A Short Rant

OK. I just need to vent. The web hosting services I pay for from one of the big companies have been, to put it mildly, less than dependable. I really try to pride myself on being organized and effective in all my correspondence and it is so frustrating when a “higher power,” so to speak–especially one I’m paying hefty monthly fees for–lets me down.

The latest glitch (and there have been many!) is that I cannot remove/disable my auto-response message. It was in place from the middle of last week to yesterday, telling anyone who contacted me that I would be away from my e-mail through January 2. Last night I tried to remove that message. The trouble is all my correspondents–including, this morning, no fewer than five editors (at last count)–now must be thinking that I don’t know enough to turn the auto-response off. That I am not detail-oriented. That I don’t know what day it is.

Yes, I’ve checked with the web hosting company. Yes, they’re having a problem which is interfering with my ability to be–and appear–professional. No, they haven’t yet announced it on their own Web site. No, they don’t know when it will be fixed.

Well, I just hope it’s fixed soon. I don’t like being made to look sloppy. And I don’t like thinking that something I am already aware of and *want* to fix may negatively affect my writing practice, even in a small way.

Rant over. Thanks.

Attention, Writers from Washington State!

Artist Trust has made available its application for Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) awards. These awards (maximum, $1,400 each) “provide support for artist-generated projects, which can include (but are not limited to) the development, completion or presentation of new work.” There’s no application fee, and you have until February 24 to postmark your application.

Applicants “must be a practicing artist, 18 years of age or older by application deadline date, a generative artist, and a resident of Washington State at the time of application and when the award is granted. Applicants may NOT be a graduate or undergraduate matriculated student enrolled in any degree program. See application for more information on eligibility.” Note that the projects themselves need not take place in Washington State.

Note also that writers from a wide array of disciplines may apply. For this program, “literary arts” includes but is not limited to Creative Non-Fiction, Experimental Works, Fiction, Graphic Novels, and Poetry. “Media Arts” includes but is not limited to film, video, animation, screenplays, and teleplays. “Performance Arts” includes but is not limited to musical theater, playwriting, and theater (and others). And applicants practicing in emerging fields or with cross-disciplinary interests (such as digital arts) are also welcome to apply, though they are advised to “call if you have questions about whether to apply in this category.”

You can find out much more, and download the 2006 application, right here.

New Year, New Program

Among the new developments for writers in 2006 will be the launch of another low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. This time, Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, will serve as the program’s home. Concentrations will include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and writing for children and young adults. For more information, you can now visit the program’s website.

Web Wanderings

So I’ve been catching up on a few things as I wander around the Web. Here are a few writing opportunities I’ve stumbled on in the past few hours:

1) A few (1-3) freelance writers are sought for “an upcoming ‘Arts and Collecting’ issue of a 60,000-run custom business publication. The Spring issue is assigning storylines right now, and writers must be ready to accept assignments immediately. Deadline for work will be January 20, 2006. Compensation is $1.00/per word, payable upon publication in April, 2006.” Chicago-area writers are preferred, but others “with the right background” will be considered. For more information, click here.

2) And now for something completely different. Or different from an assignment that will pay $1.00/word, anyway. According to her craigslist post Sara Abrams is “preparing to publish a magazine in Charlotte for cat and/or dog lovers.” She seeks “some short articles or stories for [her] ‘dummy’ copy. Subject matter can be a story or an article based on grooming, vet care, etc.” $25 payment for a chosen story/article. Might be worth asking if she’ll take reprints….

3) And from The Writer magazine’s online forum comes this announcement from Linda Formichelli: “I’m working on a Chicken Soup Healthy Living book on back pain, and the editors are looking for touching, inspiring essays on–you guessed it–back pain!” Authors of selected essays will earn $200 on publication. Submit work by March 31, 2006. Read the full announcement here.

In related Web news…I want to thank Claire Zulkey over at the MBToolbox for highlighting some of my writing exercises. It’s always nice to know I might actually be helping other writers!

Summer Institutes in Literary Studies

The National Humanities Center has announced the topics for its 2006 Summer Institutes in Literary Studies. This year’s seminars will include “George Eliot’s Middlemarch,” led by Catherine Gallagher, and “Herman Melville’s Short Fiction: ‘Bartleby the Scrivener,’ Benito Cereno, and Billy Budd,” led by Andrew Delbanco.

I can tell you from personal experience that these seminars are worth checking out. You can learn about eligibility, application instructions, and more right here.