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Freedom

"I want writers at every point of their career to know that they can do this. It is possible to write work that no one except you and a few other pockets of literary adventurers have even dreamed of wanting to read."

 

"Freedom," a new craft essay, is up at Poets & Writers. This is third of four essays. 

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Poets & Writers Craft Capsule: In Praise of Italics

My new short essay "In Praise of Italics" is up at Poets & Writers.  It is about the erotics and queerness of italics.    Very much inspired by the inimitable Elizabeth McCracken and her very different opinions about italics as expressed on Twitter. 

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Poets&Writers Writing Craft essay: Body in the Mirror

Here is "Body in the Mirror"

 

"...it took participation in grassroots feminism and reading great poets (for me, Gertrude Stein and Walt Whitman) before I could find my belly with my hands and write that it was soft to the touch."

 

It is the first in a series of four essays that will be appearing each Monday at the Poets&Writers website.  This one is about a writing exercise that helps writers be more connected to the bodies in their work.  It's also a story about how I started writing the essays and poems in Belly Songs: in celebration of fat women.

 

 

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11 Questions about Martha Moody at Killing the Buddha

I love these author questions by Briallen Hopper at Killing the Buddha. They were posted for Valentine's Day, which is so lovely!  Killing the Buddha: 11 Questions About Martha Moody

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Be The Day

To mark the anniversaries we are all facing, I just revised and added a little a passage from my paper journal of just over a year ago. Leafing through it, I see that I was writing there last year more than I remembered. Here it is:


The wildness of loneliness. The tenacity of communion. Solomon Stoddard thought that communion was a converting ordinance. Jonathan Edwards lost his church over an attempt to reserve it to those who could give spoken testimony of experiences of grace.


Once I took communion with my beloved friend Lynne at MCC San Francisco, where she -- who has studied, thought, and noted so much about that church's history, -- told me, they had decided that anyone could come with those they love and be held and be kissed, with the blood and the body, the bread and the wine.
I think of loaves and fishes, with fishes in their own worlds, own times, spawning upriver, pulled by the smell of the young of their kind slowly maturing in the mud of the banks. Let me love that well. Let me be pulled by the smell.

 

The prayer of the journal is holding.

 

My feelings surge. I need to contain them, to limit, and also to release, uncover, and dance with my ambitions, fears, loneliness, grief, longings, joy. Bodily soundness and weakness or not. Telling stories have saved me more than once, including my telling of them, and will save me again..


Long, gold socks I gave my mother that she gave me back. The women of the arthritis aqua aerobics class. Old women, happy to see me. Now, a year later, Maura, the last one to help and hug me, gone.
Praise the day. Do the work. Be in the day.

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Judith Katz Reviews Martha Moody in Lambda Literary Review

Judith Katz wrote a wonderful review of Martha Moody in Lamda Literary Review. "Susan Stinson's substantial and delicious historical novel, Martha Moody, has been reissued by Small Beer Press, and it is certainly cause for celebration."  It's also a great history of lesbian and feminist publishing.  

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Get (almost) All My Books — Even the Out of Print Ones — at Book Moon Books

Now there's a link at Book Moon Books so that if you've got a US mailing address, you can get almost all of my books, including Belly Songs. What you do is, click the button to order Martha Moody, then write in "Belly Songs" or "Venus of Chalk" or "Spider in a Tree." Then, you'll get the book and the money goes to me. It works that way because these small and micro press books aren't on the distributor's website, but Gavin from Book Moon came to my stairs and fetched the books, so I know they are there. (Fat Girl Dances With Rocks isn't available because it's out of print and I don't have copies.)

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Martha Moody in the Kenyon Review

I have a new short piece up at the Kenyon Review about reading from Martha Moody and having it embraced now by the wonderful Book Moon Books.

 

"I was reading from Martha Moody in Vermont at the Institute for Social Ecology in 1995 the time that Grace Paley blew me a kiss and told the audience that my work was clearly about changing the world."  (Confidential to blog readers: We were actually reading together at that event.) 

 

 

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Converation with Elizabeth McCracken at Marth Moody 25th anniversary virtual book launch

Susan Stinson and Elizabeth McCracken. Screenshot by Pamela Millam. 

The launch for the twenty-fiftn anniversary edition of my "highly imaginative Western," Martha Moody, was a conversation with the great Elizabeth McCracken at Book Moon Books. It was virtual and recorded, so some day I may be able to post it. Full of launch and good company in the midst of a pandemic, it was one of the best things that has ever happened to me as a writer.

 

I met Elizabeth McCracken more than twenty-five years ago before Martha Moody was published.  I used an excerpt as my work sample in an application to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. I didn't get in, but Elizabeth wrote me a beautiful letter in praise of the excerpt, which was enclosed in the envelope with the rejection. We eventually started a correspondence, and it has been such gift to get to read her work and witness her literary adventures over the years.  Talking with her about Martha Moody was SO MUCH FUN.  The audience was full of writers and others dear to me.  We sang happy birthday to my dad, who turned 92 the next day!  People got passionate in the chat about punctuation marks.  So good. 

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Interview by Sally Bellerose

Sally Bellerose interviewed me about Martha Moody for Lambda Literary

 

Sally, whose novel Fishwives is out in February, is one of my oldest writing friends.  It was so great to be interviewed by her for Lambda Literary. 

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