I wanted to put in a plug for GrubStreet. From their website:
“GrubStreet is one of the nation’s leading creative writing centers. We believe that narrative transforms lives, builds bridges, and produces empathy. By rigorously developing voices of every type and talent and by removing barriers to entry, GrubStreet fosters the creation of meaningful stories and ensures that excellent writing remains vital and relevant.”
I’ve attended a few of their free workshops in the past. I finally decided this week to become a member.
This is a time of much division. Families and communities are splintered by polarizing narratives. Outrage surrounds geopolitical discourse—so much so that anxiety often becomes a sort of white noise, making it increasingly difficult to trigger intense, acute anger. The effect can be desensitizing, like driving 60 miles per hour and losing hold of the reality that a minor error could result in instant death.
One thing that apparently still has the power to infuriate people, though, is how many spaces should be used after a period at the end of an English sentence.
Keith’s opus possesses shades of Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, and aNew Yorker cartoon for extraterrestrials. Let Us Now Speak of Extinction is eerily addicting. ––Jo Maeder
Michael C. Keith’s short pieces seem relatively benign at first, but wait a moment and you feel the snap of his literary whip. Keith subverts things with a smile––like putting a dagger in the back of the iconic Jack Kerouac by posing whether his girlfriend was a better writer than this Beat patriarch. He brings an amused eye to our inevitable demise, our strutting and posturing before the black void. Keith is a writer who can shake your hand or use a well-appointed whoopee cushion to blow the hot air out from where the sun don’t shine. He keeps you honest. He keeps you thinking. He keeps you reading. –– Doug Holder
“When employees of the Green Creek Coal Company detonate an explosion to strip-mine Kanawha Mountain, the blast triggers a series of unexplained—possibly supernatural—events in the rural West Virginia hills. Blue Avalon, an elite team of civilian and U.S. military personnel formed to investigate Unidentified Flying Objects and other unexplained phenomena, is activated to investigate whether an intelligent entity or force is responsible “the Kanawha Anomaly.”
“The Blue Avalon team is assisted by three civilian consultants: Shawnee Native American tribal members Leon Great Eagle and Ben “Dancing Bear” Grayson; also, Sarah Muller, a young Georgetown graduate who has a special connection with the entity. The team must work against the clock to determine whether the Conundrum is benevolent or constitutes a direct threat to all of mankind.”
Kanawha is a county in West Virginia; also, Kanawha was a proposed name for the 39 counties which later became the main body of the U.S. state of West Virginia, formed on October 24, 1861. Finally, the Kanawha River flows through West Virginia. It’s said the river was named by the Native American Delaware tribe.
The story takes place in coal mining country in West Virginia, and has a strong First Nation theme.
I wanted to put in a plug for Duotrope. It’s a fabulous resource for writers. I’ve been a subscriber now going on six years.
Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers and artists that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, a personal submissions tracker, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points we’ve gathered on the publishers and agents we list.”
1: Flat regions on either side of the forehead 2: Places or things regarded as having within them a divine presence 3: Devices in looms that keep cloth stretched to the correct width during weaving 4: Buildings reserved for a highly valued function: libraries, temples of learning 5: Phil Temples.
I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s readings by Heather Madden, GennaRose Nethercott, and Julia Story at the Červená Barva Press Reading Series in Somerville, Massachusetts. Gloria Mindock has tentatively invited me to read from my new story collection “Machine Feelings” in the near future.