Thursday, May 28, 2015

story from extinct journal with no archives #1

As I mentioned in my last post, I am sad that so many online journals have closed. I understand. It's hard to maintain an online journal, which comes with no pay and a lot of work. Since there are no archives for some of these journals, I am posting some stories.

Parameters appeared in Barrelhouse in September of 2012. It was originally accepted by Dark Sky, but Dark Sky closed its doors shortly before the completed issue was ready to go live, and Barrelhouse graciously published the final issue online. Unfortunately, the story does not appear to be available on the Barrelhouse site. Parameters was on the longlist for the Wigleaf Top 50 Short Fictions of 2012, and is in my book.

Parameters 
Beth pushed the trip meter to zero when she got in her car. 18 miles was her limit. It was nothing she took for strange. Nobody knew. People drive alone in California.
The places she went were in range. Grocery store: .7 miles. Post office: 2.3 miles. Bank: 4.6 miles. Public swimming pool: 6.5 miles. She counted miles like birthdays, markers of significant passages. 18 was where she stopped.
Her former and only boyfriend’s birthday was January 8. He was rarely within 18 miles. Sometimes worked construction for a friend’s company for a few months to finance his next trip. She went with him once. To Tulum to explore the Mayan ruins. She flew home the second day. He sent postcards. Her refrigerator was a collage of Barcelona, Machu Picchu, Fairbanks, the Badlands, Ethiopia, St. Petersburg, Pittsburgh, Salzburg. The last one came from Auckland.
Beth –
Decided to stay awhile. Don’t know when I’ll be back.
Be well.
Scott
She put it with the others, under a magnet he brought back from Butte.
Sometimes her parents went places. She liked the postcard from Juneau best. The contrast of glaring snow and bluest sky. They always picked good cards.
Beth had never seen snow. She was born in Houston. Her family moved to San Diego when she was two. She went to community college 12.3 miles from home. When she finished, she got a job in the Registrar’s office. She got her own apartment a little less than 6 miles away.
She made friends online at travel sites. She subscribed to travel magazines and read novels that took place in Nepal, Lisbon, Uruguay. She told her online travel friends she loved travel but could not afford it. They sent postcards. Her refrigerator was covered. She taped them to her bedroom walls.
Beth did not need to go. The things she needed were in her perimeter. 18 miles in any direction was departure and return, same as any airplane.

The others went away. They would come back or not. Cards would be in her mailbox or not. On her refrigerator and walls or not. She would be here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

gone away

I was clicking some of the links on the side to check if they still worked, and, sadly, many of the online journals that published my stories are no longer around. A lot of those pieces are in my book, but I like the accessibility of publishing in online journals. I founded and edit an online journal, and if I ever need to close down Corium, I will find some way to maintain an archive. I'm not trying to judge those other journals. I would just like for people to be able to see work that was published in journals that no longer exist on the internet. To that end, I'll try to put up some of those stories here occasionally.  But not tonight. Because I'm kind of tired. Do people even read blogs anymore? Should I do a Tumblr? Should I buy a website? Do these shoes go with this skirt? Have you tried that new breakfast thing at Taco Bell that has hash browns and stuff wrapped up like a little package in a tortilla? Does this color wash me out? Where's my phone?

I don't know the answers to most of these questions. Maybe I'll go to Taco Bell tomorrow morning and let you know about the folded breakfast sandwich thingie. I will also try to post a story.

(Oh, a journal accepted two of my stories today! The journal is called Whiskeypaper and the stories will be up in December, which is a long time to wait, but I guess I'll have to be patient. Anyways, I am very happy.)



Saturday, April 25, 2015

sometimes

Sometimes I say too much. And I can't take it back. Like my last post. I took it down. It had some personal stuff that I should keep to myself. I am not good at keeping things to myself. Even though I pretty much handle stuff by myself, I tell people things. I am impulsive. It is not my best quality. Funny, I think one of my better qualities is being honest. But maybe I just read myself wrong, which I worry about sometimes.

Let's get back to stuff I can talk about without concern for privacy or anything. Probably the most awesome thing that has happened lately is that a story I wrote was chosen for the Queen's Ferry Press anthology of best small fictions for 2015, and another was a finalist. The one that was chosen was previously published in PANK in around 2010, but it's in my book so it was eligible. I am happy that it's included. No buts. I used to write more, and I'm glad it's appreciated. The other was never published, despite some efforts in that regard, so I am very happy about that, too.

I've been writing some lately. A few pieces of flash, a poem, and I'm working on one of the two novels I started quite a while ago. I'm kind of excited about the poem because it's sort of my first. I've written some bad poetry in my time - who hasn't? - but I like this piece. I submitted it to one journal. I don't know why, but I'm expecting to receive all rejections for the pieces I submitted. I'm having a tough time lately and I guess I expect the worst. Not that rejections are the worst, though I wouldn't mind an acceptance. I have no idea what will happen with that poem. That's ok. My perspective has changed quite a bit. I still care, but there are other things to care about more.

I don't have much else to say. I'm not going to apologize this time. I wish I had a cupcake. Maybe red velvet. I wish you all had cupcakes, too.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

relevance

It's so easy to become irrelevant these days. As a writer and otherwise. If you're not in people's faces, you pretty much don't exist. I try to write and get stuff published or, poof, I'm gone. I try to continue promoting the book, but it came out in June and so many other books have been published since then that mine is becoming a ghost. Which means I need to write stuff or I'm going to disappear.

Would disappearing be so bad? I'm going to be working on my novel, almost exclusively, I hope. A friend and I will meet once a month to go over 15-20 pages of each other's work. I am scared of not meeting the page limit, but I need to be held accountable. I think it might be the only way to move this thing forward, and this thing needs to be moved forward. I love writing flash fiction, but it's time to work on longer pieces. Even if nobody sees me for a while. 

Even though my book is becoming a dinosaur, some people are still taking a look, and putting up reviews at Goodreads and elsewhere. In the interest of reminding myself that I'm still relevant, here are a few things people have said recently:

She has a brilliance for illustrating social problems, particularly in gender roles, without explicitly stating them. Rather, as any good writer should, she simply creates heartbreaking, relatable stories that the reader can infer from subconsciously. It takes real talent to do this, and it still wouldn't be as impactful without the guts and heart that she puts into it. Comparing her work to that of Sylvia Plath or Flannery O'Conner does not seem overly generous, but appropriate. Becker is an exciting, unapologetic, and refreshing voice.  (Matt L.)

**

Becker has a unique voice. Her prose is simple, but packs a wallop of an intellectual and emotional punch. Beautiful stuff here. (Tara M.)


When writing fiction that is empathetic to common, emotionally trodden persons, comparisons to Raymond Carver and Amy Hempel can sometimes be an unfortunate inevitability. However Becker’s pithy, cut-glass prose stylin’ and profilin’ is really all her own, and If I Would Leave Myself Behind is an artful reawakening of the short-story form. Becker owns it. She is a champion for unique characters who hold no title.

At Entropy:
Lauren Becker’s If i Would Leave Myself Behind doesn’t make you feel like shit, she is like a friend telling an elaborate story, she isn’t trying to sell you anything.

I don't want to brag, but I don't want to be forgotten. It's good to be reminded that I'm still here. I'm going to work on the novel now. I want to be around for a while longer. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

of hives and hissy fits

My cat, Noah, and I just moved into our fourth home in the past 10 months. He seems a little depressed. He sleeps a lot. Our new place has western exposure, so we get lots of sun in the afternoon, and he spends most of that time moving from sun spot to sun spot, sleeping in the warmth.

I'm not sleeping so great again. Have hives and am very itchy. I got up at 3am last night to go to the all-night Walgreen's to get this stuff called Itch-X. It is the only thing that works. Seriously, if you get hives, get some Itch-X. They're not even paying me. So, I went out and got all three boxes on the shelf and got back home and got my same parking spot (parking is super tough here) and was feeling pretty good about my mission, looking forward to getting my Itch-X on, and I pulled my phone out of my purse and it was all cracked. And it had been in my purse. At first I thought it was smeared because I didn't drop it or throw it or emphasize my need for Itch-X by pounding it on the pharmacy counter. So, I have no phone. The good thing is, I pay for insurance and my new one gets here tomorrow.

It's kind of nice not being tied to my phone. No texting. No talking. I'm pretty tied to my laptop, so there's plenty of emailing. But it leads me to revisit this sort of internal dialogue I had in September, when it was time for my upgrade. And I thought, why not just get the cheapest smartphone? It's fine for talk, text, internet, email, right? And I didn't, but I thought about it, which might count a little tiny bit, but probably not. I would like to go back. To not being accessible and "connected" at all times.

I have not met my new neighbors, but their door is right next to mine, at the end of a hall, and I know they have a baby I rarely hear (yay!) and that they eat good food. If you could smell the potato-y heaven coming from their apartment right now, you might have the urge to go over and introduce yourself, as I do.

I wrote this "humorous" ("" = totally subjective) essay about how girls always yell to their boyfriends/husbands "do we have kale?" at Trader Joe's to establish their ownership. Most of it is (objectively, I'm pretty sure) not funny, and I don't feel like working on it, so you get to hear about my general bafflement with the kale yelling in Trader Joe's. I am not some hot vamp searching for men who have wandered from their partners who are shopping in the produce section. I just want chocolate covered potato chips.

Ok, well, I started writing this about four days ago, during which time I had a major hissy at Verizon, making them give me a new phone because the useless insurance company was taking way too long to send the reconditioned (or whatever it's called) one, and I didn't have an old phone and had no way of making or receiving calls/texts or gps and, despite my earlier homage to the beauty of not having these things, I found that not having these things SUCKS. Therefore, hissy. More like stern talking to. Very stern. I'm back in the saddle and heavily reliant on my phone once again. Sigh of relief.

I have other things to say, but, you know, the lazy thing ... I will tell you more stuff later. Still avoiding social media. Which I guess includes this blog, but I sort of like this blog and it's been nice to write here again. I've been advised to make it into a Tumblr. I don't know why. But if I do, I will let you know. Until then, I hope you enjoy hearing about my cat and my displeasure with Verizon here. Keep on truckin'.