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What I read

Monthly Review: December 2022

A slow month for reading and writing. Stocktaking underway. Working on revisions of a few longer stories.

What I Read:

Wifey (1978). Judy Blume.

The Mystery of Charles Dickens (2020). A. N. Wilson

Short stories: from Narrative mag: “With or Without the Dog” by Isabelle Stillman; “A Common Story” by Ivan Goncharov (novel excerpt); from 3am mag: “The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing” by Nicholas Rombes (novel excerpt); “Summer Job” by Cassandra Moss; Catapult: CNF: “Why Advertising Feels Like A Form of Urban Noise Pollution” by Alex Manley; Kenyon Review: “Make and Model” by Sophia Emmons-Bell; from The New Yorker: “Symbols and Signs” by Vladimir Nabokov (1948).

What I Wrote:

Reread “Growing Pains” third draft (27k) and planned revisions. Had received a few partial or complete critiques from critique partners. The story is good; some segments need rewrites; a new critique partner pointed out a problem with the ending.

Reread “Fault” second draft (20k) and identified some problems; sent this out to CPs; awaiting reviews.

Reread “The Toy Soldier” second draft (13k) and planned edits. Had already received a few critiques of this draft from CPs.

Drafted micros: “Control,” “Change,” and “Friend.”

Drafted “Conversations: The Maid” (3k), a story in two parts, written from the perspectives of both characters.

Drafted “The Problem” (1k).

Drafted “Time” (300 words).

What I Published:

“Last Day of Freedom” (6,000 words), “The Revolutionaries” (1,000 words), and “Timeshare” (3,500 words) were accepted for publication in Bewildering Stories. “Last Day of Freedom” was previously published in Funemployment Vol. 1.

“Retreat” (2,500 words) is out in in Constellations anthology Vol. 12, Uncertainty.

“Sunday Afternoon” (100 words) is out in Scribes Microfiction Vol. 24.

Flash story “Backsides” (1k) is out in Mid-Atlantic Review Vol. 30.

Short story “The Why and the How” (3k) accepted for publication in Jan 2023 issue of Mean Pepper Vine. This story was previously published in Bewildering Stories.

How I Fared:

Joined the staff of two magazines as a review reader: Bewildering Stories, who have published several pieces of my speculative fiction, and Fairfield Scribes Microfiction, who have published several of my 100-word stories. I’ve been looking for opportunities to join a literary magazine and am honoured to be part of these two publications. Reviewed my first few stories from Bewildering Stories.

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on several longer pieces, which all began as short stories. It’s been a couple of months since I finished anything but very short pieces for submission. This slower pace of finishing and sending things out has been affecting my mood. These longer pieces have also diverted me from working on my short story collection, since these pieces are either too long to be in the collection, or are outside the collection’s scope (literary realist stories set in contemporary India). Getting offtrack with my specified goal has made it even harder to stay motivated. But each of these long pieces has a worthwhile story as its heart, so I’ve been trying to persist and to work steadily towards revising them.

Attended a party; spent a weekend with relatives; have a New Year’s Eve party coming up, where the plan is to engage in a mind-altering experience. My mind has been feeling narrow and jaded, so I look forward to a transformation, which I will work to sustain.

Wasted a heck of a lot of time, and got depressed, rewatching much of The Big Bang Theory. Got depressed not because the latter seasons are jokeless (which they mostly are), but b/c when I succumb to an addictive spiral I get depressed. Time for a yearly review to plan for a more mindful, enjoyable, and productive 2023.

END

PORTFOLIO of published and upcoming works

By Amita Basu

I'm a writer based in Bangalore, India.

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