Inlandia Teen Issue: Time to submit!

Happy New Year! 

 

I just want to remind teens that the submission deadline for Inlandia: A Literary Journey is coming up on February 15. The new year is a great time to commit to getting your favorite pieces of creative writing and artwork together for submission. Check the submission guidelines and FAQs here. (If you’ve never used the submission manager ‘Submittable,’ you will create an account. It’s easy to do and it’s free.)

Quick lesson on how to submit to the journal.

I love the energy of the teens who are working toward submitting their creative work.  I had a great time with Mr. Luna’s journalism class, talking about Inlandia and its mission, the teen issue and recent good books! It was a great way to end the 2017 calendar year and the first semester of the school year.

Keep writing! Keep creating! Submit!

On-the-fly book talk using School Library Lady blog! (Isabel Quintero and Zeke Pena’s ‘Photographic’ is up on the computer.)

Reading for Renewal: Book Recommendations

As it is Christmas Eve Day, I decided that my ‘Literary Journeys’ article for the Southern California News Group should be about books that offer us renewal. Each of the novels discussed in the article have examples of how the characters need to change who they are in order to move forward on a spiritual journey. A few are classics; most are this year’s imprints; every one of them is a worthy, possibly life-changing read.

I didn’t include YA fiction since the readers of the newspaper are generally adults. However, I’m still recommending Photographic and Challenger Deep. In addition, I finally read John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. Green’s novels are automatic bestsellers as he has a great fan base (and for good reason). But if you haven’t had a chance to read his latest, it’s a serious reflection on crippling anxiety, a medical state that is very difficult to change.

Below is the link to the Press Enterprise, one of the newspapers that runs the Literary Journeys series. I hope you’ll have a look and pick out a few of the recommendations as your New Year’s reads. You know you are going to get Amazon gift cards this week from those who love you but think you have everything. Tell them which of these books you bought and share; have your own intimate book club and discussion of new beginnings. What could be a better holiday gift?

Inlandia Literary Journeys: Follow characters on trips that end with a renewal of hope

Gratitude: Local Literary Events

I always think about giving thanks after Thanksgiving is over. That’s because before Thanksgiving, I’m getting ready for it. Afterward, I have no desire to shop, either in person or online. So, with leftovers packed in the fridge, I’ve always had a few days freed up from work and toiling around the house.

While I have much to be grateful for—health, family, and friends—I’m thinking about local and lesser known authors who enrich my life. While I regularly read from bestseller lists, prize lists, and the classics, as a constant reader, one of my joys is stumbling upon and reading midlist authors and those who have been published by small presses.

I enjoy the little serendipities that make their way into my days—this is one from a few weeks ago. The tea bag tag says “‘No person has the right to rain on your dreams.’ —Martin Luther King, Jr.” The cup admonishes that ‘Friends don’t let friends write bad books.’ I love this combination: help others hone their craft and then support their way forward. It’s good advice. But stumbling upon writers who don’t get much publicity isn’t that easy.

And so I am making a greater effort to brave bad traffic and get to author events. I always find being tired or overworked is a good excuse not to go. But it also turns out that when I do push myself to arrive, I am more than rewarded.

A bit over a year ago, I listened to the poet and founding partner of Writ Large Press Chiwan Choi read from recent work. Some of his poems were about his wife’s much-anticipated pregnancy and miscarriage. His words were heartbreaking, elegiac. I wanted to take those words home with me, but they weren’t in a book yet. I bought his (then) most recent book of poems Abductions, in which he reimagines his family through an alien abduction mythology, so I still came home with a prize.

Public libraries often have reading events, and I’ve been to several. My local public library has a poetry reading on the fourth Sunday of every month except December. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Charlotte Davidson read her darkly humorous Fresh Zebra, a book of poetry that riffs on a French language primer. (Yes, I know it sounds strange, but it’s full of the off-beat creativity the listener/reader craves.)

The local Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden sponsors a Poetry in the Garden event each April in celebration of National Poetry Month. There, I have heard local poets Cati Porter, Tim Hatch, David Stone, and Marsha Lee Binnquist Schuh among others. At one of these readings, Porter was soon to launch “My Sky of Small Horses.” Knowing this, I was on the lookout for it.

I also enjoyed listening to Tim Hatch at Riverside City College, so I was excited to see that he was on the program for the reading event to coincide with the Inlandia Institute Book Fair at the Tyler Mall in Riverside last Saturday. He plans to publish his work in about a year; meanwhile, his readings range from light to dark as he muses on everything from hair ties to childhood abuse.

Another local author whose work I admire, Isabel Quintero, was also presenting on Saturday. She’s a poet, but I know her through her YA writing. My students loved her novel Gabi: A Girl in Pieces. (Great stuff; I reviewed here.) On Saturday, Quintero discussed her new book Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide. Until I heard her speak, I didn’t know that this was graphic nonfiction. I was happy to hear her say that she had become friends with the cover artist for Gabi, Zeke Peña, and suggested that he be the illustrator of this new graphic work—that the two of them were indeed honing their craft and supporting each other’s way forward. (I was so excited about the book that I bought two and reviewed it here.)

(I couldn’t resist this photo of Tim and Isabel together. They just look like confident, happy authors.)

I hope for one more event before the end of the year. Gayle Brandeis is coming to Cellar Door Bookstore in Riverside this Thursday to talk about her latest book The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother’s Suicide. I’m waiting to buy the book at Cellar Door because I want to support them for supporting her. But I have read several of her books and enjoyed them. (I have several reviews on School Library Lady.)

So, thank you to all the local authors that I’ve had the opportunity to hear. Your voices inspire creativity. Thank you to all the organizers of author reading events, especially Cati Porter, Executive Director of the Inlandia Institute, because you make it possible for me to bask in creative environments.

Here’s to locally-grown literature. May every community have these enriching opportunities! I encourage you to find and create them. Help others hone their craft and support their way forward. Seek others who will do the same for you.

Teen Issue of the Inlandia Literary Journeys Journal!

 

I’m so excited that I’m writing my first post on the day that the Inlandia Institute is announcing our first all-teen issue of Inlandia Literary Journeys, coming this spring. In a few days–November 1–the teen issue will open for submissions. Below is more information. If you know any creative teens in the IE, please pass the info along.

Thanks!

The Inlandia Institute is happy to announce that in the spring of 2018, it will publish the first completely teen issue of its online creative writing journal Inlandia: A Literary Journey. All Inland Empire teens (13-19 years old) are encouraged to submit fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and artwork.

Work will be judged by Inlandia staff as well as by teens living in the IE. Those works selected will be published in the spring issue. Our goal is to highlight the creativity of our IE youth and to give them the opportunity to publish their work professionally. This speaks to our larger mission of recognizing, supporting and expanding all forms of literary activity through community programs in Inland Southern California.

  • We will be open for submissions on November 1, 2017.
  • Submissions will close on February 15, 2018.
  • Teens wishing to be guest editors may submit their request along with a teacher recommendation by December 15, 2017. (Note: teens may still submit in those categories which they are not judging. For example, someone judging fiction could submit a poem, an essay, a work of art, etc.)

For more information about the nonprofit organization Inlandia Institute, please visit http://inlandiainstitute.org/. To view previous editions of the journal, please see. For more information, including a FAQ page, submission guidelines, and a link to our submission manager, please see our Submittable page.