from Measuring Time: “Unnamed Notebook”

This is the shortest story in Measuring Time & Other Stories (out this fall from Wiseblood Books). I wrote the first draft in 2012, when I somehow convinced myself to write a story of one long sentence. It wasn’t until July 2017 when the story–expanded to two sentences–found its home at Split Lip Magazine. (Go ahead and read the story. It’s short!)

My structural decision was influenced by the fiction I was teaching in a literature course focused on sudden, flash, and micro fiction. We even read some Twitter fiction (back when the limit was 140 characters). That semester I was also teaching my prose creative writing course: fiction and creative nonfiction. I had never written a one-sentence story.

As typical of my process, I brought the story through multiple drafts across years. In that time, I read the piece at an open mic, and at an academic conference. Both times it was well received, so I started sending it to various lit mags.

I acquired a couple dozen rejections before I received an acceptance from Split Lip Magazine. The acceptance also informed me that they’d be in touch for edits. What transpired over several weeks was an intense working over of a 400-word story. And as I noted at the outset, the story became two sentences.

The good editors at Split Lip Magazine helped me take what was already successful about the story and enhance it further. They were persistent and sharp in their insights, teaching me things about my story that I didn’t know even though I’d lived with it for a while. It was such a pleasurable and satisfying experience.

To me, the best part of the writer-editor relationship is the teamwork aspect. As the writer, you know the editor wants the best for the piece. As the editor, you’re trying to help the writer refine the piece while not trying to make the piece your own. Such has also been my experience with Joshua Hren of Wiseblood Books reworking this story and all the stories in Measuring Time & Other Stories.

Now it’s a matter of waiting for the copyedited proof and preparing to launch the book in a few months!

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