Ploughshares Literary Magazine

The Five Pillars of Place by A.J. Kandathil

Ploughshares Literary Magazine

I just read a great article that I wanted to share with fellow writers who are working on projects that prominently feature place. “The Five Pillars of Place,” by A.J. Kandathil, is available from Ploughshares.

Kandathil identifies the Five Pillars of Place as:

  1. Position
  2. Economy
  3. Young vs. Old
  4. Greek Chorus
  5. Lexicon

In examining each pillar, she raises some very important questions about place that I think all writers should consider.


How to make it as a freelance and other tips for leading a writer’s life

I came across this lovely little video of Neil Gaiman giving a graduation address to Arts students.

I love his advice on how to make it as a freelancer:

“But you get work however you get work, but people keep working, in a freelance world—and more and more of today’s world is freelance—because their work is good and because they’re easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three; two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. People will forgive the lateness of your work if it’s good and they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.”

On doing art for love or for money:

“…I decided that I’d do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. And if I did work that I was proud of and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work. Every now and then, I forget that rule and whenever I do, the Universe kicks me hard and reminds me. I don’t know that it’s an issue for anybody but me, but it’s true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money either.”

The whole video is a gem, if you have 20 free minutes.

National Magazine Awards’ nominations for Best New Magazine Writer

I was excited today to read this tweet from the National Magazine Awards:

When I clicked on the link, I was even more excited to read what the judges had to say about my work:

“With a fresh voice and a strong command of style and structure, Sierra Skye Gemma digs ever deeper into the story of a lost life, writing with both edginess and verve in this meditation on the process of grieving. A terrific example of personal exposition, her story is powerful and lasting.”

I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I think I’m going to be anxious till the big reveal at the 36th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 7 at The Carlu in Toronto.

To read about the other two amazing emerging writers who have been nominated, Chris Hampton and May Jeong, check out Meet the NMA Finalists for Best New Magazine Writer.