And what an incredible ride it has been. I have grown both older and younger, wiser and more in love with the human heart. I can’t believe everything that has happened, actually happened! Or that I have done all that I have done!!
Here is a brief recap:
*I gave 25 readings, 16 of them in person, across the country reaching 800 people.
*I was invited to speak on four author panels, gave three craft presentations, and have been a guest author at three book clubs – with more of all of the above scheduled and soon to come.
*Sarabande, my publisher, has told me, “sales have been spectacular.” (But no numbers yet.)
*I have done four interviews and been invited to write three essays for literary journals, which all got published..
*The book has received rave reviews from SF Chronicle, Buzzfeed, Publisher’s Weekly, Litstack and Cannonball Read. Plus 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. For example:
A meaningful and utterly devastating collection… cements Campbell as a leading short story writer. BuzzFeed
A tour de force…Campbell’s stories slap us awake. San Francisco Chronicle
*More importantly, I have received numerous personal responses to The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs from individual readers like you. And from absolute strangers! “Wow!!” is a favorite, or “I LOVED YOUR BOOK!!,” “I was absolutely gobsmacked,” ”Brilliant,” “Masterful,” “Every time I read one of your stories I am gutted,” “Yours is one hell of a book,” etc. There is nothing a writer treasures more than an unsolicited response from an enthusiastic reader!
I want you to know that I have felt your arms around my shoulders every step of the way.
I have wept. Your just being there, opening my monthly posts, not to mention buying and reading my book, has meant so much to me.
If you wish to dig deeper, I invite you to go to my author website where you can get an overview of the year including all the blogettes, all the events (including recordings of readings if you missed them), interviews, reviews, and essays.
It seems fitting that my final experience just before the anniversary was my first time as an invited (and paid!!) guest author to an MFA program. Anthony D’Aries, the director of the MFA Writing Program at West Connecticut State University, loved my book so much when he discovered it that he said he HAD to invite me to be guest faculty for their winter residency. As luck would have it, the students were enthralled by my reading and my books sold out! I also gave a two-hour craft lecture/workshop, sharing my passion for language itself, our medium, about which, as an ex-poet, I am rather messianic.
Can you hear the difference in sound between love and hate? Hard and soft? Dark and light? Not their rhetorical meaning but their music? Listen to a sentence. Every syllable is either stressed or unstressed. Sounds echo throughout like notes in a musical measure. Of course, there are characters, a setting, a narrative arc, but listen to the song, the orchestra! All it takes is tuning in for a writer (or reader) to cultivate their musical ear.
UPCOMING NEWS & EVENTS: FEBRUARY, MARCH & APRIL
Associated Writing Programs Conference (AWP) Panels:
Ambition of the Short Story: Bringing the Short Form Front and Center
Thursday, March 9, 12:10-1:25pm
Seattle Conference Center
Journey to the Prize: Five Women, Five Prizewinning Debut Story Collections
Friday, March 10, 1:45-3pm
Seattle Conference Center
Central Oregon Writer’s Guild:
THE DYNAMIC POWER OF LANGUAGE (+ HEART):
How to Get Your Writing to Light Up in the Slush Pile in Paragraph One!!
Tuesday, April 12, 6pm
Downtown Bend Library
Anniversary Reading at Noe Valley Library, SF
Wednesday, April 26, 6:30pm
(Bay Area subscribers, please add this to your calendar)
*Winner of the 2020 Mary McCarthy Prize for Short Fiction
*2022 WNBA Great Group Reads Selection
(Women’s National Book Association)
*2022 Best Book Awards Finalist – American Book Fest
*NOTE: Most awards (long lists, short lists, and winners) won’t be announced until March/April, and even later. Please cross your fingers that some judge loves the book as much as you do!!
UPCOMING WRITING RESIDENCIES
*Santa Sabina, San Rafael (self-directed) February 3-8
*Playa, Summer Lake, Oregon (self-directed) April 6-16
*Applying to artist residency fellowships & advanced writing workshops for summer/fall
WRITING GOAL FOR 2023
My goal is to have a strong draft of Free Radicals, my next collection of nine stories, complete by early 2024. Thus my interest in residencies where I can immerse myself in my art. And workshops to help me question and develop what I have managed to accomplish alone. I am currently doing research at UCLA & Pacific Film Archives (“Toltec on Haight”); heading to a couple of the darkest places on Earth (“Astral”); revising “Agor Y Ffordd” (a Welsh woman’s answer to Kerouac’s On the Road) and “Dark to Themselves” (a raw and wild exploration of women love); and planning to go to Texas in May, the setting for “Memory Palace” (about a boy who loves bats and bat caves and who knows at three he is a girl).
HOW ELSE CAN YOU HELP ME NOW?
WRITE A BOOK REVIEW. Here is a link to instructions for posting a book review on Amazon. And a link to post a Goodreads review.
To inspire you, you can read the reviews that have come in so far on Amazon and Goodreads.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Gung Hay Fat Choy! It is the year of the Rabbit. And I am a rabbit!
Providential for 2023? Let’s hope so.