New stories, nominations, a podcast, and more…

I have so much to be thankful for as 2015 draws to a close. The short short collection, RIFT, co-authored with the great Robert Vaughan, is set to officially launch from Unknown Press on December 1st. Huge thanks to Bud Smith and Unknown Press! When Robert was in Denver for the F-Bomb reading, the talented and energetic Levi Andrew Noe interviewed us both for “Rocky Mountain Revival: Audio Art Journal” and you can listen to the interview and Robert and me reading some of our stories. It was great fun to do and thanks so much to Levi for being such a generous host!

My story, “Grip,” was nominated for Pushcart by R.K.V.R.Y. and you can read it here. Many thanks to everyone at R.K.V.R.Y., particularly editor Mary Akers. “Grip” is included in RIFT.

On the heels of that news, Scott Garson, editor of Wigleaf wrote to tell me he’d nominated my Wigleaf Postcard for inclusion in Best Small Fictions, 2016. And you may find that by going to Wigleaf and scrolling down a ways. It was published in April.

Both “Grip” and my Wigleaf postcard are works that mean a great deal to me personally, so I’m especially grateful for this recognition.

My story, “Giant” is up now in the Fall 2015 Issue of New World Writing, edited by Kim Chinquee, who is now also the Senior Editor there. Much gratitude, always, to Kim. The issue includes work from Bobbie Ann Mason, Claudia Smith, Pia Z. Ehrhardt, Robert Lopez, T.L. Sherwood, Tiff Holland, Pamela Painter, and more!

Also! I’m pleased to have two new stories forthcoming soon in New South and Alice Blue. (This week I believe.) This will actually be the final issue of Alice Blue, a great lit journal that’s been publishing for ten years. Sad to see them go. Edit: My story, “Sea Creatures of Indiana,” is up now and the issue is jam-packed with goodness. Go read the whole issue, because it’s stellar.

We have a page for RIFT now up at Goodreads and already have a review posted by David Atkinson, who read with Robert and me at F-Bomb. Many thanks to David!

Finally, the F-Bomb reading, hosted by the amazing Meg Tuite, was a huge success and great fun. Nancy Stohlman has created this great series of readings aimed entirely at furthering flash fiction, with monthly guest hosts and guests. November’s reading included Robert Vaughan, Len Kuntz, Kona Morris, Leah Rogin-Roper, Katharyn Grant, David Atkinson, Levi Andrew Noe, and more!

I will be hosting the next event on January 19th, featuring terrific writers and friends Sally Reno and Gay Degani. More details here!

New Fiction & Video Interview at Connotation Press

Prior to the Twisted Reading in Santa Fe in January, Meg Tuite suggested that while I was there we should do a video interview. My first response to this was there was no way in hell I would do such a thing. I hate even getting my photo taken. But! I recalled that saying and I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt? Who said, every day do one thing that scares you. I figured a video interview would cover me for a year. My writer friend, Sally Reno and I arrived in Santa Fe that Friday afternoon with just enough time to check into our hotel room, very quickly freshen up, and meet Meg and the others at La Fonda. After hugs all around and having a huge glass of wine placed in my hand, I was whisked upstairs to Robert Vaughan & Len Kuntz’s suite (because it was swanky and had nice, soft lighting), to tape the interview. Meg’s lovely husband, Paulo, worked the camera. I tell you, I could not have felt more instantly and completely at ease talking to Meg. She’s SO wonderful and I had so much fun talking to her. You really have to meet this woman to appreciate how amazingly warm and generous she is. I could go on and on! Anyway, below is the link to our conversation as well as an excerpt from my work in progress, “Love Train.” So many thanks to Meg & Paulo & Connotation Press! Hope you enjoy!
Interview & Excerpt

This Weekend: Twisted Readings in Santa Fe

twisted readings

Excited to be a part of this! A stellar lineup of writers, some I’ve met before and some not. If you’re in the area, please do stop by!

Some very kind reviews for Together We Can Bury It…

my copies of TWCBI

I’m very grateful for the kind reviews I’ve received so far for my recently re-issued flash/short story collection on Goodreads, NANOfiction, Fictionaut, and elsewhere. Here is a sampling:

“Most of what I know about flash fiction I learned from reading Kathy Fish’s work. She’s a consummate master of the short form, and I’m so glad Lit Pub ran a second printing of this collection. These are the sort of stories that deepen and intensify with each rereading. Keep them close at hand.” Ravi Mangla, author of Understudies Goodreads

“This book is a Bible of the short form, meant to be savored then reread again and again. No one does compressed fiction like Kathy Fish. Her precision is unparalleled. Every detail, every line, every word does double, triple duty. Every beat is flawless. The stories in this stunning collection brim with such fullness and depth, they will break you up and cut you down – and leave you utterly mystified, wondering about the lives of these characters long after you finish reading. How does she accomplish all this in so few words? There lies the astounding genius of Kathy Fish.” Sara Lippmann, author of Doll Palace 

“So much attention is paid to the lyricism in each of the stories that a reader can’t help but find the beauty in each scene and through each character’s perspective no matter how familiar or mundane it may at first seem. There are so many examples of this lyricism at play in the collection but the language in “Rodney and Chelsea” stood out to me the most. In this story, the two titular characters, teen neighbors, are about to engage in their first sexual experience together. It’s a moment of great anticipation and anxiety, yet the narrative sweeps around them meticulously, not only registering their expressions and subtle movements, but their life histories, the space they share living next door to each other, and essential connections they share with family, friends, and neighbors. The entire moment is exquisitely rendered in just four pages, and it’s such a virtuoso accomplishment of prosody that I had to reread it twice more just before I could move on.” Peter Fontaine, NANOfiction NANOfiction

“If I were teaching a course in the form of very short fiction (not all of these stories are very short), I would certainly put Kathy Fish’s collection on my syllabus. In fact, I might just teach a course because I’ve read her collection. In sudden fiction, the writer/reader has no space for meandering or groping through the narrative for a story. Each move must stick, and in Fish’s stories every move does. Each beginning draws the reader in, and every ending satisfies. The middle is bursting with realism that does not seem constructed to be realism; it feels real and, yes, meaty.” Christopher Allen, author of Conversations with S. Teri O’Type (A Satire) Books at Fictionaut

“Fish’s writing is like a light gleaming up from the bottom of the lake, distorting itself as refracted waves curl or undulate. Her characters ring true yet they keep an appropriate aloofness. We both feel as if we know these people, as if they are friends or acquaintances in our own lives, yet it is often like we are watching these friends behave badly on screen so that we’re powerless to intervene.” Len Kuntz, author of The Dark Sunshine and forthcoming, I’m Not Supposed to Be Here and Neither Are You People You Know By Heart

“Read this on a train back to Baltimore. On the train were people in McDonalds uniforms making loud and beautiful jokes because they’d stolen a bunch of mayonnaise. If inside a jar of stolen mayonnaise you found a tiny Nina Simone singing her cover of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” and you get to the part where she goes “Well that’s it folks, that’s it,” you would actually be getting to the sad and wan stories in this collection. And then this book sneaks the mayo back to where it stole it from, but it listens to Nina Simone on its off-brand MP3 player while drinking ginger ale at the mall, just wandering and wandering and remembering and trying not to regret anything.” Mike Young, author of Look! Look! Feathers! and Who Can Make It Big Noö Journal

“The worlds in this collection are often a little lopsided, a little worn, sometimes dark and piercing, yet always beautiful in one way or another. They never tip over into sentimentalism or conceit and give the feeling that anything can happen, good and bad. But whatever does happen, you know it will be brave and honest, in the most human sense of the word.” Berit Ellingsen, author of Beneath the Liquid Skin Berit Ellingsen’s blog

“A sweepingly excellent collection of 40 stories, a sort of retrospecticus of Kathy Fish’s writing career so far. Everything about this book is well-done…The stories themselves: amazing. There’s no filler: every story is aching and gorgeous.” Kevin Fanning, author of Jennifer Love Hewitt Times Infinity Goodreads

“These stories possess a clear and believable voice that is at home in the company of Lydia Davis, Russell Edson, Kim Chinquee. Fish breathes life to the page, so much so, the characters and actions stay with the reader long after the book is closed…The book is filled with so many strange and amazing moments the reader cannot avoid becoming a part of the lives and choices and passions discovered in it. This can only happen when the writing is of the highest quality and a true pleasure to read. “Highest quality” is the perfect descriptive for Together We Can Bury It – a collection that should not be missed.” Sam Rasnake, author of Cinéma Vérité and Inside a Broken Clock Used Furniture Review

“Kathy Fish’s Together We Can Bury It is so creative and beautifully written, it’s hard not to marvel at the richness in each of the pieces.” Peter Tieryas, author of Bald New World and Watering Heaven The Whimsy of Creation

“Within, you will find stories that will touch you, leave you breathless, make you laugh, make your heart ache. You will run the gamut of emotions–I promise you that–and you will find yourself living in the moment of these stories as filled with despair and hope as many of the characters are, waiting for change that may never come, but always waiting, never giving up.” Myfanwy Collins, author of Echolocation and I Am Holding Your Hand and forthcoming, The Book of Laney Myfanwy Collins’ blog

“There’s a movie’s worth of character and plot and insight in every blooming one of these short fictions. I finished this book feeling stuffed, dazed, and amazed by how much Kathy Fish gets done in such tight spaces. It’s a thrill to be privy to what she thinks about, the wonder she carries inside.” Pia Ehrhardt, author of Famous Fathers Goodreads

“Some authors have a way of mak
ing a reader forget the world, forget that she’s reading, allowing pure enjoyment of the art of story. This is especially difficult to pull off with reading author/teachers. We feel the pull to be critical, cautious, and read with our defenses up, ready to find something that jostles us from the narrative. Very few authors have the ability to make such a reader forget, and even fewer flash fiction and short fiction writers have this ability because the form means creating numerous worlds and engaging the reader wholly again with each new story. Some authors can do it, though. Kathy Fish is one. This book is a gift for a reader like me.” Jen Knox, author of Musical Chairs and To Begin Again Goodreads

“Beautiful collection by a master of the flash fiction form. These stories pack more loneliness, heartbreak, and despair into smaller spaces than ought to be possible, given the laws of narrative physics. But as one of Kathy Fish’s characters tells us: “this is an infinite universe and in an infinite universe all things are mathematically possible.” And yet, I still don’t know how she does it.” Mary Lynn Reed Goodreads

“1. I LOVE these stories. “Skinny Lullaby at the Lizard Lounge: Schenectady” where she writes: “The lady on the stage is skinny-singing something Joni Mitchell. We drink fuzzy navels. Get sleepy. Slide into each other like river otters.” I really LOVE “Snow” and “Wake Up” and “Be My Be My Baby” and “This is Dwight” and “Lens” and “Orlando” and “Tenderoni.” What I’m trying to say is that I love them all.
2. I love how Kathy Fish writes about: men & women, snow, food, cocktails, homes and music.
3. I love how Kathy Fish describes colors.
4. My husband is a VERY persnickety reader. I read a lot of these little stories aloud to him and he loved them as much as I do.
5. And I don’t feel this way about all stories/books I read but Kathy’s stories make me want to WRITE. And that’s probably my favorite thing about all of them.” Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Every Kiss a War Goodreads

Writing and Fear – SHAKEN

I read something this morning that was so much YES for me it drove me to actually update this dusty old blog.

Dawn Raffel talks about fear and writing, what keeps us from the page, in this short piece, “Writing Well Will Cost You,” at the Jaded Ibis Productions site:

“Writing well is a destabilizing act. A comfort read reinforces the readers’ and writer’s mutually agreed-upon ideas of how the world works, and it has its place; it’s entertainment. But literature challenges our fondest beliefs — about the world, about other people, about ourselves. It is mind-altering. Its creation transforms the writer, however subtly, and every revision is a revision of the writer’s intellect, the writer’s memory, the writer’s relationship to self.”

You can read the rest of her article here: “Writing Well Will Cost You”

Speaking of fear, I’ve actually written some things, sent them out, and had them published in 2013. This one, “Come Loose and Fly Away” in the new SalonZine, felt scary to write and send out to the world. It’s harder and darker than most of the stuff I write, but I’m glad I wrote it and thankful to Sara Lippmann, who solicited the work, for publishing it. The whole issue is so strong. Here is what Sara & Nita Noveno said about the theme of SHAKEN that they chose for the issue:

The original idea for this issue of SalonZine came soon after the 2011 earthquake in Japan, a magnitude 9, and the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900. This past year, the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the Connecticut school shootings, and other seemingly endless gun-related tragedies have shaken us to the core. In our unsettling world lives change in an instant, only to become irrevocably defined by that which cleaves. How does one come out of such terrible loss? How do we deal with the worst? The unexpected? The inevitable?
The writers and poets in this issue respond to these questions. Their prose and poetry address things, people, and events that move us, make the ground beneath us tremble, the heart in our cages quake. They excavate the fault lines of before and after.
We’re honored to share their findings with you.

Anyway, go read. There’s powerful, unsettling work there from Len Kuntz, Rae Bryant, Erika Dreifus, Michael Cooperman and more.

Books I've read, am reading…

I’m making some progress on my initial set of ten books to read. I listed ten so that I would not be so overwhelmed. I have strayed from this list since I made it, reading Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn (it’s fantastic, I love her writing) and rereading Pride and Prejudice. When I finish these I’ll make a new list which will include Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby and Jac Jemc’s My Only Wife. Also, Jensen Beach’s book For Out of the Heart Proceed, which comes out in May. But I still feel overwhelmed. There are so many great books.

1. Shut Up/Look Pretty –Lauren Becker, Erin Fitzgerald, Kirsty Logan, Michelle Reale and Amber Sparks READ, loved, want to review, but damn if Len Kuntz didn’t write an amazing, thoughtful review here on his blog

2. The Last Repatriate –Matthew Salesses JUST STARTED

3. Wild –Cheryl Strayed

4. Birds of a Lesser Paradise –Megan Mayhew Bergman READ, it’s so good

5. Treasure Island!!! — Sara Levine

6. Betty Superman –Tiff Holland READ, SO good! Tiff Holland!

7. Threats: A Novel –Amelia Gray

8. Bluets –Maggie Nelson READ, gorgeous, still thinking of this one…

9. Girlchild — Tupelo Hassman

Review of TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT / Len Kuntz

Wow, my day has been made by this beautiful review of TOGETHER WE CAN BURY IT by Len Kuntz on his blog People You Know By Heart. I am hugely grateful for the kind words.

“From the terrific book title, we move through the lives of troubled people not unlike wraiths who slip through bedroom walls to glimpse the destruction of life or its smoldering aftermath. Some pieces are clipped as short as a page. A few stories might stretch as long as six pages. No matter the length, Fish makes the reader work in all the right ways, so that there are needed pauses and reflections both during and after having finished a story. The reader sometimes has to ask, “Does that mean what I think?” or “Wait a minute—what’s really going on here?” Often, however, the message is brutally clear, as in the concluding lines of “Tederoni”:
“He stoops and picks up the kitten’s smooshed head and its body and the pieces are so small in his hands. Together, we walk to the side of the road and I watch as he chucks them, hard, into a patch of high weeds.” Read the entire review on Len’s blog People You Know By Heart