anne: “I saw a bumper sticker in Texas once and it said god loves you exactly the way you are and he loves you too much to let you stay like this.”  Her words are as sound as gospel.