In my post Reading Periods: Think Before You Send, I warned against rushing to submit just before a publication closes down for the summer. Hard to believe, but now summer is almost over, at least in the academic world, and that means many of those literary journals associated with colleges and universities will soon re-open for submissions. (If you are one of our readers from Down Under, just reverse everything I say––I know you folks are used to that.)
So do you have your cache of stories all ready to mail out or submit online? Neither do I. Though I have some decent excuses. My Dad passed away the end of April, and I've been involved in the paperwork of transferring things to my Mom's name and helping her take care of the day-to-day. I started a newsletter from my editing/critiquing site, CROSSxCHECKING, re-designed the site, and had some bigger than expected jobs. For the past two weeks I've been blogging and volunteering for healthcare reform, and then...Okay, I still could have fit some time in, but I didn't.
I know many of you have to wait for the kids to go back to school. I'm not there anymore, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, summer does provide so many things to do out of doors or away from home. One thing I do have is additions to my list of places to submit and some good notes. They aren't notes for stories, but back in June I suggested using weather in stories so I took my own advice. Spending so much more time outside, this summer I made a point to observe how the morning light hit the tops of the trees in my backyard, and the differences in light between a nearly cloudless day and a hazy humid one. I noticed how the morning sounds changed from early summer's cacophony of bird song to late summer's chittering of cicadas. I noted how a warm dry breeze felt like silk against my exposed skin while sticky August air felt like an itchy wool sweater.
I also did what I'd suggested in another post––caught up with my reading. I didn't review many books this summer, because much of my reading had been sitting on my shelf too long to be considered new, but I did make the acquaintance of an old writer, in the rediscovered Thomas Savage. I found The Power of the Dog totally riveting.
So it hasn't been a total waste. The fact is, I tend to still be on that academic schedule myself. The year for me starts in September, not bleak January. A couple more weeks of cleaning up my desk, emptying my bookshelves of the books I don't need to keep, sharpening my pencils––though I don't write in long hand––and I'll be ready.