Summer’s parades are over. Now what?

It might not feel like it today, when we’re supposed to top out at 95, but fall is closing in. And even though I’m more than 15 years from being in the classroom–first as a student, then as an instructor–the change of seasons still signals a renewed sense of dedication. And I’m ready.

Have I mentioned it’s submission season?

Yes, yes I have, here.

It’s also a good time to re-focus this blog. If you remember, I met a poet and a memoirist at the last writing conference I attended (click for conference tips)–both from Rust Belt places. I love nothing more than picking the brains of my fellow writers and presenting their thoughts to you, here. So, I’ll be keeping up the interviews–and the reading required to conduct thoughtful queries.

Funny interview story for you: a few years ago, I thought I’d parlay my interviewing skills for the blog–and managed to convince essayist, memoirist, and journalist, David Giffels, into talking to me here and again here.

For the first interview, I had read–and loved–every word of David’s book of essays. But, breaking one of my own rules of interviewing, I hadn’t read David widely (yet). A music journalist and Akron, Ohio, native, David also wrote the rock biography, We are Devo!, with Jade Dellinger. Akron is famous for a few things. Among them: tires, Chrissie Hynde, Lebron, and that safety cone-hatted band, Devo.

Disclaimer: I’m not from Akron. Still, I should have known but didn’t. And, so… when I had David fact-check our interview, which I’d recorded, among his local cultural spokes-heroes appeared Steve-O, the stunt performing comedian known for Jackass. Not, Devo (as it certainly reads now).

David didn’t ask that I pull the interview or even laugh at me for my mistake (at least not to me). I was mortified…but mortification can instruct (when it doesn’t kill).

Here we still are. Thanks for sticking with me.

For me, fall also means another season of literary festivals, my favorite of which–Lit Youngstown’s–will take me home to Northeast Ohio. Last year, that festival inspired my post: 3 Reasons to Connect with Your Writing Community… And I’ll be sure to cover the event again this year, when I’m not reading my own fiction, sitting on a panel of editors, and moderating a couple sessions. It’s two full days of literary conversation–and my idea of heaven.

Of course, as our fall weather turns a bit cooler and the evenings darken sooner, my twin guys start discussing Halloween costumes and plans. Last year they played a rather nondescript, skull-faced “death” and a soccer star, which sounds like a good title for a horror movie. Stay tuned.

With darker evenings comes darker reading, as my editor gig with Parhelion Literary Magazine has had me reading fiction for a themed October issue. And I’ve been so inspired! I hope you’ll stop by for your fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or photography fix. The summer issue is live now. You’ll also see what fun I’ve been having as features editor there.

Now, it’s your turn…What’s on tap for your fall? Pumpkin or literary festivals? Local wine or craft beer tent? Hike or bike? Write or read?

27 thoughts on “Rust Belt Girl Roundup, September ’19

  1. My Brother-In-Law lives in Bath, which is where LeBron has a house…I hear a little further south is Akron, but never been…that said, with the fall comes a change in weather and a focus on when to be annoyed that Halloween candy is for sale…I say Sept. 25th is the dividing line but that’s just me…

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    1. Very cool! I never tire talking about Lebron–for real. Tho I take a break for Browns season! Fall is definitely my favorite season here in MD, with manageable temps. Candy for sale is OK by me, but I can’t take being rushed into prepping for Christmas when I’m still sweating! Thanks for stopping by, John!

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  2. Sounds like a busy fall for you! I’m back to writing. Focusing on my much postponed historical fiction, and hoping to carry on through to the end. And it’s food festival season on the island. I hope to visit several of them before the sun starts setting at 4:00 PM!

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  3. I want some of your optimism…this “ready” you mention! Haha. My fall means I start teaching and reading lots of student assignments. No worries! I ordered, from Amazon, more hours in the day and an armored heart for rejections.

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    1. More hours. Yes, please! I’ll be thinking of you teaching your students–and hoping you fill us in on your blog. They are lucky ducks! As for optimism, it’s that time of year when my Submittable queue of short stories hasn’t yet shifted from IN PROGRESS to DECLINED. So, I’m feeling hopeful that even if I don’t land an agent this fall, I’ll land a publication or two. Fingers and toes crossed! And, I’m super excited about attending my fave lit festival–and felt a little vindicated when I learned that not one of the big-name speakers at the last lit festival had an agent. Small presses are always an option. We’ll see. Might even submit a chapbook later this year! But, yes, I could also use an armored heart to make it through this season!

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  4. Sounds like you’ve got a full slate for this Autumn. I look forward to reading more about your literary festival experience. As for me, I’m heading back to Paris shortly! This will be my first visit to Europe during the fall and I’m very excited about exploring it during this softer time of year. And as a bonus, I was recently given the opportunity to hop over to Prague to visit that city for the first time with a friend who was raised there. Life is good!

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  5. Hi, Rebecca! Sorry I’m late to the table, but I’m here, finally, and thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! Enjoy Lit Youngstown — sounds like a cool event! And how fun to be reading October-themed fiction! I’m trying to play catch-up on my reading, doing some writing, and just today sent some “stuff” out, LOL Oh, and I’m about to go buy a FitBit, because I need to get moving (doing too much sitting, LOL). Pumpkin spice is in the air — and that is oh so very nice! (I’m no poet, and I know it.) 😉


  6. Hi, Deb! I hope you’ve had the most wonderful summer. We’re cooling off a bit here, which is nice. We can actually get outside–for pick-up basketball games in the driveway and dinners al fresco. Finally! I’m getting excited for Lit Youngstown’s festival (and two nights at a hotel by MYSELF!). I’m reading and sitting on a panel, as well as moderating a couple panels–I must have looked responsible last year. Nicest group of writers I’ve encountered–other than my blog followers, of course. And, yes, the dark-themed issue of Parhelion is shaping up to be great. I am crossing my fingers and toes for your submissions–it’s that time! Everything is open–where to send, where to send… I’ll be interested to hear what you’re reading. And, I know all about so much sitting. I guess I should read on the stationary bike more–ugh. Let me know how the FitBit goes. I made the mistake of declaring that this is my YEAR OF HEALTH; yet, here I sit with a beer! Enjoy your fall, and pumpkin spice everything. I’ll just take the pumpkin pie. Hope your weather is cooperating with the calendar and you’re breaking out the sweaters in the evenings!

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    1. Hi, Rebecca! Sorry, just seeing your response (my darn WP app doesn’t always let me know when I’ve received comments). I had to LOL when I read that you were sitting with a beer — hey, lots of Vitamin B in hops I’m told! 🙂 (Actually, I think that’s true!) I backed off buying the FitBit because I did some research re: EMFs, the frequencies or whatever-they’re-called that operate the devices. I think they’re minimal, at best, but I’ve decided for now just to exercise sans device — which probably means I’ll won’t walk/run as far! LOL Yes! Submission time! I’ve sent some stuff out and promptly been rejected 🙂 But it’s all good, no (real) disappointment. The longer I write the more I realize that really, for me, it’s all about the process, that the process allows me to pay more attention to my life, is my secular religion (that’s an oxymoron, I know, but you get my drift). As per my usual, I’m reading “all over the place,” but currently I’m trying to finish Virginia Woolf’s ORLANDO, Etgar Keret’s THE GIRL ON THE FRIDGE, and Joy Williams’ NINETY-NINE STORIES OF GOD. Have a great time at Lit Youngstown! Can’t wait to read about it soon (I hope you do a post on it!)! You’ll be fantastic! You have so much to share with the audience — and they’ll greatly appreciate. Looking forward to the next/new issue of Parhelion, too! Should be great fun to read! Have a wonderful weekend, read, write, enjoy these tail-end days of summer, the changing colors and your family! Deb

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      1. You write such a lovely comment, Deb! I so appreciate it! Oh, yeah, I hear you–trying to get off my duff once in a while. Hard to write and submit and exercise all at the same time! I will cross my fingers for your submissions–just got a couple rejects, it must be that time. You ARE reading all over the place–fun! (THE GIRL ON THE FRIDGE sounds fascinating, even just the title) I’m sure I’ll pick up a bunch of new books at the festival. I love a signed book! And I will definitely do a post on the festival–since I’ll have read, moderating, and panel-ed this year–so lots to report, maybe! Oh, I’ve had such fun with the next issue of PLM–the “dark” issue. Writers really came out and surprised us with this one! I am ready for cooler days and reading and writing outside. I have a riverside park with a picnic table calling my name! Fall is great for that! Hope you had a wonderful weekend–and thank you for chiming in!

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  7. Wow – you had a busy summer! Ditto to what Ally said above – Pumpkin. Craft Beer (adding in the seasonal Pinot Noir at our local winery). Read as much as possible – the cooler mornings have switched me to the dreadmill. It’s just part of living in the midwest – it gets really hot and then really cold and you change clothes throughout the day as each season hits us in one 24 hour period.
    I wish you well on your submissions – and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. You’ll shine, I have no doubt about it!

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  8. I’m so glad your comment finally showed up here, Shelley. Was it a faulty plug-in? As you can see, I never fiddle with my site, because I’m so afraid of something going wrong! I sure wish I could hit a fall festival with you–craft beer or pinot! Wouldn’t that be fun. We had our first cool, fall-feeling day here and it was cloudy and wonderful. A great excuse to stay inside. I don’t mind that! Yet, this weekend has us outside, running around both days to and from soccer games. Thank you for your wishes for luck–I need it. Luckily, I enjoy this whole writerly journey a ton, whether there’s a destination reached or not!


  9. I love your autumn schedule! As for me, I’ve been working on helping a publishing house in my home country, and it’s book launch time soon. I’m excited, also a bit terrified, but I’m mostly trying to enjoy the fact that it’s my first book launch as that will never happen again. Fingers crossed!

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