Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inspiration, Courtesy of WC Vasquez

A few weeks ago, I shamelessly solicited inspiration from Our Stories readers in exchange for a free copy of Musical Chairs. You know, I did this because I feel a sort of separation anxiety, after six years of my life going into one project, it can be an intimidating prospect to begin again.

Our Stories readers came through. In fact, I might try to work this in to our blog more often because personally, I needed a quick shot of inspiration. I think all writers do at some point. There is a certain cathartic experience we all share as storytellers.

I'd say the following quote pretty much sums it up, and better, it makes me want to write. Writing is a tough profession, but, as Vasquez states, we do it for a reason. After countless hours of our time: typing away or poring over notebooks, exchanging critiques, revising and reworking, cutting an pasting and worrying over word choice, structure, and voice all comes together just right, there's nothing like it.

So... Why Do You Write?

The right words at the right time with the right audience: bliss.

-WC Vasquez

This quote struck me because it's short, sweet, to the point.

About the Writer:

WC Vasquez first noticed that her words had an affect on people when she was seven years old: after listening to her confession, her priest paused for a few seconds before saying: "Wow. You express yourself really well. You should think about a career in public speaking." Several thousand Hail Marys later, she has begun speaking to a wider audience. Her work has appeared in Writer, Writer's Digest, and The Sun. She lives in Berkeley, California where she is writing a collection of short fiction.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall 2009 Issue has arrived

Fall 2009 has gone live. We're proud to publish these outstanding short stories along with an amazing interview with Dorothy Allison:
"Saving Instructions" by Maragret McMullan
"Finding Perfect" by Adam Smith
"Catcher's Say" by Adam Smith
"Leaving" by Greg Girvan
"Forecast" by Ira Sukrungruang
and "Winter's Coming" by Mark Wolsky

I share the story of how I got into Mason's MFA program as well in my essay "Labor of Love"

Enjoy ya'll.

The Art of Defying Death

Everyone should damn well go out and read Elizabeth's piece in the New York Times. The Art of Defying Death. Her writing is something of a treasure and her frank openness leaves you emotionally raw. We are lucky to have her as part of our staff.

Thank you Elizabeth.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Stories ~ Book Giveaway

The moment every author dreams of, works toward and gives up on time and time again only to return to, dream of once again and work toward all the harder has arrived for me. Musical Chairs is now available. No take-backs. And, now that my five long years of work is contained, with its own cover and ISBN, I am thrilled. In the spirit of Our Stories, the journal that gives back, I'd like to give a copy away.

So, I'm soliciting inspiration. I want to know why you write. For those readers who are interested, please email me at with a single sentence that illustrates why you stick with it, why you feel compelled to put pen to paper, to share your words with the world.

That's one sentence, expressing your love for writing. It seems easy, right? Well, it's not. Go ahead and try it.

I will be collecting submissions until October 20th, 2009.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Sure, now I am a proud member of the Our Stories staff, working for an online literary journal that offers everyone who submits a personal response in the largely impersonal publishing world that greets beginning writers. Before I was introduced to Our Stories, however, I wasn't so sure about the merit of an online journal. To my mind, print journals reigned supreme, and those that were easy-access were not as discriminating.

That said, after being introduced to the world of e-literature, which has burgeoned over the last five years, allowed those from a wider demographic to have access to the same work, and likewise, allowed those from a wider demographic to submit work, I have changed my mind. Moreover, I now have become a dedicated reader of many online literary journals, from which I find inspiration and entertainment. That said, I am still only a fan of the online literary journal, not the online book.

I have read a few e-books, and though I was able to get through them, I have to admit, I felt the experience lacking. I craved the actual feel of a book in my hand--the ability to underline and dog ear pages, the very act of flipping a page. For novels and memoirs I have read this way, I found that a good book is able to transcend experience. I still enjoyed disappearing into the vast worlds suggested by a good writer; but there's something about having a physical book...

Today, I was forwarded an article on Vooks. I won't burden readers with my largely biased thoughts about the eminent Vook. Have you heard of these things yet? Well, according to a recent New York Times article, Simon & Schuster will soon release four Vooks. They hybrids, in a sense, part book, part movie, "which intersperse videos throughout electronic text that can be read — and viewed — online."1

I would love to invite any feedback on this new wave of publishing. To me, it seems to suggest that the literary industry is slowly dying, leaving a larger market for film. Oh, but I said I wouldn't burden you with my thoughts, so forget that last comment. Will anyone miss the act of imagining characters? The unique feel of inventing the imagined worlds a novelist creates or the vivid scenes of a powerful peice of nonfiction?

Or, do you think it's fantastic? The visual and literary worlds were bound to merge and we only benefit from the hybrid entertainment?

I'd love some perspective. I'm feeling a bit obstinate (perhaps old fashioned?) here...

1. BOOKS | October 01, 2009
Curling Up With Hybrid Books, Videos Included