Fellow C&R Press author Xu Xi and I at the private press reading party
My first AWP has come and gone. It was a pretty wild ride and absolutely wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones. The advanced copies of Meditations on the Mother Tongue sold out on Saturday afternoon. And the Friday night reading was a blast! I was truly blown away by the talent and skill of the other authors and am honored to be among their company.
I also now understand what everyone means when they say the interactions at AWP can be very awkward. It’s a little weird when you know someone either through their work or some other means first (they published you, or you have social media interactions) and you’re all suddenly in a place together. I think you expect to be really comfortable with them already, but you aren’t because you technically just met, and the dichotomy is a little unsettling at first. Plus there’s the frequency of just being star-struck by these legends whom you have admired for many years. But it was all very fun and it made me really feel like this book can make some waves.
I’ve been really busy in the past few months, first with going through revisions of the collection with the fantastic Andrew Sullivan (a very positive experience overall), with some marketing/promotional stuff, and also still chugging along at my WIP.
First copies have arrived.
The above are my author’s copies, which have mostly been distributed at this point. You can start pre-ordering copies directly from the publisher here or purchase from Amazon here. Copies will be available for sale at AWP as well. Keep an eye out for C&R Press’s booth!
For AWP next week, C&R Press are holding a party and reading event on Friday night, starting at 7PM, at 18th Street Lounge in DC. If you find yourself free, stop on by!
Lastly, I just want to give this update on the WIP: the first draft (after four separate re-starts) is finally complete, though it took me a year longer than I expected it to. I’m starting the revision process now — it’s daunting and exhausting (there’s so much work to do on it!), but I think it’s going to be worth it.
For the past year, I’ve been making edits to, arranging, and re-arranging my short story collection into some form that I’m happy with. Every detail has been considered, stories pulled and replaced, older pieces revisited only to get slashed apart and reconstructed into new experiences, and the sequence of stories–oh, the sequence! I wrote each title on Post-It Notes and arranged a horizontal line on my wall. I flipped the first and last stories a hundred times over. I read everything I could find on arranging a collection.
And then I began to submit and to enter contests. Each response I’ve received has been utterly elating, whether just a small friendly comment like ,”We liked this. Good luck,” accompanying a rejection letter or a response to a partial asking for the full manuscript.
Press 53 announced yesterday the ten finalists for the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction, and I am happy to say I’ve made the short list. I won’t find out until May 3rd, but to even be a finalist is surprising, unexpected, absolutely wonderful. Thanks so much to Kevin Morgan Watson and Christine Norris! I’ve got my fingers crossed. 🙂 I did take a peek at some of the other finalists’ work and it is all very good, so a pre-emptive congrats to whoever wins this year.