Faye Rapoport DesPres

Labor Day Weekend News and Notes

It’s been a stormy Sunday in the Boston area as we mark the halfway point through the Labor Day weekend. Thunder rolled through the sky on and off all morning. Torrential downpours were followed, intermittently, by periods of wet calm. Now, at 1:37 p.m., the sky is gray, the trees are motionless, the rain has stopped, and the lawns, cars, and shrubs are all drenched.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks handling various details related to the two college courses I’ll be teaching: Writing 1 and Broadcast Journalism. It’s amazing how many administrative and logistical details come up with a new teaching job, along with the reading and planning that goes into creating syllabi and course schedules. I’m excited, though, and hopeful that this will be a good experience for the students, first and foremost, and for me as well. There are a lot of fun things you can do in a Broadcast Journalism course if you have a passion for news and for telling stories. Writing 1 can be a challenging course for both instructors and students, but it’s a worthwhile class that helps prepare students for so many aspects of college, work, and life.

As I’ve focused on these tasks, I’ve also stuck to my schedule of early morning writing and stayed in touch with many of my writing friends and colleagues. And one of those friends and colleagues, creative nonfiction writer Cindy Zelman, recently received some wonderful news: a manuscript she sent in to a competition sponsored by Winged City Chapbooks was chosen for publication. If you’ve read Cindy’s work, you know that she writes, raw, honest, funny essays. Many of the pieces she included in this manuscript were published in earlier forms on her blog. Congratulations, Cindy!

Meanwhile Hannah Goodman, another writing friend and MFA alum from the Solstice MFA Creative Writing Program, has announced that Sucker Literary Magazine, which she founded to showcase YA fiction, is now open for new submissions. The post on the publication’s Facebook page says: “We want submissions to be one or more of the following: sci-fi, fantasy, guy POV (realistic fiction or fantasy or sci-fi), lgbt (any kind).” The website also mentions “characters with diverse (ethnic, religious, etc) backgrounds.” For more information, visit this link. The submission period is open through October 1.

It’s hard to believe that today is actually September 1. I’m never sorry when the hot, humid weather of a New England summer eases toward cooler nights, crisper air, and the first hints of the fall harvest season. But I’m always sad when the idea of summer passes…the memory of those childhood months out of school, the carefree feeling of wearing shorts, sandals, and sleeveless shirts and dashing out of the house without adding so much as a sweatshirt. Both Jean-Paul and I worked a lot this summer, so we didn’t have many opportunities to enjoy true seasonal activities. We did drive to New Hampshire on a Sunday in August to hike up Mt. Monadnock, but it amazes me to sit here and realize that we didn’t get to a beach or to the ocean even once. Many mornings were spent jogging on the local streets before the heat and humidity of the day descended upon us, and one evening we walked into town for frozen yogurt simply to get out of the house. I did have the opportunity in early July to join a friend in Washington, D.C. at a Paul McCartney concert, and couple of weeks later Jean-Paul and I took our only trip of the summer to London, Ontario, to attend a classic rock festival.

But overall, for us, at this stage at least, summer is more of an idea than a reality. Still, it’s an idea that means something to me, and I’m sorry to see it go.

Onward it is, however. At the end of September or in Early October the Mystery Times Ten Anthology will be published in print and for Kindle, and will include my third-place winning story, “Who Let the Cats Out?” And soon I’ll hear more from my publisher, Buddhapuss Ink, on the next steps for my book, MESSAGE FROM A BLUE JAY, which is set for publication next spring.

For now…it’s back to work for me, even on Labor Day Weekend. Fall, here we come!