Issue #4 of Spry Literary Journal is LIVE

spry-cover_ish-4If you have a moment, please check out the new issue of Spry Literary Journal. It is gorgeous! Oh, and if you are a writer or artist, please send us your stuff!

Wake up, Wake Up, Wake Up, It’s the First of the Month

20121220-132546.jpgI have a lot to catch you all up on. I don’t even know where to start, so here is a sloppy, quickly-written bulletin post:

  1. The government shut down. What the heck? Are we for real here? So sad. If you are wondering what has been affected by the shutdown, click here.
  2. Spry, my literary journal, held its first reading in Boston, MA. It was a fantastic evening. Briefs, the Spry blog, will have a post up soon about the event.
  3. We met a fun and awesome accordion player from Berlin who happened to stop by the event. Here is his post about meeting us, but the Spry blog will also have a post about him this week.
  4. The Red Sox are in the playoffs, and I will be attending a ALDS game!
  5. Mr. O and I both celebrated our birthdays last month.
  6. I’m going to PaintNite this week with some of my girlfriends. I can’t wait to show you my artwork!

My plan is to put aside time to try to get some of these stories on the blog.

Update: I needed to include the following video on this post. Honestly friends, this is what our country truly believes. I feel very fortunate to live and work with benefits, such as health insurance, in the state of Massachusetts. Much of what is in the Affordable Healthcare Act is already in place in Massachusetts. There are no preexisting clauses, all companies with a certain number of employees must offer health coverage, etc. I’m not going to argue politics here, but I’d love for everyone to put politics aside and do some research. When was it that people stopped researching things and started adopting what they hear from others or making assumptions. I know you’ve probably seen this video a bunch of times today, but I honestly can’t help but reposting.

Before I say goodbye (for the second time), I’d like to redirect you to my friend Becky’s blog from today. She talks about the government shutdown and shares her thoughts so eloquently. I fully stand behind her post.

Spry: An Award Winning Literary Journal

I am so pleased to announce that my literary journal has won an award!

LitBridge Please check out our post on Spry and also check out LitBridge to learn more about the award and the other winners.

Summertime and the living is easy…

I like new beginnings. Remember how excited I was to start the new year? I think it is just the idea of starting fresh.

The idea of 2013 was super exciting for me. I had big plans, and so far it has been a pretty good year. But I feel like I’ve been so busy this entire year trying to do so many things that I haven’t quite experienced the past 5 1/2 months. I’m not a fan of that. I’ve spent too much of my short life rushing through things, and starting in 2010, I really learned to absorb and experience the moments in my life. I need to find a way back there.

So today, my friends, is a new beginning. There is nothing like the beginning of summer to start fresh, to relish in the upcoming moments. I love summer and I can’t wait to refocus my life and my priorities.

I can’t wait to spend time with Wolverine and Mr. O. This summer we have our big family vacation, weekend camping trips, baseball games, and so many other activities planned (like Wolverine’s massive birthday party). I really can’t wait for every event, but I’m going to make every effort to be as present as possible during all the activities.

I plan on taking the summer to enjoy time with my friends and family, work on Spry, kick-start my own writing and focus on my career track.

Spry Is Alive

Spry Literary Journal has officially published its inaugural issue. I do hope you will click over to check it out and read the poetry, stories and essays we featured in our first issue.

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Creative Friends

I’m so glad to have such creative, helpful, insightful people in my life. I know I’ve been talking about Spry a lot, but I’ll probably do quite a bit of that until it launches on December 15th. Last week I wrote about my co-founder/editor Linsey Jayne. Today I am thankful for our friend Cisco Covino who has been helping us with most of our designs for issue #1. This is his most recent design, and we absolutely love it. How cool is this?

Spry Submissions

I can’t believe this moment is actually here, but the reading period for issue #1 of Spry Literary Journal is officially over. As of 11:59pm EST on November 15, 2012, we stopped taking submissions for issue #1.

I’ve begun accepting submissions and I can’t tell you how fantastic of a feeling it is to let someone know you’d like to publish their work. Rejecting work is HARD. Accepting work is great though. I can’t wait to work with the authors and polish their submissions. More than that, I can’t wait to publish! Less than one month until the issue goes live.

I just want to take a second and thank everyone who submitted their writing to us. It takes a great leap of faith to submit your work to a place that hasn’t published anything yet. I am forever grateful to the people wo took a leap and submitted to us. We are so appreciative for the chance to read your writing.

Now to make some more decisions and accept more writing!

My Co-Editor at Spry: Linsey Jayne

Today, I want to introduce you to Linsey Jayne. While I cannot link to her online (we should all rally so that she will start her own blog), I can tell you a bit about her…

Linsey and I met while both attending Fairfield University’s incredible MFA program. We started in the same cohort and by fortune of circumstance found out that we only lived a town away from each other in Massachusetts. Linsey is a kick-ass poet who also studies/writes flash fiction as well. Her third-semester critical project studied the line between a prose poem and flash fiction. It was incredible. Her thesis blew me away. I still remember some of her poems so well, because they just stay with you once you’re done reading them. (Seriously though, they ARE that good).

I can’t begin to describe how fantastic of an editor Linsey is. She has a sharp eye, but not just for poetry. She will point out so many incredible things in the fiction, creative nonfiction and flash genres as well. She also has the kindest heart, and will make it a point to personally reject submissions that she was fond of, even if we decide not to use it for this issue.

I couldn’t do this without Linsey. She is creative, driven, energetic, kind, and just a great business partner. Thank you, Linsey.

October Observations

October Highlights:

  • Mr. O and I took a mini-vacation by ourselves to Plymouth, Ma. It was a quick vacation, but so nice to just get away from our normal routine. We stopped by some touristy sites briefly, ate some incredible food, went to a few antique shops, took a haunted tour and cuddled quite a bit.
  • Not only did Spry Literary Journal keep receiving great submissions all month, but we hired our first two interns! We also added a new reader to our group. Our reading period ends on November 15, 2012, so if you plan on submitting your writing, make sure to do so soon!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 271. Nuts.

Stinky October Moments:

  • Work has been a bit overwhelming. I cannot seem to stay organized or get projects completed. There is a bunch of change happening at my organization, so besides working on my normal responsibilities, I’m trying to figure out/take on more. I’m not complaining about work, and I know I very rarely discuss it on the blog. I’m just indicating that it has been a tough month at work. I am still so grateful for my job.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • Wolverine has been trying harder in football. This past Sunday was actually the last game of the season and they tied 0-0. He does have a “championship bowl” on Saturday, but since the kids are so tiny, they’re doing it for fun, not to keep score.
  • After a brief hiatus, my girlfriends and I actually managed to make it out two months in a row for our monthly girls’ night.
  • We carved our pumpkins which was fun. Wolverine actually carved his first pumpkin on his own (well, with minimal help). I’ll post pictures soon.
  • Hurricane Sandy. I was fortunate to be relatively untouched by the hurricane, but it still effected my work days and the electricity at home too.

I’m looking forward to____ in November: Thanksgiving: I’m a huge fan of the holiday. Also, I’m even more excited about Logan coming back to our house (Logan is our Elf on the Shelf!). I cannot wait to see all the mischief this little guy gets into. There is a chance that I like Logan even more than Wolverine does, but who cares.  I’m hoping to continue getting quality submissions for Spry, especially in creative nonfiction (my favorite) because our submissions manager is low on CNF.

Overall Thoughts: October was a nice month, but there really isn’t too much to report. I feel like I am working my butt off and can’t keep up, but that happens from time to time. It was a great month for Spry and the journal got a lot of exposure. I’m looking forward to November and the start of holiday season.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June and July and August and September

Who I am At 28

Note: This was originally drafted the week of my birthday, although I never finished it. I just read it in my drafts folder, and thought it was a good post to share, even if it isn’t fully complete. So here is something written last month, in my last few days of being 27.

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A few years ago, I would make some pretty stellar birthday lists. No, not as wish lists, but more like “lessons I’ve learned” or “goals for the coming year” kind of lists. Somewhere in the past few years (I blame grad school), I stopped making these lists. After reading Jenn’s most recent post about her 25th birthday (Happy Birthday, Jenn!), I decided to not let another year go by without writing something. Now, I have enough goals to last me, you, and your extended family a few years so there is no need to come up with any more. (I’ll just finally put some effort into my 101 in 1001 list!)  So here is a portrait of who I am (inspired by Nora from last year if you can believe it*) at the age of 28.

If you look at my hair, you will see that for the first birthday of my life, I am a brunette. There were days in the past 11 months that I missed being a blonde, but now I’m comfortably settled into the simplicity of brown hair. If you look at my face, you may notice the lack of glasses. I’m entering the first birthday of my life with perfect vision, and I see a great future in the distance. If you looked at my skin you’d notice many imperfections and scars. I’ve been cut into and biopsied and am eternally grateful to every imperfection because they prove that I am healthy and alive.

If you looked at my wrist you’d notice the only jewelry I wear: a Pandora bracelet from Mr. O with beads chosen carefully and purposely, beads that symbolize important moments for our little family. If you looked at my clothing, I’ll probably be either in work clothes or extremely comfortable clothing like pajamas or jeans and a tee-shirt. If you looked at my feet you’d see flip flops as I’m trying to get in every possible last day with them before it becomes boot weather. My accoutrements are various. If I am out of the house, I pretty much need sunglasses, my iPhone and keys; however, I will have much more on my person. I carry a huge black pocketbook, and if you dump it out, you will find: an agenda, a small notebook, at least 5 pens/markers, a wallet, a camera, many receipts, cough drop wrappers and a full bag of cough drops, a pill-box full of vitamins, eyeshadow, band-aids, tissues, finger puppets, paper clips, chap stick and lip gloss, and random other goodies.

If you watched me as I went about my day you’d notice I usually do multiple things at once. At work I seem to do four different projects at once. I’m not advocating this is a good idea (because it isn’t), but I can’t seem to get things done if I don’t multitask.

If you could peek into my brain you’d see that I most often think about my relationship with Mr. O, Wolverine, what I’m going to eat, my friends and family, Spry, work stuff and mundane tasks like getting gas or food shopping.

If you wondered what my life would look like in the near future, I’d tell you that I will be content. That I make the choice to be happy, and while I struggle from time to time, I still choose happiness over the alternative. I will tell you about Spry, the literary journal my colleague Linsey and I just founded. By this time next year we will have published two issues and be working on our third. I will tell you about Mr. O and Wolverine and how happy I still am with my two guys. I will tell you that this year of my life I plan on thriving and creating and relaxing.

Thank you, twenty-eight for the endless possibilities. I have faith that this will be an exciting year.

Weekly Internet Finds: Take 19

On Monday, A.J. O’Connell interviewed Linsey and I about Spry Literary Journal. Today the interview goes live on her blog. You may remember A.J. from my Defining Moments Series, or from the interview I posted about her novella (Beware the Hawk)  that came out in January.

Speaking of Spry, have you submitted your writing yet? There is only about one month left to submit!

Facebook reached the 1 billion active monthly user  threshold in September. I read this through a work email so I can’t really link to it, but I can link you to my third-semester project, The Story Behind the Status, so you can learn more about my interest in social media and how it relates to writing.

Want more Weekly Internet Finds? Check out my past posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

September Observations

September Highlights:

  • Mr. O and I celebrated our birthdays. What was really nice about this year is that we kept it pretty simple. For my birthday (it was a storm outside like usual) we picked up some Pho and ate some ice cream cake. For Mr. O’s birthday, we went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, then came home to relax and play some games.
  • Mr. O and I had a joint birthday party/my graduation party and it was nice to have our friends over for a cookout. It was also pretty nice to see our friends and family mingle. Ideally, I’d like to have a cookout every year in September. That way we don’t need to make a big deal of planning a night out with friends, get babysitters, spend loads of money, etc. People can just come over for the night with their kids and eat lots of yummy food.
  • Spry Literary Journal continued accepting submissions all month. Linsey and I set a goal for the amount of submissions we hoped to receive in our first month of our first reading period. We were so fortunate to receive a number that was far more than our estimate. We love the faith writers have in new literary journals. However, we’ve only gotten a small number of creative nonfiction submissions, so if you write CNF, send us your work!
  • I’m doing a great job keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 240. Nuts.

Stinky September Moments:

  • I don’t have much to complain about this month. I had a head cold that lingered, a few cranky/miserable days and work was a bit nutso, but overall, nothing particular stands out which is nice.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • Baby Dylan was born. One of my closest friends had her baby boy on 9/26, and I am so in love with him.
  • Mr. O’s mom retired! Congratulations! She had the best surprise retirement party last weekend. It was a great night.
  • Wolverine has been trying harder in football. He’s had a game every weekend, so we spend a few nights a week at practice and then the weekends practicing/playing another team. Go football!
  • Mr. O and I went to see Gabriel Inglesias at Foxwoods and the show was great.
  • After a brief hiatus, my girlfriends and I reunited for our monthly girl’s night.

I’m looking forward to____ in October:
What I like most about October is pumpkin coffee and hot apple cider. Oh, I also love to see the kids in their costumes and I’m pretty pumped because we will have Wolverine for trick-or-treating this year. I can’t wait to decorate our pumpkins. I’m hoping to continue getting quality submissions for Spry, especially in creative nonfiction (my favorite). We are about to hire an intern, so I hope that process goes smoothly. Wolverine has a few more football games. Mr. O and I are going away for a weekend, which is our birthday gift to ourselves. It will be nice to spend some quality time with my love away from our apartment and normal surroundings.

Overall Thoughts:
September was a nice month. I’m a fan of birthdays, so it was nice to celebrate me and Mr. O. It went by quickly. I spent much of the month worrying about work and Spry. I feel like I’ve been on a go-go-go type of outlook. I don’t have much to say about September. I always get a bit anxious this time of year, because I don’t like when it starts to get darker at night; I don’t like when it gets colder. I wish it could stay warm and bright outside. But I do love cuddling up to Mr. O and stealing his body heat, so I guess I can’t complain. What was nice about September, was this it was a normal month. There were no crazy or dramatic moments, and the calmness of the month was nice.

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Want to know more about my experiences in 2012? Check out the previous months: January and February and March and April and May and June and July and August

Spry Is Getting Around

I was so excited when I woke up this morning to find that Spry Literary Journal was featured on Every Writer’s Resource!

It was also featured on Racquel Henry‘s Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World weekly post today.

Spry Literary Journal: An Introduction

Picture 8I’ve mentioned Spry Literary Journal briefly on the blog (in my monthly updates or goals’ posts), but I really haven’t explained what it is or my involvement in it.

Well folks, earlier in 2012, my colleague Linsey and I decided that we wanted to create a literary journal once we completed our graduate program. She and I were both readers and editors for Mason’s Road Literary and Arts Journal and have a strong appreciation for good, concise writing. We also have both studied experimental and cross-genre writing, and in our critical projects for graduate school, we studied writing in the short form.

We envision Spry as an online literary journal that features undiscovered and established writers’ concise, experimental, hybrid, modern, vintage or just plain vulnerable writing. We see this as a place for people who excel at taking risks, who thrive under pressure – for people whose words and rhythms are spry.

The inaugural issue of Spry is set to be published in December 2012. We are currently accepting submissions of poetry, nonfiction, fiction and flash literature. We read work blindly and accept simultaneous submissions. The full guidelines can be read at our submissions manager.

Please consider submitting your writing. Email editors@sprylit.com with any questions. Follow us on Twitter @sprylit

Reviewing August’s Goals and Setting Goals for September

First off, I’d like to wish my friend Jessica and her new husband Christian a happy wedding day today. I just returned from their beautiful wedding ceremony and I wish them the best.

Okay, so yet again I failed my goal for the month of August. My plan was to write daily. My goal was to try to do a lot of journal writing, and not worry so much about essays, etc. Barely anything got written this month, folks. I did write in my journal a bit more regularly, but it was nothing to be proud of.

My goal for September is to focus on Spry Literary Journal. Since we are a new literary journal, we need to work on marketing, as well as putting out a call for submissions for our first issue (due December 2012). So far, I have been quite pleased with the submissions we’ve received. I think this first issue will be a great showcase of our future as a literary journal. Spry can only continue to grow at this point, so I’m sure you will be hearing A LOT more about it on the blog in the near future.