Iowa Summer Writing Festival and more, more, more…

Sudden Fiction) and were lead into a handful of writing “triggers” (prompts) by Kyle. I enjoyed the casual conversational tone, and the insights we discovered in the writings by creative authors. We workshopped our own short pieces the second day and gave one another feedback. I read two stories: “Liminal” and “Triptych.” This week I am in the throes of teaching the Red Oak Young Writers program with Kim, Laurel, and Allison. It’s been a fun week thus far, held at 10 Chimneys. We have 20 students ranging in age from 7 to 11 grade. We’ve focused on poetry, story, flash, dialogue, and various other fun activities. They love free writing time and roundtables for feedback the best, so we fit those in daily. I had several more pieces published  and you can find them here: “Nodding” and “Cat Scan” at Thunderclap Press: Thunderclap Press (also available in print form, see website for details) “Mirage” at New Wave Vomit: 84 “Transition” at Orion Headless: Transition | Orion headless “What’s the Story, Morning Glory?” at S.S.F.: SLEEP. SNORT. FUCK.: What’s The Story Morning Glory? “The Black Sea” at S,F,D: The Black Sea – Short, Fast, and Deadly “Detour” at Clutching at Straws: Detour « Clutching at Straws “Bed Post” at 2010 July 22 | My short fiction piece, “Terminal” was selected for the MIND GAMES anthology at 6S and you can purchase it here: 6S, Mind Games I also published my second piece of non-fiction writing at The Nervous Breakdown, called “I Had a Dream”: The Nervous Breakdown Please feel free to comment at any or all of these websites for writers! And thanks to the editors for supporting my work: Joseph, Shannon, Shawn, Amanda, Margaret, Tannen, Ana, Sara, and Brad. My former boss, Judy Bridges of Redbird Studio is getting close to publishing her instrumental and insightful Shut Up & Write book. I can feel the excitement building around this project that she has pored herself into. I can’t wait to hold my very own (signed) copy! Hearty congratulations, Judy! We went to the Milwaukee Brewers game on Monday night, and they WON! It was a close game, 3-2. Also ate a meal on the Hollander patio for the first time all summer. We had a blast. I have a friend from high school visiting this weekend. That ought to provide a nice experience! What are you doing for the first time (that you might have never done before?) Or have you been someplace new (Iowa was for me) this summer? I hope more than anything that you are having fun.]]>

Wisconsin Summer

Postcard Shorts: Stories that fit on a postcard “The Frozen River” at 50 to 1 (thanks, Glen): 50 to 1 “Pheasant Lane” at Orion headless (thanks, Sara): Pheasant Lane | Orion headless “When the Time Comes” at Negative Suck (thanks, Jeffrey): July 2010 archive 1 – NEGATIVE SUCK “The Basement” at Underground Voices (thanks, Jim): UNDERGROUND VOICES MAGAZINE/ROBERT VAUGHAN “Before and After” at Soundless Poetry: Robert Vaughan « soundless “Regarding Kay” at The Camel Saloon (THANKS RUSSELL!!!): The Camel Saloon: Regarding Kay A note about this poem: I wrote “Regarding Kay” the week that I found out my mother passed away in November 2002. Kay was a long term Alzheimer’s patient, and I was on vacation in NYC at the time of her final demise. It’s a complex illness, to say the very least, and this poem is raw, and angry, and complex, written in the throes of attempting to reconcile my feelings about my mother: the loss, the love, the memories, her life, and mine, now, without her in it. Russell, the editor and “barkeep” at The Camel Saloon, honored me when he e-mailed to say he was approaching his 100th post of literature at his site. And he wanted to honor me by giving me his 100th post. Well, that alone blew me away. There seemed to be no choice: Regarding Kay it was! Of course, the moment I e-mailed it to him, I had my doubts. Too personal. Too tragic. You know how the mind works. Well, Russell loved the poem, and scores of other people have since chimed in to tell me how it affected them. I could never have asked for a better tribute for Kay or my family. And I am eternally grateful to Russell for touching my heart so deeply. That same weekend, the 4th of July, we spent a three day stint in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a nice get-away from Milwaukee, and yet the city has a completely different feeling. We took in a fantastic show at the American Players Theater in Spring Green. The Touchstone Theater had a performance of “The Syringa Tree” starring actress extra-ordinaire Colleen Madden. It was a tour de force performance in a role that requires no less than twenty or more character changes: black, white, young, old, male, female. It mattered not, she produced this seamless, flawless magic. Instantaneous standing ovations were not enough! If you can’t see her in the show, then do read the book by the same name by author Pamela Gien. It’s fantastic! I am currently reading Dzanc Books Best of the Web 2010 edited by guest editor Kathy Fish and series editor Matt Bell. Next I’ll read The Pen/O.Henry Prize Stories with jury selections by Junot Diaz, Paula Fox, and Yiyun Li. So much material, so little time (again, this time crunch theme?) Five or perhaps six weeks ago I had a goal of reaching 25 pieces published before my birthday in August. Well, I surpassed that a while back. I just had my 43rd piece accepted for publication, spread among 21 various online or print journals. It really does astound me, and yet I continue to write, to submit, to re-write and persevere. I will be a guest on Lake Effect, Milwaukee’s Public Radio, talking about the state of online magazines and journals, one writer’s submission process, and flash fiction in particular, as I seem to have had much success of late with this form. I’m also going to read a selection of my work. We’re taping on July 20, so I will post the dates of airing, and links for podcast, etc. And so, summer marches on. Yesterday we had hail, today Lance Armstrong looks like his chances at yet another win in the Tour de France might have ended. What will tomorrow bring? What might be some new adventure for you this summer that you have always wanted to do, but just haven’t yet? Take the plunge. The world awaits.]]>

New York Visit

2010 June 18 | Also, I had a racy piece taken by Sleep. Snort. Fuck. Thanks editors! SLEEP. SNORT. FUCK.: Starting Over The writing continues to fly…summer takes off…what are you up to? Any big trips on the horizon? How will your life benefit from your 2010 experiences? A few other random things I recommend: Christina Aguilera’s Bionic CD (get the European version if possible), Coco Chanel movie (sad and reverent), James L. White “The Salt Ecstasies” a poetry collection with a foreward by Mark Doty. And the New Yorker‘s issue (June 14 & 21) was dedicated to ’20 Under 40.’ Meaning twenty writers under forty years old. Nicole Krauss: “The Young Painters” : The New Yorker Then, as I am a dedicated user of Facebook, Dan Wickett, Exec. Dir. of Dzanc Books published an alternative list called 20 Writers to Watch: Facebook | Dan Wickett: 20 Writers to Watch – An Alternate List Hope you enjoy both! Peace, Love, Fly.]]>


jmww.spring.2010 Also, I have been working in tandem with editor Amanda Deo at Thunderclap Press, on some creative chapbooks and also flash fiction submissions. I have had two pieces accepted thus far for the upcoming Numero Dos issue. More info. here: Thunderclap Press I am now a full-fledged member at Fictionaut, where you have to be invited to join (thanks Meg Pokrass!). I have posted two flash pieces there as well as one poem. You can read them all here: Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut And here are the various other places where you can read my writing on the web: Part of Life: Two Ways « Clutching at Straws Tryst Issue XIX: Contents Blink|Ink | ‘quick snips of mixed fiction’ The Camel Saloon: Houseboat It has been a wonderful week indeed. I am so grateful to the following editors of the above mentioned literary magazines: Shawn Misener at Clutching at Straws, Mia at Tryst, Lynn Alexander at Blink/Ink, and Russell Streur at The Camel Saloon. And to my fellow roundtable writers at Redbird-Redoak, I can’t thank you enough for your insights and suggestions. We had an amazing night on June 3, reading selections from our writing at Cafe Fixx in Milwaukee. There was a great turnout, and I was happy that Kim Suhr, our head honcho, placed me first in the line-up. I read three short pieces: “When the Time Comes” to be published at Negative Suck, “Furballs,” and “Liminal” which is forthcoming from The Lesser Flamingo. And I reached another milestone. One of my writing goals was to attempt to hit 25 submission acceptances by the time my milestone birthday arrives in August. Well, it happened a little early: Today! I had my 25th acceptance, a new piece called “Sometimes He Feels Like It’s Numb” which will come out this summer at Salt River Review. Thanks editor, Lynda Schor. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention these two weeks of the French Open and the great efforts of Schiavone who beat Sam Stosur yesterday; and Rafa Nadal who won his 5th French Open title, defeating Robin Soderling fairly handedly. So inspirational to see Nadal avenge his loss last year to Soderling, and to be back on top of his game. Some prompts for you writers/artists, from our latest sessions: 1) He felt Edmond tugging at his leg. 2) Civilization has been slow to give up on our myth of the Earth’s infinite generosity. 3) I believe she was a good woman, rather lonely, more sensitive than anyone understood. Happy writing! Better yet, happy living!]]>

What a Week

Waiting for Godot. This show, once voted as the most significant English language play of the 20th century, is subtitled as a “tragicomedy in two acts.” This sums up what this week has felt like. Of late, I’ve been plagued by an anonymous physical constraint. Beginning in my lower back, it’s now moved to a numbing feeling down my left side: buttocks, entire leg and foot. Subsequently, and with my physician’s advice, I have had muscle and nerve tests done, blood drawn, urine sampled, x-rays taken. While great for fresh writing material, visiting three different hospitals in one week is, to say the least, daunting. Throw an adverse reaction to a drug I’d never before taken into the mix. And still, I have no clue what this numbness is. Sciatica? Possibly. Disc drama? Who knows. Going through this has given me extraordinary insight into what difficulties other people must endure on their paths to wellness. Simultaneously, in the second act, there have been some wonderful moments in my writing life. I was able to hold my first Thunderclap! Press, first edition in my hands. Thanks to stellar editor, Amanda Deo and her amazing insight at gathering some exciting, talented writers for this edition. My piece is called “Tardy” and for more information, or to order a copy, go to this website: Thunderclap Press Also, my flash fiction piece called “The Service Remains” is published in the current issue at Short, Fast, and Deadly. When I saw that editor Joseph Quintela was assembling issue 23 entitled “Silence is a Knife” (The Political Issue) I knew I’d written a piece to submit. My fear with this flash is that it is highly controversial. I had to trust that I know the words that the father says in the piece are ‘mine’ as an author, but so not ‘mine’ as Robert. A slight caveat, but not an apology. And I admire Joseph for taking on controversial, and political writing. So many editors shy away from this; he embraces it. And his own writing is stunning as well. Short, Fast, and Deadly: Issue 23 (16 May 2010) Then, this afternoon, I was contacted by Richard, the editor at Postcard Shorts. He let me know that he has published two more of my submissions: “Organs” and “World’s Fair.” The last piece I had read in the Tuesday Roundtable writer’s group at Redbird- Redoak Studio, in which I’m a member. I had some insightful and profound feedback and revised before I sent it out for consideration. So thanks, Tuesday writers, and Jeannee our fearless leader. Postcard Shorts: Stories that fit on a postcard And there you have it! Activity which keeps me inspired, and more submissions to come. I am also negotiating to possibly become a guest editor at an online literary magazine, and selecting a piece of fiction to read at the Cafe Fixx event on June 3rd. Tomorrow, I will have a vegan lunch with some of my favorite writer friends. Life, although sometimes number than others, is overall good. Laughter is key, the most thorough medicine.]]>

Post Update

Post Update Greetings everyone, let me begin by saying this is NOT fiction! This is me, Robert Vaughan, the author of One Writer’s Life. I wanted to take a pause, and share some of the statistics of what has happened since I began the blog. I started on December 20, 2009. My ideas initially were to post once per day,  and my intention was simple: share your work! Many friends, new and older, have known I write. But so few have had the opportunity to experience my work (other than e-mails or via social networks like Facebook). So, the blog began. Now, nearly three months later, I’d like to share some of the results of One Writer’s Life: I have posted 86 different times in 6 categories of writing: Flash fiction, Short stories, Poetry, Journals, Book Excerpt (from Good Wives River), and Dead Celebrities (from collection of short stories) There have been 744 overall comments, averaging 8 – 9 comments per day. 81 people have subscribed to One Writer’s Life. And this astounds me the most: The blog has had 46,593 hits (When I last checked!) Probably the most frequent questions (other than, how long do you think you will endure?) have been about the process.  Where do you come up with all this work? Do you write something new every day? How do you decide what to post? So, first things first. A writer writes. That’s what I do. Pen to pad first, then pad to screen. Certain days are easier than others, of course. Many of these original blogs came from writing prompts: a line of a book, a random lyric or quote, a photo on a wall,  the room in which you sit. It’s that easy- you don’t need to search too far for inspiration. I also keep an ongoing journal, have done so since 1978. Often I’d peruse them, modifying and embellishing (it is fiction, after all!). Because I write mostly “realistic fiction,” many of my ideas are character driven: what does she look like, how does she talk, etc. I also read, lots. (I think it is fairly necessary for most writers, but equally important is to filter WHAT you read!) Many of the blogs were ideas or short fictional pieces that I had written earlier, but revised or changed. My belief is that something is only “finished” when it is deemed so. I participate in a writer roundtable at Redbird- Redoak in Milwaukee where other writers lend support: insightful, sound, concise feedback for me to revise my first drafts. This process has been vital for me to take risks, to “put work out there” and to not get too attached to anything I write. Ultimately, it’s going to shift, modify, change. A lot like life that way. These factors, plus other intangible ones, are what has made it easier to create a blog every day since December, 2009. And this week, like so many others of the past twelve, has brought about some personal complications. I travel a lot. Certainly not a complaint, I love to see other sights, and to experience new realms of existence. But blogging on the road? A different story. If you read the last few lines of my very first blog, December 20, I mention that I received a new, early holiday present: my MAC OS X Snow Leopard.  It’s as sleek, fast and gorgeous as the name implies. I LOVE IT! (And yes, I’m spoiled, don’t remind me). My laptop, a PC, overloaded with useless information and older than the average life span of any laptop, has multiple quirks. Then, will the place where I am staying have internet access? If so, does it cost additional money to get online? The questions get deeper, the process more complex. Then there is the ‘life just gets more challenging sometimes’ factor. Last week, I received some shocking news. A dear friend, someone I’d loved like a sister while in our young 20s and 30s was suddenly gone. Melanoma. Ironically, her name is Mel.  She was 47. I was devastated, and the aftermath has caused me to pause, to realistically assess my own life, as the shocking death of any loved one can. Of course, I have written about Mel. And I was unable to attend her funeral, so on Friday, after my writing roundtable, I drove up Lincoln Memorial Drive staring out into Lake Michigan. Suddenly, I remembered Mel loved the musical group Journey. I found “Loving, Touching, Squeezing” on my sound system, and cranked it.  As I crowed those lyrics, over and over, I imagined Mel in the passenger seat, singing in unison. Tears streamed down my face. I felt the painful, yet cathartic release. I think it’s time to convert the blog to a once per week posting. For those of you who have supported me these past three months, I can’t say enough how deeply you’ve touched me. It has been a fantastic journey, for sure! A rich, magical and precious one. But, I also continue to submit my work to journals, magazines, contests, and plug away at projects (plays, books) in addition to One Writer’s Life. (Just in January, for example, I submitted over fifteen times, to twelve different publications; some print, some online). I hope this makes sense, and it only means that whenever a new post appears, you’ll be as excited to read it as I was to write it.]]>