Thursday, February 26, 2009

super super good to read

this (so far, I'm on page 16 and totally hooked) and this. I started chipping away at this
and it seems quite good, but I don't do JRL in pieces--typically I need to dedicate a continuous 36 hours to consume a Lansdale book, snarling at any man or animal who tries to distract me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Fat Tuesday

Happy Mardi Gras! Well, it’s only Tuesday and my week is officially memorable: Just got a story accepted by the fantastic Northville Review. Friday I get my picture taken because it appears that I have ‘served’ for 15 years at Mason (I’m a Lifer, probably). And Saturday I’m on a new media panel for a fiction writing seminar, with 10 minutes to talk about the evolving aesthetics/identity of short fiction, publishing, and teaching writing.

At least that’s what I said I’d talk about, but lately I’ve been thinking about online journals and the re-emergence of Editorship. As a veteran of a major MFA program, I have complicated feelings about personality-driven writing & lit situations, but far and away my favorite journals are ones that require the selection genius and idiosyncrasy of their founders.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the retractions are coming every few minutes now

okay, so I posted some snarky-butt things about the AWP conference and Zoetrope workshops on this blog, but now I'm writing to confirm that they are probably awesome. and I don't mean that in an eye rolling yeah-mom-that's-a-pretty-big-ball-of-twine kind of way. Clearly this year's AWP in Chicago was as sacred as it was profane, and I'm totally jealous of everyone who went. As for "Zoe" (people call it that, I'm not really so comfy yet), I've spent the last 36 hours obsessively reading flash drafts posted there, and it has been very exciting so far.

Friday, February 20, 2009

making bad choices

I joined flipping zoetrope. I feel sad before I have even started. Maybe it isn't as bad as I fear--

Monday, February 16, 2009

Local writing thingies, coming up

must be the season, but there are a number of small one-day events coming up. I'm paneling at this first event Feb 28, co-sponsored by GMU and American Independent Writers, and David Erlewine is paneling at the second--Conversations and Connections, April 11.

Fiction Writing Seminar Saturday, February 28, 2009
George Mason University, Johnson Center, Campus Cinema

8:00 a.m. Registration opens and continental breakfast available
8:45 a.m. Opening Remarks: William Miller, GMU and John Curry, AIW
9:00-9:15 a.m. Plenary speech-Jeffery Deaver
9:15-10:30 a.m. Literary Fiction versus Genre Fiction
Moderator John Gilstrap
Panel: Donna Andrews, Alan Cheuse, James Grady
10:45-12:00 p.m. Novelists who write Reviews and Criticism
Moderator Nandini Lal
Panel: Louis Bayard, Sudlip Bose, Art Taylor
1:00-1:30 p.m. Keynote speech--Marita Golden
1:30-2:45 p.m. New Media and Publishing Creative Writing
Moderator Reb Livingston
Panel: Mark Athitakis, Bernadette Geyer, Laura Ellen Scott
3:00-4:15 p.m. Second Novels
Moderator: TBA
Panel: Katharine Davis, Dallas Hudgens, Alex MacLennan

Registration info

Conversations and Connections, April 11 (most panelists TBA)
To be held at the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Writing Program campus in downtown Washington, DC

8:30 Registration
9:00 Welcome
9:15 Session One
Writing Your Novel: Start to Finish
Money for Writers: Where it is and how to get it (Panel: Catherine Leila Emery, Gwydion Suilebhan, Dan Brady)
Creative Nonfiction: Where are the boundaries? Do they exist? (Panel: Kim Kupperman, Paul Maliszewski, Dustin Beall Smith, Kinda Underhill)
Craft Lecture: Sentence Power (by Ed Perlman)
10:30 Session Two
Poetry panel
The Digital Literary Landscape
Contest panel
Craft Lecture: Fighting Writer’s Block with Play and Experimental Prompts (by Matt Kirkpatrick)
12:15 Lunch and Speed Dating
2:00 Featured Speaker: Amy Hempel
3:30 Session Three
Agent panel
Flash Fiction
Voice in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry
Craft Lecture: Writing Sex Scenes (by Zachary Benivides)

Registration info

AWP-- a great place to hook up?

I'm sad I didn't go to the AWP conf. I'm glad I didn't too. I've never been, a fact made slightly awkward given that I teach fiction writing at the institution that houses AWP. By the time that AWP entered my consciousness (as event and body), I was solidly married, and even though we were hanging out with unmarried writers, there was a slow-train-leaving-the-station kinda thing pervading our social interactions, with Dean and I on the train, settling into our sleeper car, while our friends were piling into rusted Chevy Citations, chanting 'road trip! road trip!'

I guess what I'm saying is, AWP, like libertarianism, always seemed like a young man's game to me, with the conference providing an apparently wonderful opportunity to exchange powerful feeling, and my sense is that the conference produces more in the way of civil unions than artistic enrichment. Which is terrific, really. You don't want bachelor writers just out there in the population. Pair them up. Heck, triple them up.

All this is a load of BS, though. My real thing is that I dislike readings. I'm not crazy about people, either.

PS--I'm reading AWP round-ups now, and it looks like I'm full of it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Barrlehouse 7: The Future will cost you $9, $11 w/shipping

so just as I'm being bitchy about other writers hijacking my dreams, the news of the Barrelhouse #7 is posted, which makes me HAPPY AGAIN.

Look for me in "The future" section, featuring:

Sacrament, Matt Williamson
The Ruined Child, by Blake Butler
Antiquity, by Sandra Beasley
Wish Tank, by Laura Ellen Scott
My Gun is Smart, by Flavian Mark Lupinetti
Cities of the Future, Kaethe Schwehn
Someday Soon, We Are Taking Over, by Kate Angus

But there are a TON of other awesome writers in the issue, including my Mason colleague, Wade Fletcher. Can't wait to get my grubby hands on a copy.

way to kick me in the pancreas, wigleaf

This is a fine story by Kuzhali Manickavel.

Forget that I'm trying to do a bunch of things just like it, as I am flirting with writing several "pocket guides" along the lines of the story I have in Hobart, and the draft of a guide to Poland and the Ukraine that I posted to fictionaut. I will.

congrats KM. This is as graceful as I get. actually that's not true, i get sweeter as my memory fades.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Stranger behind the cabin with a gun

So yesterday I made jokes about being alone in the woods in WV, ready for some Midnight Picnic action. As my husband and I are fond of saying, “nothing’s funny.” This morning I went up to enjoy the view from the 2nd floor window only to discover a man standing super still about 20+ yards away, facing the back of the cabin, smoking. He shifted a few steps to the side, and that’s when I noticed he was carrying a long gun pointed to the ground (I don’t know the diff between a shotgun and rifle). This is one of the few occasions when the addition of a gun makes me feel better; dude was a hunter/poacher and not some spooky creep.

The dogs, by the way, were oblivious to the trespasser. I went down stairs and planted myself in front of the glass doors, but the guy still didn’t see me, intent as he was on surveying the sloping, wooded strip of land between this cabin and the next. Finally, I took drastic measures. I cranked up the XM radio (Roxy Music’s “More Than This”) and opened the porch slider very noisily. Plus I coughed like you do when you’re embarrassed for someone else. That got his attention, and he carefully made his retreat, picking his way over the rocks and disappearing back down the steep mountainside. Good thing too, because my next volley would have been brutal. I was going to yell, “Hey, you look scary out there! Go away now.”

Friday, February 6, 2009

poss. final words

I am on a mountaintop in WV, in the woods alone with my dogs, no transportation, no TV/Radio/Cell reception, occupying a friend's cabin because our pipes burst. Also, this little 'puter just died hard three times. So instead of saving my files or calling for help, I think I'll post on my blog. Smart, huh? I might as well be in a SciFi Original Movie.

I have the new Joe R. Lansdale novel, though. And the will to live. See you soon?

Monday, February 2, 2009

American Independent Writers: Fiction Writing Seminar

I'm not going to AWP this year, but on Feb 28 I'll be on a panel for an AIW fiction writing seminar to be hosted here at Mason. The panel I'm on is "New Media and Publishing Creative Writing," and it will be moderated by the awesome Reb Livingston

other panel topics:

Literary Fiction versus Genre Fiction
Novelists who write Reviews and Criticism
Second Novels

This looks like a very cool event I just stumbled into, despite the fact that the links to AIW and the seminar have just gone kaplooey. Indie writers suck.

update: the links are fixed, for the time being. Here's the main site, and here's the seminar info

Sunday, February 1, 2009

self doubt is hot

I'm suffering a bit of submission fatigue that I blame on how hard it was to get "Render, or to transmit to another" and "Do you know what it means to miss" accepted. These were both pieces that I was excited about and that Dean kept calling my best, but that editors rejected with little more than "not for us" comments. Getting the last piece in Juked felt like punctuation for the time being, and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't leave the discrete shorties alone to focus on more substantial projects. I have the novel to finish--I may be in the last 50-75 pages, plus I've been encouraged to try to do more with the 'Laura's pocket guide' concept.

I do not have the blues, but my attention is wandering. Enjoy this pic of Przemyƛl.