Two more rejections came in the mail today: from The Bellevue Review (Self has friends who’ve been published here, that’s why she keeps trying) and from The Antioch Review. For the very same story that, a couple of months ago, won her the nicest rejection ever, from Epoch: made it to the final round! She just has to grit her teeth and keep going.
As luck would have it, top of her Pile of Stuff is the newsletter of the Stanford English Department. Self browses through, stops at the Lecturer and Stegner Updates:
Stegner Fellow NoViolet Bulawayo’s first novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Stegner Fellow Austin Smith’s first collection of poems, Almanac, was selected by Paul Muldoon for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and was published in September 2013 by Princeton University Press. Anthony Marra, a Jones Lecturer, had his first novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, long-listed for the National Book Award.
And there were a few people whose stories will be in the 2014 Pushcart Prize anthology, which means they beat out self, whose story “Magellan’s Mirror” was the sole Pushcart nominee from J Journal. Self was proud about the nomination, because J Journal is just getting into this process. Also, she doesn’t know how many other Filipino/Filipina writers got nominated for the Pushcart last year. She’s willing to bet, not many. She wonders which Filipino/Filipina got into the Pushcart 2014, along with those lucky Stegners. Guess she’ll find out in a few months, duh.
But self should stop focusing on the negative.
2013 has actually been one of her more triumphant years.
In January 2013, her first novella, Jenalyn, was published as an e-book by Vagabondage Press of Florida.
In June 2013, Manila Noir, which included a story of hers, was published by Akashic Books.
Waccamaw published a short story, “Bridging,” in October.
Her stories came “very close” with some big magazines. In fact, most of her 2013 rejections were personal: she either made it to the final round, or close to.
The most “fun” event she attended in 2013 was the Filipino International Book Festival in October, because she got to hear Luisa Igloria, Angela Narciso Torres, and many other Filipino and Filipino American writers read, and because she got to buy books from Linda Nietes of Philippine Expressions.
Going to Miami was special, especially her visits to Zack’s University of Miami classes, the dinner at Evelina Galang’s house and just experiencing the all-around buzz from a city that seems almost like Space Age meets Skid Row (The food is fantastically W.O.W)
Son got his masters degree from Claremont, and self and The Man had a fun couple of days in southern California in May, during which The Man got to experience the delights of eating out with son and Jennie, while self cleared the decks for Episode 7 of Game of Thrones. The trip south was The Man’s first visit to son since son began the Ph.D. program in Psychology, three years ago. It was also our first driving trip down I-5 in perhaps 20 years. And lo and behold, Harris Ranch was still alive and kicking. So of course we had to stop, and we had to eat steak.
Then there were self’s visits to Magalang, Pampanga; to Bacolod; to Venice, Italy!
Oh. self suddenly recalls that this is the first winter without The Ancient One. Bella passed away in October, after spending 18 years of her life with us. Bella’s passing was a very long, slow, and patient decline, and she passed away lying in the hot sun on the deck, one day when The Man was at work, and self was flying back from Bacolod. What a sharp contrast to Gracie’s passing, in 2009, which was horrible. Just the most horrible, painful thing.
Bella’s doggie bed and dishes are still in the backyard because neither self nor The Man has the heart to put them away. They’re covered with matted brown leaves.