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While I absolutely loved giving away copies of Anne Germanacos’ books, I was terrified to give away copies of my own. Mostly because I was afraid no one would enter the contest.

But my blog followers and especially my Facebook friends took mercy on me and supported this little endeavor and made it into a really fun, really gratifying event. Each comment that I read from followers, friends, friends of friends, relatives of friends, and friends of relatives made me well up with gratitude, and I keep thinking of a phrase I learned from my Norwegian relatives, “Tusen tak!” A thousand thanks.

In fact, I’m so thankful that I’ve decided to give away a third copy of my book. (I’d give away more, but I only have three copies of my book right now.)

So without further ado, congratulations to these THREE winners of the book giveaway! Each winner receives a signed copy of my book, For Sale By Owner.

First Winner: GARY LEISING, Comment #25


Second Winner: MRUMIS, Comment #64


Third Winner: KSCHWENKMEYER, Comment #7

[It seems that WordPress doesn’t allow for Random Number Generators to be coded onto their blog posts, so I’ve taken screenshots of the winning results.]

I’ll contact each of you individually about getting your mailing information. Or you can send me your info directly through the CONTACT widget on the right-hand side of the blog. It comes directly to my email address. Or, you know, message me on Facebook.

Thanks again to everyone who entered. A new interview posts tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to having more book giveaways here soon!

And a Happy Bloomsday to all…

yes I said yes I will yes

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I’m giving away TWO signed copies of my book, For Sale By Owner. Starting…now! Contest runs from 12 noon today to 12 noon tomorrow (eastern time, June 15-16). You’ve got 24 hours to enter by posting a comment. Please post a comment. It’ll be embarrassing if no one wants a free copy of my book. Especially if all you have to do is post a comment.

Why am I giving away my book? No, it’s not because no one will buy it. Anne Germanacos and I were so excited to have our interview, “How Anne Germanacos Became a Writer,” featured on Freshly Pressed that we decided to celebrate by giving away signed copies of our books. Anne gave away FIVE signed copies of her gorgeous story collection, In the Time of the Girls. The contest was here, and the winners were announced here.

This is me a couple weeks ago in Ohiopyle, PA visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house. Where are you traveling?

HOW TO ENTER

Update 6/16/12: Contest closed. Thanks so much for entering! Results posted here.

Post a comment on this post before Saturday, June 16 at 12:00 noon (Eastern time). That is in 24 hours from now. (Don’t know what to say in a comment? Tell me where you have traveled, will travel, want to travel this year.)

Your comment number will be your entry number. A Random Number Generator will select the TWO winners. If only one person enters, that person gets both books. If no one enters, I will read both copies of my book, alone, with a bottle of wine. When the bottle is empty, I will fill it with my tears.

One comment per person, please. With one exception: If you reblog this post or mention it on your blog, your pingback counts as an eligible second entry.

ABOUT For Sale By Owner

In Kelcey Parker’s tales of twisted domesticity, a woman gives her family up for Lent; a mother finds redemption at Chuck E. Cheese; a former best-friend-forever wreaks baby shower havoc; a bride swallows a housefly at the altar; and a suburbanite’s obsession with memory books puts her family in jeopardy. These stories offer a contemporary and dryly funny view of marriage, parenting and loss. Fans of Lorrie Moore and Aimee Bender will find kinship in Parker’s wit, her generosity of spirit and the confidence of her voice. This debut collection marks the appearance of a writer with a blunt and beautiful perspective on family, home, and an evolving American subculture.

Congratulations to these five winners of the book giveaway! Each winner receives a signed copy of In the Time of the Girls by Anne Germanacos. Thanks to all who entered. Stay tuned to win a copy of my book, For Sale By Owner (tomorrow?).

First Winner: SHANNON, Comment #22

Second Winner: NASHVILLE PETE, Comment #1

Third Winner: SAFARI GIRL, Comment #7

Fourth Winner: ALEXANDRA, Comment #4

Fifth Winner: AMY, Comment #32

[It seems that WordPress doesn’t allow for Random Number Generators to be coded onto their blog posts, so I’ve taken screenshots of the winning results.]

I’ll contact each of you individually about getting your mailing information. Or you can send me your info directly through the CONTACT widget on the right-hand side of the blog. It comes directly to my email address.

Stay tuned for a giveaway of my book, For Sale By Owner – maybe tomorrow? In the meantime, enjoy these collages created from the cover of In the Time of the Girls. Artist Nicola Mason picked up postcards of Anne’s book at the AWP conference and made these gorgeous collages.

“Girl Time,” Nicola Mason, Mixed-Media Collage on Plaster

“The Apprentice Witch Conjures the Sinister Letter X,” Nicola Mason, Mixed-Media Collage on Canvas

See more mixed-media art by Nicola Mason at her web site: http://nicolamason.com/

YAY!

Anne Germanacos and I were so excited to have our interview, “How Anne Germanacos Became a Writer,” featured on Freshly Pressed that we decided to celebrate by giving away signed copies of our books.

WIN A SIGNED COPY OF IN THE TIME OF THE GIRLS

First, Anne Germanacos will give away FIVE signed copies of her gorgeous story collection, In the Time of the Girls:

HOW TO ENTER

Update (6/14/12 at noon): Contest closed. Results posted here!

Post a comment on this post before Thursday, June 14 at 12:00 noon (Eastern time). That is in 24 hours from now. (Don’t know what to say in a comment? Tell us your favorite author or book.)

Your comment number will be your entry number. A Random Number Generator will select the FIVE winners.

One comment per person, please. With one exception: If you reblog this post or mention it on your blog, your pingback counts as an eligible second entry.

Stay tuned . . .  in a few days, I’ll give away signed copies of my short story collection, For Sale By Owner.

As writers, we live double lives: lived once in the world of others, and again, in the quiet of our own minds. It takes a certain amount of will and courage to leave with regularity the circle of humanity in order to enact a kind of theft, which is one aspect of what the writing life seems to be.

Anne Germanacos is the author of the short story collection In the Time of Girls (BOA Editions). Born in San Francisco, she has lived in Greece for over thirty years. Together with her husband, Nick Germanacos, she ran the Ithaka Cultural Studies Program on the islands of Kalymnos and Crete, and taught writing, literature, and Modern Greek. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has appeared in over eighty literary reviews and anthologies, including Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2009. She and her husband have four children and five grandchildren. They live on Crete and in San Francisco.

Web page: http://www.annegermanacos.com/

Update June 13-14, 2012: Celebrating Freshly Pressed with a book giveaway! Click here for a chance to win a signed copy of Anne’s book.

Read more by and about Anne:

Book: In the Time of the Girls
Short Story: “Killing the Husband”
Interview: A Writer’s Dictionary
Short Story: “Whore of Babel”
Book Review at Blackbird
Flashes: “Drops (rain, lemon, tear) Cough!

How Anne Germanacos Became a Writer

This is the next installment in the How to Become a Writer interview series, which will post here at Ph.D. in Creative Writing every other Sunday until I run out of writers to interview, or until they stop saying yes. Each writer answers the same 5 questions. Thanks to Donna Miscolta for recommending Anne, and thanks to Anne for saying yes!

1.  Why did you want to become a writer?

Writing brought the world into a different focus while conferring something that felt like a secret, additional self.

The desire began with this revelation of clarity, difference, separateness and power. (I’m sure my receptivity to the revelation was encouraged by need.)

Writing offered another body (in words) that could hold the many shifting parts, adding new ones when they occurred. It allowed me to go my own way, holding out the possibility even in situations that required me to go against my own grain.

2.  How did you go about becoming a writer?

I became a writer by writing every day, creating, rewriting, sometimes destroying in order to make space for something new.

As writers, we live double lives: lived once in the world of others, and again, in the quiet of our own minds. It takes a certain amount of will and courage to leave with regularity the circle of humanity in order to enact a kind of theft, which is one aspect of what the writing life seems to be.

If we steal in the right way—from ourselves and the world—we may fashion (and be rewarded with) a gift. I love the ecology of writing, the way it turns nothing into something, generally without too much damage to the environment.

Painting by Belinda Bryce

My writing is in constant (often unconscious) conversation with the books I read. Writing for many years without an audience, reading gave me a sense of the human community we’re all a part of, and written companions. It made me want to write something worthy of that conversation.

More than anything, though, it’s likely I became a writer by a certain act of daring: I left home at seventeen to live in another country, married and had children young, taught, and wrote. I’m sure it was the desire to be a writer—to make a life that would nourish and replenish me as a writer—that allowed me to make such a bold decision. Being in love didn’t hurt, either.

3.  Who helped you along the way, and how?

When I was 12, a teacher encouraged me to write daily, and because I was a little in love with him, I did. The next teacher who responded to my writing returned my love, and so we’ve been married for many years. Having someone by my side who never faltered in supporting my desire to write helped tremendously to create, if not smooth, the path. (There is no smooth path to becoming a writer.)

Painting by Belinda Bryce

My children required me to be strong enough to be both a mother and a writer. In order to teach, I had to read carefully and find ways of conveying a passion for language to young people who were sometimes more interested in other endeavors. Sometimes, though, the intensity of their focus made class worthy of a story!

Graduate school gave me fine teachers, a sympathetic audience and wonderful, supportive writing friends. This community was both preparation for and launch toward the book that would garner a small audience.

4.  Can you tell me about a writer or artist whose biography inspires you?

Rather than looking to a particular writer or artist’s biography, I take inspiration from any life along the way and hold my life against any number of lives, measuring, to know how far I have to go, as a person first, always, because without the primacy of the life—both lived and imagined—there’s no story.

I recently read a biography of the artist Joan Mitchell and was fascinated by the descriptions of the way she saw—she had an eidetic memory and synesthesia, to boot! It sometimes helps me to understand the way I move through space and time, trying to make something of it, by stepping away from words toward another medium, and one I don’t work in.

I recently read a biography of the artist Joan Mitchell and was fascinated by the descriptions of the way she saw—she had an eidetic memory and synesthesia, to boot!

I admire the work of Homer, Padgett Powell, WG Sebald, Geoff Dyer, Isaac Babel. Grace Paley, Adam Phillips, Anne Carson. David Markson, David Malouf. Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson. I could go on.

The work they produced against their days helps sustain me—as a human being and a writer. Also, some of these writers have created works that seem to lend validity to certain less conventional aspects of my own writing.

I know that doesn’t exactly answer the question. I guess I’m resistant!

5.  What would you say in a short letter to an aspiring writer?

Minimize doubt. Find a way—a method, a trick, a psychological tic to dissolve doubt’s potency. You will most likely always be working alongside it, so best to have some useful way of repelling it. I write against it, a little like diving into a cold pool of water—scary but invigorating. Generally, it does the trick. But if that doesn’t work, get up and do something else. Forget about it for a while.

Be gentle with yourself—you will find so many reasons not to be. But it’s most likely your kindness toward yourself (I’m not saying self-indulgence) that will help you alongside the rigors of constant, daily writing.

I can’t speak to a practice that is anything less than daily. It’s the only one I know, so it’s the one I peddle.

By writing daily, you make it your life.

And one more thing: publication is the icing on the cake. The act of writing itself gives you a way to be in the world and is its own reward. Publication just makes it okay, finally, to actually mention that you’re a writer.

[A] mysterious poet visitor was sitting in an undergraduate workshop at the U of MN. Someone said he was a famous poet from China, and honestly I don’t remember what his name was. I wouldn’t have known who was famous then. Why was he there? He came up after class once and said, “You’re going to be a good poet one day.” It kind of shook me.

Carrie Oeding’s first book, Our List of Solutions, won the Lester M. Wolfson prize in 2010, selected by David Dodd Lee. The book was released in 2011 by 42 Miles Press, a new poetry series from Indiana University South Bend Press. Carrie’s work has appeared in such places as Colorado Review, Third Coast, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, Best New Poets 2005 and elsewhere. She is currently working on a second book of poems and a book of creative nonfiction essays. A native of Minnesota, Carrie has lived in Washington, Ohio, Texas and now resides in West  Virginia with her husband, poet Kent Shaw.

Visit Carrie’s website: http://www.carrieoeding.com/

Read more by and about Carrie:

Book: Our List of Solutions
“I Have Been In More Uncomfortable Situations Than This” at Diagram
Audio at The Poet’s Corner
“Work Harder” at Verse Daily

How Carrie Oeding Became a Writer

This is the next installment in the How to Become a Writer interview series, which will post here at Ph.D. in Creative Writing every other Sunday (er, or so) until I run out of writers to interview, or until they stop saying yes. Each writer answers the same 5 questions. Thanks to Carrie for saying yes!

1.  Why did you want to become a writer?

I was really in my head as a kid. Books excited me, but they excite a lot of young people, so who knows. When I grew older, I knew I wanted to make art, and I was closest with language as an outlet. When I was a junior in high school, I started telling people I was going to major in creative writing at the University of Minnesota, and then I did.

I was born on a small Minnesota farm, a small working farm where my dad grows corn and soybeans and sometimes raised sheep. I never write poems about where I grew up. There’s no negative or traumatic reason for this. I have, however, one piece in Brevity: A Journal of Concise Creative Nonfiction that is about my relationship with growing up on a farm. I want to say “in isolation on a farm,” but I think of my husband laughing when I said we lived 5 miles from town, which was hardly isolation. But it might as well have been 50 miles, as I spent most of my life on the farm. And, anyway, the “town” was Luverne, MN–population: less than 5,000. My husband also likes to chuckle at the image of me stretched across my bed, literally waiting for something to happen, anything. People like to look back and find meaning after the fact about how they got here, some of this is true and some is storytelling. Storytelling is meaning-making, I understand, but I don’t always trust it. This distrust works well in essays as it creates a constant need for questioning and rethinking.

Louise Bourgeois Installation view, Tate Modern, London, 2007 Image © Nathan Strange/AP

2.  How did you go about becoming a writer?

In a pretty conventional way. B.A. in English with creative writing emphasis. Attending an MFA program immediately after at the age of 22. Ph.D. in creative writing right after that. But this doesn’t necessarily explain how I became a writer. I became a writer by writing. I remember almost all of my undergraduate creative writing teachers saying, “Just write, and things will happen,” and when I began to see it was true, I never doubted this. I still don’t. Even when I’m anxious about what’s next.

Was I too young to leave Minneapolis after undergrad and pursue an MFA at 22? Probably. But I was right to make the decision, and I immediately had a real writing life because if it. If I hadn’t left Minnesota to get an MFA at that time, I likely would be a very unhappy person today who doesn’t write. Maybe I wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t want to go back in time and find out.

I heard someone on NPR a number of years ago, a fiction writer, who said he taught himself how to write stories by retyping Grace Paley’s short stories. It was an “I had no idea what I was doing” confession, but I loved the idea of it. And Grace Paley should be retyped by all of us. I can’t remember who it was, but then I think he went on to somehow fall into some famous novelist’s lap who schooled him.

Joseph Cornell

 3. Who helped you along the way, and how?

This is another interesting question, because I again want to answer it in different ways. Some of the people who helped me in the beginning of my writing life were practically strangers whom I had brief encounters with. For instance, a mysterious poet visitor was sitting in an undergraduate workshop at the U of MN. Someone said he was a famous poet from China, and honestly I don’t remember what his name was. I wouldn’t have known who was famous then. Why was he there? He came up after class once and said, “You’re going to be a good poet one day.” It kind of shook me. It didn’t stay with me, though. I just remembered this recently.

Stevie Smith

The writers I read whom initially helped open up the idea of what writing could do—Stevie Smith, Amy Hempel, Mary Ruefle, Frank O’Hara, Barry Hannah, Larry Levis, Claire Bateman, Russell Edson, Lydia Davis. I feel incredibly unsatisfied stopping here, but I’m just making lists.

My editor, David Dodd Lee, for being such a smart reader of my first book (and of poems, period), seeing that it is doing something new, understanding its humor and seriousness, and publishing it. Publishing it in a gorgeous book that completely lives up to my in-print dreams!  Also, my husband, Kent Shaw, who is a poet, who has read more contemporary poetry than anyone I’ve met and sees the book in the same vein. His writing keeps me excited about poetry, which is funny because when we first started dating we didn’t read each other’s work. We are both very critical, and we secretly worried we wouldn’t like each other’s poems. Our writing was a huge surprise to each other. Then we got hitched.

Some who currently help me are the writers and artists who keep me excited about making things: Alice Notley, Eula Biss, Maggie Nelson, Mattea Harvey, Werner Herzog, Miranda July. I am absolutely on fire about artist Sarah Sze, but you should see the installations in person.

Something that has helped me from stopping writing after I completed my first book, is taking art classes during my two years in Houston. I saw a Martin Puryear show at the SFMOMA in 2009. I had finished my first book, and it was unpublished. I was alone and at god-awful MLA, and it was one of the best art experiences of my life. Something about walking closely around his sculptures made me feel like I was breathing for the first time in two years. I moved to Houston nine months later and took art classes at the Museum of Fine Art’s Glassell School. I remember the first night of just intro to drawing and how it felt electric to be sketching terribly in the humid Houston August. I think there were times I slept with my art supplies. It’s stupid, I hate these kinds of narratives, but I am going to own this one. Two years of classes weren’t enough, but having that kind of excitement about making anything recharged my writing.

4.  Can you tell me about a writer or artist whose biography inspires you?

Henry Darger

Joseph Cornell and Henry Darger were easy to get obsessed with. There is no line between their artistic and personal biographies. Going back to the writer who copied lines of Grace Paley, I like the idea of trying to figure things out on your own–having a hunch of what you want to do, and like Darger, finding ways on his own to get his collages “right” for him.

Also Ana Mendieta, I’m fascinated with, her performance pieces, during which uses her body in ways I’m usually very cynical about.

Louise Bourgeois is one of my favorite artists. Her wit, side view, darkness, and play are right up my alley. And she just works in so many mediums. Never stopped exploring.

I’d like to be around Marianne Moore. Have her as a neighbor, but I don’t want to read her biography.

5.  What would you say in a short letter to an aspiring writer?
Write and read, and things will happen.

If you’re a poet, consider making something in addition to poetry. You need to be making something all of the time, whatever it is. Poems, collages, pancakes.

Be humble. Don’t romanticize being humble. Don’t be so easily impressed.