It’s been a long time, writing here on my own blog. It feels weird. This is my start of the new year post, the one that lays out the plan for the next 365 (leap year? 366?) days. So here goes.
First, I’ve been spending so much time on The Blackbird Review, the literary magazine I advise at school, that I have completely written off this space. My bad. But the lure of creating and watching kids develop new content for a vibrant literary journal is really hard to not get swept up in. It’s infectious. I mean, my staff has created and led a writers’ group for high school creative writers, edited a full print edition of the magazine, and launched our first ever podcast! And the art and photography, well, it’s just outstanding. Look at that cover to the left. Colored pencil drawing! And the writing is great; there are gems in there coming from young writers. It’s the real deal, as far as I’m concerned.
Next, I’ve been writing. A lot. At least for me it’s a lot. I’ve completed two stories that I’m aggressively sending out (and accumulating rejections…ugh), which has actually put me in a pretty good mood. Just being in the game is exciting and energizing; a part of me that I don’t normally exercise is being exercised, which is really cool. It’s actually spurred me on to work on a full length story (the others were flashes), which is also an exercise of sorts, not wrapping up a story in 1,000 words. I feel like I’m still growing as a writer, deepening my view of things, really trying to say something. Makes me think that if I had done this fifteen years ago things might have been different for me artistically, but that type of speculation is dangerous. So I keep writing this one, sentence by sentence, paragraph by shitty paragraph (first drafts, you know?), and I feel great; I feel like you do when your leg wakes up after having been asleep: zingy and uncomfortable and wired. And there are more stories just itching to get out. One I know I want to get done by February, before we go to Hilton Head again, because it’s set on the island and I want to get a draft done so I can fact check it and make it right when I’m there. It’s a really exciting time.
I also will have a story published this year. Not a declaration, but I hope it’s a truism. I am pretty anxiously awaiting the publication of my fifth story, “What You Wish For,” in Black Denim Lit, an online magazine. The story was accepted on October 14, 2014, and has met with some delays in publication. The last email I had from the editor had the story being published in December, but it’s not up yet. And because I run a magazine, albeit a high school one, I understand about delays. So I wait. Patiently. But I’m dying to see it online and hopefully in print. #5, baby! How sweet it is!
Personally, life continues on. My oldest is a senior in college, my youngest a freshman. My stepdaughters are ambitiously stepping off into worlds of their own. My wife has a rich and fulfilling job that she loves very much. We traveled to Cape Cod (multiple times), New Hampshire, Hilton Head, and San Francisco in 2015. We were busy. It was great.
So I’ve neglected my blog. Sue me. Or, better yet, I’ll sue myself for negligence, and sentence myself to doing things just like I’m doing them. I’ll be back to the blog occasionally. But right now I’m working on my stories for the first time in years.
God, it feels great.
© 2016, Brian Stumbaugh. All rights reserved.