And boy did being back at circus work kick my ass. I love it—I love it—I love it—but if I’m going to keep doing circus and writing, I need to change my behavior patterns to allow room for both. I’m between gigs again, and I’m in a town with a dear writer friend who wants to do writing dates several times a week, so I’m ready to hit the ground running.
Here’s what I’m excited about:
- I’m turning off the internet every night at 10:30PM. It’s part of a gradual plan that I’ll talk more about in a Goal Setting Update, and it also involves getting up earlier. I believe writing and circus can co-exist—I won LJ Idol while working very full-time, including the Hell Week where thank God there was a coffee shop on the same corner as the main street performance pitch. I was finishing entries while watching out the window for the previous act to finish so I could hit save-post and then run out and start a show. So clearly, if I am motivated enough, I can do it.
- However, I’m actively opening room in my schedule for more writing, including focusing my booking efforts on jobs where I am the rigger/stage manager/director rather than a main performer. This pays better, which means I can do fewer of them.
- I’m also actively seeking jobs where I can make room for writing. A gym in an idyllic Michigan town wants an aerial program, and I’m negotiating a deal where I will train their coaches a few hours a day in exchange for housing as well as pay, so I can train in the mornings and write in the afternoons (or vice versa) with the big deal here being that I am actively planning how writing fits into this job.
Here’s what’s been rough:
- I came down with gastroenteritis (basically a hardcore bacterial food poisoning that’s often referred to as “stomach flu”. It was bad enough to go to the hospital (I’m uninsured) for a few hours and then teach from lying on the mat looking up while another coach spotted the aerialists. God bless loving parents of circus kids who brought me Jell-o and Vitamin Water! Recovery has been slow, mostly in that I’m severely lactose-intolerant from the antibiotics killing all the good bacteria in my system.
Here’s what I can eat:
Plain greens (spinach, salad greens, kale)
Jam (with a spoon, or on the aforementioned toast)
Also, I can only do about two hours of being up and moving before I have to take a nap. On the up side, I’ve lost ten pounds, so I’m calling it a net win.
And here is the latest writing update!
The Writer’s Workshop Review didn’t want “How to Tell if Your Writing Sucks”. I think I’m going to send it to The Review Review next. Clearly I need to send out more submissions, we’re low on toilet paper.
I’d spent three months planning and honing a submission for an artist residency in May, with Geoff Dyer at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. I read his books, I wrote the cover letter and artist statement, I picked out which sample pages to send. Then I was a dumbass and missed the deadline. I think it’s a blessing in disguise as that will end up being the time I train the coaches in Michigan, but lesson learned – don’t just put “due in February” on my to-do list, put the damn date in there.
Crossed Genres accepted my short scifi piece, The Wolf, originally written for LJIdol. Thanks both to jem0000000 who suggested that I try my hand at sci-fi that week, halfshellvenus who gave some great editing feedback, and yachiru who suggested I submit to Crossed Genres. Yay, supportive and inspiring friends!
Performed "Curiosity" again at The Word at Rumba Room in Memphis, and it went down rather well. I really, really love doing that piece in predominantly Black rooms, and I'm always interested to see which bits the audience likes. Here's a recording of that performance. If you're a spoken word person and you end up in Memphis, it's a very welcoming and well-hosted night for spoken word and music, every Monday. Their website isn't current, but it is correct.
And I’m calling it a score that my aunt loved my Idol submissions enough to print them all out and put them in a binder, and give a copy to my mom. When it’s all stacked up, it’s a lot of pages. I’m debating whether it’s horribly egotistical to pull my best travel essays, put in some photos, and make a CreateSpace or Smashwords or whatever book for my family. Is it egotistical? And if it’s not, any recommendations on which publishing service to use?(It's gotta result in a paper book).
OPPORTUNITY OF THE WEEK
Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail takes personal essays for its daily feature, Facts&Arguments. There’s no pay, but it is a national publication. Their guidelines are also an excellent exercise for a personal essay even if you don’t actually submit. Full details and example essays here.
ME ME ME ME ME: THIS WEEK’S SUBMISSION(S)
It’s Getting my Ass in Gear Week! I’ve been studying a lot of Afrikaans and trying to get caught up with all the things on my to-do list, but it’s become very clear that if I want to be submitting work, I’d better do it FIRST, because there’s no time left at the end of the day. So no submissions this week, but in time for Friday I'm going to pick two magazines, a contest, and a radio show and send out work.
Let’s start with a bang.
I’m gonna go big or go home – Let’s say, three poems to The New Yorker, three poems to The Oxford American, a short story to a contest in Memphis, and a submission to Snap Judgement (radio).
Gotta look through my archives and see what’s ready, but definitely Auguries to The New Yorker, Curiosity to The Oxford American, The Ring to the Memphis contest, and my Moth win to Snap Judgement.
And then I will hit ‘send’. WHICH IS LIKE FIRING BOTH SIX-SHOOTERS WHILE JUMPING BACKWARDS OFF THE SALOON BALCONY AND LANDING ON THE GODDAMN HORSE. IT’S AN APPALOOSA NAMED SPOTTY PETE, MOTHERFUCKERS.
LINK(S) OF THE WEEK
Back in October, I wrote about my former student Jarrid and his goal to be a rock star. I’m so proud and pleased that he’s still finding an amazing way to get his message out, and the world is taking notice. Tampa Bay Online is convinced he represents the new hipster food movement in town. Check out Jarrid's stunningly photographed food and thift-chic blog, The Poor Porker.
What horse do you need to jump back on?