As a writer, I have three minds, and one of them I don't like.

Before I explain what I mean, a little background. I've been a writer all my literate life. I'm 51 now, and for the last 20 years, I have not been writing as consistently as I could, because I've been so distracted by a rewarding but often turbulent career in PR and advertising and caring for a beloved, profoundly autistic child with a high degree of needs. During that time, I was still writing and, blessedly, having pieces published in Kendo World magazine, but I was not practicing writing as I think it can or should be: writing consistently with some kind of daily or weekly regularity, and submitting stories, my focus, to online and print publications. That's what I am getting back to and the past two years have been fruitful, disciplined and productive. I have in large part my employer to thank for that , and I do so every day. It's been somewhat surprising for me to realize how much of your intellectual and emotional energy can be absorbed by your job. But that

I love reading The Rye Whiskey Review

I can't remember how I stumbled on it. I think it was listed in the bio of a writer whose story I liked. But I put it on a list of pubs to check out and when I finally got around to it I thought: these are my kind of people, just like it says in the masthead. What I particularly love about The Rye Whiskey Review is not just its commitment to good writing but it's inclusivity, its accessibility. There are a lot of real earthy people contributing to this pub, and usually with the earthy theme of boozing involved. Most seem to have esteemed credentials, others are plainer or more grass roots. Professors and published writers publish here, the president of the Robert Frost Society published here, but so did a guy that states his credentials as having published " various works in between having bad luck and making people rethink their humanity . No matter. He sees sentences in the smoke and scribbles furiously." There's not a lot of gatekeeping going on here. Better s

Tyler McAndrew, John Mauk and The Forge

I am writing so that I will remember the work of two writers I'd like to keep an eye on, and also to tell my readers, all three of them, about these writers. I read both at The Forge , a place where I'd like to publish. More on that later. Let me just acknowledge that every story I have read at The Forge I have really liked, which is not something I can say about every pub, Tyler McAndrew lives and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. His story, "Lake Shore Limited," is pitch perfect, excellent written and expertly cadenced. After following him and praising him on Twitter, I read another of his at Electric Literature (another pub I will have to keep an eye on), "My Prisoner." Again, excellent. I note McAndrew is a poet as well and it no doubt contributes to the quality of his work.  John Mauk is from Ohio, lives in my home state of Michigan (although up north somewhere) has a PhD (!), and has written textbooks as well as the wonderful story " Dr

Six Questions with Story Unlikely

There's an excellent blog post at Six Questions about this publication and its creator, Danny Hankner. I've just become a Story Unlikely reader and would like to submit there. What I particularly like about what Hankner is doing is his recognition of the social or political trends that can impede a work's path to publication. There's plenty of room for that kind of publishing, of course, but Hankner is carving out a different place that I'm drawn to. This seems, to me, really unique also: SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it? DH; “Why is Story Unlikely ’s byline, “real people, real places, real stories (and plenty of fiction, too).”

Although we publish all styles and genres, we feel there’s a real absence in the market for true stories – call it narrative nonfiction, memoir, etc.  There’s something special about stories that really happened; not only have we felt this connection, but the big

The Road Home, Jim Harrison

I haven't read all the work, but I am slowly reading it. I have a lot of thoughts on Harrison and appreciation for him, especially as a Michigan writer, one of my state's and region's leading voices (I also admire Bonnie Jo Campbell). I tend to think of Harrison as a religious writer, whose characters tend to use existing religions as their platform but then plunge into natural and personal symbolism, and experience, including the personal and historical, to create and/or constantly reinvent their own religion, obeying a basic religious impulse to sort themselves and their world into the categorical or recognizable. Here's I think a telling representative paragraph, from The Road Home (which does not take place in Michigan but Nebraska): That thought jogged my mind and when I got home I looked in a journal for my recollection of what Rosenthal had said during our picnic years ago. It had been occasioned by my telling him a story about when I was seven years old, in

John Updike, "In Football Season," "Leaves"

Do you remember a fragrance girls acquire in autumn? As you walk beside them after school, they tighten their arms about their books and bend their heads forward to give a more flattering attention to your words and in the little intimate area thus formed, carved into the clear air by an implicit crescent, there is a complex fragrance woven of tobacco, powder, lipstick, rinsed hair, and that perhaps imaginary and certainly elusive scent that wool, whether in the lapels of a jacket or the nap of a sweater, seems to yield when the cloudless fall sky like the blue bell of a vacuum lifts toward itself the glad exhalations of all things. This fragrance, so faint and flirtatious on those afternoon walks through the dry leaves, would be banked a thousandfold and lie heavy as the perfume of a flower shop on the dark slope of the stadium when, Friday nights, we played football in the city. Sometimes I just read John Updike the way I watch birds land on water. How about this, from a story called