What Are You Writing?

We’ve been known to ask about what you’re reading a lot, but we’re also interested in what you’re writing. Since many LitKicks members are also poets, aspiring novelists and experimental writers (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg), from time to time we like to catch up with everyone and hear what you’ve been working on. Are you working on submitting your poems or stories to journals and publishers? Are you looking to self-publish or put together a chapbook? Or are you busy at work on some new poems, stories or putting together your magnum opus? Tell us a bit about what you’re writing …

38 Responses

  1. pity meI am writing crazy
    pity me

    I am writing crazy stuff, or boring stuff depending on who you ask. I do not take criticism well. I am going to enter one short story in to a writing contest. I have entered stuff to thousands of zines online and not one of them has gotten back to me. I am moored to the ground I have no inertia. In Montr

  2. Desert DancesI run a home for
    Desert Dances

    I run a home for boys with AIDS. I hesitate to use the word “boy” in America, one is immediately suspect, monsters everywhere, but having used that culturally harrowing word already in the title of a book, the damage has been done. My poor, poor literary reputation in America. What Americans think isn’t something I lose sleep over. The daily dramas that swirl around me continue to knock my socks off. No one understands these kids. No one writes about them in depth. We’re out here in the desert Southwest, and I’m calling my book DESERT DANCES: LOVE IN THE TIME OF SILHOUETTES.

    Why silhouettes.

    Because most Americans see life itself through the lens of indifference, and no one knows these children beyond the shadows they walk in.

    Books like this sell about three to four copies a year, and that’s usually with a twelve city tour with interviews on CNN so obviously I’m doing it for the cash.

    The New York Times Magazine did a piece on kids with HIV recently which was pathetic. I have written for the New York Times Magazine, and I happen to know they can do better if they care and they don’t. The boys and I read the piece aloud in our daily group and you should have heard the HOWLING when we got to the part where the author maintained that kids with AIDS really love their doctors. Every boy I know with AIDS hates his doctor and the sense of being violated regularly by doctors is visceral with adolescents. The author penetrated this terrain with a pinprick.

    What motivated me to turn what I see daily in into a book was the intense connection these guys have to one another. They really believe that just about all they have is one another, and that, of course, no one understands them. Most adolescents feel this way, but this time they happen to be right. No one does understand them. Where most adolescents are typically connecting to the opposite sex (I have never understood why American English never says: Other Gender), that takes on a whole different choreography when the male involved has HIV/AIDS. Sexuality, again, another tidbit, one that drives adolescents pretty strongly, wasn’t even gingerly touched by the New York Times Magazine with its, oh, so modest tea-time decorum with its crumpets and its pretty cakes.

    You take 25 boys (that word again), HIV or no HIV, and put them into one room where they typically arrive to articulate the issues they confront in their daily lives, and the issue of sexuality might, just might, raise its inevitable head.

    No writer could not write about the subsequent dramas, the punk rock band they formed called SPERM, the vision quests, the art they make, the extraordinary things they write, the battles with the medical community and the muderous medications, the culture’s complete lack of any focus whatsoever on a cure — and their subsequent rage and outrage — their curious take on the future, mortality, girls, the irrelevancy of school, the cruelty of adults, the discrimination, the hostility, the fear they are regarded with, and the reality that they share a feeling they must do everything, see everything, taste everything NOW.

    Time is a landscape of the immediate.

    Americans do not know them or want to so regardless of those three books I will sell (one will be remandered and one will be returned), it’s just one of those useless tombs I am compelled to write. In. The New York Times can (and will) rake my ass across the cultural white, white, white racial coals of ash for having had the bad taste of “disturbing” temerity to have used the word “boy.” — Nasdijj


  3. I’m working on…signing up
    I’m working on…

    signing up for the next Workshop. 🙂

    Haven’t written a thing in six months. Roadblock.

  4. Projects1)I finally started

    1)I finally started my own blog and I have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s fun: http://stevadore.blogspot.com/

    2)I entered that Xerox contest for POD and am looking forward to making my novel, A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN available to the public in September.

    3)Currently, I’m writing a new young adult book, kind of a cross between Spy Kids and Lemony Snicket, called TOP SECRET ADVENTURE SERIES, about 3 kids who discover they have superpowers and the government uses them to save the world. I’m writing it with my own 3 kids helping me and it’s a blast.

  5. The fools obviously don’t
    The fools obviously don’t recognize greatness. Don’t give up. These things take time.

  6. It occurs to me that I left
    It occurs to me that I left out a Big Thing, here, that I often forget about, and then it hits me in the face like a train wreck and I get reminded. We have migrant boys here with HIV/AIDS and that changes everything including what I write. None of them are legal. The average age (and one of the reasons for this is AIDS in Latin America) for the average illegal entering the US has gone from 26 down to 15. He is coming here typically alone versus with a core group as they did in the old days. This has tremendous implications. I am constantly being begged to take in 15-year-olds who are more sick than you can possibly imagine. The US government can and will ship them right back to Mexico ASAP and it’s a death sentence. It’s the other American boys who insist they be allowed to support them as best they can. I am constantly telling them they can’t share their medications. They do it anyway. It’s hell on wheels. It puts a real twist to the story and it’s a story NO ONE is telling mainly I think because no one wants to hear it. — Nasdijj

  7. Fascinating work. You have
    Fascinating work. You have the talent and are in the place to tell the real story. Let me know if you want someone to proofread.

    My e-mail is on my profile.

  8. Very cool, Steve.Excited and
    Very cool, Steve.
    Excited and envious of your power, your impetus and your direction.

    (not really envious, but rather happily proud)

  9. interviewsRight now, I’m

    Right now, I’m interviewing kibbutzniks on Nir Oz in preparation of the 50th Anniversary of the Kibbutz.

    Most of the kibbutz ideology has left the building (sad, but true), so this is an interesting experiment in dealing with the people who live here, rather than the issues.

    The idea is to somehow rekindle the joy in living communally in a beautiful environmnet within a country raging with politics and constant happenings of the strangest sort.

    As for my own strange ruminations, I’m jamming daily on my small site:
    poetry jams. You’re all welcome to click in and jam.

    I managed to put out a spring chapbook called “Thistles and Marigolds”.

    I’ll see what else rustles on up outa me.

  10. First, welcome. Second, I’m
    First, welcome.

    Second, I’m one of the “three or four” who buys your books. In fact I own three of your books and encourage people I know who do read to read you. Not only for the beauty in your writing but because we all need to be aware of issues about which you write.

    I had to swallow my heart a few times in the first of your books I read (Geronimo’s Bones) because the subject matter was something about which I really knew nothing. I don’t consider myself well informed now, but at least I’m aware. You have broken my heart more than once.

    I shall continue to buy what you have published.

    Good to see you here.

    Again, welcome.

  11. Writing and submissionsFrom
    Writing and submissions

    From what I did write, I got the guts up to send out some poetry and short stories to the big wigs, and some small presses too, magazines. That has been in the past year or so. Mostly a stream of rejections have floated into my mailbox. The more rejections you receive, the more you realize you must be in writing for the love of it. I will not make my living as a writer, so I am not bothered by this. However, you do want people to read your stuff.

    Similar to what someone else mentioned, I think my youth is working against me. I keep seeing the same stuff get printed over and over again, stories about nursing homes and Alzheimer’s, stories of Vietnam and the 60s, or people’s chidhoods in honky tonk cities in the 1930s. There is nothing wrong with that, but where does my work fit into that? I still think if you are not out of college, or not an English teacher, that hurts your chances of being published usually.

    So, to actually answer the question, all I’m doing lately is going over old stories and revising them. The good thing is that I am adding some more to the stories, maybe they’ll become good enough to publish someday.

  12. I always enjoy what you
    I always enjoy what you write, Judih, and you are such an interesting, fascinating person.

  13. Time AdjustersAs some of you
    Time Adjusters

    As some of you know, I published a book of nine short stories called Time Adjusters and Other Stories which is available on Amazon.com. This is a re-working of my 5 story chapbook, Time Fades Into Next which is no longer available.

    The first story, Time Adjusters, is about an insurance company that uses a new technology to capture reflections of the Earth out in space so they can predict future disaster areas and deny coverage to future victims.

    Another tale, Cut Up the Stolen Scroll, is about a college student who steals the Jack Kerouac scroll from a museum and then gets mixed up with criminals when they mistake his “cut-up” writing for a blackmail note. Then there is Bucket Head, a horror spoof, which Jota really likes. Also, Miss Glenly’s Dreadful Room, which is ghostly stuff and deconstruction (I think), oh, and the unspeakable House and the Baboon, featuring Firecracker’s favorite line, “I’ll never forget Cherub, the Red-assed baboon.”

    In the new book, I found one word spelled wrong so I’m thinking of asking the publisher to fix it. So if you buy a copy now, you will have a collector’s item! All you have to do then is wait for me to retire, then convince a few geeks I’m in some “pantheon” or other, and sell the things on eBay!

    Oh, and I’m working on a novel but I don’t want to say much about it yet.

  14. …myself into a
    …myself into a corner

    Spending most of my (rare) free time updating my online journal, Prodigal Sun. Just go to http://www.livejournal.com and search by username: dayonfire.

    Otherwise, trying to edit my first full length collection of poetry, Pimping Grace.

    Keep the ink flowing, everyone.

  15. Thanks, judih.These are no
    Thanks, judih.
    These are no great things, just one small cog in that machine we call art.
    Good to hear from you! Hope all is well.

  16. thriller & 75 pages of a
    thriller & 75 pages of a buddy book

    I’m working on a thriller as fast as I can while the idea’s hot in me that’s about two chapters done. Earlier this year, I was working on a story about a guy and his friend but it stalled. I want to get the thriller done because I have the germ, a kernel, of another possibility that I don’t know about now.

    I did a chainsaw edit of my third novel, added several new chapters, renamed it “Dutch-Booked”, and sent it to that Xerox contest. My brother said he received the gratis copy.

    An old friend read it and gave a very kind critique but disliked the first sentence because of the dangler, i.e., Near midnight, eyes burning from the eyestrain of reading the tiny Chinese characters in his dictionary and the smoldering mosquito coil; Norbert turns and rolls in his bed, the cover sheet sliding over the unremoved plastic cover on the new mattress.

    This is it corrected: Near midnight, eyes burning from the the smoldering mosquito coil and the eyestrain of reading the tiny Chinese characters in his dictionary and the smoldering mosquito coil; Norbert turns and rolls in his bed, the cover sheet sliding over the unremoved plastic cover on the new mattress.

  17. Thanks for responding, Mr.
    Thanks for responding, Mr. Lectric.
    And, likewise! No ones cuts up the daily life insanities and rearranges them in greater absurdity than you!

    (One day you’ll be known as The Light Bill)

  18. This is absolutely amazing.
    This is absolutely amazing. (& I didn’t realize that Amazon doesn’t spellcheck) So very proud of your guts and talent.

    Best to you on the newest project.

  19. It’s a lottery.The biggest
    It’s a lottery.

    The biggest myth in publishing — one I am afraid university programs push like heroin — is that one’s work has anything whatsoever to do with one getting published.

    Other writers will scream blood over that one but it’s true. The myths we live by. We get published and we think we’re so good at it; we get confirmed. Every religion has its rhetoric.

    The lottery is a market, too. Ask any of the people who develop marketing plans for lotteries in the states that run them. Your chances of winning the New Jersey $20,000,000 jackpot are better than anything you’ll find in publishing. They won’t tell you that at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop but let’s be real, they need the tuition as do most writing programs.

    The notion that “I’ll wait until the stories get better” really lets the marketing gonzos in publishing off the hook. Harrass the hell out of them. Don’t just be tenacious, stand behind your work, and be insane. Tenacious doesn’t buy you cornflakes. Whenever I have a book proposal in front of a publishing house, the people who REALLY have the power, and who really decide whether a project gets published or not are in marketing and publicity. Writers typically make the big mistake of believing the illusion that editors (who want you to think they’re so influential which is laughable) pick and choose. Marketing can blow any project, any agent, any writer, and project right out of the water.

    Look at who they’re hiring. Case in point: Gina Centrello runs Random like Catherine the Great ran Russia and with an iron fist. The number of editors who have left that dump are legion. When Centrello came aboard everyone in publishing was twittering like silly little birds over what a great editor she was (she has never edited a single thing in her life; she’s in marketing) and who she was going to kick out and wasn’t it wonderful she would take over an imprint that needed to make some money, and she was the consummate publishing professional. Let me tell you, people were really excited over the takeover by Centrello and NO ONE was really looking at her track record. The question is: what had Gina Centrello published before her consummate conquering of what had once been a real publishing house.

    Beavis and Butthead.

    This is the big money maker she had previously published.

    When you tell people in publishing this today, their mouths drop open and they walk away because they don’t want to hear it anymore than writers want to hear that getting published has nothing to do with what you write because this notion flies in the face of what they have always been told is reality and fully in the face of evidence that would suggest otherwise. Look at the case of Judith Regan who published the memoirs of Amber Fry and whose next big book will be “by” the Runaway Bride.

    Let’s be real.

    Publishing is far, far, far worse and far, far, far more disingenuous than a used car lot owned by Tony Soprano in Atlantic City called We Will Make You a Deal.

    The record industry has what they call Payola. What publishing has with bookstore chains is called Relationships. Get a clue. You are submitting your manuscripts to scum and they know it and I don’t care what they publish.

    The Catch-22 that every beginner should have gnawing at his guts is the ABSOLUTE reality that every editor out there is a failed writer yet they supposedly manage the business of writing. Do you think they’d be editing other people’s books if they could survive the business they keep their literary thumbs in like a leaking dyke. The floor needs mopping.

    Don’t let them off the hook. Hound them to death. Most writers really believe the mythology that what editors do is publish books. But look at what they spend most of their time doing. What editors do is NOT publishing books. How many ways are there to say no. Well, one and it’s a form letter. They’re gatekeepers. Period. They need the JOB. What did Toni Morrison do after she started getting published and it wasn’t at Doubleday.

    She left.

    She said goodbye to editing and tata we’re richer for it.

    NEVER allow these talentless, shallow, failed jerks to tell you anything. Especially about your writing. Where it’s at isn’t the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (a metaphor). Where it’s at is in being stone cold relentess and whenever some idiot who couldn’t write her way out of a paper bag rejects you, remember two words: Beavis and Butthead. — Nasdijj

  20. Beavis and Buttheadyes, that
    Beavis and Butthead

    yes, that just about sums it up.
    thanks for the reality hit

    and back to the glories of pdf publishing.

    Thanks, nasdijj

  21. Well, Judih, Amazon didn’t
    Well, Judih, Amazon didn’t actually publish the book. The publisher arranged for it to be on Amazon. Some publishers proofread, but these guys told me up front that I was on my own as far as the actual text goes. I thought I had it all corrected. But no. It will be, though.

  22. since you askedPresently
    since you asked

    Presently serializing a novel on my blog. The novel itself, Eden’s Gate, was written over the last three years. I’ll be releasing print-on-demand versions of the novel for people with blog-o-phobia.

    I’m also writing an interactive fiction using the Inform design system. The text for the interactive fiction comes from a novella embedded inside of Eden’s Gate.

  23. Nothingexcept school and uni

    except school and uni papers and supermarket lists.

  24. Does harassing them really
    Does harassing them really work? Because it didn’t at the place I worked at. I was an intern for what is apparently evil incarnate, and part of my job was sending out rejection letters. And you know what? A lot of it was really boring. And really poorly written. Some of it was insane. We had to reject a manuscript by a woman who claimed that she had two brains. It wasn’t a metaphor. Do you really think that calling me and bitching at me that I was clearly off my rocker and too deluded by the corporate line would really have convinced me of anything other than that I wished you’d stop calling? I get that it’s frustrating. I get that everyone thinks they’ve written the next great masterpiece. And yes, it is mostly like playing the lottery. Some really horrible things get published for reasons that I can’t even imagine. Hell, the company that I worked for published some of them! But that doesn’t mean the things we rejected were poorly treated by sadists whose only goal in life is to crush the creative spirit. Some of them, a lot of them, deserved it.

    Nor are publishers charities. Some are. Some are non-profit organizations dedicated to publishing books that most people won’t care to read but otherwise say something important and worth remembering. But there are very few of these. Mostly, publishers want to make money. And marketing has to have an angle to sell. Small publishers actually have to figure out if they can make back their initial investment by finding enough outlets that might actually care to point out that of the hundreds of thousands of published works in the world this one is somehow notable. Competition is huge. Huge. Some works really should be published. Self-publishing houses thrive on authors with inflated egos who believe that they are among that set. That’s why it has a bad reputation. And that’s why you get people who were considering self-publishing pulling together and starting companies with an editorial process-to create a standard that they feel they pass. And their future reputation will be based on whether or not anyone agrees.

    Clearly, some publishing houses have lost sight that they are involved in the arts. The larger they are, the more likely to sell their souls and whatever founding vision they might have had. That doesn’t make them all unscrupulous bastards.

    To the original poster: What kinds of stories do you write?

  25. I like what you said,
    I like what you said, Nasdijj. Well, I actually did get published in one small, little known literary magazine, but I was ticked it was not one of the big wigs. Now, maybe, I’m thinking I should be happy with that. Maybe not. I still think the solution is to not be too worried if one does not get published. I know when my stuff is improving. That doesn’t mean it will get published. Also I think the solution is to stick with the small presses. I mean, what other solution do we have? Or start our own small presses and try to pick actually good work. I would hope it could always stay like that as time goes on. Does it?

  26. Interesting. I’ll have to
    Interesting. I’ll have to check this out.

    Was looking at your website and saw the brain illustration. It reminded me of that novel Donavan’s Brain.
    Speaking of interactive fiction, you’ve probably already thought of this, but I think it would be cool if the paths sometimes cam back together. For example, one reader choses “A” and another reader chooses “B” so they go off on two different paths, two different series of events. But later, somehow, their paths cross again.

  27. Keeping it realI write
    Keeping it real

    I write poetry. In addition to publishing semi-frequently here at LitKicks, I recently had two poems accepted by a small literary magazine. I try to stay true to myself with my writing and base most of it on personal experiences. I have been contemplating a foray into the world of the short story, but so far haven’t found success. I’ll keep trying.

  28. words on metalI have recently
    words on metal

    I have recently been lucky to have a few of my poems used for a San Francisco jewelry designer’s creations. Jeanine Payer, the designer, takes wonderful inspirational words and engraves them on rings, necklaces, earrings, etc. The following links are to the four pieces I have work on so far. I am now in the mix for consideration for the upcoming fall collection–which includes a new line for men.





  29. Excellent! I like those. I
    Excellent! I like those. I like the ring that says, “You are nothing less than a work of art.”

  30. sunburnt desert ramble…more
    sunburnt desert ramble…

    more of it…. obsession of open space….hard-won philosophy extracted from dust and heat. If I ever get it all out, I might be ruined for anything else…

  31. I feel awful when I can`t
    I feel awful when I can`t find nothing to write, so I feel terrible glad when I can write something again.but I suposse that when you`re busy, you simply don`t find the time to…

  32. Growing flowers in hotel
    Growing flowers in hotel rooms…

    What better thread to introduce myself than this. I am, first and foremost, a person, living, breathing, eating, smoking, meditating, drinking, thinking, reading, loving person.

    Second only to that I am a writer. I’m also a student, in every sense of the word. When I’m not typing, scribbling, jotting or drawing I’m often thinking about the next thing I’m going to type, scribble, jot or draw.

    I’m working on a few poems to perform later this week, as well as planning a website. I figure everybody’s got one of those these days.

    I’m also working on my first novel (starting actually, I’m only fifteen-twenty pages into the rough draft) and a one-act play. Who knows if the play will ever be performed or the book ever finished, let alone published.

    I’m not too worried about it. Like Burroughs before writing Naked Lunch I’m just throwing ideas onto the Word Horde.

    By the way–I’d like to mention that I am a frequent visitor to this site and have been for awhile. For some reason today I got the gall to join 😉

  33. Lots of travelling…..The
    Lots of travelling…..

    The past two years I have been on the road, more than not. I spent a year in Montreal learning about the dark side of women. I spent a few weeks in the southern states visiting different ‘lost’ friends
    and then went back to Jersey for a few weeks before heading out here on the west coast. I write all the time. Still have no idea what all these journal entries will turn into, or even if they have meaning at all. I did a few readings in Montreal, wasn’t fun. I’m still too busy searching to stop and put it all together. (I keep spending my savings on tattoos, so there’s no money left for chapbooks)

  34. trying i am trying to write

    i am trying to write something; am not sure just yet what it will be. it probably is not good the start writing something without knowing what. but there is just something that i need to write and have no idea what…keep you posted, as soon as i know what it will be

  35. Writing when I canWriting, to
    Writing when I can

    Writing, to me, is a sort of assessment of where I am in life. I read through older journal writings and scribblings to see what I’ve observed, hopefully about people and the world, and beyond the “tip of my nose.”

    I am inching along on a novel idea and continue to polish a handful of short stories, which I submit around to various publications. I am also writing poems and take time to rewrite and polish ideas that have promise. A few pomes come forth like a gift or water from a spring. I cherish those times. Reading continues to inspire me to want to write more, so I find the time whenever I can — lunch breaks, evenings, sleepless nights, and other stolen moments.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!