A super long (but hopefully helpful) post about writing today. For my non-writer readers, I’ll have my usual kind of post next week.
Let’s start with this salient fact: I’m no expert about writing.
But, I’ve been doing it with intention now for five years come this spring. Hard to believe it’s already been that long since I left my life as an attorney for this change. In that time, I’ve learned a few things about the writing process, what works for me and what definitely doesn’t. In honor of those five years, I’d like to share what I know. This has nothing to do with blog writing—just straight up writing, submitting, and promoting kind of nuggets for essays and short stories.
◊ Paying vs. non paying venues. I am of two minds on this and have waffled for the past few years for various reasons. But, right now? I submit to both. Here’s why: I am working on a collection of short stories. Other than one short story in a contest, none of my fiction has been published yet (only my essays have been published, which is telling I suppose). And so, with an eye toward the future, I submit fiction to nonpaying but very credible places with the hope that some day I can gather up a nice little portfolio of published fiction to show an agent. It has nothing to do with just getting my name out there (indeed many of the sites for fiction are not as widely read as say, HuffPo or Salon), but me just wanting to get some street cred and reach some goals.
◊ Print vs. online only. I personally feel more satisfaction when something is in print. I like that it is tangible, and wonder whether that has to do more with my age than anything else. But I submit to both kinds of places primarily because while it’s nice that I might have some stuff published in print, if it is not also available online, it is harder to showcase that work. Many lit mags/periodicals cross-publish, but many don’t (or have a paywall/subscriber fee). I do like some pieces being accessible in the ether because it allows for sharing via social media, linking from my site, etc.
◊ Nitty gritty I. I’m increasingly less inclined to submit to places that do not either respond with a canned “we got it” email response or indicate in their writer guidelines how long one might expect to hear back or assume it’s a pass. Nothing is more infuriating to me than a site that is not at least willing to give that kind of information out on its website. It leaves room for a lot of second guessing that I do not have time for: Did they get it? Should I email the editor and check? What if I’m bothering the editor? It also complicates the process of whether I need to let them know I’m withdrawing a piece so many weeks/months out. There is a major site (where I’ve been published) that no longer seems to extend this courtesy. Yes, it pays, but if I can’t even get an auto reply back when my piece has been received (let alone rejected), I don’t feel supported as a writer. That doesn’t feel right to me anymore in venues where more than 75% of articles are by freelance/guest contributors.
◊ Nitty gritty II. That said, I will submit at least once to a place to test it out if it has some kind of cache that I want in my portfolio. That has had some positive effects too. One major site said no to a piece because it was so much like others recently published, but I got a compliment on my essay and an invite to resubmit something else. Another big site was silent for a while, so I asked how long before I could assume they were taking a pass. I did it via their contact form, so it was some person other than the editor whom I don’t mind bothering; they replied with a super nice note saying they were backlogged and I’d be hearing soon either way (I did, and it was a no).
◊ Tracking submissions. First, the WHY. In the five years I’ve been submitting essays (and more recently, short stories) I’ve seen there are many ways that journals/lit mags/websites (let’s just call them collectively “sites” for now) receive/review/accept or decline submissions. Many now (thankfully) use Submittable. But not all of them…and that is where things can go off the rails. Some sites still use email. Some sites have their own particular submission manager where you create an account/password and submit your piece via their distinct portal. While it’s nice to rely on Submittable for tracking submissions, I would miss out on all of them if I did that. This becomes a particularly dicey problem if I ever have to withdraw a piece from one or more sites (say, if I get a piece accepted at Site A and now need to withdraw from all the other sites to which I simultaneously submitted); I might forget one (almost happened).
Now, the HOW of tracking submissions. For me, I have a multi-part system that works so I don’t lose track of anything.
ONE. Once I’ve submitted an essay or short story, I immediately print it out and put it in a three-ring binder called PENDING. I put the most recently submitted piece on top. On that printed out version I hand write the word count (see below why) under the title, and in the margin the sites where I’ve submitted the piece along with the date of submission for each site (I simultaneously submit but not always on the same day), and I leave a space for a date and note of when it was accepted or declined. I am so glad I do this—my hard drive failed this fall and I would have been missing six months of essays and important information without these paper copies. WHEW!
TWO. I also have a spreadsheet that I keep at the front of the binder where I log in the following: essay/short story title, word count, lit mag/online site name, date submitted, and status. I further color code the lines (green = published, red = pending, black = declined, and blue = available to resubmit or edit further). It makes for a quick glance at pieces that are still “out there”. Seeing some green also reminds me that I am not a total hack and have been published—a lifesaver during those dry spells. In the status column, I enter PENDING, DECLINED, WITHDRAWN, or ACCEPTED (w/whatever terms, i.e. payment, author copies, etc., date of publication, copyright info). Any time I enter info in the table, I update the date at the top. I leave at least ten blank lines at the end so I can write in with pencil additional submissions as they happen and so I don’t have to open my laptop to update the table each time I submit.
THREE. For all pending and work in progress (WIP) pieces, I use a small dry erase board for a super quick glance. It helps remind me when I might need to resubmit (or edit) pieces if I’m getting lots of rejections on a particular piece. This tiny board also has the inspirational effect of showing me that I am actively writing and submitting and not idle.
FOUR. I have a separate folder in my email for submissions. In that goes anything received from a site/editor, and a bcc copy of anything I submit or correspond with an editor (i.e. edits).
◊ Another binder. Remember my PENDING binder? Well, when I get a piece published, I move that sucker to a PUBLISHED binder. I put both the final draft as submitted (pulling it from my PENDING binder) AND the final published piece (either printed from the web, copied from print). There are reasons to do that which I won’t get into here, but mainly it’s in case I want to publish it again elsewhere; I want to properly credit the original source for copyright purposes.
◊ Word counts. I keep track of my word count for pieces in various places. It easily allows me to be efficient when finding places to submit my work, especially if I have multiple stories/essays out there at once (or, in the rare instance, different versions of the same piece). Most sites have word min/max for submissions, and following that is probably one of the most important things. I don’t want to waste editors’ (or my) time with a piece that is too long/short.
◊ A journal. I have a journal to jot down random words/ideas/phrases that come to mind for essay or story ideas. I have had countless “great ideas” in the shower, on walks, etc. that inevitably slip away when I try to remember them later. So, if something comes to mind, I make a quick note in my journal (or on my phone if I’m out of the house) so I can come back to it later. Much of what I’ve written in the past year is because I started doing this. Inspiration seems to strike more for me when I don’t have time to write it all out rather than sitting before a blank screen with endless time, so I rely on those moments and just come back to them when I do have time to be thoughtful and write something cohesive.
◊ Duotrope. I highly recommend it. It’s $5/month (you can do a trial for free). Here’s how I use it. First, I can look up sites where there might be a good fit for my work. It has a searchable database with many fields—so, if I want to submit nature writing or a piece about family, I can use those search terms, or if I only want sites that pay, pieces < 1,000 words, etc. The database is divided by whether the sites accept fiction or nonfiction, which is very helpful. I have found (and been accepted by) sites that I would not have otherwise heard about were it not for Duotrope. I use Duotrope as a supplement to places that offer calls for submissions like Literary Mama and The Review Review; there is a lot of overlap but it’s presented in a different way so sometimes I see things I would have otherwise missed. The second way I use Duotrope is this: I can quell the neurotic writer in me by looking up average response times and acceptance rates. If I see that Site A only accepts 0.08% of the work they receive and respond in six months, I am going to be less invested in that outcome, AND it will allow me to consider whether simultaneous submissions make sense. There are other ways you can use Duotrope (like tracking your own submissions), so check it out.
◊ Simultaneous submissions. I used to submit serially (i.e. submit a piece to one place at a time, wait for response, resubmit, lather rinse repeat). WHAT A WASTE OF TIME! (with one caveat). Seriously. Some places take 6 months (or more) to respond. A piece might be almost 2+ years old by the time it gets published if one goes about it that way. Maybe it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme and for some pieces that is totally fine, but I’ve noticed for me, I seem to care less about a piece as time marches on. And, if it’s about something that seems so “quaint” now (like when my daughter was a toddler) I seem to tucker out and stop submitting it after a long while. So, DOUBLE waste of time. Now, on average I submit a piece to 4-5 sites at a time. If I get all rejections, I take a second look at the piece and either edit or resubmit to 4-5 more. Here’s my one caveat: if I have a piece that I’m totally in love with and want to have it published at some place in particular (i.e. my dream pub), I decide whether it’s worth a shot to submit there first and wait before submitting elsewhere. In my mind, nothing could be worse than having it picked up at a lower tier place that I am not as jazzed about because they said yes before my dream pub responded. It’s not something I do for every piece, just a very special few. [*NOTE* Pay attention to whether each site allows for simultaneous subs because not all of them do.]
◊ Writerly friends I. Get some. I don’t run everything I write by someone, but maybe around 75% of my stuff has had a second set of eyes at some stage of drafting. I have a few sources who I trust. First, I’m part of an online critique group—I know only one of the women personally and closely. I actually like the arm’s length part about this group. Second, I have asked (very rarely and only when I think it’s totally necessary) a few more experienced writer friends to give a once over to a piece that is getting rejected over and over. For those folks, I either do quid pro quo review on a piece of theirs, or I offer to pay them. Last, I have a few non-writer friends whom I ask once in a while if I am unsure about the “tone” of a piece. Remember, a lot of people who read are not also writers. Their take matters too (in my opinion) and so I want to know if I sound like an asshole to the regular Joe who might not be as impressed with my metaphors and such. Those kind of readers have limits though; you need to choose people who will give you an honest opinion and not be afraid to make suggestions. There’s nothing worse (to me) than hearing simply “It’s good. I liked it.” Totally not helpful and, more to the point, totally not true. EVERYTHING can be improved, even if it is just a comma. No one is that good, sorry.
◊ Writerly friends II. I ask other writer-friends/acquaintances questions. I try not to waste or infringe upon their time, but if I have a very particular quick question I need answered, I reach out (like, “Hey, I saw you were published at Site A, did that take a long time to hear back because for me it’s been over 6 months…”). Most seem to be willing to answer (“Hmm, I heard sooner than that but I know the editor just went on sabbatical so…”) and it’s incredibly helpful to not flounder alone. In the same vein, I also reciprocate and answer questions (if I know the answer) when asked if I have a moment to do so. We’re all in this together and favors like that are best returned to the universe somehow. People remember that stuff.
◊ Fun fact. I do not have my husband read my work. Ever. At least not before it’s published. Even if the piece is indirectly related to him I don’t run it by him first (like the one I have coming up on Manifest-Station next week, he hasn’t read it yet…so maybe I need to rethink that!). I’d never divulge something personal about him (and then I would show him beforehand) and I don’t want his opinion to taint my work/resolve/confidence, so I don’t find it necessary to ask him (not to mention he’s a member of the “It’s good. I like it.” club). I chalk this one up to keeping marital harmony.
◊ Feedback/interest from friends and family. I no longer expect it. It was a sad revelation to discover this would be the outcome, and so I had to let that one go a while ago. Honestly, the most interested (non-writer) people in my life who ask or talk about my writing on a very regular basis? My eight year old daughter, two college friends, and my father-in-law. This is not an exaggeration. A few others think to ask occasionally, but on balance this has been a very solitary endeavor. Yes, I have folks in my life who practically know what bra size I wear but who never ask about my writing…not what I’m working on, what they thought about a piece…nada. It’s fine. I’ve made peace with it. I had to.
◊ Be kind to editors. Full stop. There is no good reason not to.
◊ Editors are human. If something comes up (edits I’m not totally in love with, they spell my name wrong on a piece, they lose my submission, they forget to publish it and it is a month beyond what they told me—all true stories), I am gentle and courteous in my approach. I ask nicely if I need to make a request that something be changed or they follow through on something, and almost every time they oblige. If I feel strongly about a particular edit, I say so (nicely) and discuss a possible alternative. That too has proven to be successful.
◊ Editors vary widely. If I’ve learned nothing else—other than how to embrace rejection—it has been that editors are so very different from each other. The following has happened to me, and everything in the middle: not a single solitary word or comma changed in a piece … an entire piece reworked (not the text itself, but the order). It really has run the gamut, and honestly I don’t know what to make of it. It has the dual effect of me telling myself I must be a great writer and me telling myself I am a fraud. It’s a strange beast.
◊ Reading. I try to read the sites and journals where I intend to submit, both before and after submitting a piece. I’ve learned how to better target my writing by doing that, yes, but more than that: I am continually astounded by the excellent work out there, usually by folks I’ve never heard of before. I try to share particularly excellent work on social media for those lesser known writers/journals. Again, we are all in this together.
◊ Sharing. When it comes to sharing the work of writerly acquaintances, you know what I’ve learned in five years? It’s sticky. Plain and simple. I don’t know another way to put it. Writing + social media = curious results. When I share something I see published by a writer friend/acquaintance, I do it because I know how hard it is to even get published by some of these sites and because it’s something that moved or intrigued me in some way. But mostly it’s that first one. And so I rally for them. There are pieces by others that I’ve shared on social media which are completely different from my own personal views, but because the writing is so good or the platform is top tier and hard to get on, I share it anyway. That said, I’ve learned that it does not mean that the favor will be returned. I’m ok with that (mostly), except when I sense some sour grapes and/or clique-eshness, like when I see it “across the way” between and among other people. I’ve observed that with some, there is often not even close to similar reciprocity and it kinda stinks when you see it happening to dear friends of yours. If someone is always the giver or the taker, it will catch up with them some how, some day and I soothe myself with that lozenge of karma. What “friends” means on social media is still sometimes a very grey area, and often I feel around in the dark there when it comes to expectations and obligations. No, we cannot share every piece for each other, but once in a while is not too much to ask. And so now I actively consider this: I ask myself the reason why I feel compelled to share someone else’s work. I’ll be honest: the reason has changed for me over the years. It’s no longer about trying to become closer friends. That was a rookie mistake and a silly way to grow a friendship. By changing my mindset in the why/when of sharing others’ work, I’ve set more reasonable expectations and lessened disappointment when it’s crickets for my work down the road. At the end of the day I can only control my own behavior and reaction, right? Right. The golden flip side to all of this is that I’ve also been completely and utterly tickled when I see sharing of work (including my own) that was unexpected or by someone I never even knew was reading. That trumps all else in my book.
◊ Success through failure. Perhaps most of all I’ve learned that my own personal success (in the myriad ways I define that) really has come as a result of several failures and dust-offs. There is no other way around it. Success out of the gate is incredibly rare, I see that now. I’m humbled by it actually. I respect other successful writers so much more than I ever did before because now I know. Luck certainly comes into play a lot of the time, but so does effort. And because I try, I often fail. That’s OK. The adage of one learning from one’s mistakes has never hit home more for me than through my efforts in writing. It all makes the successes taste that much sweeter.
What have you learned as a writer? Do you strongly agree or disagree with what I’ve shared here? Do tell!
Copyright (c) Kristen M. Ploetz 2016
The other day I shared an Instagram shot of some literary journals I had picked up that day. In my caption, I suggested that folks support lit mags in some capacity, whether it be buying a single copy or subscribing for a year, or even just borrowing them from the library.
I got to thinking about why I am such a huge fan of many of them, both as a writer and a reader (my favorites are listed below, though it’s certainly not a complete list). In all honesty, until about maybe eight years ago, I didn’t realize the wide, WIDE range of literary magazines out there beyond the biggies like Ploughshares or The Paris Review. But now that I am actively submitting short stories and essays to various lit mags (writer me) and no longer always have the time or attention span for books in some circumstances (reader me), I’ve discovered there are many reasons to love lit mags. Allow me to share them with you, and maybe even convince you to go snag one for yourself sometime this summer.
♦ If you are a writer and want to end up in a lit mag someday, you need to read a few. It’s a no brainer, but you should read a few issues of the journal(s) where you’d like to be published to get an idea of the caliber/style/content, and see if your writing is a good fit. But read others too. You will be both inspired by and aspire to be included among the truly great writing contained therein. Since I’ve made the recent decision to focus almost all of my writing efforts to submit to print publishers rather than online forums, this has been a crucial part of the process for me.
♦ Many of them have mixed content. I love the fact that most (not all) have an assortment of essays, creative nonfiction, interviews, poetry, short stories/prose, and/or book reviews. It allows for skipping around (or past) things to suit your interest in that moment.
♦ You will come across new styles/content that you might not have been willing to commit to in long form like a novel or an anthology, but are willing to dabble in for a moment here without much investment of time or money.
♦ Lit mags make a good palate cleanser between reading books or writing your own content. Sometimes I want to read things that most other folks haven’t read widely, mainly because I don’t often like being biased by popular and strong praise for something that everyone seems to be reading. While I always welcome suggestions for brilliant books, the other side of that coin (especially if you move in writerly/readerly circles online like I do) is that I often feel like I don’t want to read something because it’s already been talked about to death before I’ve gotten to it, sometimes ruining the experience for me when I finally do sit down and read it. By reading lit mags, I have fewer skewed expectations yet I know that it is writing that has been vetted by astute editors.
♦ The price is justifiable. You are not only supporting a lit mag and its writers (though I know that not all of them pay writers with money—that’s a topic for another day), but the reading experience is often quite on par with a short novel timewise. I can buy a newsstand magazine for about $4-5 and finish it in an under hour, but lit mags usually take longer to savor and get through which (I think) aptly correlates to the slightly higher pricing. In other words, it’s worth it.
♦ You will definitely find new or “new to you” voices and be intrigued by what else they’ve written (that happened with me and reading something by Sara Lippmann in Heavy Feather Review), especially if they are not big names (yet).
♦ You will also occasionally find nuggets from writers you already love, whether it be an interview of them or an essay that they’ve written that you didn’t know about (like when I read something by Roxane Gay in Tin House).
♦ Many of the writers are on Twitter, and some of them are fascinating to follow.
♦ It’s on paper. I love the tactile experience of paper books and magazines. Lit mags are often like a revved up version of those media because the paper quality and size is usually quite good. It makes it feel like you are reading something special (because you are!).
♦ Many issues have a theme, and so discovering how various writers (and the editors selecting the work for that issue) thought about that theme can be really interesting, especially if you are a writer trying to put down your own words in a new light or with a different slant.
♦ Lean and portable, they are a good alternative to your regular beach or waiting room reading.
♦ Many English language lit mags available for purchase in U.S. bookstores are actually published in other countries. I personally think there is a lot of good stuff coming out of Canada and the U.K., but I know that I still have a lot more to explore from other places.
♦ The artwork adds a wonderful element to the reading experience. There are some really intriguing illustrations, collages, paintings, photographs, etc. that are featured in these lit mags, and are often things that you might not see anywhere else (and certainly not locally to where you live).
♦ Lit mags look interesting on your coffee table or can be easily passed along to friends (though I save many of mine).
♦ It is short story nirvana. And if you write short stories, you really start to appreciate how concise and sharp the writing must be to come in at under 1,000-5,000 words. I am learning so much, particularly with dialogue and pacing.
♦ The voices are fresh, and the stories are too. I like that the editors of these lit mags sometimes take risks that perhaps book publishers would not.
Some recent favorite literary journals (some of these probably qualify more as magazines) include Glimmer Train, One Story, Brick, Tin House, Orion, Popshot Magazine, Taproot, Heavy Feather Review (I purchased a volume of this for my iPad, which I loved), Womankind (this is new, but I love it so far), and Massachusetts Review. I also occasionally read a few others online as well, so even if a paper lit mag is not your thing (I actually just switched to an electronic subscription of Orion), I suggest poking around online. Many of the lit mags have an online presence (either exclusively or in addition to print), and sometimes their content is free (like a few of the stories in one volume) or can be purchased in single issues rather than subscribing for a full year.
Do you read literary journals? Which ones do you like best? Are you reading more as a reader or a writer?
Copyright (c) 2015 Kristen M. Ploetz
As some of you might remember, I entered a short story in a recent MASHstories contest. It was a whim decision to enter, and quite a surprise to get my story Penny Wise shortlisted as a finalist. It was a really fun experience.
You might also remember that in Massachusetts, we got quite a bit of snow this winter. QUITE A BIT! There were many housebound days. Too many, actually. But one day, I decided to use the MASHstories format—three word prompt, among other word count rules—with my daughter so that she could write a short short short short story. Her words were
After she wrote the story, I tweeted it to MASHstories, thinking they’d like to know that some young folks like to write stories like that too. And they did like knowing that…and blogged about it yesterday! Here is more about that. My daughter’s story is there too.
I hope you’ll check it out!
Copyright (c) 2015 Kristen M. Ploetz
I took Latin in middle school. I remember liking it quite a bit, though I don’t remember much of it now, at least not consciously. Equus. That’s the only word that stuck from way back then—and I wasn’t even a horse girl. But I loved the dissection of language to some of its original parts. That part fascinated me, and still does. I also relish thinking about being tethered to the past linguistically.
I was happy to become reacquainted with Latin during law school and in the courtroom. It feels like a secret language. The phrases add a certain flair to legal arguments, at least when used correctly. De novo. Certiorari. Duces tecum. In limine. Quid pro quo. De minimis. In camera. There are dozens I used regularly, but I’ll quit while I’m ahead. The sad truth is, I don’t really use these terms anymore now that I’ve veered from that path.
But I recently stumbled upon another Latin phrase that I am so very much in love with right now:
in medias res
I’m reading as much as I can about the craft of writing short stories. Unlike a novel, you don’t have the luxury of having a long wind up to tell your story. To overcome this, one of the frequently mentioned tips is to start the story in medias res.
in the midst or middle of things
In other words, don’t start at the beginning. Get to the meaty middle where the action is already happening. You don’t have enough time to do otherwise.
I’ve been turning this phrase, in medias res, over and over in my mind this week. And I figured out why it resonates with me so much. I am unequivocally in the midst of
my daughter’s childhood
learning something new
too many books
figuring things out
some wonderful beginnings
some sad endings
my very own life
Our world has existed for millions of years, with millions upon millions of lives. In that context, each one of our own lives is, in a sense, a short story. Yes, of course there is a beginning and an end to each of those short stories. But I think the best parts are to be found in medias res, and that’s where I am.
What is your favorite Latin phrase?
Copyright (c) 2015 Kristen M. Ploetz
To be in the same physical space with these five smart, honest, and highly esteemed writers was, in a word, inspiring. Yes, of course, the fact that they have written books, essays, and stories and each been published multiple times over is, in and of itself, admirable.
But doing so while also having children under foot? Well, that just takes it to a whole other level for me.
Through their candor and anecdotes, they hit the sweet spot between the two overlapping spheres of writer and mother. I hesitate to say that all of what they said could be applied to professions other than writing, but certainly much of it is relevant, so read on even if you are not a writer. Incidentally, my pause is largely driven by one aspect not usually found in other professions: isolation. As the panelists often noted, writing requires both some amount of uninterrupted isolation, and the ability to withstand it, if not love it. It’s no secret that many writers like being alone, and yet that preference is diametrically opposed (at times) to having children around, especially when they are young. It is hard to find the time and/or energy to carve out that necessary isolation to get work done, especially if you are doing it in the same space where you live and take care of your children. It’s also hard to rationalize financially for a lot of us, especially early on. I’m not saying writing is harder than working in some other capacity, just that these are noteworthy factors that come into play.
I took some notes (not quotes!) of the things I wanted to remember and lift me when I wonder whether the path I’m now walking down is worth it. When other mothers freely admit (and laugh) that they sometimes run out of toilet paper or struggle with “the right thing to do” when it comes to their children and their profession, I listen. These women are the real deal. I share a few tidbits with you below, but first a few salient points.
First, each of the panelists noted that they were writers before they had children. That is not the case for me (most of you know I was a practicing attorney until recently) and I suspect there are lots of other “late to the game” writers. I note this because, as you’ll see below, there was some talk about the before/after of having children in the context of their writing.
Second, though they all wrote when their children were young, these are the panelists’ children’s current ages (if my notes are to be trusted):
Heidi – twins, 8 years old
Megan – 24 and 31 years old
Kim – 15 and 18 years old
Claire – 11 and 13 years old
Lily – 14 and 16 years old
I liked that there was a good range of ages, but more so that they were on the older end. I think that this adds a layer of seasoned perspective to what each woman had to say. It also gives mothers with children on the younger end (like me with my 7½ yo) some hope about the process of writing and, ideally, that there may be some eventual success in whatever ways we individually define that.
My takeaways, from my notes
When asked about writing during the early childhood years:
When asked about whether these mothers talk about their writing with their children or show them the writing
Briefly, the last part of the discussion focused on the isolation part of writing/motherhood
This was probably the quickest 90 minutes I’ve spent doing anything recently. I plan on reading Kim McLarin’s essays in Divorce Dog: Motherhood, Men, & Midlife because it sounds like more of what she alluded to during the panel might be found there. I walked away also wanting to read a few of these authors’ novels as well. But mostly I left feeling grateful and hopeful because of the conversation they shared with all of us. That this discussion clearly could have extended well beyond the allotted time tells me that we need continued dialogue in this regard. I REALLY hope PEN New England does not wait another 20+ years to gather more women writers together for these very important conversations.
* I held this post back a day due to my Brain, Mother essay going up sooner than anticipated. THEN! Late Monday night I discovered that Justine Uhlenbrock (Heirloom Mothering) was also at this event. Aside from the fact that I am really bummed that I missed an opportunity to meet Justine in person, she’s written her own lovely account of the insight we heard on Sunday. I highly recommend you read her words too because she got a lot more down than I did (and besides, it’s way prettier than my post).
Copyright (c) 2015 Kristen M. Ploetz
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