Rachael Herron's Blog
July 21, 2016
ARISA WHITE is a Cave Canem fellow, Sarah Lawrence College alumna, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess, Post Pardon, and Black Pearl. She was selected by the San Francisco Bay Guardian for the 2010 Hot Pink List and is a member of the PlayGround writers’ pool; her play Frigidare was staged for the 15th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival. A native New Yorker, living in Oakland, California, Arisa is a faculty advisor at Goddard College and was a visiting scholar at San Francisco State University’s The Poetry Center, where she developed a special collections on Black Women Poets in the Poetry Archives. Published by Virtual Artists Collective, her debut collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was a finalist for the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards, 82nd California Book Awards, and nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Awards. Her second collection, A Penny Saved, inspired by the true-life story of Polly Mitchell, was published by Willow Books, an imprint of Aquarius Press in 2012. Forthcoming in fall 2016 is the full-length collection You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened from Augury Books.
Craft tip: “It’s really important to talk out loud…when you’ve hit a wall, I think it’s good to imagine that wall as something you can speak to…as a conversation to be had with yourself.”
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July 14, 2016
Wendy C. Ortiz is a Los Angeles native. She is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015), and the forthcoming Bruja (Civil Coping Mechanisms, Oct. 31, 2016).
Her work has been profiled or featured in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Hazlitt, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, Fanzine, and a year-long series appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
Craft tip (via working in an online workshop with Lydia Yuknavitch): Look at endings as a kind of death.
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July 7, 2016
Bio: Esmé Weijun Wang is an award-winning author and advocate. At esmewang.com, she provides resources that assist aspiring and working writers in developing resilience on the path to building a creative legacy. Wang’s emphasis on resilience originates from her own experiences as a writer, having learned the importance of adapting to difficult times from living with schizoaffective disorder and late-stage Lyme disease. She studied creative writing and psychology at Yale and Stanford, and received her MFA from the top-tier Creative Writing program at the University of Michigan. The author of THE BORDER OF PARADISE (Unnamed Press, 2016), as well as the chapbook LIGHT GETS IN, Wang has written for Catapult, Hazlitt, Lit Hub, Salon, and Lenny, and been written about in the New Yorker Online, Fusion, and the New York Times. She delights in organizational tools, handwritten letters, and her home base of San Francisco. Find her e-letter, as well as the complimentary Creative Legacy Check-In, at esmewang.com/e-letter.
UPDATE: On July 6, 2016, just as this episode went up, she won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize for her upcoming book, The Collected Schizophrenias. Congratulations, Esmé!
Craft Tip: Esmé attributes this idea to Professor Elizabeth Tallent (Stanford): If you feel an instinct to go toward a certain plot point or even a line or paragraph, challenge yourself. Often, the plot point you’re heading toward is actually a cliche and the reason you’re headed that way is that it’s the easiest way.
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July 6, 2016
Y’all, this is a pheNOMenal prize.
Five signed books by the NYT Bestselling author, Juliet Blackwell PLUS a brand-new Kindle Fire HD6 and cover.
Juliet is one of my people, and I love her truly, madly, and very deeply. I couldn’t do this job without her. The really nice thing is that I also love her books (related? Possibly). Her newest is A Toxic Trousseau, and it came out yesterday on my birthday, and it’s SO fun. Haunted vintage clothing and a kickass heroine from San Francisco, who could ask for more? You have to work to enter this one but that’s good! Fewer entries = a better chance for you to win!
Get one chance for doing each of these quick, free things:
Add Juliet’s latest A Toxic Trousseau to your GoodReads Want to Read list.
Follow Juliet on Amazon.
Follow me on Amazon.
Follow me on Facebook.
Follow Juliet on Facebook.
Join my mailing list.
Join Juliet’s mailing list.
(If you’ve already done any of these things in the past, that counts, just let me know.)
Leave to a comment on this post to let me know how many slips of paper with your name on them should go into my virtual hat. (How will I know if you’re telling the truth? I won’t! I’m not the truth police, thank god, because that would be a full-time and incredibly dull job, don’t you think? I’ll just check to make sure the winner has done what she said she did.)
DRAWING DATE: Tuesday, July 12, 9am PST.
Bonus round: Check out my birthday gift below, and get an extra entry for telling me your favorite office product/organizational tool you couldn’t live without.
June 29, 2016
Adrienne Celt was born in Seattle, WA and has lived in a great many places since then. (A non-exhaustive list: Iowa, California, Chicago, and St. Petersburg, Russia.) Currently, she resides in Tucson, AZ where she welcomes the summer rainstorms as distractions from the fact that there is no ocean for hundreds of miles.
Her debut novel The Daughters (W.W. Norton/Liveright 2015) won the 2015 PEN Southwest Book Award and was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR. Her writing has also been recognized by the PEN/O. Henry Prize, a Glenna Luschei award, and residencies at Ragdale and the Willapa Bay AiR. She’s published fiction in Esquire, The Kenyon Review, Epoch,Prairie Schooner, and Ecotone, among other places, and her comics and essays can be found in The Rumpus, The Toast, The Millions, the Tin House Open Bar, and elsewhere. She publishes a webcomic (most) every Wednesday at loveamongthelampreys.com.
June 28, 2016
I’ve figured out over the years there are two kinds of people: those who like reality TV and those who mock reality TV but watch it in private. Seems that almost everyone has a niche that they like to watch. Some enjoy Hoarders (I like to watch once a year or so and then I clean out closets like a possessed person). Others enjoy the home improvement shows or the PBS Life In the Prairie/VictorianMansion/EdwardianRowHouse shows. Still others get into the love-based reality shows (and I’ll confess here I’m an inveterate Bachelor-watcher. I adore watching all the women get so excited about the possibility of falling in love. I’m less excited about TheBachelorette because I can go down to the financial district in San Francisco if I want to watch that many young men posturing for attention).
There’s a secret about reality TV that no one talks about, though.
Those shows can be good for the heart.
Just like romance novels.
They’re not guilty pleasures—they’re just pleasures. And there’s nothing wrong with those, and don’t let anyone tell you there is.
Six seasons of America’s Next Top Model got me through my mother’s death. At the end of long, anxious, miserable days, I opened my computer, put in my earbuds, and disappeared into the world in which Tyra Banks played a gorgeous house mother to women who were trying to live their dream (even though I just wanted to feed each one of those women three or four slices of cheesecake).
When I didn’t know how to help a friend when she was very low, I attempted to hook her on Project Runway. Another dear friend is currently going through a dark vale, and she’s been watching The Great British Bake Off.
We all need escape sometimes from a life that while often very, very good, can be very, very hard. That escape doesn’t have to be mindless. It can be mindful.
Think about it—escaping for a little while is just taking care of someone else you care about: Yourself.
I was recently in a hospital room with a loved one. We watched The Property Brothers to escape the terrible pings and beeps that go along with a stay like that.
I mocked the brothers terribly. Look at his hair! Is every show this scripted? Why do they constantly knock out load-bearing walls?
But it passed the time. We laughed. We were interested in something that didn’t really matter, but something that lightened the heart.
And I realized that I’d love to write a reality show series.
So here’s the first in the Ballard Brothers series. It’sThe Property Brothers meets the Bachelor, set on the California coast in the town of Darling Bay. I fell in love with Liam while writing him, and so did Felicia, the network executive who ends up accidentally starring in her own show (oops!).
Buy it today here:
And now, after a lot of hard work and a couple of difficult weeks, I’m going to engage in my own form of escape. I’m going to watch the second season ofUnReal, which is a behind-the-scenes drama abouta reality show much like the Bachelor. It was just profiled in the New Yorker (yep, I totally just said that for the snobbish lit cred I’m still sometimes guilty of desiring).
I hope you love On the Market. Let me know what you think.
xo and escapism of many forms,
June 27, 2016
You guys, this is so good, and lately I’ve been eating this EVERY DAY. If you make it the night before a busy day, it’s good cold from the fridge (Lala thinks that’s gross but I LIKE it that way). If you make it in the morning, it’s good warm. It’s really sweet but has no sugar except that from the fruit. And it’s FAST (although I let it sit a while, so I make it first, have a cup of coffee, and then eat).
Start a cup of water to boil in your microwave or electric tea kettle (faster). In a cereal bowl, mash up half the overripe banana you’ve been thinking about making into banana bread but in reality probably never will. Then bang into the bowl: a bunch of cinnamon (I give the bottle four or five good whacks – I like a LOT of cinnamon), a scant sprinkle of cayenne (scant! but trust me on this), 2 tbsp chia seeds (I eyeball this, it’s a good amount), and a half cup of oatmeal (what kind? I’ve used everything except steel-cut, from quick to not-quick, from thick to thin). Then dump in 1/2 – 1 cup of boiling water and stir it all up. (Thinner, quicker oats will require the full cup of water, thicker oats less — play around with this part.) Let it sit for ten minutes or so (or put it in the fridge overnight) to let the chia seed and oatmeal absorb the water. Top with seasonal fruit of choice! Currently, we’re in the strawberry boom, which is really good, but I also love blueberries (I keep a big bag of frozen ones for when I’m out of fresh fruit).
THIS IS SO GOOD. Let me know if you make it!
June 22, 2016
Adrienne Martini writes non-fiction, including a memoir about knitting a complicated sweater called Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously and a book about Appalachia, insanity and families (but funny) called Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood, both published by The Free Press. Other works include two kids and a passel of non-fiction pieces on everything from Tofurkey to poop. She writes and edits the SUNY-Oneonta alumni magazine, and she’s a contributor to Another Mother Runner.
June 18, 2016
Cari Luna is the author of The Revolution of Every Day, which won the 2015 Oregon Book Award for Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Salon, Jacobin, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, PANK, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon.