Saturday, August 30, 2008

yeah… about that.

Less than an hour after posting that blog, I checked the website for my favored literary magazine, just to see if the printed info I had was outdated… Well, it was, because that magazine has since closed shop, however temporarily.

Trust me to forget to check a website until the last minute…

A mistake I am not making again. I’ve spent my afternoon prowling other magazine recommendations, scouring old emails from my Calvin professors for leads. And I found another magazine, one that published a classmate of mine. Other writers sounded familiar—and again, I love the tone, I love the layout, I love the philosophy. The story said it’s okay—in fact, it’s starting to get excited.

Extra bonus? The online submission form. (Read: no cover letter necessary.)—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/30 at 08:08 PM
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crossing the last t, dotting the final i

My adventures since I wrote last have not been very numerous; but such as they are, they are much at your service. —Jane Austen

I FOUND IT. Oh, I’m so happy.

Thanks to my mom’s prompting, I remembered a journal that we saw at the Festival of Faith and Writing—it feels like ages ago! But I pulled out the sample copy we picked up then, and read through it. I love the style of this journal, I love the stories, I love their philosophy. And it’s a Christian journal, which means I don’t have to feel sheepish about the surrounding stories, should I get published.

I checked with my story, and it gave me the thumbs up. So now we know where it will be going tomorrow—all that remains is packing its bags for the journey.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/30 at 04:44 PM
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

gasping for air (or hope)

Fans of literary fiction, how do you do it?

After several hours of reading brilliant, perfect short stories, I want to lock myself in a closet and never come out.

No doubt the world is as grim, blank, lonely, and despairing as they all say… But goodness. (Hey, that’s a thought. What about goodness?)

Researching literary journals and magazines might not be the most fun ever. Hence my mud-sucking-at-shoes reluctance to send my story out… But, hey, I committed. And it’s going somewhere, come Sunday.

Before then, I have a few more magazines to read through… maybe I’ll meet my match? I look at my story. My story looks at me. We heave to.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/28 at 07:18 PM
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

five days to go?

Progress report:

The story’s as good as it’s going to be. I still think that it’s too simplistic, or too quiet, or too something, but Mom, my sounding board, has insisted that it’s fabulous the way it is. Since that means I don’t have to bother with any more revision, that’s fine with me.

My cover letter so far is: a choice of seven opening sentences. (Or, to be more accurate, the second halves of seven opening sentences. No idea what that first clause should be. Somehow Publish this! sounds a little too strong. Even with a please tacked onto the end.) And then I have another sentence for the next paragraph. Oh, and my closing tag: “Sincerely.” Classic, brief, and it gets the job done. So that’s the letter.

The trickiest bit is determining where the story should go. I’ve narrowed down my list: forty, then to thirteen, and now to four. That’s the main thing I have to work on: studying their styles and deciding which is the best fit for my story.

Important though all this is, it reminds me again and again that I’m not really a literary short story writer at heart. I love my little story, I really do. I know I want to publish it. But sitting at my desk and reading the tiny print in the Writer’s Market guide makes me want to scrape my brain out with a spoon.

Meanwhile, my novel’s characters go outside to play badminton, and my protagonist is spouting brilliant lines by the dozen—lines it takes me hours to think of for her. And now she’s coming up with plenty, all by herself. But if I go nearer to my window to listen (maybe with pad and pen to take notes, since she’s saying really funny stuff, I mean, laugh-til-you-can’t-breathe funny), my short story gets anxious, and drags me back to my desk and my lists, my decisions, my fragmented cover letter, and alllllllllll that tiny print.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/26 at 07:26 PM
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a few thoughts from under the rock

Weird? Well, probably so. Writers are not like other people. It’s a lie to try to pretend we are.—Heather Sellers

This itch for authorship is worse than the devil and spoils a man for anything else.—E.A. Robinson

Flat country seems to give the sky such a chance.—Dodie Smith

I think that my social skills are deteriorating. Not that they were ever superstrong to begin with… (That’s not really fair. I promise that I do have friends, really great friends: a small group of amazing women who, I am convinced, will change the world.)

No, it’s the let’s-charge-out-into-groups-and-talk-with-everyone-and-be-the-Queen-of-Chit-Chat! attitude that I’m lacking.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/20 at 04:53 PM
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

trial by story

I busied myself with a verbal dustpan and brush.—Hugh Laurie

So, that short story? The one I’m sending out on my birthday? I’m a little upset with it.

I fished it out of a file folder last Wednesday, and it skidded to a stop at the edge of my desk. Sat up and began swinging its feet, fixing me with a wicked little gleam in its eye.

It said, So. I’m back.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/12 at 06:13 PM
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Monday, August 04, 2008

let’s drink a toast to monday mornings.

So I have this mug that I absolutely adore. I found it at a neat store in St. Louis called English Living. (You’re shocked, of course, that I would even consider going in, anglophile that I am…) There was another mug that said DREAM., but I’ve been dreaming, and there’s something lovely about Monday morning’s coffee in a mug that exhorts you to BEGIN.

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/04 at 07:04 PM
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Friday, August 01, 2008

the whirlwind that was july

The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.—C.S. Lewis

Okay, so the second half of that month flew by.

In the middle of the month, I spent quality time in St. Louis, hanging out with a former roommate and watching My Fair Lady at the Muny theatre. A fabulous show on a gorgeous night, and it was so great to catch up with Laura! I hadn’t seen her in months, and there were many, many stories to tell.

Then our family went to another wedding at a gorgeous chapel in St. Louis, which was a great chance to get dressed up (I don’t exactly do my hair for a day of writing!) and catch up with family.

Then an impromptu visit to Nashville, followed by the exciting upheaval of my older sister moving back home. She’s coming back to get a second degree at a nearby university—graphic design! I’m so thrilled!! She has a fabulous eye for painting and photography and design, and I can’t wait to see what she does with her art classes. We’re thinking of basically turning this house into a studio—two writers and a graphic designer? Could life be more fun?

And then, this past weekend, my parents and I flew to Minnesota to visit with some of the best relatives ever. We stayed up late talking, got caught up on everyone’s travels (as well as Adrienne’s wedding photos), and had a great time. It felt like an honest-to-goodness vacation, and I loved being north again.


my mom with two gorgeous cousins! hannah and maddie

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Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 08/01 at 04:53 PM
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