Panel Tonight: SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY

marque-3Thanks to Peg Aloi, I’m going to be appearing with her (and possibly some other folks) on a panel tonight after the documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry on 2nd wave feminism of the 60s & 70s. Join us for a lively discussion. See The Linda’s site for more info.

Write 4 a Day: 23 April 2017

Write 4 a DayDon’t you deserve at least one day to write?

Write 4 a Day is a new series of monthly one-day writing retreats in upstate New York. While I shall be hosting the events, let me be clear that there is

  • no workshop
  • no agenda
  • no required activities
  • no assignments
  • no schedule
  • no WiFi

Write. Don’t write. Think. Daydream. Doodle. Outline. Come for the whole day or just for part of it; network, collaborate or write solo; wander the woods, hills, fields and streams of Universal Pathways for inspiration (bring sturdy shoes) or sit in a comfy chair and brainstorm. It’s up to you.

WHO – you!

WHY – because you deserve a day to devote to your writing (or daydreaming or sketching or scheming or knitting or…)

WHAT – $22  (cash/check/PayPal – $20 for HVWG members) and a dish to share or your own lunch

WHEN – Saturday April 23, 10am-5pm

WHERE – Universal Pathways, 692 Pleasant Valley Rd, Berne, NY 12023

*Co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild

Signs of Spring

I expect things will be well beyond just hints by the time I return to New York — the forsythia was beginning to bloom I noticed as I headed to the airport — but just last weekend, there were the first signs that really, maybe spring was finally here after the persistent winter.

Ca’ canny an’ flee laigh

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Henry Meynell Rheam: The Sorceress (1898)

The Scots Language Centre posted a photo this week that gave me a new motto:

This windae is in a leebrary in Aigle (‘Edzell’) in Angus. Caw cannie an flee laich is an auld saw that micht be set in Inglis as “Go carefully and don’t take on too much.” Tak tent that the ‘apologetic apostrophe’ kythes in the spellings here. The spelling laigh shuid be soondit as ‘lay-ch’ (wi the ‘ch’ as in loch).

Photie taen bi Steve Murdoch.

The Proverbs of Scotland give a slightly different version:

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And I was struck by a similar note in Jessica Abel’s email today (if you’re not following her posts on making a success of your creative life, you’re missing out) lamenting how easy it is to forget these resolutions:

 I keep telling you that taking on too much is a recipe for things not happening, so why do I think I’m immune? I’m coughing my lungs up; I’m clearly not immune to anything. Life has taught me this lesson over and over again. When will I learn?

I am doing better on the whole at not taking on ever-more stuff. I know that seems ironic given yesterday’s announcement, but the way I’m handling that project is the model for how to do things now: clear timelines (giving myself space to finish what I’m working on  now), careful collaboration with trusted people (knowing you can count on people is half the battle), not doing everything myself (this is opening the doors for others).

But there are always temptations: the more I delve into Medieval Scots literature and culture, the more intrigues I find, like Nicnevin and the Weird Sisters…

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Call for Submissions: My Wandering Uterus

medieval pilgrimThe fabulous Byron Ballard (forensic folklorist & village witch) suggested putting together an anthology of women’s travel writing to be called My Wandering Uterus. And while I continue to say, ‘No more editing jobs!’ somehow I have been roped into this project. So here is the call:

We seek essays, stories and poetry about your experiences of being a woman on the road — the joys, the perils, the lessons, the changes. Whether a spiritual pilgrimage or a forced evacuation, in pursuit of opportunity or escape from your past, travel broadens. What have you learned?

We would like to see a diverse treasure trove of entries from women across the globe from every walk of life and as many different experiences as possible. If you no longer have a uterus or were born without one, never fear: all women are welcome.

Submissions should be:

  • Previously unpublished anywhere
  • Not submitted anywhere else
  • Length 3-8K
  • Formatted: Times New Roman, regular, 12 point; 1″ margins; 1 space after full stop; lines spaced 1.5; use paragraph formatting to indent first line not tabs; no header/footer
  • Identified with a title, your name (and pen name identified as such), working email address on the first page: the file name should include your surname & the title
  • Submitted in DOC, DOCX or RTF format via email to victoriasquid at gmail with your name, the story title and total word count included in the body of the email; make sure the Subject line includes “Submission: Traveling Uterus” + your name
  • Due by July 1, 2017.

We will ask for world-wide print & ebook rights for a year and pay at minimum $10 via Paypal plus give you a copy of the book. We hope to do some fundraising to make the payments more generous but that will be determined as we go along.

Good news: we have already hired the amazing Stephanie Johnson to do the cover art!

If you need a little background on the concept of the ‘wandering uterus’ as a diagnosis to control women, please read this wonderful piece.

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Snapshots from Brigadoon

One Thousand Years

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In my classes I am responsible for covering about a thousand years of literature in the British Isles. That encompasses Anglo-Saxon (AKA Old English), Middle English, Irish, Welsh, Scots and even French and Old Norse because they were all there [I forgot Latin]. But like so many of the people in my field, there’s a heavy dominance of English texts because, well, English department.

When you have to pick highlights in a thousand years of literature (all the while envying colleagues who have to choose texts from a few decades) it’s always hard choices. I’m going to broaden the scope in keeping with my renewed dedication to show the plurality of Medieval Britain. That includes teaching the Public Medievalist series on Race, Racism and the Middle Ages as well as my usual ‘You have been lied to!’ kick off for every medieval class.

I’ve also kicked off a new project that I’m really excited about: a Medieval Scots text The Taill of Rauf Coilyear. You can read it online. Obviously the Scots angle is important for me 😉 but it’s a very interesting adventure tale with a collier at the center (hence the image above which was the only one I could find quickly of a medieval charcoal maker). Many things to research. And obviously part of the reason this tale resonated with me is my love for Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.

Everything connects. At least in my head it does.

In putting together materials for an application this month, I realised just how many things that ought to have been sent out haven’t been. You think I’m prolific? You should see all the stuff that’s not been published. Yet, in some cases. Trying to amend some of that neglect. I blame the glacial pace of academic publishing. But truthfully, fiction requires less research. The time I’ve spent hunting things down! And waiting for interlibrary loans, too. But I’m excited about Rauf. And having put together my CV again, I do have a sense of accomplishment. It never feels like enough but I can say I have a body of work.