Monday, June 10, 2019

Sandra Seamans Day

And so it began:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, I'm Here

Okay, so I've finally surrendered to the world of blogs. Welcome to my little corner of the world, pull up a chair, get comfortable, and let's see if we can find something to talk about. 

And Sandra Seamans indeed found a lot of things to talk about. I doubt there was ever a blog that celebrated short story writing as well and a fully as MY LITTLE CORNER. Nor one that served a community as thoroughly and as selflessly as hers. She found her niche surprisingly quickly and although she claimed she mostly started a blog so she could participate in flash fiction challenges (remember those) it required hours of work for Sandra to pull up the information she did so willingly.
And it was also clear that she read many blogs herself and there were a lot of them back in 2008. 

If you go through the ten plus years of entries, you will see names come and go, zines come and go, contests come and go. And nobody was a bigger champion of other people's success than Sandra. Her "little Snoopy Dance" was always joyous. If someone wanted to a history of the online crime short story community over the last twenty years, her blog would be the place to start. A place to collect every contest, every call for submissions, the writers, the ups and downs of the business, and on and on.

In 2015, in the course of a week, Sandra lost her husband and mother and a lot of the joy went out of her. Although she came back to blogging, it was not about writing short stories so much as continuing her service to her fellow short story writers. How brave.

I only ever knew Sandra online but somehow it seemed like I knew her pretty well. She was candid on her blog. And we shared a year of reading short stories. Brian Lindenmuth suggested the challenge and initially there were quite a few participants, but by the end it was mostly Sandra, Brian and me.
Reading a short story every day doesn't seem like an onerous task but the mere chore of finding 365 stories you are willing to read was harder than we thought. Anyway, through her blog and through flash fiction challenges and through this assignment, I felt like I knew Sandra well.

Here are a few words from short story great, Art Taylor.

"In my writing courses at George Mason University and in any workshop I led elsewhere, I regularly devoted a section of my PowerPoint to resources for writers trying to market their short fiction. At the top of the first slide was My Little Corner, and I felt like I could never say enough about Sandra’s expertise on short story markets, her dedication to staying on top of market news, and her advocacy always on behalf of the authors, finding opportunities for us and warning us about venues to avoid. I never met Sandra in person, sadly, but she and I chatted sometimes, mostly in the comments section of My Little Corner. When she included something about me in her posts, she called me a “friend of the blog,” but in our own way in this age of online interactions, I felt like she and I were actual friends. I’m sorry I missed the chance to let her know how very much I appreciated her and her work." 

An interview from 2012 on DO SOME DAMAGE.
Some words from Paul Brazill 
Sandra on PULP CURRY 
Here are some words from Kate Laity
And from Sandra Ruttan 

Sandra's collection of stories COLD RIFTS is out of print, but it won't take much effort to find many of her stories online. A particular favorite of mine was one she wrote for a flash fiction challenge I ran a long time ago. The challenge was to write a story that uses the song  "SWEET DREAMS." Hers was clever and beautifully rendered. Google "Repeat Offenders" if you care to sample it. It's just a thousand words after all. Just a short story. But for Sandra and a few others, a good short story is the gold standard of writing.

Goodbye, Sandra. We will miss you.


Mathew Paust said...

Beautiful tribute, Patti. I regret not having known of Sandra until now.

Unknown said...

Awww, Patti. I am crying again. Thank you for this. Losing Sandra has reminded me to tell those you care about, those you appreciate, what they mean to you. She was unwavering, even in her own grief. Such a wonderful, generous person.

And Brian has had contact with the family about making her collection available. That will, of course, be up to them, when they're ready.

- Sandra Ruttan

Jeff Meyerson said...

Nice tribute, Patti. I did read her collection. Of course, I have been an advocate of "a short story a day" for a long time - I've been doing it myself for close to 24 years.

Margot Kinberg said...

A lovely tribute, Patti, and thanks for doing this.

BVLawson said...

I never got to meet Sandra in person, although we exchanged links from time to time. She also helped me get a story or two published due to her tireless devotion to collecting and publicizing short-fiction markets. This is a lovely idea and a lovely tribute. Thanks for doing this Patti!

George said...

Wonderful tribute to Sandra!

Jeff Meyerson inspired me to read a short story per day. That was a couple decades ago and I'm still at it. It's become a comfortable habit.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A lot easier to find a short story now with the Internet. Thanks, friends!

Jeff Meyerson said...

So true. I remember at one point going through every book I owned at the time, and discovering that I had read every short story I then owned. Of course there was the library. Then the digital self-publishing thing started. My argument (not that I really bothered to argue it) was that these were authors I loved and collected, and they were coming out in digital ONLY format, so what choice did I have? Now, of course, there is a whole generation of newer writers. Spending a buck or two to try someone who sounds interesting doesn't cost you much, and even if you don't like it, no big deal. And way more often than not, I do like it. Also, there seems to be an awful lot of anthologies these days, another good way to discover new writers. And lastly, thanks to amazing cheap deals on the internet, I have complete collections of short stories by Chekhov, Trollope, Lovecraft, F. Scott Fitzgerald, O. Henry, Henry James, Kipling, and Saki.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You may have read more short stories than anyone on earth!