An excerpt from my fairytale retelling of "The Country Where Death is Not." In my version, a young man hunts for a place to bring his dying mother. He is seeking a place to call home, a utopia, you might say. But what he finds is much darker than he expected.
This is the original tale, from Sudan:
The Country Where Death Is Not
There was a man with his mother. The mother was much afraid of dying, therefore she wished to go into a country where there is no death. The son said, "Where is a country without death?"
Day 8 of #nanowrimo, 2,300 words. Finished up my Beauty and the Beast (with lady Beast, set in the Scottish moors) retelling and on to a lesser-known fairytale, “The Town Where Death Is Not.” If you haven’t read this gory little tale, I highly recommend googling it. 😈
I got a bit behind on updating my website and trackers because of house maintenance stuff yesterday, but here are the excerpts from day 3 (the ending of Mrs. Winkle - a take on Rip Van Winkle from a woman's POV) and day 4 (Beauty and the Beast):
I have 1793 words so far on my first NaNoWriMo story, a retelling of Rip Van Winkle from a woman’s POV. Here’s today’s excerpt:
“The city was harsh and dirty, and sometimes beautiful, but those days were few and far between. She’d never known anything different than the city, with its staggering heat, pulsing voice of music falling out of cars, and tremble of planes passing low overhead late at night. The city was progress and destruction and rebuilding and progress. It wasn’t a place for daydreams.”
This #NaNoWriMo, I'm writing 10 short stories, all fairytale retellings!
The fairytale genre has always fascinated me, even from a very young age. This is probably the case with most speculative writers, and also with people of my age who grew up in the golden age of Disney. Drawing inspiration from authors like Carmen Maria Machado, Shirley Jackson, Naomi Novik, Helen Oyeyemi, and Gregory Maguire, this November I'm focusing my short story writing on fairytales. As the month goes on, I'll update here with the list of fairytales I'm retelling. To begin with, I've focused on fairytale tropes as story seeds.
1. Rip Van Winkle
2. Beauty & the Beast
3. The Country Where Death is Not
4. Origins of the Hidden People
5. The Girl without Hands
6. The Willow Wife
Check back for more updates as my month of writing progresses. I usually try to post excerpts from my stories as the month goes on, both on my blog, Twitter, and Instagram.
If you want to add me on the NaNoWriMo website, my username is Hwally.
Greg Bem over at Yellow Rabbits has posted a review of Glimmerglass Girl. Thanks Greg for reading my work with such care!
"The chapbook Glimmerglass Girl, while a whorl of selected moments, contains a collective and collective energy that has the potential to awe and influence. It is a feminist work as much as it is a work of an independent, confident poet. There is a general outburst of energy here, one that indicates journey and trial and achievement. It is a landscape of learning and knowledge, wisdom even, attained through the process of living out womanhood. These are poems that, as a collection, field experiential memory and meditative spaces of raw emotion. The book, both narrative and lyrical, lends itself to a harmony of reflection and gracious internalization. The poems are short and brief, and ultimately find their strongest qualities through Holly Lyn Walrath’s overarching voice when the book has been read and the covers finally closed. . . "
Read the full review here . . .
This November 17, I'll be reading with Gemini Ink and fellow Finishing Line Press writers at Kaboom Books. I'll read a bit more from Glimmerglass Girl and try not to buy more books. Oh, let's face it, I'll probably buy more books.
RSVP on Facebook . . .
Feature in the Houston Chronicle: Looking through Houston poet Holly Lyn Walrath’s ‘Glimmerglass Girl’
Sometimes being a writer can be a little surreal. Yesterday, I went out to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to take pictures with the butterflies, today I get to share with you this Houston Chronicle feature about my writing.
Poems have always been there for me. I've had a whirlwind of personal life stuff lately. Putting out a new chapbook. Moving to a new house. A death in the family. But I can always come back to poems.
Thanks to everyone who has come with me on this journey and to those who've always supported my writing. It's lovely to know all of you. I'm grateful to get to share my words with the world.
"Walrath’s “Glimmerglass Girl” is an intense collection of poetry that speaks out from the first page. Not for the faint of heart, it’s open, but sharp as Walrath doesn’t shy away from letting her readers see the blood, even if she lets it drip across flowers and suburban kitchen countertops.
The female experience is a large part of Walrath’s poetry. Much of the work does match her interest in the speculative. The spirits of nature and the wonder of fairytales are common themes across her verses. However, like fairytales there is something dark and primal underneath the resemblance to children’s literature."
Read more at the Houston Chronicle . . .
Fellow poet and SFPA member Matt Betts asked me to do a "poetry post-mortem" for his blog! This is basically a behind-the-scenes of one of my poems, how it came to me, what inspired it, and why I wrote it. I chose "Two Hundred Fifty-Seven," a poem from my new chapbook Glimmerglass Girl.
Read the poem and its post-mortem here . . .
This fall I'm hitting up a few book events in Texas. Here's where you can find me, pick up a copy of Glimmerglass Girl, and say hi!
Join Writespace and Spider Road Press as we celebrate the release of Glimmerglass Girl, the debut poetry chapbook written by dedicated Writespace volunteer Holly Lyn Walrath. The collection’s publisher, Finishing Line Press, describes the work as a “unique visual collection of speculative poetry [that] addresses femininity, feminism, and the intersection of womanhood and nature."
To celebrate Glimmerglass Girl, we are inviting women-identifying writers to share their own work alongside Holly at our Women’s Voices Reading and Open Mic. We are excited to hear work that examines all aspects of womanhood, and we especially welcome historically marginalized voices.
DATE: Friday, October 19th, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Writespace (2000 Edwards, Studio #208, Houston, TX 77007)
PRICE: Free to all! If you are interested in reading, please send an email to email@example.com.
Texas Book Festival - Tabling with Bountiful Balcony Books
DATE: Saturday & Sunday, October 27-28
LOCATION: Texas State Capitol
I'll be tabling with Bountiful Balcony Books at this year's Texas Book Festival! Come say hi and pick up a signed copy of Glimmerglass Girl or one of the other awesome offerings from the Bountiful table!
Zine Fest Houston - Tabling
DATE: Saturday, November 17, 2018
LOCATION: Lawndale Art Center
PRICE: Free to all!
I'll be tabling at Zine Fest Houston this year with some new story zines! Come say hi and pick up a signed copy of Glimmerglass Girl!
I have a new prose poem up today at Terse Journal: What it Feels Like to Play Video Games as a Woman.
Read the full poem here . . .
My tarot-inspired story "Tarot of the Animal Lords" is now available on Amazon in the Shards Noblebright anthology by Spring Song Press. This story is about a woman trying to find her way out of a dystopian future where a mysterious illness has devastated the countryside. Along the way, she reconnects with her wild roots and the boyfriend she left behind.
Get your copy today:
I have a new poem, "Erasure" (after Ralph Waldo Emerson) - in ARTHouston Magazine Issue#7 (September 2018)
those souls / in the pictures /
breathe / memory /
in danger of forgetting /
that they had their origin /
in wax / and / paint / in the narrow lodging /
of a thought which pours itself /
color and form / barbaric pearl and gold /
I was to see / with eyes / pierced
/ with / salt water, to find that which was perfect /
in the chambers of / the earth
I got to share some fun pics of my bookshelves over at The Coil Magazine as part of their #Shelfie series.
As I'm moving, books have been on my mind because my current shelves are bursting at the seams. I finally convinced my spouse to get me yet another bookshelf for the new house. (We now have 6?) But there's something magical about your whole house feeling like a library. Books are a safe harbor in the storm. Check out my copies of Jane Eyre, The Eyes of the Dragon, and of course, now I get to add my own chapbook Glimmerglass Girl.
Read the article here . . .
I have a new poem up today at Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry. It's called "Dead-Eye Girl" and it's nice and creepy for the upcoming month of October!
I am seeking you in the blood on my tongue
in the rims of shattered bottles under bridges
in the blossoms of storm clouds in summertime
in the songs of cicadas swarming.
Read the full poem here . . .
The Coil Magazine has five poems from my chapbook Glimmerglass Girl up today! It's really cool to see these poems out in the world.
Read them here . . .
I wrote a little creative nonfiction piece over at Cotton Xenomorph today on my secret food love: sweet pickles! Yes, I am a Southern girl and I love these little sweet nuggets of goodness. I am ashamed/not ashamed.
Read the full essay here. . .
Interview with Andrea Blythe: Poet Spotlight: Holly Lyn Walrath on hybrid writing and the idea of femininity
I had the pleasure of chatting with fellow Finishing Line Press poet Andrea Blythe about what it means to be a weird writer, how Melville's poems are way better than that whale book, and refusing to cater to genre rules.
Read the Interview here!
New Subscriber-Only Post on Curious Fictions: Creating an Environment Where You Have License to Try New Things
Today I've got a new post up at Curious Fictions for subscribers about creating an environment in your life where you give yourself license to try new things. As a writer, this is so important to my process, but I think it applies to other places in your life too.
Today I have an interview up with Katie Lewington, a UK-based poet and book blogger! Katie and I chatted about my upcoming projects (Spoiler: Space Pirates!), how I balance writing/life (Spoiler: I suck at it.) and what poetry means to me.
"Edward Hirsch, one of my favorite poets, says that “Reading poetry is an adventure in renewal, a creative act, a perpetual beginning, a rebirth of wonder.” He talks about how the poem has to journey a very long way to get to the reader—all the way from inside my weird mind to the page, where I just hope that the right reader will find it . . ."
Read the full interview here.
My book will release on Amazon this Friday, August 24th! Pre-order a copy and then leave a review. It makes your favorite poet love you dearly.
Barnes & Noble:
You can also pick up a copy at B&N. Does your local store not have a copy? Just ask an associate to place an order for you! It helps stores know what books to order and helps indie authors!
Other Indie bookstores offering pre-order sales:
Search your local bookstores at IndieBound!
Murder by the Book
Blue Willow Bookshop
Katy Budget Books
Austin & Texas
The Twig (San Antonio)
The Dock (Fort Worth)
Cavalier House Books (Louisiana)
Watermark Books (Wichita, KS)
Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MS)
BookWorks (Albuquerque, NM)
Village Lights (Madison, IN)
Book Soup (West Hollywood, CA)
Green Apple Books (San Francisco, CA)
Skylight Books (Los Angeles, CA)
Tattered Cover (Denver, CO)
Politics & Prose (Washington, DC)
Print (Portland, ME)
Greenlight Bookstore (Brooklyn, NY)
As always, Glimmerglass Girl is also available from the publisher at Finishing Line Press.
I'm excited to share that my story "Tarot of the Animal Lords" will appear in the Shards anthology edited by C.J. Brightley. This is a story that I worked very hard on and always hoped would get picked up for publication. It's got a unique structure based on tarot cards. I hope you pick up your copy!
Pre-order a copy on Amazon!
My story "After the First Comes the Last" is up at Daily Science Fiction today.
Read it here.
This piece was written in a flash fiction class by the queen of flash, Kathy Fish. I really would suggest anyone wanting to generate some new flash to take one of her online classes, which sell out very fast. (ba-dum-cha.) When I wrote this piece, I was playing with the prompt of "firsts and lasts". Somehow, that got to be the question of "What if a witch only had a limited amount of spells in her lifetime? How would she use them?" It's a personal story for me. Someone in the DSF Facebook page has already called it a #MeToo story, but I think if we think in terms of that it limits how we view the world. This isn't just a today story.
When I wrote it, I was thinking of Haruka Weiser, a freshman at UT who was raped, strangled, and killed, her body left in Waller Creek. I went to UT back in 2003-2007. The campus holds a very special place to me. It was one of the few places I felt safe and comfortable. I felt like the trees were my friends and that the other students were people I could talk to and relate to. I'd never had that experience in a school before. Waller Creek, for those of you that don't know, is a beautiful creek that runs below campus (Most of the paths are built above it.) For my Victorian lit class, we went down to Waller and looked at the footprints of dinosaurs that are preserved there, and wrote while sitting on the rocks. It's like a hidden world. So I was devastated to learn of a student's death and assault in that sacred place. I was even more devastated to learn that the person arrested was a homeless man with mental illness. There are no easy solutions to these problems. When I went to UT, the homeless population was everywhere. I never would have thought to be afraid, but I never walked the campus at night because I lived off-campus. Every so often when parent's weekend came, the police would round up the homeless population and get them off the streets for a while, for show. But they never seemed to care about finding a solution that worked in a human, caring way.
For me, we can make big choices and try to change things on a larger scale, but it all starts small. With tiny choices. Tiny actions that reverberate. We are humans living in this place together. How we help each other can mean more sometimes than the stalled work of congress. I really believe that by helping one person you can make a big difference.
Anywho, I've gotten off topic, but I hope you read my story and enjoy it.
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)