Luminous Rapture

Completed my Short Story 101 month feeling renewed, refreshed and provoked with a plethora of ideas brimming. The working title to my new short is shown above. I don’t want to give away too much but let’s just say this workshop allowed me to steer off course in unknown waters of pure imagination of the graphic kind. I’m so used to writing my family dramas or relationships with romantic entanglement stories that my mind brewed something fresh and fun even though there’s murder, torture, betrayal, theft involved. You never know what your psyche is going to pull through the surface and I’m thrilled with what I concocted. With that said my instructor Hank Lewis was amazing. A powerhouse of lyrical prose and knowledge. His own work just sang poetic sublime. He shared a fair amount of parental/offspring dynamic, thematically some of the pieces resonated with my own. My fellow students shared some evocative pieces and the assignments helped me dig deep with form, structure, language and voice. I didn’t want this class to end.

I love when I have epiphanically induced moments of inspiration through classes when an instructor slam dunks or hits it straight on the nail with guidance that motivates, invokes and pushes your limits. Writing is work, lots of work in the beginning for us novice writers, sometimes seasoned ones too. There’s always so much wisdom to attain through the thoughts and ideas of another that stoke your fires and I’m there people. Like I said, I wrote a short unlike something I’ve ever thought to delve or explore in this particular genre but I did and I’m over the moon happy about it. Thank you Mr. Lewis for an enlightening and rejuvenating class this past month.

I wanted to share some Summer Reading I embarked upon these past two months. A few of these books were pretty lengthy and took some time to read, but I enjoyed the escape and found they were worth mentioning, plus I indicated early on I’d share some books I loved. Some are short story anthologies. I like to do research and homework when working on specific pieces and since I was focusing on short form I found Joyce Carol Oates as a source of uplifting artistic individuality. I took a Master Class of hers on Short Story Telling and was invigorated with newfound revelations. Here’s my summer selections:

I am no one you know – short stories by Joyce Carol Oates
Lovely, Dark, Deep – short stories by Joyce Carol Oates
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – A novel by Ocean Vuong – beautiful details of self discovery.
The Index of Self-Destructive Acts – A Novel by Christopher Beha
The Prophets – A Novel and recommended by my beloved cousin Stephanie 🙂 Robert Jones Jr is magnanimous with story telling, a must read!
Mexican Gothic – A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this writer is starting to grow on me. She’s a modern pillar of blended folklore, myth within present time.
Silver Sparrow – A Novel by Tayari Jones.
Last but not least my favorite all time writer. Wonders of the West – A Novel by Kate Braverman. I shared one of her short stories in my Short Story workshop – Women of the Ports from “A Good Day for Seppuku.” She inspires me on a muse level and I’m just blown away by her mesmerizing and hypnotic style every time I read her work!

So there you go, my list of must reads. Reading is homework, builds skillset and voice, language, style. I have my favorites and I keep adding the more I read new work, but here’s a slew of noteworthy authors to check out and mainly women because I support my gender in this craft and POC because they have written the most thought provoking and lovely stories I’ve read presently:

Kate Braverman

Rachel Kushner

Elaine Kahn

Bett Williams

Rachel Resnick

Emma Forrest

Stephen Graham Jones

Gabino Iglesias

Joy Harjo

Rebecca Roanhorse

Jon Bassoff (local author in my area, gothic noir style!)

Catherine Wallace Hope

Taylor Reid Jenkins

Louise Erdrich

Zadie Smith

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Edwidge Danticat

Rudolfo Anaya

Raven Leilani

Laura Pritchett (Colorado Author)

Joyce Carol Oates

Roxane Gay

Joe Hill

I just love reading and anything that moves, grabs, sings to my soul is worth mentioning, including authors AND in case you may be looking for someone new to read, I hope this list offers some choices on your reading log!

Grand Lake, Colorado

I’m ending with a picture of my favorite getaway. West of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park; Grand Lake is an idyllic, lowkey mountain town that I love to relax and savor every bit of nature. I dream of owning a huge home on the lake there someday but for now we’re finally returning for a much needed vacation in September this year. There’s a favorite indie, local bookstore I shop exclusively for book gifts on the main strip. The owner is always gracious when I do and tells me I’m the highlight of her sales for that week, yes I spend that much on books.

Read lots, escape through stories and relish in the imagination of others. Take care of yourself this week; take a nap, watch a feel good comedic movie, take a walk around a lake, call up an old friend, journal notes of gratitude, eat dinner by yourself at a nice restaurant because you deserve it, hug your loved one and give them a kiss. We have one life to live in this realm, make it count so you don’t have to keep coming back to try and relearn the same lesson.

Carpe Diem!