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Archives for : Thea Swanson

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Since major publishers are hardly publishing literary novels these days (read about it here and here and here and here), I’ll soon be spending most of my writing time writing short stories–just like I was doing years ago. For the last six years, I’ve been writing novels in hopes I could get one published by a major publisher. I’m finally ready to let that dream die. I can’t fight the market. I can’t conjure readers into existence. Readers are doing other things now–they are scrolling and binge-watching. And the readers who are reading have so many choices, and most of their choices are driven to their view by careful and pointed Amazonian marketing and other big-money-for-few-books marketing tactics. But that is okay. I will still write the occasional novel and send it to small presses (one never knows), but it’s time to go back to my old friends, literary journals. I visited them a couple of years ago and was welcomed with opened arms as they swooped up my flash fiction, one story after another. All these years–almost three decades since I discovered them–and they are still there, still here, and we fiction writers need them more than ever.

Half Mystic Journal and Me

The songbird called, and I answered. Thank you, Half Mystic, for including me in your literary realm. I am pleased to sing that I am the new journal editor.

HM

Reading Leaves

I’m tickled to be a new reader of prose submissions for Longleaf Review.

Longleaf  Review

Atticus Reviews Mars

 

Alice Y. Lu at Atticus Review likes my collection, Mars. Read her beautiful review.

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Ferry Men

Ferry Man

Read “Ferry Men” in the Spring 2018 issue of The Broke Bohemian.

Centrum Residency: The Luxury of Time

 

Usually, I write my fiction while commuting to and from work. However, I’ve been feeling an urgency to complete my latest novel ASAP for a few reasons that I won’t go into here. For one full week, Sunday to Sunday, I did nothing but write. I had no distractions and no obligations. My fingers swelled from typing and not moving, save for a cup of tea or the need to rise from the story. Below are images from my cabin as well as a few taken on a short stroll on the grounds when I completed my work, on the last evening at Centrum. This time allowed me to surpass my goal and achieve a wish: to write the final 100 pages and to complete the first solid draft of my current work, a task that would have taken me at least three more months to achieve.

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Centrum Residency

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For one week in February, I will hunker down in a cabin in Fort Worden, Washington as an artist-in-residence at Centrum.  I will write, day and night, working on my latest novel. I will be completely and perfectly happy.

MARS

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Read my little collection of dystopian flash fiction.

Erica & Gabriela Made Me Cry

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Or maybe I will say weepy. But still. I don’t get weepy at work. Work is work, and it is important to me to keep my emotions–the raw ones, like anger or sadness–clear of my office. Emotions–the big ones–get in the way at work. At least, at my work.

Yet here I was, opening a gift that I felt I didn’t deserve. A gift left for me, thanking me for my help when I was out sick during a two-day meeting that Erica, Gabriela and I co-organized by email, across the country. This was the second year in a row I have been out sick when they have arrived.

My gift wasn’t a box of chocolates. It wasn’t a mug or an office plant. My gift was a soft, leather journal, from a one-of-a-kind shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, miles away from my Seattle office. This gift was a journal with white stitches that edge a caramel-colored covering that smells of care.

The quote on the journal is what did it, I think. It’s what pushed me over the edge, what made me break my rule:

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”

Virginia Woolf’s books sit high on my shelf in my bedroom. They are books I’ve taken with me from New York to New Jersey to Washington, books I haven’t been able to part with, even in my most dejected state. And here her words come to me again, from two, kind women who made their way to my place of work, armed with many things to ensure a successful meeting, and among those things, an offering to me that unbeknownst to them was exactly what I needed. And there it was: one of those raw emotions, spilling over me as I sat in my chair, my door closed, steeped in gratitude.

Give Me YA Fiction

Contemporary Young Adult Fiction is a blast. The voices are real and the humor is strong. I don’t remember having this much fun reading novels written for my age when I was in high school. I had to read Flowers in the Attic to get my thrills, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t written for teens. Certainly, there was nothing for teenagers that was this frank, nothing that spoke in the voice of the teen, expressing those thoughts that we only expressed to our friends. Certainly, these wonderful books I’ve been reading these last few weeks would have never made it to press.

Are you thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy? If so, crack open Dumplin’ (hilarious and timeless) or Into the Wild Nerd Yonder (hilarious and relatable) and enjoy what you missed reading when you were sixteen, when it wasn’t aloud, when you had to tell your secrets to your friends and maybe didn’t know that thousands of other kids were feeling just like you.

C’mon. Have some fun.