When I first heard about flash fiction, maybe four years ago now, I wondered how on Earth it could be possible to tell a whole story in just 1,000 words or thereabouts. Intrigued by the challenge, especially to a writer like me who has no problem blathering on and on, I soon became obsessed.
Flash forward to the present day, and I'm so happy and honored to share that my 100-word story "Ze Crab", a response to an ekphrastic photo challenge, was published today at my favorite micro fiction site edited by Grant Faulkner. Please check it out here.
What did you see in that picture of a starry night?
Juggling two kids (or in this case one toddler and an unmentioned, but very subtextual, pregnancy), two dogs, and one household can leave little time for writing. This piece explores my attempt to implement the more regimented approach to writing, and why that approach doesn't necessarily always work for working mommies... Speaking of which, the baby is screaming bloody murder from his bounceroo and my toddler is flinging yoghurt from her chair. Gotta run!
Thanks for checking it out!
Very grateful to the editors at The Lascaux Review for nominating "My Own Struggle, Or an Exercise in Autofiction" for The Pushcart Prize. I'm also grateful to my editor and friend, Camille Griep at Easy Street Magazine, for suggesting I write about one of those cooped-up snow days with a toddler and a puppy that I'd been whining about so much. You can read the essay here.
I'm very happy to announce that my poetry collection from Finishing Line Press, The Voices of Women, is coming out this winter—an appropriate time to curl up by the fire and rediscover your love of poetry and hot cocoa.
Advance praise for The Voices of Women:
“Expansive and inviting, The Voices of Women bears Isabella David McCaffrey’s signature smirk throughout—a sense of play, irony, and skepticism that strengthens the imagery. Her poems range from gentle, idyllic observations of childhood, womanhood and innocence, to her Plath-like tour-de-force, The Daughter—an anti-paternal rant loaded with powerful internal rhyme. These are not just odes celebrating the pastoral strokes of blue sky and soft voice and beating heart in the poet’s life and others’, but also the things in between, the spaces and experiences that, the poet knows, are “beautiful to somebody.” Even her darkest pieces are dreamlike and “permanently marked with an afterglow of hope.”
—Lexa Hillyer, author of Proof of Forever
“In The Voices of Women, Isabella David McCaffrey offers an unflinching look at motherhood, daughterhood, aging, lust, and love, with honesty and an ever-present recognition of all the beauty and joy, the trials and heartache of being a woman. These poems are full of life and the murky stuff found in it.”
–Yuly Restrepo, editor at Tampa Review
“Beautiful, intelligent, and self-aware. From mythology to domesticity, The Voices of Women catches life in the wondrous quick of its passing, where it is ‘illuminated by study and pain,’ and where the sound of heartbreak is transformed and amplified into the tough, resolute music of love.”
–Thomas Heise, award-winning poet and author most recently of Moth; or how I came to be with you again
“In The Voices of Women McCaffrey’s liquid, gravid prose guides the reader meditatively through the channels of place and time. She leaves no voice unspoken the mothers and the mothered, the meek and the brash, the lonely and the overwhelmed. All at once classical and freshly authentic, this superlative collection sings the songs of the ages as well as the ageless.”
–Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell
If you’ve already ordered The Voices of Women, my sincere thanks. In that case, would you please consider passing along a copy of the order form (either as a printout or a forwarded e-mail) to a friend who might be interested in the collection? Please note that if you place your order during the pre-publishing period (before November 13), shipping is only $2.99 per copy. Thank you!
Isabella David McCaffrey
(Please mail all orders to the Finishing Line Press address below or order online at https://finishinglinepress.com/product_info.php?products_id=2489 or here.)
Please send me ______ copy(ies) of The Voices of Women, by Isabella David McCaffrey, at $12.49 per copy plus $2.99 shipping.
Enclosed is my check (payable to Finishing Line Press) for $__________
Please send check or money order to: Finishing Line Press
Post Office Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324
Switching from acting to writing was a strange, bumpy road and had a lot to do with getting back into my good Comp Lit college habits. Here's a piece I wrote about falling back in love with reading again up at Hello Giggles today.
Hello Giggles is a site for positive community-building online, and as such they're fantastic, particularly for women and girls, and I'm very excited to be writing for them. This is a gender-neutral piece, though, where I address what people are always asking me about: how I find time to read so much.
Its' definitely an addiction like any other. It's gotten so bad my husband has banned me from purchasing books online. I actually feel jitters when I know I can't instantly purchase all of Raymond Chandler or a volume of Keats' letters or the play The Lady's Not For Burning (all of which I'm jonesing for right now, although I already have a formidable pile of unread books to get through and no clams, sigh.) This is why we need decent libraries. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS. SO LITTLE TIME (and money)!
Thanks for checking it out!
I am pretty thrilled to share that my first chapbook has been shortlisted for the 2015 International Venture Award and four poems from the longer book version have been recognized for merit by Atlanta Review's 2015 International Poetry Prize. I hope to have even better news soon-- perhaps the whole book will be out there one of these days! Of course I am immeasurably grateful to the judges for their encouragement and support, but these awards aren't the point. Whenever I write a poem, a real, honest poem, that's the point. Still, recognition helps you plug along. It's the nicest feeling to think your words have touched someone else. Plus, one of my friends told me this news made her want to work on her own chapbook again, and I thought that was wonderful. Anything that gets me or you or anyone else excited about poetry is wonderful, frankly.
Speaking of which (wonderful and poetry and all that), I recently found/ read this essay about why poetry matters by one of my favorite all-time poets Audre Lorde. Check it out here! It will make your toes twinkles and ears burn with joy, so why not give it a read?
Above is a moment of inspiration, gazing at the moon with my daughter last summer. Luckily, my husband happened to snap a picture, as it's also the scene for my haibun"Hexagram 54 of the I Ching" included in Contemporary Haibun Online's spring issue:
I actually learned about haibun while working closely with Every Day Poets. I've been really lucky in terms of finding editors to teach and encourage me. I'm so grateful that I've had so many editors cheer me along the way. In fact, I'd like to dedicate this post to Robin V. Herrnfeld, who was one of my first editors/ readers/ encouragers, and who passed away just before the magazine took a hiatus.
Before they hit pause (which I still hope is a temporary thing), EDP featured a haibun contest in 2012 along with this helpful, explanatory essay on the form, which is really what got me started writing them. I wasn't so sure when I first heard the term. I cannot write haiku for the life of me, and haibun sounds intimidating, doesn't it? A fancy, shmancy term for fancy shmancy poems. Actually, like a lot about what's beautiful in Japanese art, there's a simplicity to haibun. In a nutshell, haibun is just a kind of prose poem with a haiku attached at the end (Somehow I can write haiku, but only when they're part of a haibun. It's part of the weird, haibun magic world.) Of course, there's a little more to it than that. Constance Brewer, another EDP editor, put it really well in the essay I just mentioned/ linked to above:
The prose poem shouldn’t be a piece of flash fiction with a haiku attached, but rather a reflection on a physical or emotional journey the writer has undertaken. The prose poem should be haiku-like in its execution and revelations, and form a juxtaposition with the haiku.
Sounds easy? No, not at all, but they're really fun to write and have helped me access haiku, which I've always admired but, as I mentioned, failed at being able to write. (Little wonder; I'm not known for concision.) What I like most about haibun is you have to read them, not about them, in order to start to really appreciate them. If you are already a lover of microfiction or flash fiction, I can pretty much guarantee you'll love the form.
Here's the link to the whole spring issue. I'm about to grab a cup of tea and read the whole thing myself. Let me know what you think!
Hope you enjoy my piece!