This past fall, lots of starts and stops broke my writing flow, but when winter came, things evened out. Most recently, I completed an essay about visiting my native Bosnia. The visit took place about ten years after my family left Bosnia due to the war in the Balkans. The essay unearthed lots of buried memories, and it is surprisingly filled with lushness and sunlight.
Currently, I’m working on a short story about a young woman’s sexual awakening—it is darker in nature than the essay—and I look forward each day to uncovering more and more about my character.
When it comes to publications, my short story, “On the Dalmatian Coast,” was reprinted this fall in the anthology Everywhere Stories III by Press 53. I was so excited to give this piece new life. Each of the stories in this volume takes place on a different spot on the planet or in a different state in the United States. I’m grateful to Editor Cliff Garstang for all of his meticulous work.
The lovely Baltimore Review also just gathered the pieces they published in their online issues this past year into a print issue. I was delighted to receive my copy this week. The issue is thick and packed with good work. My short story, “Peephole,” is included in its pages and also remains available online on the BR website. Finally, I’m excited to have two poems forthcoming from New Ohio Review and Moon City Review this spring.
I’m so looking forward to working on new projects and connecting with other writers in 2019. Happy New Year!
Earlier this year, I was invited to a local grade school to talk to a class of fifth and sixth graders about being a war refugee. I discussed my Bosnian childhood with them, as well as my family’s move to Spain and ultimately to the States. Something unexpected happened during this session, and my reaction to the event too was unexpected. I wrote a personal essay about it, and I am happy to say that the piece was accepted for publication by the international journal of the humanities War, Literature & the Arts. I feel honored by this acceptance, since this journal puts out work that is both beautifully written and highly perspective-giving. I will announce the publication of the piece here once it is out.
I took the morning to read and think and sit on the patio of a corner café, and I started Charles Simic’s essay collection, The Life of Images. I’ve always found Simic to be a comforting, solid thinker who takes his time representing emotion. I’ve been having trouble slowing down in my own writing lately. I’ve been taking shortcuts. Reading loose prose has made me slacken. When emotion arises as I write, I want to once again push myself to feel out its spaces and allow images to concretize before I rush on to the next line. Simic, of course, does this impressively in this collection. Here’s an excerpt on solitude and philosophy.
Wallace Stevens has several beautiful poems about solitary readers. “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm” is one. It speaks of a “truth in a calm world.” It happens! The world and the mind growing so calm that truth becomes visible.
It must be late at night “when shines the light that lets be the things that are”—the light of insomnia. The solitude of the reader of philosophy and the solitude of the philosopher drawing together. The impression that one is thinking and anticipating another man’s subtlest turns of thought and beginning to truly understand.
Understanding depends on the relationship of what we are to what we have been: the being of the moment. Consciousness stirring up our conscience, our history. Consciousness as the light of clarity and history as the dark night of the soul.