A big thank you to editor Mark Leichliter for featuring my essay “Alabama For Beginners” in bioStories. This is my fourth appearance in bioStories, and I am honored to be among the many talented contributors.
“bioStories offers word portraits of the people surrounding us in our daily lives, of the strangers we pass on the street unnoticed and of those who have been the most influential and most familiar to us but who remain strangers to others. We feature essays from an eclectic variety of viewpoints and seek out writers of literary excellence. We particularly look for work that offers slices of a life that help the reader imagine the whole of that life, work that demonstrates that ordinary people’s experiences often contain extraordinary moments, visionary ideas, inspirational acts, and examples of success and failure that prove instructive. In short, we believe every life displays moments of grace. bioStories wishes to share pieces of these lives and celebrate them.”
I am deeply grateful to Joseph Levens, editor of the Summerset Review, for reviewing my short story collection Lovers and Loners. Mr. Levens has published several of my stories over the years, and I continue to benefit from his kindness, guidance and wisdom. If you are not familiar with this fine journal, please take a look. “Founded in 2002, the Summerset Review is exclusively devoted to the review and publication of unsolicited fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.”
I wish to thank Rebecca LeBoeuf of The Penmen Review for hosting this interview. I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation about the craft of writing and the challenges involved in being a writer.
The Penmen Review is Southern New Hampshire University’s online journal for creative writers, featuring resource articles and spotlight interviews, as well as prose and poetry chosen by the editorial board from submitted work.
As many writers know, most editors disallow previously published submissions, including personal blog entries. There doesn’t seem to be much sense in this, given that the majority of bloggers have a modest number of followers, and the internet is not rife with their work. As for those canny bloggers with several thousand fans, well they are probably less interested in placing their work in a journal.
Once or twice a week, largely by chance, I discover a blogger whose writing moves me. I often leave comments on their blogs; occasionally I’ll use their contact forms to share my thanks or praise.
As an author, I craft my posts with care, knowing they represent my writing ability. I also try to choose topics I find compelling and important; I want my words to matter. From what I’ve seen, many other bloggers feel the same way. Their excellent posts deserve a wider readership.
Of course the dilemma of previously published material can be bypassed. Writers can forego their blogs and submit their best work to publishers instead. This approach is sound but frustrating. For one thing, most writers wait months for responses to their submissions, which makes for a lot of blog downtime. Bloggers, just to keep their site alive, are compelled to post other things in the interim, usually pieces in which they have less stake. Also, the content of some submissions is time-sensitive; a long wait can dilute their impact. In either case, the posts an author is most proud of, has worked hardest on, are not available.
I think it’s fair to require that posts submitted to journals be first removed from blogs, but refusing to consider any blog entry, however brief its appearance, seems excessive.
What do you think?