The brain of teaching and conferencing has me and I haven’t been able to revise or draft as much as I have been wanting. I hope to go back to the Highland Stories this weekend because I have been discussing Denis Johnson and Amy Hempel stories and I have been inspired to pair down those stories even moreso than I have before–I do feel with those stories less might be more since they are rougher and less plot driven…

The first time I heard of the ‘prose home movie’ I was in Will Hochman’s Major Authors course studying my beloved JD Salinger. I remember it was a seminar course and we sat round robin style and Will made fun of the white socks and black shoes I was wearing at the time. He admitted to me later he didn’t think I was a strong student from my first appearance. Maybe it was my oversized shirts with the cuffs that covered my hands or my winged tipped shoes I wore trying to be like my Uncle Jake or Kramer the hipster dufus from Seinfeld. But from that reading in his course I was taken with the concept.

And that term we read Franny and Zooey–along with every other collected and uncollected work by Salinger–and Buddy informs the readers that he is writing a prose home movie or a home movie in prose. And after I referred to all my writing that way, though I knew I had nothing similar. It would take me years to comeup with decent material–to take the time to wonder and speculate on my own family and the connections I had lost or yet to appreciate. I only had the talk of it. The questions for family. And now every single piece of writing since my MFA thesis defense has been consumed with family connections and imagings.

And more recently, since translating some home movies to play on my computer and playing with Windows Media Editor, I do feel as if my work on these little films has tried to give more intimate moments into the fictional Ortiz family. The family I write about that is very close to my family and my relatives…a way to blend non-fiction and fiction in more powerful ways. A way to blend the Jaramillo Family as the video is titled and the fictional Ortiz family. It has made the writing more clear and given me some sort of a understandable means of perception for not just one story but several projects. And I am finding such joy and wonder inventing the family tree.

John,

We would like to accept “Sled Story” for publication in Shape of a Box.

You give a solid reading of a solid story/excerpt and I would like to use that footage.  I could just link from it, but honestly, I’d prefer to take the footage so I could add credits and the “cover art” so that the video is also hosted directly on the Shape of a Box site.  If you give me access to download from you account I can do that or I can set you up with getdropbox to send me a copy. Let me know what you think. If we go that route and you’d like to present with cover art etc (as I would like to do) you are also welcome to submit intro/outro music as well as a piece of cover art.

 You retain all rights to the piece in question.

 Shape of a Box would appreciate an acknowledgement if the piece is published elsewhere in the future.

 We look forward to working with you on publishing your piece. Please make sure you have included a short bio, noting any websites for our readers but make sure to include the http: linkage so I can copy and paste it later.

 Thank you!

 -Jessie Carty, Editor Shape of a Box