Tag Archives: Madison Smartt Bell

Key West (Is the Best?)

As you probably know if you read my blog, or did read it when I was doing a better job of keeping up with it:


But, let’s be honest.  Which novel?  Because I have been through a few ideas that didn’t pan out.  Transitioning from writing short stories to writing a novel is not exactly easy.  Granted, I have a lot of education and a decent amount of publications behind me, but it is still a struggle.  More of a struggle?  No.  That actually sounds super unfair.  A struggle.  Not to be confused with My Struggle–either Knausgaard’s or Hitler’s–in fact, I’d pretty much like to say that it is nothing like either of those guys.  Especially Hitler.  Yikes.

So, I decided that I could use some technical help as well as some scenic help.  (Spoiler alert:  Look at the title of this post.)  I am extremely proud to announce that I have been accepted for a writing workshop in Key West this January!  Author Madison Smartt Bell will be discussing novel writing with a bunch of us short fiction writers who can’t get it together.  Did I mention that it is in Key West?  Guys, I have never even been to Florida. I am beyond excited and honored to be chosen.  One of the chosen?  Nope.  Let’s not get lost here.

I’ve decided that it is meaningful to be fully prepped for this extravaganza.  (Note to self, double check full definition and meaning of extravaganza.)  In light of that, I have made you a dandy list.  Here’s a break down of my pre-game strategies to ensure success:

  1. Lump copious amounts of guilt on self for failing to publish more short fiction this year because I have been too “distracted” by my novel.
  2. Worry that I should be reading all of Hemingway, Hemingway bios, and the complete works of Bell before setting foot on Florida.
  3. Ask A LOT of people if they know I am writing a novel and then confirm with them that it is hard.  Then, ask if they have been to Florida and if the oranges and other citrus fruits are superior because they are so fresh and perfect, like tart little edible angel babies bestowed from a benevolent god.
  4. Stare at novel components, spending hours tweaking the same three or four pages.
  5. Become convinced that my dental hygentist is totally right and I will be a huge success.
  6. Become convinced that I am delusional for believing my dental hygentist.
  7. Repeat

How’s it sounding so far?  I’m not really sure that I can adequately explain what it would mean to me to be able to walk into bookstores across the country and see my book on their shelves, waiting and ready to be purchased.  Everyone will say to me at some point that it is about how badly you want it and if that was ALL it took, I can say that I’d already have it.  Not only would be mean a ton to me and my loved ones, but I could tell everyone who has ever done me wrong to eat it.  Does that sound harsh?  Truth hurts?  Why am I talking about this?  Oh.  Wanting it isn’t enough.  That was my point.  It also takes a lot of work, self-confidence, creativity, willingness to adapt, and an eternity of persistence.  But, here we are, and here we go.

I just wanted to share some happy news during these dark, short days.  Thanks for listening and for checking in on me!  I will try to keep up a better progress report.  And, maybe eventually, even start to tell you a little about my project.  But, you know, not just yet.