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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Draft 1: Managing the Air and Anxiety

I wash my hands after using the toilet. Does the bathroom smell like lavender? I chose an air freshener with a lavender scent because it's supposed to be calming. My daughter suffers from anxiety, and I want home to be as calming for her as possible. But it doesn't seem to smell of anything. I guess if it neutralizes unseemly odors, I won't resent spending five bucks on it.

I didn't grow up with even the spray-can type because we were poor and I was happy to have toilet paper and feminine hygiene products consistently. Now in the make-the-air-fresh section, you can find solid, spray, warm-em-up, and constant release. Plus, twist-open containers designed to look vaguely like objects d'art while scrubbing stink from the air.

Is there a video of operations online? YouTube shows everything, a boon to the ignorant and anxious.

Are you thinking by now that my daughter might get her anxiety from me?

I wash my hands in the powder room, but go to the kitchen to get a paper towel to dry them. This stems from reading an article decades ago documenting that flushing the toilet spreads microscopic grossness far and wide in a bathroom. I am never telling my daughter that.

[research: lavender, aromatherapy, memories & smells, flushing, amount people spend on air fresheners, where lavender grows]

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Is for Absolute

Draft 1.
The ABCs of Creative Nonfiction -- a series of essays

Are there absolutes in creative nonfiction? Yes, a few. You cannot, for example, say the temperature in a certain place and time was 90 degrees if the recorded fact was 57. (Unless you have reasons to disprove the recorded temperature.)

The concept of "absolute" makes my brain itchy. But I'll keep plowing through on this, because when I thought "In creative nonfiction, A is for . . .," the words that popped up was "absolute." So I decided to Go There.

Must a nonfiction narrative tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? No.

If there are verifiable, empirical facts, they cannot be ignored. Not every fact about a situation, however, needs to be included in a story. [More about "telling details."]

And sometimes, the facts do not convey the truth of an event. Emotions, perceptions, and reactions

[Define facts.]

[Define truth.]

[Find that quote about writing fiction to tell the truth.]

Framing truth with storytelling techniques is the heart of creative nonfiction.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Exercise Essay: The Coffee Table

Draft 1.
Today: The Coffee Table
My big goal is to have a clean, tidy house. I have the week between Christmas and New Year's off from work. Today's microgoal: Clear off the coffee table. But upon regarding my coffee table, I think a better microgoal would be "Decide where to put the hand wipes."

That's the problem with decluttering. You have to decide where things belong. Where they live. Where they always will be found.

I didn't know until decluttering that I have a commitment problem.

How can it be so hard to decide where the hand wipes go? Logic dictates that they go close to where they will be used. But how will I know where my daughter's germ phobia will pop up? [research: how many people have phobias? phobias involving germs?] Our household has many moving parts—four adults, three cats, two dogs—that might track something in or, in the case of the pets, hack something up. And outside intruders such as arachnids show up. [research: how many people have arachnophobia? How many people can't spell it right the first time?]

Place the wipes in a central location? I don't want it on the coffee table or the middle of the dining room table. These places are supposed to be grown-up and reserved for decorative items. Target may be happy with its big pink-lidded tall tub design, but I'm not.

Executive decision: It's going in the kitchen by the paper towels. Decluttering that counter is another day's headache.

One item down. One.

The coffee table sits on top of the rug that needs to be vacuumed. It's in front of the sofa that needs to have excavated from bedding used by my daughter sleeping there while she recovered from a tonsillectomy; tablecloths not used at Thanksgiving (my husband promised weeks ago that he would do this); and dog hair.

Clearly it would be easy to get distracted into cleaning. Taking that path would be a classic move for a procrastinator. That I know this shows how self-aware I am and how much time I have devoted (at the expense of cleaning/decluttering) to the study of motivation, procrastination, and achievement.

Left on the coffee table is a box of presents I received for Christmas, a  6x10" white board my daughter used for communicating during aforementioned tonsillectomy, a cheap wooden 5x7" picture frame, a box holding the CD-receiver sound system for my daughter's car, a contact lens case, two wallet-size photos of a nephew, a small sample of embroidering on canvas, a magazine promising a list of the Best in Arlington, a package of flower seeds, a small clear plastic bag of what I think are car parts to a Saab we might have just sold for junk, and a Halloween-themed pencil with a candy corn eraser.

Here's where I might have thrown in a quip about getting one thing dealt with and that being enough, darn it! and ended the article. But a quip is the easy way out. One item is not really enough.
[Research: How many people think they have a problem with procrastination?]

The white board goes back on the refrigerator, where I plan to write errands or shopping lists on it.

The wooden (faux?) frame goes in the Goodwill box. Wait—I have to set up a Goodwill box. Quick, just pick one, before I can go down the rabbit hole of wondering how big it needs to be or if I need this box for something else.

The sound system can go into a bookcase in the kitchen, close to the door by the side of the house where my daughter's car is parked. Ditto with the bag of car parts. Note to self: Ask husband if we still need parts.

The contact lens goes into the understated linen box I picked up for half-price and placed in a corner of the dining room for Nora's flotsam, which drifts around the house throughout the week. [Research: how many people can spell flotsam correctly the first time?]

The magazine of "Bests" in the county is aspirational. How many of these places will I visit this year? I flip through the pages for two minutes and place it on the side table to look at while my husband hogs the desktop computer.

Nephew photos: a dilemma. Years from now, will I want photos of this child? Am I saying something about my relationship to family if I don't want the photos? Solve by placing them with other things that could go into a family album were I ever to create such a thing.

Embroidered canvas. It's a simple geometric design on white canvas. Crikey. I like it. My twenty-something son remarked that he liked it. Shocking. Do I give it to my son? Odds are he won't want it; his room is a carefully collected assortment that he doesn't like being touched. Hang it somewhere? That begats the question of where? Again, the where of things. [Research: Is that a book?]

Reluctantly, I place it in the Goodwill stack, consoling myself with the thought that I can make another easily and quickly if I want.

Where did the flower seeds even come from? I put them on the dining room table to ask my sister about.

The Halloween pencil. If I give it to Goodwill, do they save it until Halloween to put out? I meant to send it to a young friend. Saving it until the right season holds two options: add this to the Halloween box in the attic (requiring trip to attic) or establish a place for seasonal "to-do" items. And where would I put that?

I want to send the pencil to the kid. I have a lot of good intentions, evidenced by the pantry shelf half full of cute little items I meant to give out. Bookmarks, decorative soap, felt buckets perfect for holding treats. The pencil goes in the Goodwill box. If I were industrious, I would clear out my pantry shelf of those other good intentions too. Instead, I tackle finding places for my Christmas presents.

But first, I play some Candy Crush. Because I'm exhausted from all this thinking.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rebooting the Writing Life

It's not January 1. Thank goodness. All that pressure to make goals and come up with a mantra and create vision boards, all centered on the beginning of a new year—it's a little hard to take. Of course, if you're Chinese or Jewish or Mongolian or [insert other culture here], you're off the hook for January 1 anyway.

You can reboot as often as necessary. Johnny Cash said:
You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
I stopped writing in my journal about the time my daughter became a juvenile delinquent. How many times have I heard that everything is grist for a writer's mill? This is the time I should have been keeping meticulous notes for any number of books and articles: the juvenile justice system; the U.S. attitude toward mental health care; police attitude toward teenagers; how one member's mental balance affects a family's dynamics, and so on. For a memoir, at least, touching on all these topics.

I wrote very little in my personal journal or my writer's notebook. I count this a failure, in a professional sense. I don't dwell on it, though, possibly because I'm doing the best I can on that front. The story isn't over; it may never be complete. The delinquency is past, but my daughter came home from college on medical leave because she's suicidal. This is her second mental health–related medical leave.

Lots of things knock us off track. My daughter is reconciling herself to the fact that she's not going to graduate from college in four years. But she'll head back to college when she's able. She wants to be a lobbyist for mental health rights.

Right now, rebooting my blog seems like a good idea. So here I am. Per Woody Allen: "Showing up is 80 percent of life."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Opportunities / Practicing Writing

On Practicing Writing by Erika Dreifus is a roundup of gigs. You'll find details on the following.

  • From the Kentucky Foundation for Women: “The 2015 Summer Residency program is open to all women who are feminist social change artists with a literary arts focus who live and work in Kentucky.” This summer’s program, “Living the Ink,” “invites applications from women writers who wish to work closely with Writer-in-Residence, Crystal Wilkinson to develop their artistic and professional skills…
  • From WritersWeekly.com: “Have a Freelance Success Story to share? We pay $40 on acceptance, non-exclusive electronic rights only. Success stories run around 300 words but we’re very flexible.”
  • Foreword Reviews seeks “an experienced writer to cover indie publishing.” This freelance position is located in Traverse City, Michigan.
  • “Zócalo Public Square, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism, seeks a driven and dynamic Assistant Editor to join our team.”
  • “The English Department at Bates College seeks an emerging creative non-fiction writer or poet with an additional interest and publication record in a secondary genre, beginning September, 2015, for a two-year writing and teaching fellowship.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


culled from elist CRWROPPS-B


Sunstone invites writers to enter the 2014 Eugene England Memorial Personal Essay Contest, made possible by the Eugene and Charlotte England Education Fund. In the spirit of Gene’s writings, entries should relate to Latter-day Saint experience, theology, or worldview. Essays, without author identification, will be judged by noted Mormon authors and professors of literature. Winners will be announced by 30 June 2014 on Sunstone’s website, sunstone.org. Winners only will be notified by email. After the announcement, all other entrants will be free to submit their essays elsewhere.

Examples of previous contest winners: 

1. Up to three entries may be submitted by any one author. Send manuscript in PDF or Word format to sunstoneDOTeditorATgmailDOTcom
sunstone.editor@gmail.com by 31 MARCH 2014.
2. Each essay must be double-spaced. All essays must be 3500 words or fewer. The author’s name should NOT appear on any page of the essay.
3. In the body of the email, the author must state the essay’s title and the author’s name, address, telephone
number, and email. The author must also include language attesting that the entry is her or his own work, that it has not been previously published, that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere,
and that it will not be submitted to other publishers until after the contest. The author must also grant permission for the manuscript to be filed in the Sunstone Collection at the Marriott Library
of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. If the entry wins, Sunstone magazine retains first-publication rights though publication is not guaranteed. The author retains all literary rights. Sunstone discourages
the use of pseudonyms; if used, the author must identify the real and pen names and the reasons for writing under the pseudonym.

Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification.


Barely South Review, the online literary journal out of Old Dominion University's MFA program, is open for submissions until March 31 for our Fall 2014 Issue. We accept submissions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. More information can be found on our submission manager (https://barelysouth.submittable.com/submit).
We are also open for submissions for the 2014 Norton Girault Prize in Creative Nonfiction judged byClaire Dederer. The entry fee is $15 and prizes total $850. The deadline for submissions has been extended to Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm.

Enter the nonfiction contest at
Winter 2014 Story Contest

link for submissions: https://www.narrativemagazine.com/submission

WE’RE LOOKING for short shorts, short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, all forms of literary nonfiction, and excerpts from longer works of both fiction and nonfiction. Entries must be previously unpublished, no longer than 15,000 words, and must not have been previously chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest.

Narrative winners and finalists have gone on to win the Pushcart Prize, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Atlantic prize, and have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and others. View the recent awards http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/145412 won by Narrative authors.

As always, we are looking for works with a strong narrative drive, with characters we can respond to as human beings, and with effects of language, situation, and insight that are intense and total. We look for works that have the ambition of enlarging our view of ourselves and the world.

We welcome and look forward to reading your pages.

VISIT TO SUBMIT YOUR WORK: https://www.narrativemagazine.com/submission

Awards: First Prize is $2,500, Second Prize is $1,000, Third Prize is $500, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication.

Submission Fee: There is a $22 fee for each entry. And with your entry, you’ll receive three months of complimentary access to Narrative Backstage.

All contest entries are eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/421 for 2014 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/280.

Timing: The contest deadline is March 31, 2014, at midnight, Pacific daylight time.

Judging: The contest will be judged by the editors of the magazine. Winners and finalists will be announced to the public by April 30, 2014. All writers who enter will be notified by email of the judges’ decisions, which will be final. The judges reserve the option to declare a tie in the selection of winners and to award only as many winners and finalists as are appropriate to the quality of work represented in the magazine.

Submission Guidelines: Please read our Submission Guidelines http://www.narrativemagazine.com/node/360 for manuscript formatting and other information.

See more at: http://www.narrativemagazine.com/winter-2014-story-contest#sthash.v2N68Rcz.dpuf http://www.narrativemagazine.com/winter-2014-story-contest#sthash.v2N68Rcz.dpuf


Fourth Genre will seek the best creative nonfiction essay for its annual Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize. Authors of previously unpublished manuscripts are encouraged to enter.
The winning author receives $1,000 and the winning entry will be published in an upcoming issue of Fourth Genre. Runner-up entry will be considered for publication.
Submissions that do not comply with these guidelines will be recycled unread. Please read all of the following carefully prior to submission. Complete entry fee checks fully and correctly; include with submissions.
Submission Guidelines
  • Reading period: January 1–March 15
  • Submissions must be postmarked on or before March 15
  • Reading fee: $20 (U.S.) per entry
  • Make checks payable to “Michigan State University Press”
  • Multiple submissions accepted; include $20 entry fee for each individual submission
  • Include in cover letter (one page limit): name, address, phone number, email address, title of piece, and word count
  • The author’s name or contact information should appear nowhere in the manuscript, including headers, footers, and title  pages. No names should appear in the manuscript that could be used to identify the author or the author’s affiliations.
  • 6,000 word limit (Longer submissions will not be read)
  • Winners will be announced on the Fourth Genre websitehttp://msupress.org/journals/fg/?id=50-214-6
  • All manuscripts recycled
  • Current Michigan State University students, faculty, and staff are not eligible to enter
  • Electronic submissions will not be considered
  • For manuscript receipt confirmation, include a self-addressed stamped postcard
  • Contest status queries will not be accepted
  • Winner and runner-up (if applicable) announced at the end of April
Send submissions to:
Fourth Genre Steinberg Essay Prize
434 Farm Lane, Rm. 235
Dept. of Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824


The Iowa Review Invites Submissions to
Veterans' Writing Contest

Postmark deadline: April 15 - May 15, 2014
The Iowa Review invites submissions beginning April 15th to the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans writing contest, featuring guest judge Anthony Swofford. $1,000 first-prize award, $750 second-prize award, $500 to three runners-up, plus publication in our Spring 2015 issue. See full rules at iowareview.org/veteranswritingcontest This creative writing contest is made possible by a gift from the family of Jeff Sharlet (1942–69), a Vietnam veteran and antiwar writer and activist. It is open to U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel writing in any genre and about any subject matter.


Baltimore Review Winter Contest - Theme: "How To"

Online submission deadline: May 31, 2014
The theme for the Baltimore Review’s summer contest is “How To.” Why? Because writers are unabashedly inquisitive and can instruct readers in such eloquent ways. Instruct our readers in how to do anything—anything at all—in the course of your poem, fiction, or creative nonfiction, and you’re eligible. 3,000-word limit for prose, 1-3 poems per entry. $10 entry fee. Prizes: $500, $200, and $100. All entries considered for publication. Deadline is May 31, 2014. Final judge: Michael Downs. Hit blue Submit button on Submit page, then the Contest link to enter. Also considering non-theme (non-contest) submissions. Visit  http://baltimorereview.org/


Calls for Submissions

Culled from the free elist CRWROPPS-B.


As/Us is open for submissions
As/Us is now open for submissions for our decolonial love issue, which is open to all all genders and allies. What does decolonial love mean to you? Send us work that tackles and/explores how the effects of colonization has effected us in one way or another. We accept poetry, spokenword, fiction, creative non-fiction, academic essays and more. We are a print and online journal and are always looking for exciting work that moves us. 

Deadline April 15, 2014


Mojave River Review is open for submissions for vol. 2. Accepting in several categores: poetry, flash fiction, hybrid, flash non-fiction, chap/book reviews. Very open in terms of content, but we are looking for writing that shows some sensibility for the American Southwest in particular or deserts in general. However, as anyone can see from the free online issue, plenty of stories, poems, and other writing was included that is not desert or Southwest-oreinted.

In addition, we are accepting submissions for a special section on Ekphrastic writing. (I had to look that up to see what it was!) The special section will include images, so the writer must have a way to link to or send the image being described. Submissions are open now until June. 7 Submissions via Submittable.

Here's a link to the submissions page: https://mojaveriverpress.submittable.com/submit
Here's a link to the overall website: http://mojaveriverpress.com/


River & South Review Seeking Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction Submissions 
Online submission deadline: April 7, 2014 
River & South Review is a semi-annual online student-run literary journal seeking fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions from writers of any age who have not gone on to a graduate writing degree. This may include undergraduates, writers without a formal education, and writers from other professions. For more information, please visit our submission guidelines: 


Busting and Droning Magazine is an upstart, independent, online literary magazine operating from Lexington, Kentucky. It cost nothing to submit and we take literally any kind of writing you'd like to share with the public. For more information on the guidelines for submitting go here: http://www.bustinganddroning.com/submit-your-work/ . Send all inquires and work to  bustinganddroningATgmailDOTcom


Lunch Ticket Literary Magazine
Do you have some amazing writing or artwork you’d like to share with the world? Lunch Ticket is currently accepting submissions for our next issue. We are looking for poetry, fiction, writing for young people, creative nonfiction, visual art, and translated material. For guidelines and submission manager, see our Web site at http://www.lunchticket.org.


THE BOILER is accepting submissions in poetry, short stories, and short memoir/essays (prose under 3,500 words) for its summer 2014 issue. Submissions close May 16, 2014. We look forward to reading your work.

For submission guidelines visit www.theboilerjournal.com/guidelines
The Boiler was started online in 2011 by a group of MFA students from Sarah Lawrence College. Now publishing quarterly.  Recently publishes include: Julie Marie Wade, Rigoberto González, Liz Robbins, Dennis Henrichson, Suzanne Parker, Mary Quade, and others.
The Boiler Journal


Poor Yorick Journal 

We will be launching content in fall 2014 and welcome submissions now and year round! Poor Yorick invites submissions in any and every literary genre and any electronically reproducible visual or audio medium. 

Poor Yorick: A Journal of Rediscovered Objects brings back into light the skeletons hidden in our cultural closets. The free online journal welcomes writing and other creative productions about lost objects and images of material culture: sculptures and paintings in the back rooms of museums or in hidden corners of public spaces; murals forgotten in plain view; lost photographic archives and restored films; newly discovered letters or manuscripts; knickknacks in attics; oddities and curiosities in misbegotten sideshows; forgotten stories that remind us of pasts that we cannot afford to forget.


Blotterature Literary Magazine is open for submissions through June 1, 2014.

Blotterature accepts a wide variety of prose, poetry, and artwork. We seek the nontraditional mixed with craft, detail, and process. Well-developed with an edge. Experimental but not aimless. Something with political intentions or just there to entertain. Thought-out. Thrilling. Intelligent.

Blotterature released its inaugural issue on January 25, 2014 and is ready to read your best work for the second issue due out July 25, 2014.

Please go to Blotterature.com/submissions for submission details.

Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective seeks submissions of short/flash fiction and creative nonfiction for publication in a new online journal. 

No deadline. No submission fee.

More information: www.limehawk.org

Front Porch, the online literary journal of Texas State University’s MFA, invites all writers to submit works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for our Summer 2014 issue.
Front Porch is dedicated to publishing the most celebrated talents in contemporary writing published alongside exceptional new voices. Our editors seek out both innovative and traditional literature. In short, we’re looking for insightful and relevant writing that excels, regardless of form, theme, or style.

Our submissions are rolling with no deadline and submitted online through Front Porch’sonline submission manager. The guidelines and submission manager can be accessed here: http://www.frontporchjournal.com/submit.asp
If you’re interested in the work we publish, our entire archives are available online, andissue 25, our Winter 2013 issue, was recently published.


Stymie Magazine

We are looking for quality works of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, review, and essay that examine, poke, prod and otherwise deal with sport or games. That said, our thematic niche can mean different things to different people, and we'd enjoy seeing your unique take on the topic.

For more information, visit our website at http://www.stymiemag.com


Cooper Street seeks fiction, poetry, and non-fiction

Cooper Street, a publication sponsored by the Rutgers University-Camden  MFA program’s student organization, invites literary submissions for its  inaugural issue to be published online later this year. The magazine  seeks original, unpublished works of fiction, poetry, and  creative non-fiction which possess a sense of urgency. We’re  interested in issues of labor, class, and city life. In truth, we’re  interested in lots of things, so try us. While we’re open to writing by  anyone, including international writers, we’re especially interested in  reading work produced by writers living in the Philadelphia area, New  Jersey, and the Northeast.

Please send submissions to:

RU(DOT)cooperstreet(AT)gmail(DOT)com by March 30 with the author’s last name and genre in the subject of the email.

Additional guidelines:

Nonfiction: Send one piece of no more than 5,000 words (although shorter submissions are also encouraged).


Masons Road

We are pleased to announce the opening of our next submissions period! We are now accepting your best Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama, and Craft Essays. The theme for Issue #9 is “Truth,” and we are looking for unique and arresting takes on this topic.

Our submissions period runs for three months: February 15 – May 15, 2014. There are two ways to submit to Mason’s Road. You can submit for free any time during our submissions period, and your work will be given thorough consideration for publication. Or, you can submit with a $10 fee, and your work will also be considered for our Mason’s Road Literary Prizewhich includes publication and a $500 prize to the best entry we receive. 
Online submissions:

In our just-published issue, we feature work by Katherine Ann Porter Prize-winner Kelly Magee, as well as interviews on craft with poet Jennifer Militello, novelist Ron Tanner, and memoirist Anthony D'Aries. We are proud of the excellent array of work we selected from over 500 submissions, including the poem, “The Scarecrow's Response,” by Cyan Orr, winner of the Mason’s Road Literary Prize. Visit www.masonsroad.com to check out all of the current issue’s works


Subject: Kinfolks: a journal of black expression

Kinfolks: a journal of black expression is dedicated to thinking about  blackness in its infinite permutations by publishing the work of  established and emerging black artists. Started in 2013 by a small  collective of friends old and new, the journal’s ethos is centered  around the notion that the culture(s) of Africa and the African  Diaspora provide us with models of collectivity, commonality, and  kinship that have been and will be central to the story of our world.  Thus, we are interested in publishing poetry, photography, essays  (personal, video, narrative, lyric, etc.), literary criticism, art  criticism, reviews, extended meditations, flash fiction, and visual art  that are a part of the continuing conversation about and around  blackness.
 Submit all pieces using our online submission manager:

Please carefully review the guidelines below before submitting. We cannot accept work that has been published elsewhere, including on  blogs or personal websites. We accept simultaneous submissions, but if  your work is accepted elsewhere, please contact us immediately. Use the “Cover Letter / Biography” field of the online submissions form  to include a cover letter, in which you should tell us a bit about  yourself. Be sure to also include the title of each piece in your cover  letter. Our editors review submissions blindly. Therefore, please do not  include your name or contact information in the body of your submission  document or in the title field of the submissions manager. Please carefully read the guidelines below before submitting. If you  have questions or would like to send us a book to potentially review,  please contact us at: editor [[[at]]]  kinfolksquarterly [[[dot]]] com.  Please note that we do not accept any submissions via email.

Please submit 1-3 pieces as individual .doc or .docx files; each should  be no longer than 1500 words.  Do not submit .pdf files. Reviewed books  and films must have been released within the last 12 months. Reviewed  exhibitions and performances must have taken place within the last 6  months.


Seeking Essays on Mental Health for Print Anthology
For its debut print anthology, Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective seeks  creative nonfiction essays about mental health.  We are seeking original narrative essays from a variety of perspectives  that touch on issues of illness, hospitalization, medication, stigma,  self-awareness, recovery, friendship, family, and hope. We are looking  for well-crafted nonfiction pieces with strong and compelling  narratives that are both personal and informative. Each essay should  contain rich prose, dialogue, and a distinctive voice. Creative  nonfiction, personal essays, literary journalism, lyric essays,  memoirs, and experimental forms will all be considered for publication.

This anthology is slated to release in late 2014 in both print and electronic formats. The deadline to submit is April 15, 2014.

Full submission guidelines at www.limehawk.org




What: A literary journal featuring underrepresented writers, socially conscious subject matter, and stylistic outsiders. Ideally you have submitted this piece to high-end journals and been rejected for any number of reasons. You believe in the piece, and are seeking a good home for it. Send it to us.

For submission guidelines, visit http://www.brokejournal.com

Deadline May 1st 


E.T.A. is a literary journal run by undergraduate students seeking  submissions for its debut issue. E.T.A. seeks to publish original works  of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art, dramatic literature,  aphorisms, orchestral compositions, screenplays, Viewmaster slides,  comics, or truly anything you can  conceive. We’re looking for works  that go beyond the silver lining and interrupt the normal fluctuations  of the every day.  E.T.A. strives to publish works that embody the idea  of movement, both physical and mental.  Lead us down a path we aren’t  expecting; make us want to crawl out our windows and wander by foot  along a foreign highway, amble about the roads of our minds, or just  make us step outside to see the stars.

Submission guidelines for writers: No more than six submissions per person. Fiction /Dramatic literature/screenplay No more than 15 pages or 5000 words, double spaced with one inch  margins and a readable font. (Do not feel dissuaded from submitting  flash-fiction, or any other such short creative works.)

Please submit by March 25, 2014 electronically through ETAJournalATgmailDOTcom or our P.O. Box:

Brandi Reissenweber, English Department
ETA Submission
Illinois Wesleyan University
P.O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702
If you have questions or ideas for other submission formats or styles,  please contact ETAJournalATgmailDOTcom and we’ll be more than happy to  answer your questions.

See www.facebook.com/ETAJournal for more information.


Glimpses, glimmers, meditations, moments, reflections, refractions,  interrupted shadows, river shimmers, darkened mirrors, keyholes,  kaleidoscopes, earring hoops, slabs of cracked granite, cracks where  the light gets in. Beautiful things. River Teeth's new weekly column, "Beautiful Things," features very  brief nonfiction that finds beauty in the every day.  Submission Guidelines Flash nonfiction submissions to the River Teeth weekly column,  Beautiful Things, should be 250 words or less. Please submit one  beautiful thing at a time, via Submittable. Submissions will be  screened by Michelle Webster-Hein and Sarah M. Wells. The series will  begin in April. Contact riverteethATashlandDOTedu with any questions, and visit


for more information.
drafthorse literary journal is now reading for its Summer 2014 issue.   drafthorse is a biannual online publication of fiction, creative  nonfiction, poetry, visual narrative, and other media art where work,  occupation, labor—or lack of the same—is in some way intrinsic to a  narrative’s potential for epiphany. We are interested in how work, or  the absence of it, effects people and communities on an intimate level.  While we’re open to various interpretations, we expect the subject to  be fundamental to your submission in some way. We’re especially  interested in submissions from women and minorities.  Complete  submission guidelines are available online at

Submission deadline for the Summer 2014 issue is April 30, 2014.

Before submitting to drafthorse, check out our Winter 2014 issue of  drafthorse literary journal atwww.drafthorsejournal.org.  The Winter  2014 issue includes a new essay by Karen McElmurray, recently named as  one of 2013’s Best of the Net in nonfiction.  Featured poets include  Lester Graves Lennon (poet of the month for March at poetrynet.org) and  West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman.  Watch and listen online to  both poets read their work.  Lennon is also interviewed alongside debut  novelist Mary Miller (The Last Days of California).  Excellent fiction  from Dan Leach, Michael X. Wang and others, as well as art and samples  from the documentary film “Dryland,” round out the issue.  Follow our  news on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drafthorsejournal or on  LinkedIn at  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/drafthorse-literary-journal/7a/aa1/912.


Crooked/Shift, a brand new journal, is “officially” launching March 7, 2014.

www.crooked-shift.org (ISSN 2333-973X)

Submissions link:

Crooked/Shift is an online literary publisher dedicated to horror,  humor, the absurd, and the strange. We are currently looking for flash  fiction, short stories, prose poetry, and essays for inclusion in our  first issue slated for July 1, 2014. We invite new and seasoned writers  alike.


Pithead Chapel is a monthly online journal of short fiction and nonfiction. We’re  currently seeking gutsy narratives up to 4,000 words, and are particularly interested in essays (personal, memoir, lyric, travel,experimental, hybrid, etc.). Please visit us at http://pitheadchapel.com/ to learn more about us and oursubmission guidelines.


Diverse Voices Quarterly is celebrating its fifth year of publishing online. Issue Twenty is available for a download on our website (or the pieces can be read online).

Please submit online for poetry, short stories, and personal essays/creative nonfiction for our summer issue:

Artwork, especially requested, still must be sent directly to submissionsATdiversevoicesquarterlyDOTcom.

Complete submission guidelines are available here:


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

That Whole Perfection Thing . . .

Kristen Lamb offers a whole lot of good writing advice that she dishes out in a style that is a laugh riot (ymmv). Check out a recent column on getting over the whole hang-up with perfection.

Now go write something.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Literary Journal Creative Nonfiction Hits 50th Issue


Here's a little article on Creative Nonfiction. Just FYI.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Contests & Calls for Submissions

Below is a list of contests & calls for submissions for CNF. This is culled from the free e-mail list CRWROPPS-B for the last week. Some of these deadlines are right upon us—not my fault, kids. Keep in mind some of these are annual contests; that means the deadline will be around the same time next year, so you can put it on your “long-range” goals list. 

I don't endorse any of these or know anything more than what's here. (Also, I don't edit the postings, regardless of how tempting it is to insert serial commas.)

Keep writing,


Diana Woods Memorial Award in CNF
Do you have a piece of creative nonfiction that is just waiting for an award? CNF writers, send us your best work. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction is currently accepting submissions until Feb. 28. The winner receives $250 plus publication in Lunch Ticket, a literary magazine published by the Antioch University Los Angeles Creative Writing MFA Program. 

For guidelines and submission manager, visit our website: 


Subject: HEArt — Human Equity through Art — Call for Submissions

HEArt Online seeks outstanding writing and art that speaks to our mission: promoting the role of artists as human rights activists through public recognition of art as a vehicle for social reform. We read and post year-round.

Artists published in HEArt's 1997-2002 print journal run include Kim Addonizio, Martin Amis, Amiri Baraka, Jan Beatty, Dennis Brutus, Martín Espada, Nikki Giovanni, Marilyn Hacker, Terrance Hayes, Allison Joseph, Linda McCarriston, Timothy Liu, Karl Mullen, Sonia Sanchez, Sapphire, Tim Seibles, Sekou Sundiata and Stacey Waite.

Our legacy set the bar high. Today we seek unpublished, artistically crafted, powerful poems, stories, essays, photos, visual art and music that challenge the status quo, fight discrimination and promote social justice by tackling hard issues of gender, race, class, sex, etc.

Please submit online at 

Art. Justice. Community.


Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art is now accepting submissions for our annual writing contest!!!


We are accepting submissions in ORIGINAL poetry, nonfiction, and fiction until February 15. Writers must pay a $15 fee to enter. First place winners in each category will receive a $500 prize as well as publication in Issue 52 of the Journal, to be published this spring.

Winners will be selected by judges Francisco Goldman (fiction), Cheryl Strayed (nonfiction), and Alan Michael Parker (poetry). All entrants will be notified of their decisions by the end of March.

For more information and guidelines, please read our contest FAQs at 

Contest submissions link: 


Annual Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Humor and human interest essays sought http://www.wclibrary.info/erma/index.asp (online entry information)

The winner earns $500 and a registration at the Bombeck Writers Workshop. The contest closes on February 17th.

For specifics, please visit 


Mental Health Anthology

Deadline: March 1, 2014

For an upcoming anthology, In Fact Books seeks essays by writers with insight into the nature and experience of profound psychiatric challenges—as patients, mental health professionals, or both.

We want well-written, true narratives about the enigmatic, creative, frustrating, and triumphant moments of the recovery process and the therapeutic journey. Scientific information should be balanced by the writer’s unique perspective, and the stories should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element, reaching beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning.

Essays must be evocative, vivid, and dramatic. We’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice; all essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate. Guidelines: Essays must be previously unpublished and no longer than 4,500 words. Multiple entries are welcome, as are entries from outside the United States.

You may submit essays online or by regular mail: By regular mail Postmark deadline March 1, 2014. Please send your manuscript; a cover letter with complete contact information, including the title of the essay and word count; and an SASE or email for response to:

In Fact Books
c/o Creative Nonfiction Foundation
Attn: Mental Health
5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Online Deadline to upload files: 11:59 pm EST March 1, 2014
To submit online, visit https://creativenonfiction.submittable.com/submit/25481
(Note: There is a $3 convenience fee to submit online.)


Subject: Submissions are Open for Prime Number Magazine/Contests

Prime Number Magazine is accepting submissions for Issue #53 and beyond, in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. We are also looking for book reviews and interviews.

For more information and to get a sense of what we like, take a look at our latest issue: http://www.primenumbermagazine.com/

ALSO, enter our inaugural Prime Number Magazine Awards. Cash prizes and publication awarded in short story, poem, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, and flash nonfcition. Learn more about the contest and judges:

AND don't forget our monthly FREE 53-word story contest. A different prompt each month and the winner gets a book from Press 53 plus publication. Learn more: 



Free online lit mag at www.ghosttownlitmag.com / New Issue 5.1! Submit through our submission manager at 

Ghost Town, the national literary magazine of the MFA program at Cal State University San Bernardino, is looking for fearless and inventive fiction, poetry, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and translation. We publish two online issues per year, deadline is April 1 for the spring issue.

Recent contributors to Ghost Town include Susan Straight, Bob Hicok, Noelle Kocot, Michael Martone, Peter Orner, Brynn Saito, Matthew Vollmer, George Kalamaras, Elena Karina Byrne, Anthony McCann, Jane Springer, L.S. Klatt, Matt Hart and Nate Pritts. Our faculty editor is Chad Sweeney.



The Brighthorse Prize is an annual awards series honoring unpublished novels, collections of short fiction, poetry collections, and works of creative nonfiction. Four prizes will be given in 2014. Authors writing in English—regardless of nationality, residence, or publication history—may submit to the competition. Winning manuscripts will be published by Brighthorse Books under the press’s standard (50/50) contract. The editors reserve the right to offer to publish any manuscripts submitted to the competition. The reading period for the 2014 competition is February 15 to June 15, 2014. All entries must be submitted through Submittable

Online link: https://brighthorsebooks.submittable.com/submit

The Brighthorse Prize in the Novel offers an award of $1000 and publication as a paperback and e-book by Brighthorse Books under its standard (50/50) contract.

The Brighthorse Prize in Short Fiction offers an award of $1000 and publication as a paperback and e-book by Brighthorse Books under its standard (50/50) contract.

The Brighthorse Prize in Poetry offers an award of $1000 and publication as a paperback and e-book by Brighthorse Books under its standard (50/50) contract.

Winners will be contacted directly and will be announced on our web site by September 1, 2014. Writers who have submitted to the contest will receive emailed notifications of the winners. We are unable to report on the status of individual submissions and cannot provide feedback on individual submissions.

Member: CLMP, IBPA

For more information, contact Brent Spencer at bspencerATcreightonDOTedu


Apple Valley Review - Call for Submissions

Submission deadline: March 15, 2014

Apple Valley Review is currently reading submissions of short fiction, personal essays, and poetry for the Spring 2014 issue (Vol. 9, No. 1).

All work must beoriginal, previously unpublished, and in English. Please note that we do not acceptsimultaneous submissions.

All published work is automatically considered for our annual editor's prize.

Several pieces from the journal have later appeared as selections, finalists, and/or notable stories in Best American Essays, Best of the Net, Best of the Web, and storySouth Million Writers Award.

To submit, please send 1-6 poems or 1-3 essays/short stories, allpasted into the body of a single e-mail message, to our editor at editorATleahbrowningDOTnet

The current issue, previous issues,subscription information, and complete submission guidelines are availableat http://www.applevalleyreview.com/ 


Subject: Essay Contest: Wielding Power

Body: Essay Contest: Should Nations Restrict Immigration?

Wielding Power is a new online magazine that's reviving the political essay, that classic mix of rigorous argument and vigorous prose.

Each issue poses a single question and offers a $1000 reward for the best answer received. Entry is free and open to any resident of the U.S. or Canada (ex. Quebec), 18 and older. Each entry should be between 500 and 2000 words.

The last day to submit an answer to 'Should Nations Restrict Immigration?' is March 2, 2014.

For more information on how to submit and to read the Official Rules, please visit: http://www.wieldingpowerpublishing.com/submit/


Barely South Review, the online literary journal out of Old Dominion University's MFA program, is open for submissions until March 31 for our Fall 2014 Issue, and we encourage submissions from students and faculty in your program. We accept submissions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. More information can be found on our submission manager (https://barelysouth. submittable.com/submit). 

We are also open for submissions for the 2014 Norton Girault Prize in Creative Nonfiction judged by Claire Dederer. The entry fee is $15 and prizes total $850. The deadline for submissions is March 7, 2014. A flyer attached to this email includes more information.

Barely South Review is in the process of moving our website from its current location (www.barelysouth.com) back to our original website (http://barelysouthreview. digitalodu.com/) in order to embrace a fully interactive web layout. We encourage submitters to look through our archives, and to know that future issues will be published on http://barelysouthreview. digitalodu.com/, which we think is much more user friendly in accessing all of the great content that Barely South has to offer.



Ruminate is excited to announce our fourth annual VanderMey Nonfiction Prize! The Nonfiction Prize has gained national recognition, with our 2013 recipient receiving a Pushcart Prize and appearing in the 2013 Pushcart Prize anthology. The winner of the VanderMey Nonfiction Prize will receive $1500 and publication in the Summer 2014 issue. The runner up will receive $200 and publication.

We are pleased to announce that our finalist judge for the 2014 Prize is John Wilson. John Wilson is editor of Books and Culture, and his reviews and essays appear in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, First Things, National Review, and other publications. We invite you to enter.

The submission deadline for the prize is midnight February 15th, 2014.
The entry fee is $20 (includes a free copy of the Summer 2014 Issue, which will include the winning piece).
You may submit one nonfiction piece per entry and it must be 5500 words or less.
There is no limit on the number of entries per person.

$1500 and publication in the Summer 2014 Issue will be awarded to the winner. The runner-up will receive $200 and publication in the Spring 2014 Issue.

A blind reading of all entries will be conducted by a panel of RUMINATE readers, who will select 10 nonfiction finalists. Those 10 finalists will then be read for our final judge, John Wilson, who will select a winner.

Close friends and students (current & former) of the final judge, John Wilson, are not eligible to compete, nor are close friends of the RUMINATE staff. All submissions must be submitted via our online submission form manager. We will not accept mail or email submissions. We do not accept previously published entries. All submissions must be previously unpublished. You may enter simultaneously submitted work. You may submit any type of creative nonfiction–personal essay, short memoir, literary journalism, etc.

Winners will be announced in the Summer Issue, June 2014. We will be notifying all entrants of submission status in mid April 2014. Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit.


Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration is seeking submissions in prose, poetry, art, and mixed genres for our spring/summer 2014 issue.Online submissions link:https://mixitinimatrix.submittable.com/submit

To learn more, visit 

Deadline is February 28. The issue will appear in late May.


Call-out for Submissions: Blotterature Literary Magazine is now open for submissions through June 1, 2014.
Blotterature accepts a wide variety of prose, poetry, and artwork. We seek the nontraditional mixed with craft, detail, and process. Well-developed with an edge. Experimental but not aimless. Something with political intentions or just there to entertain. Thought-out. Thrilling. Intelligent.
Blotterature released its inaugural issue on January 25, 2014 and is ready to read your best work for the second issue due out July 25, 2014.

Please go to Blotterature.com/submissions for submission details.



Submission information:

The Provo Canyon Review is now seeking short fiction and personal essay manuscripts of up to 5,000 words. We also accept shorter poems (limit three per submission). We are drawn to work that is deeply moving without being overly sentimental; tender, in the sense of a mixture of grace and vulnerability and compassion; and displays a great deal of focused attention to the English language and how it is used. From the first sentence, the work should raise compelling questions in the readers’ minds, with complexly motivated drama balanced with introspection. We are not looking for gratuitous sex or violence in the work.

Simultaneous submissions are welcome. If you have the good fortune to find placement in another magazine, just let us know.


Subject: Linden Avenue Literary Journal-Call for Submissions

Linden Avenue Literary Journal (www.lindenavelit.com), founded in June 2012, is now accepting poetry, non-fiction, and short fiction on a rolling basis for its May 2014 issues and beyond.

Linden Avenue publishes poetry and short fiction that highlights the intersection between art and everyday life. Bring us your words, colored and sketched, and if we love them? There will be a place for them here.

What you should expect from Linden Avenue:

1.) A monthly literary journal that highlights the best work submitted regardless of any affiliation or prior publication.

2.) Poetry and fiction that is as beautiful in construction as it is in content.

Detailed submission guidelines for each genre can be found on our Submittable page: