October 2012

So many literary journals these days are online, including a number of the long-established print journals. It’s wonderful to have the contents so accessible, and I’m sure the cost savings enable some of these publications to stay afloat that might otherwise close their doors and their covers. And, of course, I’m delighted to have had so many of my essays published in these journals.

That said, I still love picking up a magazine, enjoying its artsy cover and the tactile pleasure of its glossy or matte finish, and leafing through the pages, one by one. Reading it lying down on the couch instead of on a screen, writing in the margins, sticking post-its here and there. I don’t even mind the smudges of chocolate in the corners. And if one of my essays is there too, that’s even better.

This fall I’ve had the pleasure of seeing two of my personal essays in print. The September issue of Skive Magazine, an Australian journal, is a special “Memoirs” issue, and it includes “Walking in the Light,” a piece that I wrote about my experiences as a supernumerary and volunteeer “light walker” for the San Diego Opera.

Dear to my heart is a new journal, Killing the Angel, “a literary experiment inspired by Virginia Woolf.” My essay, “My Space,” is in the just-released inaugural issue. No, I’m not writing about the social networking site; “My Space” is about finding “a room of my own” and a brief fictional overview of this ceaseless literal and figurative quest.

What these two publications have in common, in addition to my work, is that each is a labor of love, the product of the committed efforts of a dedicated publisher/editor. I commend Matt Ward of Skive and Jessica Rosevear of Killing the Angel because they’re brave and brazen, bucking the digital tide, and I have these two lovely specimens in front of me as a result.  For this reason I’m not posting my stories online at this time; rather, I’m hoping that a few people will be interested and curious and motivated to buy a copy from the publisher (at their websites). Unless you’re in Australia, where you’ll be able to pick up a copy of Skive, or in Paris, where Jessica tells me Killing the Angel is on the august shelves of Shakespeare and Company.

Whenever I think I’m through writing about food–okay, done that, time to move on–something jogs my memory, & it’s often food related. I love both reading and writing about food  because, of course, it’s so much more. The food is just the hook, the entry point to memories and moods and  mysteries. I’ve written about sushi, and about bacon (more now that I’ve stopped eating it) and rutabagas and Cornish pasties. And in each of these pieces, I’m writing about my life. Since I plan to continue to live, eat, and write, I doubt that I’ll run out of inspiration.

My latest published essay is about mollusks–clams and mussels and oysters, oh my!–a tragic tale of renunciation. I’m doubly delighted that  Elegy for a Mollusk,” (linked here) is published in the northwest journal, Raven Chronicles, since most of it takes place in Seattle, and because it’s truly an honor to be in a journal that has also published the work of my good friend and mentor, Priscilla Long.

Have a dozen on the half-shell for me. Buon appetito!