Check out the Online Writers Exchange at www.tiny-lights.com. It’s a great way to get published without getting juried (read judged). Editor Susan Bono says she doesn’t even edit the submissions. Your grammatical mistakes are your own. Advantages: I don’t think a huge crowd contributes each month, and the entire Tiny Lights site (and printed quarterly journal of personal essay) is well worth any writer’s time. Also, we choose some of the “Searchlights and Signal Flares” entries for KRCB FM 91 twice-monthly Word by Word: Conversations with Writers. If you are not in the north San Francisco Bay Area, you can listen as we broadcast literary arts at 7 p.m. (Pacific time) on Wednesdays at www.krcb.org.
Thus ends the public service announcement for community radio.
Here’s something I recently sent in answer to the monthly Writers Exchange question: When asked “what do you write?” how do you answer?
I write poems,” I answer first, and more readily, now that poetry is back in fashion. “I write especially for the fun of reading it outloud.” I like making a direct connection, with one other person or a room full of listeners. When I’m working on a piece, I always speak the lines to know where to break them, to be more aware of how the sound matches the sense of what I’m trying to communicate.
When asked what I write about, I say that I started writing at age 15 in a dime-store diary with a lock and key, and that reading my work might be like peeking into a lifetime of subsequent volumes of that diary. My most passionate themes are self-discovery and honest expression, sexuality and relationships, war and peace. I am not a nature poet.
As a journalist, I write features, mostly personal profiles. It is sweet satisfaction to hear from community groups or individuals, “You really captured our essence.” In interviewing someone, I look for the pathway to trust and literary intimacy. (If I’d admit to aspirations, one would surely be to join the ranks of Terry Gross, Barbara Walters and Amy Goodman).
I also write erotica. Not fictional stories but autobiographic journeys into what it means to be fully alive as a sexual being. I explore the particulars of women’s portal experiences of pleasure and the connections of spirituality and sex. I’m either too dumb to be embarrassed or too much of an exhibitionist to be self conscious! I try to stay close to the artistic edge, without succumbing to either puritanical or pornographic pressures. I’m interested in writing through, and about, the wisdom centered in the body.