If anyone is in so Cal on May 31st, I should be attending the Faultline journal launch party at the UCI bookstore in Irvine. My story “White Out” is in this year’s issue. Yay! Many, many thanks to the editor at Faultline for believing in that lil story. OK, that’s all. Bye!!
Wow, no posts for half a year? I’m killing my blog right now. Today I’m mired in failure and self loathing. Time to go be a monk and raise vegetables. The writer hand is broken. Oh, if I change my mind and happen to remember my password perhaps a resurrection will come upon this blog. If not, peace out!
The unexpected visit from my buddy, Dinh, Monday has made me feel the need to solidify my theory on penguins and antelopes. I wish she could’ve passed through Phoenix on happier terms, but I’ll just say we both needed a drink. So, on the second round of ginger margaritas when the married friend turns the conversation to why are you still single, I mentioned that I am a penguin. Immediately I received the ubiquitous WTF. Here’s the theory. Everybody is divided into two groups: penguins and antelopes, technically there are antelopes/wildebeests. Most people are wildebeests. Wildebeests are plentiful, average looking, you really can’t tell one from another and that’s how they like it. They mate in seasons, fall in and out of love rather easily or painfully, mates get lost or change by mood, are shot by hunters or eaten by lions/hippos/gators, etc. In the end it doesn’t matter because the next season has potential for love yet again. Other Antelopes behave just like wildebeests but they’re prettier and therefore rare but not as rare as penguins. Penguins fall in love once and fall hard. If a mate gets lost or drowned or hit by an iceberg that’s all she wrote. The surviving half of that penguin couple just goes off telling stories about his/her lost love until they go to penguin heaven. I am a penguin gosh darn it. That’s all.
Well, I’m still on the good news high from the notification that my story “White Out” is a finalist for the Indiana Review fiction prize this year. Validation of this kind is a sweet sweet thing. It makes the dozens of rejections I’ve gotten this year far less crushing. On this good Veteran’s Day I think I’ll watch Turner Classic movie channel until I pass out. After that I may attempt world domination or wash another load of clothes, equally valuable.
Why does the act of blogging feel like I’m picking my bones off the floor and trying to put them together on a table and my head is always hooked to my ass for some reason? Speaking of Light Boxes, I’m half way through Shane Jones’ novella about a fable like town at war with a Godlike figure called February that is snatching up kids and perpetuating winter in some really pretty ways. The controversy of sorts involves Jones’ blatant plagiarism of Salvador Plascencia’s novel The People of Paper, which is far more complex not to mention gorgeous. Jones has a town declare war on February after Plascencia’s protagonist declares war on Saturn. Jones’ character obsesses over mint after Plascencia dabbled in limes. C’mon people. I like them both. I do. I’m just saying. My issue is that Jones’ book is getting all this hype and published through Penguin despite the obvious lack of originality. In an interview with Nashville Review Plascencia expounds much better than I can on his trouble getting People of Paper published at all in addition to the quarrel with Jones. Sure we can say, nothing is really new exactly. Authors borrow from one another all the time. We can say it’s inspiration. We can also say Mary Poppins is super annoying. Does that solve the racist undercurrent in the tiff between these two authors, these two books, the publishing industry as a whole? Nope. I have to leave it there before I say something embarrassing hahaha.
Oh, teaching is going pretty well lately. I’ll say no more so as not to jinx it.
Tonight: White wine on sale for $6.99 plus $2.00 off if you buy with chicken. I bought chicken.
Oh gosh. The pressure. The fall semester of teaching is about to start, so naturally I dreamt that a student assaulted me in the class via asphyxiation. I have since been diagnosed by my facebook friends as nervous, paranoid, sexually repressed, and ummm kinky. The best choice is probably to think about when vacation starts instead and of course booze.
I must cheat on my precious tequila this weekend and go the vodka route. Stoli Elit has come to me from the breath of the liquor pixies.
My Amazon order has also come to me, including my new copy of Great Short Short Stories: Quick Reads by Great Writers. I know I know I’m supposed to boycott Amazon and only shop at independents, but mine is 45 minutes away! and they aren’t that well stocked. My new mid-year’s resolution is to read a new short story every day…FOREVER! What better way to get in the habit than really short stories. I’m going to begin with Kafka’s “A Country Doctor.” I always judge a story by its first and last line before I actually read it. This is Kafka’s first and last:
“I was in a most awkward predicament….Having obeyed the false ringing of the night bell just once—the mistake can never be rectified.”
Hmmmm…there is some interest there. I personally enjoy a more ferocious prose, but we can’t all be Toni Morrison or Donald Barthelme. Thank the liquor pixies for that.
Ha the next story is by Rudyard Kipling titled “Wee Willie Winkie ‘An officer and a gentleman’”, you know I will be disappointed if it turns out to not be gay porn. Kipling did write the Jungle Book, so the gay porn isn’t totally out of the question. I’ll be back soon!!!
Gosh, I didn’t realize it’s been so long since I did the blog thing. I’m at the Voices workshop for writers of color in San Francisco. It’s been slow going this time around. People are kind of quiet and stick to themselves. This will probably be my last time around. Maybe. Side note: San Francisco is effing weird. I’ve been walking around Haight street and I’m not exactly in awe of the grunge and drug paraphernalia mainly because all the liquor available is beer and wine. I’m so depressed.
Oh, in the actual workshop, we’ve been going over some basics. Let me get my notes and summarize the lectures…Here we go.
Day 1 – What you intend to create in a story is not always what you end up with, and that is OK. Even though you may intend to make a perfect circle, you may end up with Charlie Brown’s head that is a little droopy from age and damaged expectations.
Day 2 – If you have a literary hero, you have to slay them. Until you read your master’s work and identify the flaws, you’ll always copy those errors. Find the imperfections in author’s you think are great in order to overcome their limitations and your own.
So far things are going OK. Dude played a song during his lecture. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.