The Summer of Storytelling

When we use all the words again

Hello, writers. Wherever you are, are you starting to breathe again? Have you been to a restaurant or hugged someone you haven’t hugged in a long, long time?

Life is still hard; life might even still be frozen in place for you. But there are signs of change everywhere. And while life may never be quite the same again, we also have the opportunity to restore some part of ourselves that was lost. We’re going to use our words again, and we’re going to use them to write things.

You may have had to use your words wishing others well, or telling the same pandemic stories over and over again, or simply caring for others with your words of comfort and care and discipline. But this summer, your words are your own again, and it’s time you used them to tell the stories you want to tell. I’ve been participating in writer Jami Attenberg’s #1000wordsofsummer, and it’s been an incredible source of inspiration for me (you can follow along, and join the quest, on Twitter or at the substack above). I’ve eked out my 1000 words (or an uncounted, handwritten approximation) every day so far, and I’m determined to keep it going until the challenge is done. I’m working on a new novel and some short stories, and I’m telling the strange, ghostly, surreal, genre-bending, or angry-woman stories I’ve been wanting to tell. No one can stop me — and no one can stop you from telling the stories you want to tell either. Try joining a group accountability project like #1000wordsofsummer, or set up your own goal and project, with other writers if possible. Start a writing group, start a Slack, start a daily discipline, and keep it going. You can find a way to make it work.

It’s been all about craft and digging deep into our abilities as writers on the podcast. In recent episodes, I’ve talked about speaking in a different voice, turning off the lights to let something chaotic happen, and engaging in light plagiarism (just to get you in the mood to write good sentences). I interviewed novelist Laura Hankin about her favorite tip for getting into character (buy her book A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN, it’s marvelous), and I’ll have more author interviews coming up.

Writing News

I spoke with Story Magazine about my story "The Disappearing Place" in their latest issue.

• I was a silver medalist in The Alberta Magazine Awards for my story "The Religious Woman" in Funicular Magazine.

• I published a new story, "The Telepathist", in New Letters, which you can read online.