Ephemera Newsletter Iss Sept.2
(Creativity and Motivation Weekly)
Welcome to the Ephemera Newsletter, Prijatelji! (Croatian for “friends”)
Normally pay-walled, September’s second newsletter has a sponsor who has supported us now across several issues, so as a thank you to you readers for supporting us, and in honor of Amber Petty, we are making this issue entirely available to all subscribers. Remember to keep reading below the cutoff point if you are enjoying via your inbox—the letter is too long for most email services, alas.
Remember, becoming a paid subscriber, even at the monthly level, grants full access behind the paywall for our weekly issues, as well as other subscriber perks (discounts on submitting, early access, and some others). Although we have occasional sponsors, we are a reader supported endeavor. If you like our content, we hope you’ll consider supporting our humble letter. Thanks-thanks!
Check out last week’s issue if you missed it. And here are some reminders:
We’re redoubling our message to access the full letter with cut-offs. This email may get abridged. 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: Sept 15 we open for applications.
Call For Submissions: $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. Now accepting submissions for the September issue.
In Brief…this week’s features:
Thoughts on Fleetwood Mac’s, “Dreams.”
Thoughts on Surrealist artist: Salvador Dali.
September’s poet, Alison Luterman, and her second of four poems, “Blues for Billie.”
Our weekly lists:
3 magazines with open calls
3 recent job listings for editors and writers.
**Sponsor and #friend of Ephemera, Amber Petty.
More ephemera: check out an Interesante selection on rare and enticing (maybe even surreal) apples; Book Recs, bonus content, and our 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.
We might be prematurely aged, for our bones crave the grease of summer heat, and when the cool northern air begins to trickle south, so too comes the slight ache, a chill too cool to suppress by will alone. We know, we know, these early fall-ish days might quickly retreat from the dog days of summer yapping back in response to this tease. Transitions are coming. Yet, we’re not quite ready to concede to the tides. But when it’s cool-to-cold in the morning and the afternoon blazes hot as if it’s August, the sensation is surreal, maybe. Movement of states of being, when steadfast categories bleed into each other, water turns triple point, we have cause for reflection. Our patterns are disrupted. Much like waking from a deep REM to a shout in the hall, a wildly too-early yard worker three times trying to catch the motor of his edger, vroom, vroom, vroom, our states of mind intermix and are no longer defined. Why is there so much meaning, so little understood of these moments? Why must we fill in our comprehension of these flow-moments with twisted lure, inadequate aphorisms, mantras not quite meaningful, or stark denials, the type of admonishments that create taboos? Well, for us, for the creative world we suggest, these spaces might be mini-mines rife with real anti-real, yes-no, fantastical and too-real scrumptiously useful kerfuffle.
“Begin by learning to draw and paint like the old masters. After that, you can do as you like; everyone will respect you.”
How can you expound on surreal experiences without first having managed, at least with an above average proficiency, the tools, strategies, techniques, and mainstays of realism? We’ll do well to follow the art masters on this, Dali and Picasso, and I’m sure many contemporary artists who can paint photo-real portraits, render nearly anything convincingly to the waking, rational mind. That’s certainly tough, but a goal we ought to aspire to. Then, however, let’s examine the tenets of Surrealism, examine those spaces that don’t confirm to what our realist, here-and-now, concrete mind tells us shouldn’t, isn’t, or can’t possibly be and, even if only experimentally, learn to render those phase transitions to our readers. There’s always the cotton texture of dreams to portray in confessional poetry or even historical fiction. We bid you, there’s a need to know anti-spaces, to make sense of persistent and highly memorable decontextualized images that the mind spits up. Figurative language aids us. Developing the nomenclature of oddities, too—there are taxonomies of the strange, ephemeral, and unexplained. Use dreams, be familiar with surrealist thought and ambitions. Wield wildly via trans-realist reads, or preciously when the context and eminently real truth calls for it. Take note of the bizarre as the naturalist a rare specimen, or flirt with abandon—without reservation, drink in hand. Sometimes you need to kick the tires several times. Depending on your state, they might kick back.
~We’re so happy you’re here!~
**Free Workshop From Amber Petty
Improve your pitching process and skills. This is an extremely important tool to have as a writer, particularly if you want to gain freelance paid gigs, and build your publication resume. Take a look at Amber Petty’s offering:
From Amber Petty:
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Find out what magazine, newspaper, and online publication editors are looking for, how to come up with non-fiction sellable story ideas, and you’ll finish a pitch during the class.
Usually, pitching is a pain. Not with this workshop. It'll be easy, repeatable, and dare I say…fun! Maybe not fun, but a whole lot easier.
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Poetry by Alison Luterman
Blues for Billie
You can pick apart the flower and never find its scent--
Tear all the petals off the flower,
Tell me where that magic went.
Elegant as satin, intimate as breath,
My voice wraiths up like smoke rings
Around a slender branch,
And then my vibrato blossoms,
you can hear it float
and gather; hear the tease, the coax
of it--something lightning-struck,
or maybe I just don't give a fuck--
no, it's something tremulous that wants to live.
It draws you closer. It draws you in
It says See what they did
to this beauty--
blood in every note,
and blood at the root.
You can hear it rising from the hospital bed
where they've chained me by a slender foot.
Music: Fleetwood Mac
In conjunction with this month’s art theme, Surrealism—a movement that drew heavily from dreams—we’re exploring music that speaks on dreams. One of the most well-known songs of all time with the word ‘Dream’ in the title is Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” written by Stevie Nicks and appearing on the 1977 Rumours album. “Dreams” appears on the Rolling Stone top tracks ever list from 2021 as the number 9 song all time. We’re not sure if that ranking influenced the following statistic, but the song currently has 1.34 billion streams on Spotify, which is remarkable—it was the band’s only number one hit in the US. It’s an easy listen, deceptively simple, wistful, and remonstrating. Nicks wrote the song about her impending breakup with guitarist, fellow band member, and ten-year romantic partner Lindsey Buckingham. It’s a classic.
We come to “Dreams” in a roundabout way, since literally, this song isn’t terribly driven by a look into dreams, is not surreal, and doesn’t mean to examine the bizarre. It’s not a surrealist piece of music, but we’re interested in how dreams are utilized, and, in this case, how the surreal components of fantasy are actively rejected in this song, particularly when Nicks sings, “And have you any dreams you’d like to sell?” which suggests, when considered along with an line form the chorus, “Players only love you when they’re playing,” that dreams can be used to manipulate. They can also be false, misleading, uncanny. Whereas the surrealists looked to their dreams to gain access to their subconscious mind, a space many felt held greater truth, Nicks suggests that she agrees with Shakespeare that dreams are “the children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy; Which is as thin of substance as the air.” We’re of two minds, and suggest being so might be a useful angle to take for poets and writers.
On Sept 15: Good Contrivance Residency
Applications open September 15. 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 have been sent an early-bird submission portal at half price).
Writers Submit: 3 Magazines
The new online magazine Arboreal has published some great work. They’re reading for their 4th edition on the theme, Fresh Hell, which comes from a famous Dorothy Parker quote. They are reading in all genres. DEADLINE OCTOBER 15
The once in print magazine is now an online magazine with a futuristic look. Published by Vermont College of Fine Arts since 2002, the magazine has published great work in all genres. DEADLINE DECEMBER 1
Appearing online & in print, the magazine is one of Canada’s most prestigious poetry journals & has published for over 40 yrs. They pay $50CA per piece & contributors' copies. We suggest submitting well before the deadline. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31
Weekly Artist: Salvador Dali
As we explore more about Surrealism, we wanted to focus on the most well-known artist of the movement, Salvador Dali, a man born of Figueres, Spain, in 1904, who spent his formative artist years in Paris, who stated one time that he was his dead brother reincarnated (amongst many other bizarre and playful statements delivered throughout his life). There’s so much written about Dali that we find it difficult to parse it for your consumption in our letter. It might be best to bid you take a google trip for a couple of hours, exploring not only his art, but his myriad bizarre TV interviews, his movies, his stunts, and the many pieces written about him. Dali is a man who took his adopted movement, the surrealist movement, so seriously he became a man who not only painted and sculpted according to its tenets, he also performed them—it’s said he showed up to an event in a Rolls Royce filled with cauliflower. For this reason, you can find much writing critical of his art and persona, particularly in his mid to later years as his performances, interviews, movies, collaborations, demeanor, and even his painting, of which it’s said he became too pop-couture, too kitsch. Yet, in later life, he was very successful financially, illustrating and starring in commercials, for instance.
But let’s focus on the art which delivered him into the burgeoning surrealist scene in the 1930s and later into the arms of the American market. In university, Dali used an array of styles, learning, first, the techniques of the masters, such as Velázquez and Goya. Per the quotation attributed to Dali in our mini essays above, Dali, much like Picasso, who was one of Dali’s idols, sought to master realist techniques before branching off into experimentation. Introduced into the Paris scene by fellow surrealist Joan Miro, Dali took up the tenets of surrealism, particularly taking interest in dreams and the juxtaposition of the bizarre with the mundane or rational. As with many practitioners of the movement, Freud’s theories played a significant role in how Dali found content; he went deep into his mind, into dreams, drawing from the subconscious and, it’s reported early in his career, used hallucinogens. It’s unclear when Dali’s behavior began to evolve and why—there are attributions to his mother’s death when he was 16, to a traumatizing experience viewing images of venereal disease when he was a child, the hallucinogens, and a dedication to his art to the point of performance—but it became bizarre enough for expulsion from his surrealist group started by André Breton.
“The only difference between me and a madman is that I’m not mad.”
― Salvador Dali
Dali’s dreamiest works are compelling to us because they do speak to the subconscious in a relatable way, although perhaps in the way of someone from the early 20th century, whose schooling predates TV and computers. His was a classical education in many ways, and his images often deal with classical subject matter, albeit with dream-like representation, with odd blips of the subconscious mixed in. We wonder about writers not only employing the spaces of thought of Dali-like surrealists, but also the persona, the ways of being of Dali (watch videos!), and how the expression of self outwardly might aid and affect our writing, what we’re capable of writing about. Keeping a dream journal seems like a useful practice. Learning to make of the subconscious something that seems real in the eyes or mind of the reader.
A biopic with Robert Pattison playing Dali, called Little Ashes.
Interesante: Apple’s Around the World
From: Atlas Obscura
— (5 min read/5 min study)
“Due to the demands of industrial farming, only a handful of apple varieties make it to stores, and even of those, only the most uniform specimens sit on the shelves.”
This Interesante we’re getting into simple seasonal pleasures: it’s apple-picking season. And apples are lovely. Many Americans have a love affair with the fruit at some point, particularly in childhood, and ours continues to this day as we introduce an article that talks about the rarest breeds of apples—apropos, many of them look surreal. There are some weird ones! Remember, some of our earliest literature uses apples as a metaphor—these are a ripe fruit. Be healthy and head to an orchard this fall and remind yourself of what freshly picked fruit tastes like (most apples at the market are months old, or even older)—Read the article.
Prizes/Awards/Stipends Spring ‘23
Alice James Book Award gives $2,000 & Publication to a full-length book of poetry. They’ve published many notable books by prominent authors and have non prize submission period. $2k + Pub. $30 fee. DEADLINE OCTOBER 16
Tulip Tree Review gives a $1,000 award for a piece of fictional humor under 10,000 words and publication in the upcoming print Humor edition. They also accept other genres of work for publication. $1k + Pub. $20 fee. DEADLINE OCTOBER 17
The American Academy in Rome offers a number of fellowships of $16,000 and $30,000 in a number of fields, including all genres of creative writing. $16k and $30k + fellowship. $40/$50 Fees. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1
#Friend of Ephemera: Deadline Today
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 + Media Campaign. $30 fee. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15.
Bookstore: Guides, Gifts & Classics
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Coffee Table Dali:
Last Week: Surrealism by Taschen—
»»»Remember last week’s letter has urgent deadlines!«««
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Poetry at Ephemera:
Good Contrivance Residency…Opens Sept 15. Deadline Oct 31. With an early bird discount for paid subscribers: