Sunday Lowdown #111

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS

Bill @ The Australian Legend and I email back and forth regularly, more so when he’s in isolation. This week, he noted that he read one of my old fiction stories, a story I wrote when I was probably twenty-three, that was linked on Grab the Lapels. To be honest, I don’t remember what I wrote that long ago, but Bill kindly said he will not criticize me. However, what I learned in that email is that many of the links to stories I wrote years ago are now defunct. The fun thing about navigating the underground lit world is that everything feels new, fresh, edgy, and gives a middle finger to conventions that exclude writers who aren’t already famous. The bad thing is that the passion a person must have to do things with a small team of like-minded folks and a middle finger in the air is that they don’t get any money, and so passion projects that cost everything from time to web-hosting fees die. Thus, many of my stories no longer exist on the web. Don’t fret; some are in books, some are in PDF editions of journals, and some are in my cloudspace.

But this made me think about enjoying a lack of permanence. My mantra, one I’ve shared repeatedly with Biscuit, during the pandemic is “I can only control myself.” Now, maybe that seems obvious to you, what with your normal brain and all, but for me, internalizing and putting into practice my mantra is/was hard. And because I can’t control others, I can’t control what happens, and while there is space for future planning, it’s really about what makes today a good day in a healthy way. Do I regret publishing work in places that were likely to go under? No. Their excitement at having read my stories, and mine at them enjoying my work, was enough for the moment.

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POSTS

Because I didn’t pay close enough attention, I had two blog posts that went live at the exact same time this week. Unfortunately, that means you may have missed one if you use the WordPress reader feed! Susan Allott’s Meet the Writer post got lots of attention, and I thank everyone, and the author, for their conversation around Allott’s debut novel, The Silence.

The second post, which didn’t get as much attention, possibly due to my error, was a review of Love is the Thread by Dr. Leslie Moïse. The memoir has an intense start and then circles and loops around, much like a knitting pattern, to reveal the origin and conclusion of the author’s friendship with a woman named Kristine. If you didn’t read this post, please check it out, and forgive my internet error!

NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POSTS

Coming on Tuesday is another Meet the Writer feature, this time with Linda Wisniewski, another Pearlsong Press author. On her website, she also mentions knitting, so now I’m wondering if there is some connection with writing and knitting. I do recall reading once that women who are masterful at “domestic” arts, such as quilting, knitting, and sewing, don’t consider themselves artists, though I would argue against them.

Thursday is another #ReadingValdemar book, the third in the Collegium Chronicles quintet. I’ll be sure to include a question for readers of all genres at the end and look forward to reading your responses. You folks are always brilliant!

BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE

Amal @ The Misfortune of Knowing announced her newest book! I grabbed it immediately. Also, when Bill was in conversation with Susan Allott, he discussed his review of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, which I forgot to get when he reviewed it and have rectified that mistake.

30 comments

  1. Well I definitely can’t wait to see your review of Flowers in the Attic. I don’t remember if I read the book or saw the movie when I was much younger but I just remember being completely wigged out.

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    • Thank you. It’s tough to keep in mind when everything feels out of control, but it does make a massive difference if you have anxiety, either chronic or just around pandemic stuff.

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  2. You make a very interesting point about enjoying a lack of permanence. I wish I had kept the stories and papers I wrote in high school and college, but I would probably be embarrassed by them now.

    Thank you for mentioning Nothing But Patience and linking to my post!

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    • If you have someone in your family who dies and kept a lot of stuff, you start to realize what happens when we try to hang on to everything for ever. There’s the assumption that someone will want what we’ve kept, but what if it was only meant to be important to us, and only for a moment?

      You’re welcome! I started reading it at the doctor’s office today.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have such an engaging way with words Melanie. I enjoy your lowdown posts even if I don’t get to read all your reviews – because, well, because I’m struggling enough as it is to read books that reading all my favourite bloggers gets very hard. However, I will check out your review of Rabbit proof fence when you post it! (SO, I’m ethnocentric! What’s wrong with that!)

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  4. Thanks for the mentions Melanie. You’re a fun correspondent.
    I enjoyed your story ‘To Fake a Marriage’. Do you think you will put your short fiction up on GTL? Or does it have to stay (or not stay) on the sites who published it.
    And related question, how did the Bingo the Dingo idea go?

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    • I could put my fiction up on GTL, but I don’t know if there is much interest. The only reason a person wouldn’t is if it was published somewhere that doesn’t allow publication in other places (it’s not) or if I wanted to put it into a book some day (I probably won’t).

      I should get back to my Bingo the Dingo story. It needs edited.

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      • See, I think like a reader and not an author. Pages on a blog in general seem to be very infrequently read. Ok, except for some lists, never. Which doesn’t stop me creating/updating them. Anyway, I can see why you as an author might not wish to give away all your best writing. Perhaps a half way step might be to create an e-book short story collection.

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          • I hadn’t thought you might illustrate it, but that would be great. I’d pay my dollar to Amazon (or preferably a publisher not Amazon) and send copies to my friends.

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            • Well aren’t you sweet! Thanks for your confidence, Bill. And also, HOLY CRAP, right as I was falling asleep last night I remembered what “To Fake a Marriage” is about! I couldn’t stop giggling (quietly; Nick was asleep). I wrote that as a satire of a romance book I’d read ages ago!

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  5. I like your mantra, Melanie. I have to remind myself of that regularly. The little I’ve read about Buddhism helps me with the impermanence thing. Everything changes – the only constant is change – two more mantras!

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  6. I really appreciate your perspective on learning how to enjoy a lack of permanence. Something I think I’m working on too – that some things are good right now and that is enough.

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  7. I get your blog updates via email so I didn’t miss either-hurrah! Also your mantra/reminder about how you can only control yourself is incredibly helpful, and something i need to work at keeping at the forefront of my mind, especially these days!

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    • I say it to myself, I say it to my spouse, I say it to Biscuit. The moment we all start wandering down an angry path, I remember: I can only control myself. I think trying to control other is so hard because we feel responsible for the consequences, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hahah. I just love your story about how FitA ended up on your TBR. Now I eagerly await your update, how you end up discussing the story with your reader/patron-friend. I read it as a teenager and recently picked up a copy from a little free library strictly for nostalgic reasons (but it didn’t have the lovely metallic cut-out cover–No Fair-from the original). it was such a thing. (I’m pretty sure you will hate it.)

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    • I loved those old cut-out covers that were so popular in the 1980s. There would be some fairly innocent-looking person in the cut out, but you open it and there’s a werewolf eating her leg, or something like that.

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  9. If the outlet in which your story was published no longer exists, I suppose that means that you don’t have any copyright issues and can offer it elsewhere for publication?

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  10. I’m glad to hear you have such a good response to finding out some of your stories seem to have vanished from their sites. Tbh I think I would feel the same, as long as I had a copy saved for myself somewhere in case I wanted it. Maybe it’s just because I’ve grown so much as a writer in the last decade, but at the moment I’m very much one of those writers who cringes looking back at old work and would be happy for it never to surface again, even if it served its purpose well in the moment. I think it’s a great mindset, finding value in the experience you’ve had with something moreso than in its longevity. Not everything worth having or doing is going to last, but that doesn’t make it less worth having or doing at the time.

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