Ephemera Newsletter Iss Oct.3
(Creativity and Motivation Weekly)
Welcome back to the Ephemera Newsletter, Sõbrad! (Estonian for “friends”)
Thank you for your presence. We’re again focusing on our residency—The Good Contrivance Residency—that we developed in conjunction with the lovely people at Good Contrivance Farm. Last year we sent two people to the farm for two fully paid residencies, including supplementing travel expenses. The program did a lot to help promote Ephemera as well as the farm, which offers paid stays all year round for anyone who wants a retreat. The funds raised by the contest support all of us. We hope you’ll look at our residency this year. The deadline is approaching! October 31 by midnight. Feel free to share if you know anyone who would be a good fit. We thank you for lending us your ear.
Good Contrivance Residency
Applications now open. We will select 2 folks (i.e. 2 separate individuals) to receive a residency sponsorship (5 days at Good Contrivance Farm) and travel stipend of $200. Selectees schedule with the farm their preferred dates subject to availability. ~$1100 value. Click to learn more. (Paid subscribers will receive an early-bird submission portal at half price).
On to our standard content matters: Won’t you please check out last week’s issue if you missed it.
And here are some reminders:
Our letter can be cut off by emails! Please remember to click around any cut-off point and or try reading us on Substack.com or through the app.
Good Contrivance Farm Residency: Deadline Oct 31 for applications.
Call For Submissions: Reading for the December issues closes Nov 3 (Submissions are capped so remember to submit promptly). $200 honorarium + appear in 4 issues! If you are a paid subscriber to Ephemera, you can submit to poetry @ Ephemera for free as a membership perk! Free subscribers and anyone else can submit, too, with the reading fee and can submit up to 10 poems. Paying the reading fee will grant you 1-month paid access to Ephemera’s full letter each week. Learn more or:
In Brief…this week’s features:
Thoughts on Franz Liszt’s solo piano and orchestral piece Totentanz (Dance of the Dead).
Thoughts on H.R. Giger’s artwork and his terrible alien from the movie Alien.
October’s poet, Max McDonough and his third of four poems, “Python with a Dog Inside It.”
Our weekly lists:
3 magazines with open calls
3 recent job listings for editors and writers (very end).
**Become a sponsor. Get a banner and in-body segment to promote your book, class, event or non-literary offering. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org**
check out an Interesante selection on our hidden 6th sense.
Mini-essays to start!
Support us on Bookshop - See our past book recs and others. A highly curated list.
Merci. Danke. Kiitos. 고마워 Go-ma-wo. Cảm ơn. Xiè xiè.
While the temperature hiccups, and while we still have a handful of warmish days left as autumn, once ignited, now looks to dull quietly, its payload mostly delivered, we offer a toast to being and staying positive. Alight! Stay aloft, in mood and in spirit. Let generosity win, if not with your time—ahem, we do need to toil—then with your intentions, maybe in the form of blessings, maybe in the form of prayer, or good tidings, or however you like to practice gratitude and good will. We’ll call it a type of prayer, for ease of use, and point out that prayer is a very human endeavor. It’s a form of meditation—maybe the two are quite overlapping—and we might think of it on a quantum level as helping to set, reset, and guide our intentions internally so that we might more easily act according to the good externally. We can picture bits of light, electrons, abysmally short-lived Higgs bosons burping inaudible like too-low bassoons and quarks gluoning this way and that, those frenzied merchants, inside our minds as our thoughts build up our gray matter, as the neurons reorganize. Body-talk gets a little eerie at times…slightly morbid…which, seasonally speaking is not so out of line. Positivity, grace, consideration. These will make us shine as creative individuals as well as a community despite, and maybe particularly in the face of, fear and fright.
“Scaring someone's the hardest thing to do, and that's why most of these scary movies are not scary. They're sick, but not scary.”
Oh, but we need the fright. We, so many of us, treat fear as a pastime. In the right balance, in good faith and not at the behest of any ruler, overlord, governing entity, or usurping cadre, we delight and make use of fundamental emotions, explore the limits of existence and wade around in those near-edge abysses. The end lurks for us all, and as writers we do well to utilize this very human penchant for being gray. Ack! Ahem, we mean, oh, what angst it can bring to our lines, to a text, to a character or theme. Martial your dark notes, for these are useful even in the highest of literary, even in a science fiction, certainly memoir, and where better than a poem! Listen to the Liszt piece, our musical choice this week, for ideas on variations of a theme, on welding darkness to a march, to maybe even a benediction—take the result any which way, happy-dark endings, or tragedies galore. The ride, the mood, the penetration of being is what’s most important (of course you’ll want to stick any landing). We love to choose to be afraid. Let us bask in it one way or another, even the promise of a dank drink from a cool, cellar-stored cask of amontillado alights our vapors, eerily, of course. Eeriness to perfection is a horrific achievement.
Poetry by Max McDonough
Python with a Dog Inside It
Poor dog. Chained to the pine behind the camper RV
where else could it go but in?
White barb. Placental speckle
unwriggling. & the elastic ligament that walks
the skull, unhinged,
over the dog’s tufty head, neck, torso, tail.
There could be Heaven in there.
Pleasure in adrenaline, pleasure in uncoiling
the grip. Pulsed bristles, halogen
leaking from the vacant bocce courts…
But the chain yanks back—tangled around the dog
already in the throat’s long slink. & because
the dog, wet, fetal, slides
head-first in, the python with no mechanism
is tethered to what it did,
& to the pine whose fan of roots
anchors it to ground, the dog to it.
Everything wears its consequence, extending
beyond itself the visible.
This is what we see.
Pattered mud. Metal bowl, tipped over. Film of water
glinting white. Crisscrossing
darkening toward morning’s old man, the machete
he’ll bring, not yet.
the other world
chained to this world
by its stuff: a dog, a chain, a pine, a python.
Prizes/Awards/Stipends Fall ‘23
The Doctorow Prize awards $15,000 & publication by FC2 to writers who have published at least 3 books of fiction. They are an imprint of University of Alabama Press. $15k + Pub. $25 fee. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1
Malinda A. Markham Translation Prize awards $2,000 and publication by Saturnalia Books for a work of translation in poetry (Female translator of a female poet). Other prizes throughout the year too. $2k + Pub. $25 fee. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1
The Moth Poetry Prize awards €6,000 and publication for one poem. Many non-U.K. writers have won the prestigious award that is among the highest paying single poem awards. Current judge is Hannah Sullivan. €6k + Pub. €15 Fee. DEADLINE DEC 31
#Friend of Ephemera:
C&R Press Prizes award $1,000 & Publication in 3 categories, Fiction, NF, & Poetry. C&R has been publishing literature, 10 books a year since 2015, operating since 2005. $1k + Pub + Ad Campaign. $30 fee. FINAL EXTENDED DEADLINE OCT 31.