Submission: Paper Darts

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time browsing the websites of Creative Writing MFA Programs.  One of the really wonderful side effects of  these hours in front of the computer is that I’ve come across quite a few fun, interesting literary magazines.

As I am determined to be more serious about my writing, I am also looking for publications where I can submit my work.  My guidelines are pretty well-defined.  I want to submit to lit mags that accept online submissions and have no reading fees.  Plus, the rebellious artist in me is attracted to publications that are a little funky.  I’d like to share these publications with you as I find them.  Perhaps you will enjoy them as much as I do and perhaps you will want to submit to them as well.

One of my favorites so far is Paper Darts.  I have to say, there is an not-so-small soft spot in my heart for a lit mag started by a group of girls with a sewing machine.  They also have quite a few other projects going.  I highly recommend checking them out.

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Inspiration: Look Up More: The Shared Experience of Absurdity

I’ll just come out and say it, I love the absurd.  There’s something magical and beautiful about frivolity that’s not tied down to reason and rationality.  Absurdity has this detachment from the material world which makes me remember that I am not only a physical body that needs to eat and shit, but also a mind that needs to be stimulated and awed.  There’s some sort of wizardry that the ludicrous possesses which can turn even the most mundane of situations and surroundings into a wonderland.

Take for instance Christo and Jean-Claude’s outdoor art, The Umbrellas.  It instantly turns a brown, barren California landscape into a fairyland. And that’s exactly what’s amazing about absurdity.  It’s play for adults.  It’s a time when we are pulled out of daily routine and everyday life and invited to immerse ourselves in imagination and wonder.  It invites us to see the world around us not as a hard, material setting but as a playground ripe with beauty and ready for exploration.

The magic and wonder of the ridiculous is never so powerful as when it is shared.  In the TED Talk below, Charlie Todd, founder of ImprovEverywhere, discusses the power of sharing absurd experiences.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the video:

“I love this moment in the video, because before it became a share experience, it was maybe a little bit scary, or something that was at least confusing to her.  And then once it became a shared experience, it was something funny and something she could laugh at.”

“There is no point and there doesn’t have to be a point.  We don’t need a reason, as long as it’s fun.”

This video really inspired me because it made me think about how something just a little bit absurd lends itself to an entire story.  The people who witnessed the no-pants subway ride (and all the previous ones that followed!) will forever have that story to tell — and to share.  It will be something to connect over and an experience that they can give to others through the telling of that story for the rest of their lives.

All storytelling should have an element of this.  Stories should leave you wanting to retell them, to share them.  Good stories are instant bridges between people.  They bring us together and link us in common experience.

And for me, I always want a little bit of the absurd.  I want a little bit of play, a little wink at my reader.  I want that moment when my reader and I are both frolicking in the playground of wonder and imagination and beauty that is the world we live in.

Because it’s really fun to play by yourself, but it’s even more fun to play with others.*

*Sexual innuendo absolutely intended.  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t resist.

Creative Commons love to Jon Delorey for the photo and, of course, to TED for the video!

Sharing: First Post After a Long Absence

I’ve been reprimanded quite a bit lately because I haven’t posted anything.  But I promise, dear reader, I have an excuse!  I’ve just moved from Bangkok to Wellington, New Zealand,* and I will admit that the energy of the move and house-hunting and job-hunting has kept me from blogging.  I will also admit that I’ve been too wrapped up in exploring this lovely little capital at the end of the world to think much about writing or grad school.  In my defence,** I am incredibly smitten with my surrounds and with people here and my mind has been elsewhere.

 

Part of why I am so smitten is that I didn’t properly anticipate how much I would love living in an English-speaking country again.  I am struck by how much it means to me to be able to have connective little conversations with the baristas at the coffee shops I frequent or to flirt with the guy who works at WelTec.  I really appreciated all the smiles I got in Thailand.  But if Thailand is the Land of Smiles, New Zealand feels to me like the Land of Small Talk.  And I am really loving it.  I’d forgotten how those little conversations with friends-you-haven’t-met-yet can really brighten your day.  Even if it is a wintry, drizzle-y day, as has often been the case.

In the spirit of appreciation for small connections with friends-you-haven’t-met-yet,  I’d like to give a special thanks to Daniela, a fellow Wellingtonian, who blogs over at Lantern Postwho nominated me for the Twin Awards.  These little moments of connection and recognition are just lovely and I really do appreciate them.  I’d also like to share a bit of Daniela’s poetry, which gives a little bit of insight into my new hometown:

Street Performer

On Saturdays street artists are out,

downtown on Cuba Street,

marking their patches of concrete,

between market stalls,

amongst passers-by,

bending around corners,

not on the way, just in the view,

singing for nickels,

dancing for laughs.

 

And there he was,

all young and bouncy inside his sneakers,

pants low on hips with blue hearts sewn on knees,

his mum did it for him he tells me.

 

Just setting his circle right now,

but show will start soon,

and he is really good, he says,

excellent in fact,

real juggling acts, like in circuses,

and fire eating, real fire mind you,

made with kerosene, a real poison.

 

Really, if I will stay he will show me,

usually lots of people come and watch,

he has a regular crowed now,

and does acrobatics, dangerous staff and for real,

no tricks, like some others do,

no, not him,

he is for real.

 

Just stay for a while, he will start soon,

mind if I have a spare smoke and a lighter,

it will be real good,

he does this for living,

his folks are still in shock,

but he does what he loves, and that’s all that matters to him,

to make people laugh.

 

Just stay till the end of the show,

it is going to be awesome,

at the end he will pass the hat around,

you know how it is,

has to pay rent, buy beer,

loving what you do does not,

pay bills,

you understand.

 

*Why does WordPress not think that New Zealand is a word?  Really, WordPress, it’s a real place!  Not a fairy-Neverland.  But, honestly, you wouldn’t know by this picture:

I mean, look at this!  I live here!

**And now it seems I am spelling like them too….

 

 

 

Creative Commons love to mollyeh11 and PhillipC for the photos!