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No Extra Words

the flash fiction podcast

Month

January 2016

Meet Episode 33 Contributor Mary Alice Long

If her name sounds familiar, it is because she was the first winner of our Contributor Appreciation Month promotion in January. Contributor Appreciation Month is finished, but you will be hearing more from our four winners soon. In the meantime, Mary’s story is coming up on the show this week.

Mary Alice Long holds an MFA from Florida Atlantic University. She plays roller derby for the Pikes Peak Derby Dames.

Happy listening,

Kris

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Meet Episode 33 Contributor John Mueter

Episode 33 will be released February 3 and that will mark the 10th calendar month that the No Extra Words podcast has been releasing episodes. We are over our toddling baby steps phase, but more exciting stuff is ahead including this episode all about living with and around The Neighbors. All 3 of the contributors to this week’s episode will record for you their own short stories.

John Mueter is a pianist, composer, educator and writer. His short fiction has appeared in many journals including the American Athenaeum, Lowestoft Chronicle, Halfway Down the Stairs, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the Bethlehem Writer’s Roundtable. He is on the faculty of the University of Kansas as opera/vocal coach.

Happy listening,

Kris

Episode 32: Spin With It

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The world keeps spinning even when some are gone. Those of us who are left get to spin with it.

“Magic Palm” follows a family through the years of Red China as a young woman finds comfort in her grandmother’s words. By Kevin Brown, copyright 2008, used with permission. Read Kevin’s bio here.

“Doug” follows a young man whose potential is just that…potential…to see what he does or doesn’t do. By Mercedes Lawry, copyright 2013, used with permission. Read Mercedes’ bio here.

In “Balloon,” a tradition helps with a tough moment, but also brings back the memories of how it started. By Evan Guilford-Blake, copyright 2010, used with permission. Read Evan’s bio here.

Today we wrap up Contributor Appreciation Month with one final drawing for a writer to win a subscription to channillo.com. It has been a delight to honor our contributors and partner with Channillo. Thank you to everyone! I look forward to bringing you more about the winning contributors in the coming weeks and months.

Happy listening,

Kris

Meet Episode 32 Contributor Evan Guilford-Blake

I just took a glance at my calendar, and the majority of episodes coming up in the next several weeks are like this week’s in that they have three contributors. This, naturally, caused me to run some numbers because I am a nerd like that and I learned that while the vast majority of episodes aired so far have 2 contributors or fewer, more than half of the episodes scheduled between now and the end of March have 3. Without thinking about it, I have started a trend.

Friends tell me that having three kids is a delicate balancing act. I wouldn’t know, because three kids are definitely not part of my plan, but the way I understand it the third one tips the balance a little bit, makes everything go wonky and unbalanced, but in a good way. Providing a necessary challenge to a family.

It’s a challenge to get 3 stories to play nicely together. 2 usually have a symbiotic relationship. 4 times in the past we’ve attempted 4, which is its own kind of challenge, but those are necessarily short shorts to fit in the timeframe which somehow makes it a little easier. 3 gives enough time for some longer form storytelling while creating a delicate balancing act.

This week’s episode is titled “Spin With It.” As in, despite what happens in this world it keeps spinning and we have no choice but to go with it. It is not designed to be entirely comfortable, and these stories don’t always sit comfortably together, but in a good way. Necessary challenge and all that.

I’m delighted to share with you the bio of talented playwright and show contributor Evan Guilford-Blake and I do hope you’ll tune in this week. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Evan Guilford-Blake writes plays, prose and poetry for adults and children. His published work includes 30 plays as well as the comic mystery novel “Noir(ish),” the short story collection “American Blues” and the novel “Animation.” His middle-grade novel “The Bluebird Prince” was released in late fall 2015, and the collection “Love and Loss and Love” (which includes this week’s contribution “Balloon”) is due out January 28, 2016 by Verto Publishing. More information is at http://www.amazon.com/Evan-Guilford-Blake/e/B009CC554I/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1404742234&sr=1-2-ent. He and his wife (and inspiration) Roxanna live in the Atlanta area.

Happy listening,

Kris

Meet Episode 32 Contributor Mercedes Lawry

Featured on this episode: stories about what happens when the world just keeps on spinning.

Mercedes Lawry has published short fiction in several journals including, Gravel, Cleaver, Garbanzo, and Blotterature. She’s published poetry in journals such as Poetry, Nimrod, & Prairie Schooner and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. Additionally, she’s published stories and poems for children. She lives in Seattle.

Happy listening,

Kris

Meet Episode 32 Contributor Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown has had fiction, nonfiction, and poetry published in over 100 literary journals, magazines and anthologies. Brown has won numerous writing competitions and fellowships, and was nominated for multiple prizes and awards, including three Pushcart Prizes. He co-wrote the film Living Dark: The Story of Ted the Caver, which recently sold to New Films International, and collaborated on a television pilot with Linda Bloodworth (creator of Designing Women.)

Happy listening,

Kris

Writers: What are You Worth?

You will not find it there but in
		despised poems.
				It is difficult
to get the news from poems
		yet men die miserably every day
				for lack
of what is found there.
		Hear me out
				for I too am concerned
and every man
		who wants to die at peace in his bed
				besides.
--from "Asphodel: That Greeny Flower" by William Carlos Williams

The City of Seattle would like to offer a residency to a poet who wants to write a poem about the Fremont Bridge.

Well, kind of a residency. The bridge doesn’t offer heat or running water so you can’t actually live there. But you do get to hang out, and it’s a cool space. And you get a $10,000 stipend.

You remember Fremont. It’s that quirky neighborhood in Seattle where Lenin lives that I’ve written about before. A troll lives under the bridge as well. Well, a statue of one, anyway. Eating a VW bug. You can’t even make that up.

In Seattle, 1% of the city’s transportation budget must be spent on art, hence the residency. Typically it’s been used for sculptures or other public art or incorporated into new buildings. To my knowledge, us writers have kind of gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to money from this fund.

Response has been what you’d expect. Seattle’s resident right-wing radio crank (every city has one of those, right?) has lambasted the project and rumor has it one of his listeners wrote a “poem” (quotes mine) about the project and offered it to the city for $3,000.

I don’t know how I feel about this one. I’m for public art, and it’s nice to see writers get a chunk of that money. But it does feel like a lot to pay for a writer who is expected to produce one poem.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how writers get paid (or don’t, which is much more common.) The odds are not good that any of us will ever make a living as writers. That’s a reality. There are too many people attempting it, not enough readers, profit margins on traditionally published materials are low, and self-published isn’t selling because, well, there’s a lot of it and a lot of it is bad. So most of us aren’t giving up our day jobs any time soon.

All of which has me thinking: should we expect to?

I know. It’s a terrible thing to say. People should get paid for their work. And it is work. It is hard work. It isn’t fair that J.K. Rowling and…and I’m a bad librarian because I don’t know the adult writer equivalent, but not fair that they get money and fame and you get a day job and to write on your keyboard late at night.

But it isn’t new. Kafka was recognized posthumously but not in his lifetime. Edgar Allen Poe tried to write full-time but didn’t even get paid for his first book. Composer Franz Schubert couldn’t sell his compositions to his contemporaries but inspired generations after him. If you measure success by money, they were all colossal failures. But there are other ways to measure success, right?

I had a lovely chat with my neighborhood bookstore owner today, and we talked about writers we know who write and have day jobs, or those who did for years before they finally started to make enough money to quit. I’m not talking about aspiring writers with half a novel on their laptop (like me.) I’m talking about real, actual, traditionally published authors. The kind who could legitimately be mad that their work isn’t paying. But they don’t make excuses. If they did, they wouldn’t be published.

I’m rambling, so instead of trying to find an answer to this, I’m going to end with two questions. I really don’t care if the City of Seattle pays a poet, hey, more power to them. And certainly the right-wing talk show hosts and others making a lot of noise about this have no idea how much work being a poet actually is.

But all that aside, do you personally, you writers out there, expect to make a living with your writing? Do you think it’s reasonable to ask society, either through their taxes or through their purchases, to support you and your art full-time? Do you buy enough books to support other writers?

And one bonus question: where would you like to do an artist residency?

Okay, that was four questions. Now let the attacking begin!

Happy writing,

Kris

 

 

 

Episode 31: Without Instructions or a Map

Click to play full episode

How we see ourselves versus how others see us.

A troubled girl is really just a flower in “Blooming” by Patty Somlo. “Blooming” is copyright 2010 and used with permission. Visit Patty’s website.

Dawn Corrigan reads her story “Nonsense Syllables” about a very musical family who can’t carry a tune. “Nonsense Syllables” is copyright 2015 and used with permission. Visit Dawn’s website.

This episode also features the third of four drawings in our Contributor Appreciation Month promotion sponsored by our friends at channillo.com. Please let them know you appreciate their support. You can tweet at them here.

Happy listening!

Kris

Meet Episode 31 Contributor Dawn Corrigan

A one-of-a-kind story from a one-of-a-kind lady.

Dawn Corrigan’s poetry and prose have appeared in a number of print and online journals, most recently Otis Nebula, The Citron Review, The Bookends Review, and Feile-Festa. Her debut novel, an environmental mystery called Mitigating Circumstances, was published by Five Star/Cengage in January 2014. Currently she’s working on a family saga set in southern Italy, Hell’s Kitchen, and South Jersey. Annette, Eddie, and the others from “Nonsense Syllables” appear in its pages, too. Find her online at www.dawncorrigan.com.

Happy listening,

Kris

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