Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why I Miss My Beagle

I'm not a portents and omens gal, but this is not a good start to the morning. And if chihuahuas were proper dogs,
I wouldn't have had time to take a picture of my nitwittedness. Just heard that my story will appear in the Nov 15 issue of Storyglossia, which was what I was thinking about when I held the egg carton by the lid, extracted one egg, and dumped the remaining four to the floor. It's as if I had never encountered an egg carton before, and I was unprepared for its physics.

But enough of this grieving over lost breakfast and competence. Go read Paula Bomer's brilliant story, "Reading to the Blind Girl." That'll fix everything.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's the foot rub, stupid

I've had a great writing weekend despite heightened workplace stress and the collapsing economy. Last night was me at the cabin, sipping wine, listening to jazz on the XM, and sailing past page 200 in my novel draft(the Louisiana book). The end of the book revealed itself to me, and I'm both frightened and thrilled by its complexity. Hope i can live up to it. I also wrote a seduction scene that culminates in a post-coital foot rub, included as evidence of my main character's genius with women, an instinct that has been dormant all his life because he's humiliated by his weight. I think the foot rub has been sadly underutilized in mainstream erotic writing.

There's really no sex in my other novel (the West Virginia book), which is complete but without representation. Probably not smart of me but I wanted to avoid rom com cliches, and write about a mature woman who could have adventures without leaning on a romantic partner. Instead of lovers she has friends who find her independence frustrating, and of course they are always trying to get in her shit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Austin! You're a Reader!

--was that from a hooked on phonics commercial? Back in the 4th grade the cutting edge technology was this gizmo motorized clamp that let you see only a few lines on the page of a book and slid down, forcing you to READ FAST. Because everyone knew that READING FAST was crucial.

I read Sweetheart this weekend, Chelsea Cain's (stripper name?) follow up to Heartsick. It was pretty good, much more simply constructed, short, etc. Less torture, more porn, which is always my preference. Cain's wrung her concept dry though, and I hope she moves on. Learn the Dexter lesson--two is great, three is wearying.

I also recommend Erik Secker's "The Red Door," a super neato short story in Farrago's Wainscot. All you need to know is that it features a brain dressed up as a meatloaf. Reminds me of the video for Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"
bio note claims this is Secker's first fiction publication--that's great.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

a pivotal moment in my education

Alan Cheuse: here, Laura. read this.

Me: um, okay.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

cheap thrills


To celebrate my impending world-wide fame, my man took me out to the breakfast buffet to get our thwok on before going to a movie that is receiving disintegrating reviews, so naturally I was looking forward to the front end of the day more than its middle, but did I ever get that all wrong. On my way to the hot cinnamon rolls I was over taken by a mother trying to quick march her kid to a safe zone. They didn’t make it. There’s a reason why mom doesn’t serve you Fruit Loops in chocolate milk at home. The substances, both magical, are highly reactive. The kid got sick everywhere, and colorfully. I quease easily, but kid sick isn’t all that gross, mainly because they don’t chew their damn food. I say this every time: this is my last dance at the OCB.

Then in the theater lobby we were treated to the sight of a man wheezing, sneezing, and hacking all over the butter and salt station. So yay for dry popcorn! Dean had none, so traumatized was he.

Things picked up as the trailers ran, and we were derisive and rude, especially during the promo for “Nights in Rodanthe”—really? Are they serious about this? Rodanthe? Had any of the film’s makers ever been to Rodanthe? Did they think Rodanthe sounded exotic? I guess “Nights in Salvo” or “Nights in Duck” didn’t cut it, and “Nights in Frisco or Avon” would set expectations too high. Dean made shot-gun loading gestures on behalf of Diane Lane’s character when Richard Gere asked, “But who takes care of you?”

And then the movie, “Burn after Reading”—this thing was fantastic, and not just because my breakfast sucked. I concede it isn’t for everyone—remember when Fargo first came out and some people reacted very badly to the wood-chipper scene? I’m just saying that if jolts upset you and you need to know why things are happening when they do, then you may fall into too deep a concern for message.


Friday, September 12, 2008

WOO HOO! Barrelhouse Future! And Storyglossia!

Barrelhouse Invitational: The Future
The "contest" ended today, and I just got word that one of the stories from my Louisiana novel made it!!! When S read a draft he commented: "What a fun way to examine the grotesque desires of humanity"

And while I'm being undignified I might as well spill it--I placed a story in a future issue of Storyglossia as well. It has been a BRILLIANT week for me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

it's reward an eejit day

heh. story accepted, despite my boneheadedness. (don't submit drunk, kids) Is there a good taste thing I'd be violating if I said where? Because I REALLY wanna say.

in other news, crimey writer and friend art taylor has a new blog, wherein (so far) he tackles narrative strategies and rhetoric WITHOUT cursing or invoking the Illuminati. This is a coffee in the morning blog.

I should really set up a blogroll. Maybe I'll do that right now instead of work, yeah?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

well I'm an eejit

just sent out a story to a web journal that I love fiercely, but it was one of those deals that wants the story pasted into the message as well as attached as a doc. I sent the story, but I attached the wrong file--notes for the story that prove I have no idea what I'm doing, artistically. seriously, I feel like I just mailed the editor a whitman's sampler and some old underwear. I'm sorry, universe.

Friday, September 5, 2008

McGuffined again by Tana French

Just finished reading The Likeness. Um, the first 100 pages took me weeks to slog though. The next 300 were utterly thrilling. then the last 70 or so . . . well, let's just say I now have serious trust issues with French.

In other news, I'm pretty happy with my new set of students and their creative agility, especially as concerns the Flash fic unit we're into at the moment. We read the wigleaf top 50, and at least one student has proclaimed flash as his new fave form, and Garson has written a letter to my class about process. Despite the fact that I feel about as crazed as Dalek Caan, things seem to be off to a lovely start.

Monday, September 1, 2008

pick-up trucks and academics

Home in VA now, where I will watch Gustav make a run towards Lafayette, one of my other favorite places. After my husband won a fellowship to take his PhD in Poetics at ULL (back when it was still USL), we left drought parched Ohio for rain drenched Louisiana in a heartbeat. Well really, in a battered Datsun that gave up the ghost shortly after we settled in. I determined that we needed a pick-up truck (we didn’t), and we chugged over to the nearest used lot where I selected a seriously under-powered Ford truck. Because I had made photo copies of Consumer Reports buying guides, I was considered to be the foremost expert car buyer in our family. It’s important to note that I don’t drive. We were encouraged by the approval of our friend, Cole Thompson, then a pre-novelist and drifting scion of an entrepreneurial Texas oil family, because he had a pretty blue Ford truck and declared our engine “nice and clean.”

The tail lights fizzled out before we got the vehicle back to our apartment. Luckily, Cole diagnosed it as a simple fuse issue--the first of many issues. My brothers, Doug and Sam, are both master auto mechanics. It never occurred to me to ask their advice, but if I had I’m sure they would have told me that Ford trucks are well built, they’re just a little cursed.

Months later Cole took us to his family’s 100+ year old vacation home on the Texas Gulf coast, where we got to watch his pretty blue truck slide down an algae slick boat ramp and into Aransas Bay, pulled there by the family fishing boat. That truck filled up to the dash and beyond. The groceries floated. Cole dived down to tie a rope to the truck, and when he came up a big jellyfish (cabbage head or moon) sat on his head like a beret. Cole took a lot of abuse that weekend, from his brothers, his fiancĂ©, and the insurance lady (“well honey, those things don’t float you know”), but Dean and I had a great time. We didn’t have to be the grown ups. There was also quite a bit of southern masculine interpersonal junk--the other guys at the boat launch, the not-very-loquacious guy who towed us home--all of which blew right by us.

Not sure where Cole is now, but the last we heard is that he moved "up north," which is, I guess, a euphemism for landing a university job?

Gustav and the nearest future

I'm sitting here watching (well, not watching, since there is no tv reception in WV, so let's say on dial-up and listening to xm radio), as Gustav slaps into the only city I ever loved. I'm writing a novel about new orleans, post katrina with a magic realist/speculative bent, and I feel stupid for being so surprised by another storm.

the lady just said category 2. and Anderson Cooper says Ali Velshi is tethered to something in Grand Isle. is that hot?