Writing Shorter Works
Yes, it’s (comparatively) easy to write a novel because you don’t have
to examine every single noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb, and conjunction
and decide if you can keep it or throw it out. When you’re writing short
form, you have to write tighter prose and forswear meretricious decoration.
In other words, throw out most of your modifiers and use nouns and verbs
that work hard. That’s hard to do, especially if, like me, you adore every
word in the Oxford English Dictionary. (Well, let me confess that I don’t
actually know every word in the OED, but if I did I’m sure I’d adore them
all. I’m that word-crazy.)
But one of the lessons I learned (painfully) in graduate school came from
my major professor, who kept Speaking Firmly to me about “the art of concision.”
As sports writer Red Smith famously said, “There’s nothing to writing.
All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Well, when we’re
writing short form, we don’t (so to speak) open an artery and let the blood
(our novel) gush out. We just give a vein a tiny prick and let the
precious droplets fall out. The blood (our writing—am I pushing this metaphor
too far?) has to work lots harder.
I’ve been anthologized several times, most recently, “Seeking What Is
Lost: An Isian Meditation,” in
Waters of Life: A Devotional Anthology for Isis and Serapis (The
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, September, 2009. Other short works of mine
published in anthologies include an autobiographical story, “Inanna on
the Rocks,” in
Celebrating the Pagan Soul (Citadel, 2005), edited by Laura Wildman,
and “A Vision of Sacred Fire” in
Sacred Fire, edited by Maril Crabtree (Adams Media, 2006).
A list of my articles published in print magazines and e-zines since
You’ll notice that I’m managing to sneak a lot of Found goddesses into
“Belief, Deity, and the Blessed Bees,”
Matrifocus.com, Beltane, 2002. I've also written a few book reviews
“Celtic Sex Magic: An Interview with Druid Jon C. Hughes,”
Whole Life Times (August, 2002). This druid claimed that the virgin
was the altar. I won't comment any further.
“Nutritia,” a Found Goddess,
The Beltane Papers, Issue 28, Autumn, 2002
Occult Adventures with Walter Troll,” a recollection of channeling
Circle Magazine, Winter, 2002. You can read about me and Walter
elsewhere on this site.
“Serenissima, a Found Goddess of Transformation,” “Though the Darkness:
A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” “Living Soulfully,” “Auntie Gravity, An Antic
Cronish Goddess,” and “Practicing Her Presence,”
Soulfulliving.com, June, December, 2002, January, April, and June,
2003. This is a lovely New Age site.
“A New Way To Look at the Goddess,” an introduction to the Queen aspect
of the Fourfold Goddess,
The Beltane Papers, Issue 32, Spring, 2004
“Let There Be Luxury and Good Fortune: Altars to Lakshmi and Lady Fortuna:
Two Altars in My Home,” with photographs (see below),
Circle Magazine, Spring/Summer, 2004
“The New Goddess Pillar Meditation,”
Circle Magazine, Spring, 2005
“The Ritual Language of Flowers,”
Circle Magazine, Summer, 2005
“Garlicamma,” the Found Goddess of Healing,
Circle Magazine, Fall, 2005
“Practicing the Presence of the Goddess,”
The Beltane Papers, Issue 38, Summer 2006
“Found Goddesses:” “Chi-Chi, the Goddess of Feng Shui, and Sha-Na-Na,
Her Evil Twin Sister,”
Global Goddess Oracle (Winter, 2006) This was my first column
of a regular series in this terrific e-zine.
“Breathing Every Day,” with sidebar, “Puffy, Found Goddess of Oxygen,”
SageWoman, Issue 71, Winter, 2006. I think I've been writing
and reviewing books for
SageWoman since about 1995. I may be the only writer who's
ever put an intentional pun in the magazine.
“How the Goddess Led Me Home, An Account of Homelessness,”
Awakened Woman e-zine, January 1, 2007. True story.
“Beauty Asleep, a Modern Fairy Tale,”
O’Brien’s Literary Speculator, Vol. 1, Issue 1. Although Jerry's
magazine didn't thrive (he couldn't get enough good speculative fiction),
he's writing a wonderfully funny novel about demons and angels and love
in his home town, Brooklyn. We're currently revising it.
“Why We Need to Claim the Queen,”
SageWoman, Issue 74, Spring, 2008
“Secrets and Revelations: They’re Literature, They’re Gossip, They’re
ForeWord Magazine, November/December, 2008. I also wrote a lot
of book reviews for this magazine.
“Queening Through,” columns on the queen aspect of the fourfold goddess
and the lives of women,
SageWoman, beginning in the Summer, 2009, issue
“Some Goddesses and Ideas for Spring,”
Goddess Pages, Spring, 2009. The editor of the Goddess Pages
is Geraldine Charles, with whom I made friends when I was in England. I
stayed at her home in Glastonbury, and we drove to Stratford-upon-Avon,
where we spent saw the RSC production of
“Preparing Manuscripts for Publication,”
American Tarot Association Quarterly Journal, Spring, 2009. The
journal's editor, Liz Hazel, is the creator of the Whispering Tarot.
Brief essays in “Toe-to-Toe” debates on topics of interest to pagans,
PanGaia (numerous issues)
This is the photo of the altar to Lakshmi and chocolate that was published
Circle Magazine. It's filled with red jewelry, red Chinese good-fortune
envelopes, red Christmas tree ornaments, red origami cranes, and gold
and silver ribbon. And every kind of chocolate candy I could find, including
chocolate money. A couple years after this photo was taken, I added
a photo of Michael Ball to the collage. Notice the famous 1991
Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore; that's "more great goddess." The
whole altar is lots busier nowadays because I keep adding more red things
I’ve also been writing book reviews for fifteen or twenty years that have
been published in
The Blessed Bee,
The Beltane Papers,
Whole Life Times,
ForeWord, and other magazines I can't remember. And I’ve been writing
Llewellyn Witches Calendar since 2004.