WHAT'S NEW: "Streetcar Deconstructed" published in A Wreckage of Reason 2: Back to the Drawing Board, An Anthology of XXperimental Women Writers, Spuyten Duyvil Press, http://amzn.to/1hQiBWE. And "Should You Ever Be Allowed to Feel Good" published in The Big Book of Orgasms, Cleis Press, 2013.
In this follow up to the 2008 bestselling Wreckage of Reason: An Anthology of Experimental Prose by Contemporary Women Writers, 29 contributors use different styles and language genres, their tools at hand, to illustrate moments of conflict, amusement, bafflement and joy that make up a day, a year, an individual life or a collective history. Held up to the light or inspected under a microscope, set in locales real, virtual, mythic, and imaginary, characters bump into and move through events, leaving readers with the humorous, sad, sexy and playful ambiguities of what it means to be alive. This anthology provides a much needed venue to spotlight women writers engaged in serious creative writing projects chronicling and responding to our current culture.
Meg Pokrass, my co-founder at Flash Fiction Highway, is reading at AWP 2/28, with a group of other brilliant flashonistas. Don’t miss:
FLASH FICTION READING AT AWP - at noon Pamela Painter, Bobbie Ann Mason, Jane Ciabattari, Meg Pokrass, Grant Faulkner
F193 Brevity Reading Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2 Friday, February 28, 2014 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Jane Ciabattari is author of the short story collection Stealing the Fire. Her stories have been honored with three Pushcart Prize special mentions. She is a National Book Critics Circle VP (NBCC President 2008-2011) and contributes to NPR.org, the Daily Beast, Boston Globe, and NYTBR. Meg Pokrass
Meg Pokrass wrote Damn Sure Right, a collection of flash fiction. Her humorous flash has appeared in McSweeney’s and over 220 literary journals. She serves as associate editor for Frederick Barthelme’s New World Writing. Her work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize. Pamela Painter
Pamela Painter has written three story collections and is co-author of the textbook What If. Her most recent collection of very short stories is titled Wouldn’t You Like to Know. She teaches at Emerson College in Boston.
Bobbie Ann Mason is the author of Shiloh and Other Stories, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction. Her story “Shiloh” is widely anthologized. It and her novel In Country are both widely taught in high school and college classes. Her latest novel is The Girl in the Blue Beret.
Grant Faulkner is executive director of National Novel Writing Month and the founder of 100 Word Story magazine. His writing has appeared in the Southwest Review, Poets & Writers, PANK, Gargoyle, and Puerto del Sol. He was selected for Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions in 2011.
My theory about most women is that, for the most part, we are female impersonators. This means that we merely grow into a pre-established, pre-ordained template; this is what it means to be successful, this is what it means to be sexual, and, most importantly, this is what it means to be a woman.The lines of this template are rigid and inflexible, particularly when applied to female sexuality. There isn’t much room for interpretation or creativity. We grown down not up, and in literature this translates to a few accepted plot arcs– marriage, insanity or death. The male narrative encourages adventure, redemption and growth. The female narrative, not so much. It’s not surprising that 21st century erotica is written, with few exceptions, by women. However, at its core, I don’t believe it’s about having a healthy sex life with our partners. I don’t believe these books are kept by the bedside to add spice to the life between the sheets. Instead, I believe, women write erotica to challenge, change or redesign this template.
I’ve been writing and publishing erotica for almost twenty years. However, I’m not a sexpert. I don’t possess specialized knowledge about the female anatomy. I don’t want to hear about your sex life. I’m not sex obsessed. I am obsessed with challenging the status quo, the aforementioned template. Here’s how it started— everyday, when I lived in the West Village, I passed by a newsstand on Christopher Street. Front and center, I saw a magazine, Jugs. And I got to thinking about how a female colleague, a theater director, kept saying— men know their story, it’s mapped out in plays, movies, novels. But the female story is unknown. And for the life of me, I didn’t understand what she was talking about— but one morning, staring at the cover of Jugs, I did. I got it. We are not women. We are female impersonators. We accept the story that is given to us about who we are— and sometimes, apparently, we are body parts. Twenty years later, the women, including myself, who write erotica, challenge the male narrative— by writing on top of the story and beyond the story. It’s about authenticity. It’s political. It’s about dropping the mask, and taking the big risk of being ourselves.