All posts for the month November, 2015

Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine

Published November 30, 2015 by Philip Ivory

I subscribe to Fantasy & Science Fiction.  It includes writing by top names in the genre, but it’s also been known to feature up and coming writers.  I’ve submitted to it but haven’t connected yet. It’s well known as one of the hardest markets to hit.  But if you’re interested in high quality genre fiction, and want to know that latest currents and trends in sci-fi and fantasy, check it out.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to submit something.

The award-winning Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949. The original publisher of Stephen King’s Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes’s Flowers for Algernon, and Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz.

Source: Fantasy and Science Fiction – Writers’ Guidelines

Public Reading of My Story

Published November 13, 2015 by Philip Ivory

On Nov. 7, 2015, I had the privilege of reading my short story, “Most of Us Are From Someplace Else,” at a public event held by the Writers Studio Tucson.

I’m in the advanced class of Writers Studio, and was eligible to enter the 2015 Write-to-Read competition.  I was honored to be named one of three winners, along with Jenny Hedger and Lisa Harris.  The judge was Tucson novelist and friend of the Writers Studio Adrienne Celt.  Here we are all together last Saturday:

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At Tucson’s first Write-to-Read Event. From left to right: Jenny Hedger, Lisa Harris, Adrienne Celt and Phil Ivory. (Photo by Writers Studio Tucson.)

We had an excellent turnout, so good in fact that many had to stand while the three stories were read.  I want to thank my good friends who came out to support me and other writers.

The Writers Studio Tucson is doing a great job putting together public events like this to encourage the growth of local writers.


Lots of literary Tucsonans turning out for the 2015 Write-to-Read event on Nov. 7. (Photo courtesy of Kim Kloes.)

Reading my story was a very rewarding experience. It was a little nerve-wracking at first, looking out at so many faces and not knowing if people were enjoying or even following my story. But I started to hear laughter at some appropriate points and I knew that the audience was with me. After that, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy the experience.

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Phil Ivory. (Photo courtesy of Kim Kloes.)

I know, as a listener, it can be hard to follow a story being read. Become distracted for a moment and you can lose the whole thread, and there’s no paging back to reclaim your bearings. So I tried to read as clearly and deliberately as possible.

I got lots of positive feedback afterwards, both on the read and the story itself, and I’ll be submitting the story for publication shortly.

Congratulations to my fellow writers, and special thanks to Adrienne as well as Writers Studio teachers Renee Bibby, Janelle Drumwright and Lela Scott MacNeil for putting this fantastic event together.

John Grisham on “Wiseblood”

Published November 11, 2015 by Philip Ivory

Feeling annoyed ….

Today Turner Classic Movies is showing films based on books by great southern writers. Author John Grisham was roped in to help TCM host Robert Osborne do intros and outros for the films, presumably because Grisham is considered a modern southern writer.

I just watched Grisham’s comments about one of my favorite oddball movies from the 70s, “Wiseblood” directed by the great John Houston, and based on the novel (mistakenly referred to by Grisham as a short story) by the great Flannery O’Connor.

After the movie finished, Osborne asked Grisham why he was grumbling … yes grumbling … during the screening, and Grisham went on to complain about the film having too much religion (a little like blaming Moby Dick for having too much whale) and then talked in a dismissive way about the proclivity of old time southern writers to deal too much with religion. He had nothing to say about O’Connor herself, whose short stories command respect for her peerless mastery of the form.

Brad Dourif in John Houston’s “Wiseblood” (1979).

“Wiseblood” is admittedly a difficult and troubling movie, based on a difficult and troubling book. But both book and movie shine with brilliance and are deserving of greater respect from Grisham, and TCM.

Grisham, I understand, is a religious man. Wikipedia cites him referring to his conversion to Christianity as “the most important event” in his life.

Flannery O’Connor was very devout as well. She was also not afraid to write about religion. In fact, the subject permeates her work. She was a Catholic, although her writing is predominantly about the lives and fates of southern Protestants. I’m not sure if O’Connor focused on religion so extensively because it was of tremendous personal importance to her … or because she recognized religion’s shaping influence across the southern states and thought that was something worth writing about.  Perhaps both. In any case, why is Grisham, a self-proclaimed religious fellow, not in greater sympathy with O’Connor’s writing?

The fact is, O’Connor’s religious south is far from a comforting place. It’s not full of genteel homilies out of Sunday school. It’s a fairly savage landscape, populated by often grotesque characters who are severely challenged with regard to such cardinal virtues as  compassion and concern for others. They are often ignorant and self-satisfied. Racism is taken as a given.

So is violence.  This is from her classic story, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”:

“She would have been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

In O’Connor’s world, life is short and stupid, but salvation, oddly enough, is around any corner. It comes at her characters like freight trains crashing through front parlor walls, taking them off guard, crushing them out of earthly existence, but bestowing that most valuable gift of enlightenment and grace, just when it is least expected.

O’Connor does not make religion, or the south, seem cozy or safe. Perhaps that’s what John Grisham doesn’t cotton to.

Said O’Connor about “Wiseblood”:

“It is a comic novel about a Christian malgre lui (in spite of himself), and as such, very serious, for all comic novels that are any good must be about matters of life and death.”

Not only did Grisham pass over O’Conner’s huge significance in 20th century literature, he also showed scant interest in the film’s director, John Houston, a monumental filmmaker who adapted Joyce and Melville and O’Connor and other literary heavyweights, with varying success. It seems unlikely Houston would have been interested in dramatizing one of Grisham’s potboilers.

But then, John Grisham has had 8 or 9 films made from his work, and Flannery O’Connor only one. I guess he gets the last laugh.

I’m just not sure TCM should have recruited him as an expert on great southern writers.  Let’s just say, if you ask me what is next in this sequence … William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, _________ … my answer wouldn’t be: John Grisham.

Writers Studio: My First Contest Win

Published November 6, 2015 by Philip Ivory

Very excited … I recently submitted a story to the Writer Studio Tucson’s first “Write to Read” Contest.  My entry,”Most of Us Are From Someplace Else,” was chosen as one of the winners.  That means I get to read my story in its entirety at a public event tomorrow night here in Tucson.

I’m grateful to the teachers at Writers Studio Tucson for helping me grow as a writer and for spearheading this contest and hosting the reading.  Also, thanks to local author Adrienne Celt for creating the writing prompt for the contest, which reflected structural elements in her fine novel, “The Daughters,” available on Amazon.

Looking forward to seeing many fellow writers and other friends at the reading tomorrow.

You can read the contest announcement below:

 Write to Read Announcement 3

The Writers Studio Tucson teachers are excited to announce our first ever Write-to-Read contest, featuring guest judge Adrienne Celt, whose debut novel The Daughters was published in 2015.

Join us for a reading of the three winning stories! Lisa Harris reading “Spilled Milk”; Phil Ivory “Most of Us Are From Someplace Else”; and Jenny Hedger reading “Threads.”