My short story writing is going well. What I mean by 'well' is that I'm loving it. I can write a story fairly quickly - I just finished a story of about 3500 words in 6 weeks. (see p.s.) It's the story I've been blogging about - the one with the angel in it. The title I eventually settled on is 'Minor Key'. By some people's standards 6 weeks may be fairly slow but if writing has taught me one thing, it's that comparing the way you do things to the way that others do is a recipe for disaster. Today I sent that story off to my first American journal. That left me feeling very satisfied. Which, funnily enough, is the title of my first collection of stories.
Earlier this month I received a letter from The Edward F. Albee Foundation. I applied for a writers residency with the foundation that would have been for 4 weeks. The letter informed me that they were very sorry, but not this time. I was a little disappointed but not surprised. Every year The Foundation receives a lot of applications from all over the world. And then something unexpected happened - I stopped feeling disappointed and I felt relieved. I had applied for the 4 week residency with the intention of working on my first collection of stories, Satisfied. Some of these stories are complete, all are in some draft stage of development. However, my relief came because I felt that if I had a bit longer to hone my narrative writing skills (as opposed to playwriting) then my time spent at The Barn on Long Island would be much better spent, I would be more secure in my new genre and I'd get a shit load more writing done. Then I'd have more stories written, so I could be more choosy about which ones went in the collection. Also, it's one of the best, most encouraging rejection letter I've ever received. Here's a quote:
"You should know that, regardless of your non-acceptance this time around, your work was considered quite seriously - it was regarded among the best submitted this year - and we hope very much that you will apply again for next summer's program."
Spending time completing the application was worth the rejection letter alone (hah! you know that's a fib). Spending time on the application helped me to formalise what project I wanted to work on. And it also made me write down my achievements to date, where I've come from as a writer, why I want to write and what I'm passionate about. These are all good things to to revisit.
What I'm waiting on now is to hear the outcome of my Arts SA grant - I applied for funding to attend a Margo Lanagan writing workshop 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' in Fiji in July/August this year. I'm so looking forward to this. It will be my first writing workshop that goes for longer than a single day, with a world class writer in a genre (spec fiction/fantasy) that I'm keen to write more of. I booked my flight last night, so there's no turning back now! Fingers crossed.
p.s. When I say I'm loving it, that doesn't mean its without its frustrations. Tomorrow I revisit a story I began over a year ago. It's gone through a number of drafts but is still not finished. So, it doesn't all happen nicely, tied up in a 6 week bow.