When I was little, say four or five, I used to make my Mom write out things in cursive on little cards for me. I’d tell her what to write, then sit next to her at the coffee table in our den and watch her fingers and pen make the loops of cursive words, in neat lines with round letters. My mother has excellent penmanship. On the other hand, my father’s handwriting started out graceful and thin, but more spindly the older he got. Soon he switched to making block letters — in all caps. By the time the Parkinson’s had taken over, he was unable to write at all...
Read the full article at Coffeelicious . . .
Do you ever think as humans we’re just afraid to get our hands dirty? That we’ve engineered our lives to be as perfect, pristine, and efficient as possible? And that maybe, if we aren’t perfect, then we’re failures?
I’m trying to abolish this idea from my creative life. The idea of perfection.
Read the full article here . . .
Around November, Writing Twitter starts talking about the end of the year. It’s NaNoWriMo, so people are often talking about writing anyway. But also, it’s the time of the year when, if you’re a writer in science fiction or fantasy, you should be posting your “What I Published This Year,” or “Awards Eligibility” post.
A lot of writers use this time to celebrate the works they’ve published over the year and encourage others to nominate them for best of lists and prize consideration, like the Pushcart Prize or Hugo Awards. Journal editors on the literary side announce their nominations for the Pushcart around this time. 2019 is also the end of a decade, so now people are also posting encouraging writers to share what they accomplished in the last decade. We’re sharing pics of ourselves in 2009 and 2019 to show the passage of time.
But I know that a lot of creatives struggle with all this.
Read the whole post here . . .
I love the above image. It’s a photograph taken at Natural Bridge State Park, where someone has carved this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien into a walking path. J.R.R. Tolkien probably never imagined the life his work has taken on after his death — that someone would take the time to carve his words in a public space. In fact, I know he didn’t.
John Hendrix, an artist, recently posted a quote from Tolkien’s diary while he was writing Lord of the Rings. It reads:
Friday 14 April: ‘I managed to get an hour or two’s writing, and have brought Frodo nearly to the gates of Mordor. Afternoon lawn-mowing. Term begins next week, and proofs of Wales papers have come. Still I am going to continue “Ring” in every salvable moment.’
Read more here . . .
A year and a few months ago, my father died. Today, I signed a contract for a small poetry book on grief and dealing with my father’s death that is going to be translated into Italian and published in Italy. The world spins in weird ways, I guess.
Before my father died, I always looked on books about the death of a loved one in, I’ll admit, a pretty messed up and slightly dismissive way. I hated cancer memoirs, books that dived headfirst into the nitty-gritty details of death: bodies and hospitals and medicine and the grotesque humanity of grief. Also, there was a connotation with these books. When they were written by women about caring for loved ones, they often got lumped into women’s fiction, whereas a man writing about grief was somehow reinventing the wheel.
Read the full article on Medium . . .
Confessions of a Supermassive Black Hole
You can’t escape my body.
I deform spacetime, invisible.
I collapse, even as everything surrounds me.
I am the center of you, of your galaxy.
I sieve particles, radiation, light,
searching for the ghost of my former self.
My gravity is also my weakness.
New post for Curious Fiction Subscribers: Handmade Rebellion: Dispatches from Zine Fest Houston and Women’s Radicalism
I have a new early reveal post for subscribers at Curious Fictions. Last month I participated in Zinefest Houston — one of my favorite local events. In this event, local paper artists create zines to sell — small, hand-made, individual books, pamphlets, and other paper ephemera. I’ve participated twice and I always enjoy this well-crafted event (ba-dum cha). What I like about Zinefest is the audience. It’s mostly young people who are interested in meeting other writers and artists. It’s also one of the most diverse and well-attended events I go to every year. I always end up meeting some lovely folks!
Read the entire post here . . .
It’s my favorite day of the year, so I thought I’d share a poem from my back catalogue of published work. This poem is an erasure/blackout of Shirley Jackson’s book We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
In case you’re unaware of this form, erasures are a type of found poetry where you “erase” words from a found text and the words left behind form a poem.
Read the poem here . . .
I have a new poem in Apparition Lit #8 (October 2019) - Belly of the Beast. This one is kind of romantic, which I felt like fit the theme of the issue, Euphoria. What is euphoric to you? For me, it's being with the person you love in the weirdest place you can think of.
Let’s live in the belly of the beast.
You can bring a strong IPA
so smooth it’s like milk frothed.
I’ll bring Atwood and Ishiguro and Dickens.
We’ll watch Netflix in the blood vessels
and make love in the open mouth
with the krill and saltwater
pooling at our knees . . .
Read the entire poem here . . .
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November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an online community and yearly event where writers make the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. This year, I’m encouraging you to burn the frigging thing down.
Read how here . . .
I have a new article up at Medium today on the economics of short fiction, how commercialism is changing what writers write, & a bit of advice from Shirley Jackson.
“The very nicest thing about being a writer is that you can afford to indulge yourself endlessly with oddness, and nobody can really do anything about it, as long as you keep writing and kind of using it up, as it were.” — Shirley Jackson (“Memory and Delusion,” Published in Let Me Tell You.)
Read the entire article here . . .
What if you woke up tomorrow knowing without a doubt you could write a bestseller? Paint a picture worth a million dollars? Release an album that was guaranteed to go to #1 on the charts?
What would you do?
This is the question behind Yesterday, a charming movie that pays homage to the works of The Beatles by erasing them from the world. Yesterday is a “what if” movie — What if The Beatles never existed? Himish Patel (best known for his work on the British soap Eastenders) plays down-on-his-luck musician Jack Malik, who wants someone to like his music other than his best friend Ellie (played by Lily James).
Read the entire article at Medium . . .
I have a new article up at Medium today! As a writer, it can be really hard to keep going. One way I keep myself motivated is by celebrating the small things. Sure, I was over the moon the first time I got a poetry acceptance. But I’ve learned that to keep going, you need to celebrate every little step. Every time I hit a new milestone, I try to appreciate that moment, because it validates all the hard work, long hours, and general malaise that being a writer sometimes entails. I love writing, but writing is hard.
Read the whole list here . . .
Today on Medium I'm continuing my series of writing articles, this one all about the different terms we use when we talk about submissions. If you've ever wanted to submit your writing, but don't know where to start with all the lingo (What's a slush pile anyway?), this article is for you.
Read the full post here!
This month I have a guest post up at the Horror Writer's Association on the theme of dark poetry called "Darkness and Light." if you're a HWA member, be sure to check it out! If you're not a member, you can read it on Curious Fictions for $1 or by subscribing to my feed.
Hybrid poetry forms can be a powerful form of resistance. From Jerrod Schwarz’s erasure of Trump’s inaugural speech to Niina Pollari’s black outs of the N-400 citizenship form, contemporary poets are engaging with the world through text, creating new and challenging works of art. Heralded by the rise of the “Instapoet,” visual works are a way to take poetry one step further by crafting new forms and structures that often transcend the page.
In July, I'll be teaching a 4-week course online at the Poetry Barn on this very topic! We’ll study the forms of poetry that draw from outside sources and texts, learning how artists are reshaping the narrative of resistance and how to draw from news, media, canonical works, and other found texts to create our own work in conversation with the current world.
Click here to sign up for online workshop . . .
The hardest part about submitting your writing is battling imposter syndrome and self-rejection. It doesn’t matter how you track your submissions or how many submissions you make in a year. Every writer has a different process that works for them. But it does matter if you never try — and these two things can make you freeze up when it comes time to hit send on a submission. That's why I posted a new article over at Medium today on this very topic.
Read the whole post here . . .
I am beyond honored that my poem "Dead-Eye Girl" is nominated for the 2019 Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association Rhysling Award for best speculative poem of the previous year. This little poem first appeared in Liminality Magazine in 2018. Print copies are now available of the anthology on Amazon! Members of the SFPA can vote on which poem they want to win.
Buy a copy of the anthology here . . .
I have a new post today at Medium on Switching Genres: How to move from writing “realism” to “speculative” genres. I love this topic because I love fighting back against the idea that a genre has to be one thing or the other. I hope these tips are helpful to writers who are looking to break out of a writing rut and try something new!
Read the full article at Medium . . .
Today at Medium, I write about crafting a "mission statement" for your writing career and how it can help you meet your goals. Thinking about your writing as a brand helps to combat self-rejection and imposter syndrome. It puts a bit of distance between you and your work — and that can be a lifesaver in the future when you’re looking at hard decisions about where to publish and why.
Read the whole post here . . .
I am on the radio today reading poetry! If you're in Houston you can catch my segment in the 2019 edition of Voices and Verses on Houston Public Media. Click above to listen!
In this sound portrait, Walrath describes how she fell in love with poetry in high school, her love of the weird and her inspirations. She reads her poem, “Blue Cadillac.”
Oh, the way you sat in
the drive, taking it all up.
I climbed into your cool interior, sliding
across the widest, darkest navy seats
spread beyond me, beyond my vision.
They seemed to expand and dissolve
into a bright light on the driver’s side.
We drove, through endless lanes
of white picket fences, long green,
green lawns, the Texas sun staccato
in the trees, and it may be that I wore
an Easter Sunday dress, all laced in white,
and bows on my tights, or white slumping socks
above black buckle shoes shining with polish.
And in the heat of a Texas summer,
how you could swallow me up
in your blue dusty smell, that
sweet sweet tobacco tucked
into the glove compartment
beside a lady’s silver lighter.
For the sun merely seemed
to enclose you, a line of gold
light above the leather dash.
But the very roundness of you, round seats
and silver knobs and panels like porthole
windows into another time, but mostly
the round, stitched-leather steering wheel
which was surely made for white driving gloves.
And somehow in this memory of you,
your massive lines like some primordial
behemoth long since dead and buried in
ice, the very blueness of you, I may have
remembered myself, another classic beauty.
This poem was published in my chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl.
I have a new poem up today at Mirror Dance called Farewell Dead Men. I also talk about why fantasy is a genre I love:
While science fiction is based in science, mystery is based in the pursuit of a question, and horror is based in evoking an emotion of fear, I believe that fantasy is the only genre which is purely pulled from the author’s deepest dreams and imaginings. The ability to dream up fantastical beasts and worlds seems to me to be a peculiarity of the human condition—one that even the most mundane of minds can learn to cultivate. Where did the idea for a dragon first come from or the hero myth? They are deeply ingrained paths that we continue to walk, following our ancestors through the mists of imagination.
Read my poem "Farewell Dead Men" here . . .
I have a new post up at Medium that's a comprehensive guide to submitting literary short stories! Find out how to tier your submissions, keep track of them, what multiple and simultaneous submissions are, and more!
Read the full post here . . .
I have a reprint up at Flash Fiction Online this month of my little boney, witchy story "knick knack, knick knack." This little story has seen a lot of love since it first appeared in Fireside last February 2018! It also appeared as part of a local art exhibit, Color:Story. The above artwork is the piece that Houston artist Marlo Saucedo made after reading this story.
What I love about this story is that so many people have different interpretations of it. I first wrote it inspired by the kodama in Japanese film Princess Mononoke, and also the idea of wanting to tell a mother/daughter story about aging. Marlo interpreted the story as following the tradition of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. The idea of skull spirits is not central to one culture, but many. We put a lot of weight in the dead as humans, and I've always been fascinated by the different myths we create about the spirits who guide us. So I'm grateful that people continue to enjoy this little flash story.
Read the story at Flash Fiction Online . . .
I have a new article up on Medium today for writers of short fiction who want to submit their work to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and other Genre publications! This is meant to be an exhaustive, detailed, step-by-step guide for new writers.
By the way, I've published this for members on Medium, but if you're not a member and you'd like a copy, please let me know and I'll send you one. I'm also teaching an online workshop in May with Writespace about this very topic! Registration is open now at $190 until April 27.
Read the article here . . .
Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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Holly Walrath's books on Goodreads
ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.21)
Our Space: Shorts & Poetry from the Houston Community
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)
In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)
The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
ratings: 16 (avg rating 4.31)
ratings: 9 (avg rating 4.67)