Best of the Web Guest Blogger: Myfanwy Collins

Dzanc Books is publishing Best of the Web 2008, and because 1.) I think it's a great idea for a book and 2.) there are few things I wouldn't do for Dan Wickett and his Emerging Writers Network, I agreed to host one of the writers included in the anthology as a guest blogger here. (Other websites are doing the same thing, and I will post a link if Dan or anybody else creates a post with links out to them all -- and here's a collection of links to the others.)

The guest blogger here at The Mumpsimus is
Myfanwy Collins, whose "The Daughters" is included in the book. Dan selected The Mumpsimus as the place that Myfanwy would visit because we are both New Hampshire writers, a distinction that truly makes us members of an elite. ("Elite? Oh, so that's what you're calling it these days, Cheney..." Dear readers, please allow me my delusions.)

The items below were, I believe, intended to be separate blog posts, but I'm not going to have time to post anything more today, and I don't trust Blogger with future posting, so you're going to get all four pieces at once. And I might even be able to tempt Myfanwy into sending me a few more...

“The Daughters”
“The Daughters” is a story that I wrote within Kim Chinquee’s online workshop “Hot Pants” and I was extremely lucky to find generous and enthusiastic editors in Eric Spitznagel and Steven Seighman from Monkeybicycle where the story was originally published.

I’ve been told the story is creepy, but to me it is childhood, and for some of us, childhood is the threat of having a paperclip jammed in your ear.

Online Publishing
I’ve encountered much debate on the validity of online publishing. Is it as good as print? Why would you give your writing away for free (this is always asked even though many online venues pay and is this all about pay, anyway?)? Yadda, yadda, yadda. There never seems to be a consensus. Rather, people just seem to like to argue about it.

When I was first exposed to ezines, I’ll be honest, I thought they were lesser than and that I would never send my work their way. Then I actually read some of them and lo and behold I found that they were publishing great, exciting, subversive stuff.

I wanted in!

My first fiction publication was at Pig Iron Malt and I’ve never looked back. To my knowledge, only good things have come my way from publishing online. My work has been exposed to many readers (and editors, who have solicited my work based on what they’ve read). I’ve made money. I’ve made friends.

I’ve been heard. And now I even work for an excellent online publisher—Narrative Magazine—where I am an assistant editor.

Best of the Web
I’m grateful to the fine people at DZANC and to Nathan Leslie for Best of the Web. It’s a positive project not only for the writers involved but also for the editors of the ezines. Whenever online publishing can get more attention and be seen as valid and necessary, I’m happy.

As for the book, I think it’s a fine and eclectic collection of work and I find that I’m already looking forward to what’s coming next year.

Living in New Hampshire
I live in New Hampshire. I live in a bog in New Hampshire. It’s dark here and one day last summer there was a moose in my driveway (I’m not joking). Before that, a bear in the backyard. A fisher lives underneath my porch (you don’t even know what a fisher is? Do you?). All of this would probably lead you to believe that I live deep in the wild, but I don’t: I can be at Target in ten minutes.

Living here hasn’t affected the creative aspect of my writing. It does, however, make it more difficult to be involved in the peripheral writing activities you would find in a more urban area, like readings, workshops, etc. They are here, I just have to work to find them.

With all of that said, for such a small state, New Hampshire has its share of writers—past and present—who have changed the way people read.

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