2017 has been a year packed full of both struggles and successes.
A fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center gave me a month of time to write and read, plus a studio over-looking a frozen river. I got to meet some amazing artists and writers, and thanks to my time there, I graduated from my PhD (and passed exams!) with the help of my wonderful mentors, Leah Stewart, Michael Griffith, Jennifer Glaser, and other wonderful peers and mentors at the University of Cincinnati.
I was offered a tenure track teaching job at the University of Central Florida. Micah and I moved to Orlando, Florida over the summer, and we are so glad to be back in the heat and where we first met. I have wonderful students and supportive colleagues. I will be teaching a craft class on fabulism, magical realism, and genre for the MFA students this spring.
In the last year, I’ve published stories and essays in Kenyon Review Online, The Writer’s Chronicle, Ecotone, Day One, Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Hunger Mountain, The Masters Review, Ninth Letter, and Pleiades. I’m so thrilled that Prairie Schooner published a chapter on my novel, called “The Shadow,” about a Puerto Rican soldier parachuting into the Dominican Republic during the American occupation in 1965. Day One published my surreal story about a group of Venezuelan anti-narco agents who get exposed to a radioactive source and develop superpowers, “The Radioactives” as a Kindle Single. Esteban, who can read minds, Hector, who grows giant arms, José, who grows multiple hearts, and Marco, who can multiply himself, must all journey to reclaim what is most precious to them. “Yaiza,” in the Kenyon Review Online, is about a rivalry and frenemy-ship between two tennis-playing girls. “The Whitest Girl” in Ecotone, is about a group of Hispanic girls at an all-girls school encounter the whitest girl they’ve ever seen. The Indiana Review nominated “The Lion and the Beauty Queen,” a story about a family moving into a house haunted by a child beauty queen in the attic and a lion prowling the garden labyrinth, for a Pushcart Prize. In the same issue, they also ran my flash fiction, “Weathering,” a story about a couple staying together amidst a flood of divorces, as runner-up in their ½ K Prize. The Writer’s Chronicle ran my craft essay, “The Fabuleme: On Belief and the Reactivation of Disbelief in Fiction,” about how both literary fiction and “magical” fiction function on wonder and use the same techniques, and what we call elements of fiction that move beyond realism. Hunger Mountain published and nominated for a Pushcart Prize my story about a boy who is given a jacket that can make him into the man he wishes to be–at a price. “The Drownings,” in The Masters Review, is about a group of kids in a pool-ridden town where most of them drown before reaching adulthood and a new girl who has to understand death in this dangerous town where downing is normal. In “True Love Game,” published in Ninth Letter, two girls play a game about true love in a basement, surrounded by ghosts and their doomed desires. In “The Tool Factory,” published in Pleiades‘ “Human Future Fiction” feature section, a girl gets fired from a factory where the labor eventually twists the worker’s hands into gnarled fists.
Thank you to all the editors, writers, teachers, and readers, VSC, and my agent, Michelle Brower, who made all this possible.