Friday, October 31, 2008

Pinball! Let's Play!

Getting interviewed about pinball today, because we own an Earthshaker! machine, and because the Department has hit bottom in its search for interestingness. I blame the election for this desperate effort.

machines I want but can’t have for space & financial reasons:
Cactus Jack (Tex-Mex cantina theme German Cacti exhorting you to throw fruit)
Bad Cats (lady hits cats with broom)
Whodunnit (actually attempts a narrative)
Wipe out (ski theme with surf music)
Funhouse (played this at a noisy festival in Houston, but we’re sure that Rudy [the heckling head] called me a bitch and dean a fucko)
Orbitor (fun with magnets)
World Cup Soccer 1994 (awesome and I don’t suck at it)
Cirqus Voltaire (give you strange feelings)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the mood

So three stories that tickle my fancy lately--"Sister Hayes Takes Up a Serpent," by Roseanne Griffith reminds us what we already know about spiritual passion, but in a force-of-nature way that is irresistible. "The Two of You," by Jack Kaulfus sets my hair on fire and is the perfect maturation of all the things that made the Friday the 13th movies even remotely watchable. Finally, there's a new Barry story called "Mountains," at Pequin that I haven't seen anyone talk about yet, which is odd, so let me throw a wild punch: think "Good Man is Hard to Find" without all that sticky Catholicism and grace.

anyway, these pieces form an emotional set for me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

pet names

In historical order
Wobert (big boy cat)
*DaNiece (shepherd/collie mix, could smile)
*Evil Roy Slade (baaaaad ass black cat)
*Flower (calico cat, hung out with neighborhood dogs, barked)
*Charmin (probably retarded cat, fell down the stairs all the time, from Flower’s first litter)
*Wayne Newton (half feral tortie, ran with bunnies, convinced a young possum to come home with her)
+Sheba (fat doxie, once chased emus around a pen)
*Sue & *Andy (feces eating shih tsus)
Buster (cat, outlaw)
+Tink (cat, snored and chewed scalps)
Monkey (half-feral cat, vocal, almost blinded brother in law)
Fig (terrier, looked funny, pooped on the sides of trees about a foot up)
+Daisey (beagle, best nap buddy, 4k+ in back surgery)
+Newton (Chihuahua-dox, wrestler, angry at leaves)
Einstein (Chihuahua-dox, uulater, wants to sleep inside you)

okay, that’s done.
*named by my mother
+named by prev owner

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rent due on my Ivory Tower, plus a fascinating Priest

Owing to a recent publication in Behind the Wainscot (red-headed stepchild to Farrago’s Wainscot), I now enjoy “SF tidbit” status, linked at sites with names like Quasar Dragon. SF web culture is rapid response and twinkly, and many of the sites are, um, busy to say the least. Also, producers of SF cultural objects still believe there’s money to be had out there, foregrounding distinctions between paying and non paying markets in a way that rattles my dusty academic sensibilities. Maybe I’m quaint. Maybe they are. Sometimes it takes me several years to write a story right. Proper compensation is impossible, so why ask? On the other hand, if you aren’t using that bucket of money . . .

I finished reading Ken Bruen's Priest , and it was stellar, so I'm planning to consume many more Bruen novels ASAP. However, before I can start on those, I must pick up Atkinson's Case Histories again. One of Bruen's publishers contacted me to say, yeah read my guy's stuff, but the Atkinson book deserves another look. And because I have a thing about being obedient to strangers (editors take note), I've gotten far enough into CH that I love it now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

All fiction is fantasy (where are we, part 5?)

Bought this "Young miss" for one dollar at a junk shop and found this letter folded inside.
It looks practice love letter, given its nonspecific passions. This phantom lover was one lucky pretend boyfriend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

aaargh. NaNoWriMo is a Ninja

what? it's oct 15? just two weeks to go? yikes. over the past two years i've volunteered to coordinate a few nanowrimo activities (National Novel Writing Month)for students at George Mason University. This year, being insanely busy, I forgot about NaNo, and now I'm getting messages from students and faculty about what we're gonna do this year. We've tried a few things, but what the people really want are write-ins--time in a room together writing. I find it weird, completely at odds with the loneliness of noveling, but really fun to observe.

Chris Baty visited mason a year ago to talk about NaNo, and he did a really cool routine about the tyranny of revision impulse and how everyone has a perfect first chapter.


ugh. I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to <HTML Giant>, as I'm hitting it more frequently than I look at lolcats. I know I've stopped reading anything else. and they're all so freaking juvenile . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

blue meanies

so i sent out a story at the advent of mean, weak, and then started sweating it. then, I got a rejection in about 24 hours--a really super sweet rejection that felt like, well, acceptance. now i know why boys get so confused.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Very Long

Been meaning to argue with Garson and others about their own statements concerning online readability and length of stories, mainly because they seem to be over confident in their digital attention deficiencies. I admit to being attracted to shorter works, but when I inventory my short fiction reading over the past year I can confirm that these are my habits:

1) I only read short fiction online.

2) While I may gravitate toward briefer fictions, I end up reading an even mix of long and short-short.

Online fiction is much more vital, engaging, and exciting to me. I become depressed by the preserved aesthetic that pervades stories appearing in traditional lit magazines. (I hear this is changing, though, so I will endeavor to keep an open mind). As for length, it turns out that I will stick with anything that catches me with the title and opening paragraph, and I am less inclined to read anything, no matter how brief, that plods or is muted/coy.

Very Short

I love reading flash. love writing it. But I have zero idea of what I’m doing or what’s good when I’m done. Every time a flash of mine is accepted for publication, I’m stunned.

and no, I won’t read a book about how to write ‘em. However, I might read a flash about how to write flash . . .

My latest technique, and it’s a deeply flawed one, is to watch the blog discussions and try to write with a particular editor in mind. It’s a decent start gimmick that inevitably unspools and gets away from me, and I’ve never sent the finished work to the editor I had in mind.

My flash confidence is in sharp contrast to my confidence in my conventional short stories. I know how to build those, finding the biggest challenge is making them interesting to me. Once I have my own attention, I tend to be able to place the story in a nice home.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

begun and tossed

On Facebook IRead should have a category for books started then set aside or thrown across the room. I just set aside Kate Atkinson's Case Histories to pick up Ken Bruen's Priest , because hey, a priest gets decapitated in the confessional. I think that's awesome, but Dean, raised Catholic, is unimpressed. He says that's where that kind of thing gets done.

Also fixed my time stamp so it no longer looks like I'm posting from the west coast.

Friday, October 3, 2008

new toys, ready to rock

I have a new porch toy (yes I know it looks like a sex chair, thanks), and I've worked out some stuff for the end of the book. An outline won't work, hence the indecipherable whiteboard. No I probably won't kill Elvis. Jackie the dog is visiting for the weekend.

I really want to write, but I bet I'll end up reading instead.