Residency and a Retreat

October: the month I get to go away.

I’m leaving for my first writing residency on Monday, October 12. I’ll fly to Arkansas and catch a ride to The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH)  in Eureka Springs for a week in the Muse 3 Suite, one that is “tucked away downstairs and has a writing room with huge windows looking out at its own patio and a wooded area beyond. It has a private entrance.”

I’ll fly back to Maryland on Tuesday, October 20. The plan is to wash my clothes and pack for my flight on Wednesday morning to Mumbai, India. I’m going to a writer’s retreat in Panchgani, which is a five-hour drive from Mumbai and looks like a hidden paradise in all of the photos. Now that I have my visa and vaccines, it feels real. I’m going to India.

I come home to the U.S. on Friday, October 30. Three weeks to write and work and live my dreams. This morning, my teacher Chloe Caldwell posted some thoughtful, excellent advice for how to make the most of my time. Whether it’s from other writers’ or people in my life who are always in my corner, I feel completely supported.

I think I’m just about ready.

New work from September 2015

September: a productive, exciting month for writing.

I published my first essay with Autostraddle. It’s a riff on the 1987 film Fatal Attraction — in fact, the original title of this piece was “I’m Not Going to Be Ignored, Allison.” In this current iteration, it’s called “She Wouldn’t Give Me Up.” I started writing this last February as a submission for an anthology on battering in queer relationships. But abuse isn’t always physical — and so I decided to write about an obsessive relationship with someone I am no longer in contact with. As I re-read my old journals, I started to uncover a lot of darkness that I wasn’t necessarily attuned to in my teens and early twenties. The anthology I submitted to is currently on hold; none of the pieces have been accepted or rejected (the editor told me that reprints of previously published material are fine). Still, I felt like I was onto something — so I kept working. The structure of the essay weaves quotes from Fatal Attraction and an analysis of the movie in with my experiences. I know that it’s a movie many feminists derided back in the 80s, so it’s been interesting to try and write about both the film and my life from this queer, personal essay lens.

I also wrote a book review. My review of Mai’a Williams‘ chapbooks No God But Ghosts + Monsters and Other Silent Creatures (Samsara Press) for the publication Hip Mama can be read here. Ariel Gore came up with the byline and it’s the best: “Allison McCarthy is an excellent freelance feminist. Her work can be found on xoJane and beyond.