Lost in a Tangle of Arms
“My Sister’s Octopus” is finally released into the wild.
Alt text: Photo of purple octopus on yellow gingham tablecloth.
The octopus picture that launched it all. My Korean sister sent it to me on October 9, 2021. I had no idea what to make of it. I studied it. I felt weird about it. So, I wrote a thing, fell in love with that thing and tried to get others to love it too. I received rejection after rejection from lit mags and eventually put “My Sister’s Octopus” to rest.
It was the end of 2022, and I was manifesting one more acceptance to make it six for the year. I reworked MSO in two nights, removing extraneous info and tightening the rest. It felt like thin steel, small and mighty, and I sent it off.
Peatsmoke Journal responded with a resounding acceptance in just five days. The wonderful editors Wendy Wallace and Bess Cooley said: “The prose here is precise and gorgeous, each image so finely crafted and giving us the haunting glimpses of another life that could have been. In such a small space, this unique sibling relationship becomes tangible, resonant.”
I am wildly proud of this piece and the way I believed in it, even when others didn’t quite get it. I think it is my favorite work so far, and I am ecstatic to have it in Peatsmoke Journal alongside a collection of talented writers and artists. It’s a beautiful issue.