I am so grateful to Vermont Studio Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation for making fellowships for parent artists available at VSC. Without mine, I wouldn’t have been able to spend the last two weeks hard at work on my novel-in-progress! I met so many wonderful writers and artists, and the final draft of THE BOOK OF GOTHEL is almost finished!
The below photos are from photographer Howard Romero’s studio portrait project.
I’m grateful to a number of people to be packing my bags this week! There’s the National Endowment for the Arts, which funded the two-week fellowship and stipend I’ve received to Vermont Studio Center to work on my novel-in-progress, THE BOOK OF GOTHEL. There’s my Dean, who was kind enough to allow me to participate in the residency despite the fact that it begins during final exam week. There are my colleagues at Lake Superior State University, who agreed to administer my finals. There are my students, who have been so supportive of my absence. And there are of course my husband and daughter, who are being, perhaps, most supportive of all.
It has been a real challenge to maintain a balance between work and creative time, this year, since I’ve been serving as chair and teaching an overload, so this fortnight of dedicated time to focus on my manuscript is much-needed. I have about two thirds of the novel rewritten — this is the third draft, if you’re counting — and with all the dedicated time, I’m expecting to actually finish the rewrite. By the end of the two week residency, I hope to be line editing a printed copy of the whole manuscript. I finished the first draft at Vermont Studio Center when I was there for a month in 2015, so returning there to finish feels like coming full circle.
My travel itinerary on Saturday will be a little intense — both Vermont Studio Center and Sault Sainte Marie are pretty remote — but I’m looking forward to the quiet of Maverick Studios, to celebrating winter solstice in the snowy wilderness of Vermont, to seeing the Gihon River freeze. I’m looking forward to listening to my cleats prick the icy ground, after I suit up to leave my studio for a brisk walk to work through a narrative problem. I’m looking forward to quiet time, to thinking time, and to sending the full manuscript off to the agent who asked to read it when I’m through.
I received news yesterday that my debut poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin, won the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Elgin Chapbook Award! The award honors the best speculative poetry chapbook published in 2013-2014. I was honored to be nominated, and I’m just plain thrilled to win! I’ve been writing speculative poetry since I was a kid, and I’m amazed to have my work recognized by this wonderful organization whose grandmasters include luminaries like Ray Bradbury, Jane Yolen, and Bruce Boston. Read more about the chapbook here, and order a copy here.
Check out the beautiful cover of the Fall 2014 issue of Philadelphia Stories! I’m excited to see my story, “Camille,” second-place winner of the 2014 Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction, featured along with the first- and third-place stories.
My short story, “Camille,” has been selected by judge Julianna Baggott as the second-place winner of this year’s Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction! This is one I’ve been working on for a while — it’s the story that opens my novel retelling the Odysseus myth from the perspective of a Vietnam soldier’s wife — so I’m excited it has found a home. “Camille” will appear in the fall 2014 online issue of Philadephia Stories. I’ll post a link here when it’s up. Thanks to Julianna Baggott and everyone at Philadelphia Stories for their work on the competition and the McGlinn, Hansma, and Dry families for funding the prize!
I was thrilled to discover today that my novel-in-progress has received a 2013 Sustainable Arts Foundation Promise Award! Set in 12th century Germany and the present-day United States, ‘The Book of Gothel’ speculates about the historical roots of some of our most beloved European folktales. The grant will fund my trip to the Black Forest this summer to research the book. Here’s what the Sustainable Arts Foundation had to say about the manuscript:
“Mary McMyne’s novel-in-progress, The Book of Gothel, is one of our favorite kind of multi-layered fictions: it offers both a 12th century woman’s memoir and the story of the modern-day scholar who finds, translates, and annotates it. It is utterly inventive and a real pleasure to read. McMyne lives in northern Michigan with her family and teaches at Lake Superior State University.”
“My clear choice for winner, this manuscript in progress is stunning for a number of reasons. It is a retelling of the Iliad and the Odyssey that, quite frankly in my opinion, puts it up on the level of Derek Walcott’s Omeros. That is, while it follows Homer quite closely, it manages at the same time, in a completely natural and believable way, to portray American culture and politics in the 20th century, especially as they pertain to the Deep South. Even the names sound like normal Southern names: Penny (Penelope) has her husband Odell (Odysseus) shipped off to combat in Vietnam shortly after the birth of their son Teller (Telemachus). The writing itself is gorgeously lyrical, culturally hyper-observant, and acerbically intelligent. A real tour de force.”