What I read

Monthly Review: March 2023

An eventful month. Also got a bit of reading and writing done.

What I Read:

Safe As Houses (2012). Marie-Helene Bertino

Time Management for Mortals (2021). Oliver Burkeman

Short pieces: 2023 Interview with Jennifer Egan in The New Yorker; short story “Dreams” by Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar; a few nature pieces in Roundglass Sustain.

What I Wrote:

Revised “The Problem” based on critiques of the 1k version. I think I’ve put everything in there that should be there – it’s currently a 10k; now I need to take a lot of stuff out, and enliven it all with emotion: since the story itself, though important to me, is sort of a march into doom and hard reading in its current form.

Reread and revised “The Toy Soldier” a couple of times; this story is ready to submit. Wrote and revised the synopsis.

Touched up a handful of microstories and submitted them; did a round of submissions of previously published stories, and new pieces.

Revised Shoes (12.5k, now 12k) for brevity and clarity. Had hoped to get it down to a 10k; not sure if that’s possible. Will put it through another round next month.

What I Published:

My microstory “Walking” (300 words) was published in the Open Journal of Arts and Letters (OJAL).

My short story “Holiday” (1,500 words) was accepted for publication by Bull Men’s Fiction. This story was previously published in Meet Cute Press and Bookends Review.

My microstories “Dig,” “Friend,” and “Change” were accepted for publication in the April, May, and June 2023 issues of Fairfield Scribes Microfiction.

My flash story “Dusk,” submitted to Proem in late 2019 and accepted for publication in Volume 2 shortly thereafter, was finally published in a print-only magazine that showed up, completely unexpected, at my doorstep.

Literally Stories accepted “Backsides” (1k) for publication; will be published on 31st May. “Backsides” was previously published in CEA Mid-Atlantic Journal.

“Last Day of Freedom” (6,000 words) was published in Bewildering Stories issue #990. This story was previously published in Funemployment Vol. 1.

How I Fared:

An emotionally turbulent month. Made a major life decision that’s been pending for years. It’ll be a lot of work, and it might mean starting over, and it’ll make finishing my short story collection this year even harder, but it’s got to be done. The wheels are in motion and I will provide an update in May.

The decision involved a lot of soul-searching, tears, and naps and oversleeping. Whenever I’m stressed, or overstimulated, I oversleep, which then puts me at risk of depression – my mind is a carnival nightmare. As I work out what to actually do moving forward, I hope to cope with things a little better. As of the last half of the month, I’ve begun taking concrete steps towards working out my new life. The road ahead is hard, I feel more at peace with myself than I have in years.

I’ve shared my decision with a few friends and acquaintances, and everyone has been very generous, both with emotional support as well as with recommending resources. I feel moved to tears thinking how fortunate I am in (most of) the people I know.

Watched: Ghost World (2001) and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022). Rewatched Finding Nemo (2003), Finding Dory (2016), and Ratatouille (2007). Rewatched Titanic (1997) and Finding Neverland (2004). Watched Murder on the Orient Express (2019).


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By Amita Basu

I'm a writer based in Bangalore, India.

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