Spring Has Sprung

Hi Friends!

We published our new Bending Genres issue two a few days ago: www.bendinggenres.com. We’ve had so many nice compliments but truly without our writers, we would not have anything to showcase. Also thanks editors Meg Tuite, David O’Connor, Samuel Fox, Jessica Mehta, and Jonathan Cardew. Thanks Adam Robinson for your IT wizardry, and KJ for your uploading and editorial skills. We are currently open for submissions, so send us your weird and best!

Jonathan Cardew also taught our second Bending Genres online weekend workshop, “Flash: Wondrous & Weird.” It was well- attended and participants wrote some incredibly unusual (for them) pieces! We currently have two spots left for our May 18-20 weekend workshop; “Deep Leap/ Deep Sleep” and I will be teaching this! More information here: https://bendinggenres.com/online-workshops/.

Also, Meg Tuite and I are preparing daily for our upcoming Bending Genres Synergia Ranch retreat!!! The new header image I selected is from New Mexico, and I’ll add more photos at the end of this post from September 2017, when we had our first experience at the Ranch. It’s phenomenal, spiritual, strange, clear, a gift to honor your own hard work if that appeals to you. We like writers of all levels, and varieties. In fact, we asked writer Lynn Mundell six questions about her experience at Synergia Ranch last September: https://bendinggenres.com/2018/04/08/bending-genres-q-a-with-author-lynn-mundell/

The upcoming dates are April 27- May 3, 2018. We currently have 12 registered writers and can take a few more. Here is our website to look further: http://retreat.bendinggenres.com.

Bending Genres Journal

Hi friends!

There’s a new kid on the block… and it’s not just another online journal! No!!! Bending Genres started as the name that Meg Tuite and I gave to our week long writing retreats. We still plan to use this name for our two Bending Genres retreats in 2018:

April 27- May 3: Synergia Ranch, outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico: http://retreat.bendinggenres.com:

July 22-28: Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico:

 

Last Friday afternoon, we launched the first issue of Bending Genres Journal: www.bendinggenres.com:

We have 31 incredible pieces, a winning combination of short fiction, prose poems, and creative non-fiction. Many are superb examples of hybrid, or cross-genre work. Our entire journal staff are so proud! Also huge thanks to Meg Tuite, David O’Connor, Samuel Fox, Jessica Mehta, and Jonathan Cardew. Also Adam Robinson for his genius design and input, and KJ for his IT finesse. We had an astounding number of hits over the weekend- close to 2,000!!!

The third facet of the new Bending Genres empire is our all-new weekend workshops! We launched in January with Meg Tuite teaching Flash Fiction: Close to the Edge on January 19-21. We had a great turn-out, 21 writers registered, and amazing writing throughout the entire weekend, combined with great facilitating by Meg and participants.

Our next adventure is March 23-25, with Jonathan Cardew teaching Flash: Wondrous & Weird.  More information, including how you can register (we are already half full) here: https://bendinggenres.com/online-workshops/.

And so, send us your submissions! Register for a course! Attend a retreat! We’d love to have you join our Bending Genres family, as we continue to watch it grow. And grow.

 

 

 

 

New Online workshops

Hi friends,

What a year it has been. To say the least.

In November, I stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK. Prior to that, for the entire year I was the Fiction Editor. Our magazine has had an outstanding year, including the new, December issue we published two days ago: http://boinkzine.com.

Just a quick recap will help you to understand how busy our editorial staff has been:

  • Published ten solid issues of fiction, poetry, CNF, art, and VOICES
  • Our first Flash Fiction Contest with guest judge Kathy Fish; vetters Len Kuntz, Dianca Potts, and Nicholas Cook (winner was Quinn Madison)
  • Held three other postcard contests, (winners were Kara Vernor, Meghan Phillips, and Becky Robison)
  • Three readings at different venues in Milwaukee (with hosts Dora Diamond, Jonathan Cardew). Many of our magazine contributors read at these events.
  • Opened our new offices in Walkers Point, added our exceptional intern, Corey Holzman. Thanks, Ricco!
  • And to our amazing staff, some who remain, some who’ve moved on, I am eternally grateful: Meg Tuite, Chelsea Laine Wells, Jamal Parker, Caitlin Scarano, Samuel Fox, David O’Connor, Jessica Mehta, and Corey Holzman. Your hard work and editorial skills have made it the magazine for so many writers and diverse voices: over 30 different countries, a multitude of cultures represented, outstanding risk-taking writers.

In 2018, we will be launching our all new Bending Genres ONLINE WORKSHOPS!!! Beginning January 19-21, with Meg Tuite teaching Fast Flash Fiction: Close to the Edge. More information is here: http://boinkzine.com/january-fast-flash-fiction/. You can take this workshop from anyplace in the entire world! Don’t wait too long to nab your post, we are already filling up!

Also we are adding to our current magazine staff: Fiction Editors Meg Tuite and David O’Connor; Poetry Editor Samuel Fox and our new Poetry editor Jessica Mehta; all new column curated by Jonathan Cardew called Microviews (might include reviews, interviews and more), and our inimitable intern, who does so much more than any intern, Corey Holzman.

All this, and these are just a tip of the entire journey.

I’m indebted, and so grateful to you all. Thanks for the amazing year.

Sincerely,

Robert Vaughan, Editor-in-Chief, Bending Genres

Omega Institute: Nick Flynn

Hi friends!

I recently attended a week long writer’s retreat at Omega Institute called Memoir as Bewilderment. I think what attracted me, aside from stellar writer and teacher Nick Flynn, was the bewilderment factor. I feel as if life presents itself in this manner often, and my writing most certainly contains an element of the unknown, or the mysterious.

I arrived after car, plane, cab, train, and shuttle. I met my first writer taking the same course at the Rhinecliff train station, Anne. We immediately bonded over books, family similarities, New York and there was an immediacy that writers tend to have.

Prior to the workshop we were asked to bring with us: 10-20 pages of our own writing (and to choose one page to make copies for everyone), one page from a published book),  a science article (copies for everyone). All of these were to hopefully contain elements of what we define as bewilderment. I’d just completed Sherman Alexie’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, his new memoir about his mother. Plenty of bewilderment!

The workshop was held in the Creekside cottage, which was a tight space for 25 writers! After selecting a word from the white board (I chose “to Lose”) we were given a postcard image. We meditated for seven minutes (a welcome recurring theme before our writing prompts) and then wrote “descriptive writing”- trying to stick with details. We repeated this exercise with slight suggested revisions, so that eventually we had written four or five different prompts. We also read Larry Levis’s lyric poem, “Sensationalism.” My small group was Laura, Kathryn and Carrie. I also partnered with Sean on a couple of exercises.

Teacher Nick Flynn, author of several books, including his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which I read during our Omega workshop. (http://www.nickflynn.org)

One evening, we saw Aja Monet read from her stellar poetry collection, My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter at the Omega Library. She was amazing.

In class we also drew maps of a specific location, and a map of our body (placing both trauma and joys on the body). These were used for prompts. We did a movement exercise with Omega staff and writer JoJo that helped us to identify a place in which we might go deeper into a writing piece. Then we wrote a piece toward a direction on our maps. We also visualized our ‘home direction,’ and figured out a gift to give to our “person,” (used from our original postcards) and wrote a fairy tale prompted piece to a younger self in a deep woods.

Stanley Kunitz, a mentor of Nick’s said: “You have to become the person that can write the poem.” (of compassion, of anger, of solace, etc.)

On Wednesday, Nick’s friend and music collaborator, Guy Barash visited the Omega campus. We did an afternoon workshop with Guy, directing us with non-musical instruments, graphed and designed on paper. We did a silent meditation just listening to local ambient sounds (heater, planes, crickets, etc.) and “recorded” them, then attempted to translate them to the class (from our papers). Then, in groups, we performed our pieces. Then Guy directed the entire class as an aural orchestra. We dubbed ourselves the Unstable Atomic Pigs! Nick was so kind, he invited us to open for Nick and Guy’s performance in the Lake Theater that evening. Also Jared Handelsman, another collaborator, provided video footage. Their show was beyond inspiring!

On Thursday our class occupied the Lake Theater at Omega. This was an entire day devoted to our “working project.” We went through our various collected pages, new writing and brought pieces, and various favorites from the group. We marked the “resonant parts,” and Nick coached us to be generous- not one or two words, mark “whole passages.” From there, we literally cut out those parts, and placed them onto 30 blank sheets of white paper. I sort of figured out that I had three or four threads for my project. And I had organized them all in these groupings. Then Nick came over, listened as I described my chaos, and said, “okay, now you can switch them all up- move them around, etc.” I literally felt nauseous! But so did everyone else. Chaos… opposite of organized.

The last morning, Nick fielded a quick question and answer. Because I had to leave early on Friday, I was the first in order for the final reading. I read “Tributaries,” and “When He Left it all to Me.” I was only able to stay for the first four or five other readers. I felt so badly when I slipped out, but I had to catch the train, to the cab, to the plane, to the car ride home. My dear friend David Carter (who incidentally was the first friend I workshopped with at Omega in 1994), came and spent an overnight on Thursday, and transported me to the Rhinecliff train station. Bless his heart.

What a week. So grateful to Nick Flynn, teacher extra-ordinaire, my co-writers and creators, to Omega for hosting this amazing workshop. To friends, new and old. And always to my honey, who makes life seem more technicolor than ever.

Synergia Ranch 2017

Hi Friends!

I just returned last night from a blissful, inspiring week at the organic farm, Synergia Ranch. Fellow writer Meg Tuite and I hosted a week long writing retreat called Bending Genres.

We had 17 writers attend, some stayed the entire week, some commuted. It was a treat, the support flowed, and the powerful, astounding writing that all of the workshop participants conjured up was refreshing.

Not to mention the lovely grounds, and sunrise/sunsets, fire pit, organic orchard, GeoDome, Dance Studio, and amazing restaurant/ food.

 

SAVE THESE DATES:

Meg Tuite and I will be returning to Synergia Ranch for Bending Genres on April 27-May 3, 2018. We will have our website up and running very soon!

In addition, we will be back in Taos, New Mexico on July 22-28, 2018 for Exploratory Fiction at Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Again, website forthcoming.

Come one, come all. Let either Meg or me know if you have any questions, or plan to reserve for either week. WE BOTH HOPE SO!!!

Big hugs, and warm wishes for a terrific, inspiring late summer/ autumn. More news forthcoming as we move ahead.

Our September issue of (b)OINK published and is full of terrific fiction, poetry, CNF, and the VOICES column, dedicated to scatalogical issues this time around. www.boinkzine.com.

What are you reading? I am almost through Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. Comments welcome!

August Recap

Hi Friends!

It’s been a busy month. My biggest news is that FUNHOUSE had a mention in The New York Review of Books- The August 17th edition. Pinch me now!!! This is a pretty major accomplishment. They’d read my FUNHOUSE Kirkus Review and contacted me. FUNHOUSE is happy, and my family/ friends are happy. I am over the moon!

Also, I recently read at Boswell Books with local writers, novelist Lee Kreckwell (The Expanse Between), poet Caitlin Scarano (Do Not Bring Him Water), and Chicago author Ben Tanzer (Be Cool– Essays/ Memoir). The evening was referred to as a mix of Micro, Poetry, Fiction and Memoir (a blend of genres):

There was a nice write-up in our local Sheperd Express about the reading:

http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30227-midwest-writers-gather-at-boswell-for-micro-memoir-poetry-prose.html

And a couple of great things happened at (b)OINK, where I am the Managing Editor. First of all, we announced our nominees for Best of the Net. This was quite difficult because we were limited in terms of how many pieces, and so many terrific ones to select from. Please head over to (b)OINK and read these phenomenal nominations (www.boinkzine.com):

And then, we announced the TOP 20 finalists in our very first Flash Fiction Contest. We had over 150 entries!!! And our vetters did a fantastic job: Len Kuntz, Dianca London, and Nicholas Cook. Then our guest judge, Kathy Fish, selected the top three winners- they will be announced on September 1st. Here are the top 20 stories, without the authors’ names:

(b)OINK’s Flash Fiction Contest: The Top 20 Finalists

And finally, the Hurricane Harvey scared us so much, with precious family who live in the Corpus Christi area. Everyone is safe, and fortunately the rain damage is not over yet. Please think positive thoughts for all those in Hurricane Harvey’s plight.

I leave on Tuesday for Bending Genres, a workshop at Synergia Ranch, outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m hosting with the kickass, and brilliant Meg Tuite. We have 17 writers aligned to arrive on Friday, September 1. I’m beyond thrilled and ready to have a stimulating and eye-opening week-long experience.

 

 

Summer is Here!

Happy Summer!

As it’s been a while since my last blog, I have some things to mention.

First of all, FUNHOUSE had a very lovely KIRKUS review:

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-vaughan/funhousex/

I want to thank the editors at KIRKUS, and also all of your lovely compliments after reading the review.

Also, at the international online magazine, Levure Litteraire, my dear friend Helene Cardona published three of my FUNHOUSE pieces:

Robert Vaughan

Then, at the LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS, there was a fine essay called Protean Miniatures: The Adaptability and Sustainability of Flash Fiction by Sean Hooks, in which he mentions RIFT, my last book with Kathy Fish (about halfway through the article). This was a shock, and a very pleasant one!

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/protean-miniatures-adaptability-sustainability-flash-fiction/

And many of you already know I am the Managing Editor at (b)OINK. Well, many things are happening with our magazine, including our Inaugural Flash Fiction Contest with guest judge Kathy Fish:

https://boinkzine.submittable.com/submit/87025/boink-flash-fiction-contest-with-guest-judge-kathy-fish

And we have a new (b)OINK poetry editor, Jamal, and an intern, Corey, as well as a new office in Walker’s Point, a diverse and fun neighborhood in Milwaukee. More new things forthcoming!

Our first (b)OINK presents reading will be on Thursday, June 29th, at Sugar Maple in Bay View, WI. 7-9 p.m. Emceed by Dora Diamond. Surprises and gifts abound!

I had the great fortune of attending Marjorie Pagel’s book launch (The Romance of Anna Smith and other stories) at Anodyne yesterday. I was so thrilled she had standing-room-only crowd and her book is available at Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Romance-Anna-Smith-Other-Stories/dp/1545412413/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498235510&sr=8-1&keywords=Marjorie+Pagel.

Enjoy summer. Read as much as possible. Looking for a workshop? Check this out:

http://bendinggenres.com.

 

Interview at Midwestern Gothic

Thanks for editor Audrey Meyers for her salient and insightful questions, my interview was published today at Midwestern Gothic magazine:

http://midwestgothic.com/2017/03/interview-robert-vaughan/

I also want to thank editors-in-chief and founders Jeff Phaller and Robert James Russell. I had the honor of my work appearing at MG in two of their early print journals, and also Kathy Fish and I were interviewed for our book, RIFT, at the MG website in 2016. Midwestern Gothic has expanded into the book business (MG Press) and offer “The Lake Prize” for Midwestern authors to enter. Be sure to check them out, especially if you live in the VAST MIDWEST!!!

I’m reading Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women. Love it so far!

What are you reading? Any words about it?

Also, an image from last night’s Red Oak reading at Comedy Sports (which was fantastic). Me wearing my all-new Ron L. Kibble wearable art hoodie (Ron painted the amazing cover of FUNHOUSE). Thanks RON, and thanks Jonnie for the shot:

Red Oak Reading

Tonight I’ll be reading in the Red Oak Showcase at Comedy Sports along with other writers, including:

Mel Miskimen, Judy Bates, Rachel Gerlach, Maryclaire Torinus, Jonnie Guernsey, Nancy Bauer- King, Myles Hopper, Kim Suhr, Carol Wobig and Joel Habush.

I’m thrilled to be among so many diverse writers and talent. Please come, early if you want a bite, or a drink, the reading will start promptly at 7 p.m. Also, we are dedicating tonight’s reading to Judith Zukerman, who was a member of the Friday roundtable group for a span of over 10 years. What a life Judith lived: a terrific partner and mother, an advocate for women’s rights, sharing her Jewish faith and beliefs, and such a talented writer, poet and dancer! I was honored to know Judith for this decade, and she made my life much deeper, richer and expansive as a result.

Please come and help us spread Judith’s passion, her zest for life. I hope to see you tonight! I will also have copies of FUNHOUSE, my latest book for sale. And Unknown Press, my publisher, has launched a new website. Check it out here: https://unknownpress.org

Finally, it’s never too late to tell those you love (right now) that you LOVE THEM!!!

 

WordTango Cross-Genre Deep Dive

I’m teaching a weekend online workshop April 28-20, called Cross-Genre Deep Dive, hosted by WordTango, the online writing community. I had the terrific pleasure of meeting Liz Pettie and Jen Kircher- Carr at the AWP Conference in Washington D.C. recently.

We didn’t go swimming, or even diving. But life can take you into deep waters, or leaping, plummeting from various heights, for innumerable other reasons: debt, accidents, secretive meetings. The list is endless!

If you are unfamiliar with my writing, I’ve just published my 5th book, FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press). It’s a good example of cross-genre work in one book: flash fiction, prose poetry, and longer short stories. (See the tab “My Books” for more information.)

I hope you will consider taking the WORDTANGO course. More information is here: http://us11.campaign-archive1.com/?u=fc8698610dd752def107a548c&id=72030255b0

Please let us know if you have any questions. And thanks, Kathy Fish, for the solid recommendation.

Happy Writing!