2016 is still in the future. It is a prospect. A dream. One of many possibilities. I like the optimism and hope that holds hands with new things – it is untarnished, it hasn’t yet learned how to be jaded or world-weary.
This is where I’m supposed to make resolutions and such, but I don’t really have resolutions, and I tend to think labeling them in such a way sets us up for failure. I have plans and goals and ideas, and I’d like to share a few, so the internet can hold me accountable.
First, I want to promote the hell out of my publications coming early on in the year. These include an experimental flash entitled “Ways of Vanishing” in Psychopomp, poems “cannon” and “surf” in Synaesthesia‘s SOUND issue, and a poem death-magic poem entitled “bedtime story, age 96” in Liminality, where my poem “swan” was recently published.. I am also proud to be part of Paul Hamilton’s 200CCs project that he’s hosting at IronSoap, with a story entitled “The Finely Grooved Surface of the Sea” forthcoming in early January. I plan to begin writing blog posts about each published piece as they are released.
In February, An Alphabet of Embers, edited by Rose Lemberg, is scheduled for public release. This anthology has a stunning table of contents featuring authors and editors I am honored to be published with. The piece of mine in it is called “The Swing OR How to Ricochet According to Sylvia Plath” and it explores niches of mental illness I feel are often ignored or simply not acknowledged – it was my first paying and first professionally paying sale, and I am immensely proud of it. For this to come out during my birth month is one of the best presents I could ask for.
Longer projects. I have them. I actually have a lot of them. My main goal with projects beyond the length of flash fiction is to get one published. That said, I have a number I’m working on or working on expanding.
One: Something More Turbulent
This is a novelette. Or at least I hope it will be. Maybe it’s a novella. Two years ago I wrote an experimental short story called “The Animals of Wartime, Wyoming” that has still to be accepted. The story itself is complete, but there is more to this world, so much more than animal-human hybrids. There are aliens and ghosts and drugs and more aliens and a brutal critique of the things that divide us as a species.
Two: Miser’s Dream
This is my novel. Or my novel-in-stories. I have a big vision, but my talent doesn’t lie in spinning long tales. This piece starts with what was once a stand-alone flash piece entitled “No Rabbit” about the last real magician and the lengths he went to in order to preserve magic in the world – generally, kidnapping children at a birthday party. The novel will follow the kidnapped children. One story will cover their training (and escape from the mad magician), which ends in a different sort of tragedy. The subsequent stories will follow each child as they come to terms with their powers in the wider world, some in positive ways, some in selfish or even harmful ways. Each story is somehow connected to the healer in the group, the one who never mastered her powers before escaping, and it is her story, told and untold that will bring this piece full circle. This is easily the most complex project I’ve attempted, and it has seen four failed drafts already. I want to complete one.
Three: “So Long As I Have Blood”
This is my magic-cyborg horror story. I’m almost done with the first draft, after a few hiccups with the ending. The story basically follows Teffa through a series of Acts of Replacement, where various organs are removed by a patriarchal group of mages under the guise of keeping the peace within society: skin, uterus, shadow, etc. are removed and used to grow each new generation of mages, maintaining their grip on magic and power over a female-dominated population. I won’t spoil the ending, but know it has sacrifice of limbs, necromancy, and a surprise for everyone, including Teffa and the other characters. Of course, this one, like any of my longer stories will probably end up in submission limbo, so enjoy these tidbits of information.
Four: “Prophet of the Low Stratum”
My tribute to Moby-Dick. At some point, I think everyone who’s read the book has written something inspired by it. Whales have been a particular obsession of mine since childhood, and Melville’s book fed that. Yes, I’ve got some found poems based on the book, but it’s not enough. During the latest call for Inkscrawl, dubbed “Atypical Weather”, I wrote a poem about whales returning from the sky and bringing our lost histories with them. This idea has played in my head ever since, and I have a rather experimental draft of this piece completed involving, more or less, airships hunting whales in the sky, zombie Ahab washing up on the shore of a dying whaling village, whales as deities, the value of history, the future, and perception of mental illness.
Five: “Dreambooks in the Doxology Works”
This is almost done already. It started as a 2000 word surrealist piece written for a submission call two years ago from Tiny Owl Press. While it didn’t find a home there, I’ve been letting it percolate. I have a love of Western tales and adventure, in part because of my dad, who watched old Western movies almost exclusively. I also have a love of magic. Enter: The Weird West. This isn’t my comfort zone by any means, but the story follows Wheeler Orion, an orphan, as he hunts down the man who killed his family. Part Western, part magic realism, part contemporary urban fantasy. If nothing else, this piece was a blast to write.
As a poet, I guess I’m supposed to have one or two or ten of these published. Next year, any exclusive contractual obligations I have regarding currently published works expire, which means anything old (and many things new) will be candidates for these. I would ideally like to do one speculative and one more literary, but if I can get a group of works together around a central theme, I’ll go for it. In the end, knowing me, I’ll keep an eye out for markets seeking hybrid works, because that’s probably what my keyboard will cough up.
Pidgeonholes. If the hosting transfer goes smoothly, most people won’t even notice the change, other than a serious redesign to the website. That said, the magazine is looking at some changes and some amazing projects. Starting in January, all dispatches for each quarter will be published simultaneously, with two interviews and a special editorial appearing as bonus material in the collected quarterly volumes. In March, we’re looking to release Aught/Naught as a stand-alone volume – no website features, no sneak peaks, the whole issue is a bonus and will be certifiably awesome. After Aught/Naught, we’re going to take a break from music themes for our special volumes, and will begin seeking submission for what I am tentatively calling The Hazards of Mercy. The new volume will explore villainy in all its forms: hierarchy, prejudice, class warfare, bullying, hacking, piracy, poverty, guns, genocide by proxy, and more – tales of the black sheep and rebels about the reasons we resort to anything other than kindness. I think this type of volume is a risk, and I think it’s the type of work that only Pidgeonholes would seek, and I really hope people will stretch their minds, their hearts, and examine evils, be they everyday or super, from new perspectives.
And that’s it for now. My hopes, my dreams, my ambitions for a new year.