Occasional Notes from a Practicing Writer

It’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these posts. But a few new bylines are motivating me to do so.

First, Paper Dragon‘s new issue includes my flash essay “At the Movies with Margaret, My Sister, and Me.” This piece was inspired by a foray last year to see the film adaptation of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It took me a long time to place, albeit with some super-encouraging rejections passes along the way. (I was just too attached to it to give up on it.) In fact, Paper Dragon initially “declined” it, too! They followed up with a message saying that they’d done so in error and still wanted the piece if they could have it.

Reader, they could!

My only regret is that as the production process continued I was told that it wouldn’t be possible to embed video of the key moment I’d written about (and hyperlinked) within my submission’s opening words. Since I can share that moment here, though, I invite you to come back and take a peek after you’ve read the piece. (The photo below is a screenshot I grabbed from the film’s trailer, which, lucky for me, includes the exact moment I was writing about.)

still image from the film/trailer showing Margaret looking back from the family car at her grandmother

Next (and this one, you may have already seen me share elsewhere): “Breaking News” is another flash-micro piece of creative nonfiction, this time published by Green Golem. Set in the early hours of October 7, 2023, it was drafted in a writing workshop conducted by Writing on the Wall. I’m still overwhelmed by the art that Dan Harris created to accompany the piece.

art created to accompany the essay, with a mix of imagery from the U.S. and Israel, along with Shabbat/Jewish symbols.

And speaking of October 7: So much of my day-to-day activity remains deeply connected with that day and its aftermath. A lot of that continues to unfold behind-the-scenes.

But this week did bring the publication of “A Tale of Lists and Blacklists,” an essay commissioned by Hadassah magazine. (In case you missed some earlier, related work, you might also want to check out this essay, published with JTA in April.) Also relevant here may be a mention of my ongoing curation of “After October 7: Readings, Recordings, and More” and cautionary information collected under the title “Writers, Beware.”

More generally speaking, The Practicing Writer 2.0, the monthly newsletter that I produce for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction, celebrated its 20th birthday in February. It’s been free from the start, and it will remain so—but recently, a friend has encouraged me (strongly) to at least ask anyone who’s interested in supporting it financially to do so. I’m mulling over the best ways to do that.

So that’s a quick update. Let’s see how long it takes for the next one!

a notepad and a couple of pens.

6 thoughts on “Occasional Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Mazel Tov on all your recent successes, Erika! Your placements encourage us all!!!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thank you!

  2. Erika, I loved your flash piece on “….It’s Me, Margaret”. While I didn’t (deliberately) see the movie, the scene and your story is so resonant, particularly in how powerful a visual trigger can be for our own memories, returning to us through visceral responses to one or more images. So pleased for you that this piece was placed in a good ‘home’!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      You really “got” it, Carol–thank you!

      1. Gail Esterman says:

        I really enjoyed both these pieces. I am new to your newsletter and happy to be here.

        1. Erika Dreifus says:

          Thank you–and welcome!

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