Thursday, July 30, 2009

No time to blog.

Summer semester is kicking my ass. I really like all three of my classes, but it's a lot of reading. And as much as I love reading Dracula and gender theory and Shakespeare, I prefer to also fit in some of my own reading. Stephanie Johnson's One of These Things Is Not Like The Others arrived in my mailbox today, but I am unfortunately unable to devour it at the moment, and have to temporarily satiate myself with watching the readings in the meantime. I'm still dying to finish Monkeybicycle 6, and read the new Hobart, and Scorch Atlas, and Amelia Gray's AM/PM... In other words, so many books, so little time. But I at least managed to actually get some submissions out tonight. If I don't start finding time to write soon, I am going to run out of things to submit.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skipping School...

I love my lit class, but it was well worth skipping tonight so that I could go to The Dollar Store Show at its final stop in Ann Arbor. I feel bad for anyone arriving from out of town in the midst of art fair here and having no idea what to expect. But everyone was hilarious in spite of being in the middle of art fair hell. Really, the show was great. I kind of wish ours would have been in a bar like many others have been, but then I would still be out, and I will be at a party tomorrow night and I try not to miss being home for the kid's bedtime two nights in a row. So, you know. It's all good. The Dollar Store folk were plenty entertaining sober.

Also, I got to buy Blake Butler's Scorch Atlas, which won't be available for another couple months yet, the new issue of Hobart, and Amelia Gray's AM/PM (which she custom-highlighted for me... one of a kind!). And while of course everyone was very funny, and nice, and talented, I was particularly happy to have a chance to meet Matt Bell, because I have read a lot of his work and really admire him and he is a local writer and I don't know too many of those. We have a good literary scene around these parts, I think, I just never really knew where to find it before. I really like this small press world that exists.

So, it was a great reading, and I got to see writers I was already familiar with, and discover some that were new to me. I would attend something like that every week if I could. So worth using up one of my two allowed absences from class.

Also: I am editing this to add that the stories tonight were not only hilarious. Some of them were also quite heartfelt. I'm impressed by the whole range of what people were able to do with their dollar store objects, as I generally fail miserably at trying to write about something specific like that. Not that I write about vague things, I mean, but if you handed me, say, a clear plastic tube full of 5 radish-type-things with faces on them, I would not be able to do what Patrick Somerville did with it.

And also: Scorch Atlas is a freaking beautifully designed book.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reading, Writing, Etc.

In between reading Shakespeare and critical theory about cannibals and whatnot, I am attempting to be better about reading entire print journals. I read online mags in their entirety all the time, and I buy print journals with the best of intentions, but I always have so many things on the reading plate, I often end up jumping around and reading stories that jump out at me and not reading them cover to cover. That's my confession. I am trying to remedy this. I'm reading Monkeybicycle 6 right now and thoroughly enjoying it. They're definitely a place I hope to end up in print one of these days. Good stuff. Next up on my lit mag reading list is Barrelhouse 7. And I am hoping there will be copies of the new Hobart for sale at the Dollar Store reading tomorrow in Ann Arbor.

A lot of these things should be links, but I am feeling lazy.

It occurred to me today that while probably only 1/10th of the stories I write have male narrators, almost everything I write with a male narrator is quickly accepted for publication. Perhaps I write in a more convincing male voice than a female one. I don't know what this says about me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

In other news...

The wonderful Pank Magazine is having a contest. I love that they're being so totally transparent about the reading fees and how they make the prize possible. Pank is good people.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The internet is being bitchy. Facebook and Twitter are working just fine, but many other pages are refusing to load. IT'S LIKE THE INTERNET DOESN'T WANT ME TO BE PRODUCTIVE. (okay, none of the other places I'm trying to go are productive either).

Speaking of being productive, I'm skipping class to go to this next Thursday. I wonder if the good people planning it have any concept of what it's like to be in Ann Arbor in the middle of art fair.

(Now Twitter isn't working, either. This is the kind of attention span I have: I go check Twitter in the middle of writing a blog post).

July has been a good month so far as far as acceptances are concerned, and I'm uber excited to have stories coming out in Storyglossia and SmokeLong Quarterly in the next few months. I admittedly used to be kind of a print snob about publications, mostly because back when I wrote and submitted poetry almost ten years ago, online mags really hadn't become recognized as a legitimate thing yet. But now, I so regularly read stories online that completely blow me away, and there are so many online publications I respect, it doesn't even seem like the "legitimacy" of the internet as a publishing platform is really a debate anymore, at least as far as I'm concerned. I like the availability and accesibility of online writing. I like how many amazing writers I've discovered in online mags. And while I'll always also love the tangible, physical qualities of holding a nice lit mag in my hands, I'm also very happy about finally having some stories up on the interwebs. It's all good, I say.

Now, I have to go finish reading Freud on totem and taboo.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Reading

This is not one of those "recommended summer reading lists," not that I don't recommend 99% of what's on this list, it's just that you would have to be some kind of crazy person to intentionally undertake this as your summer reading list. Nonetheless, I was just kind of amused thinking about the list of things I've read since the beginning of June or so:

Assorted "Modern American Lit" short fiction
Project X—Jim Shepard
Bits and pieces of a whole lot of Sartre, Camus, etc.
Sula—Toni Morrison
All The Day’s Sad Stories—Tina May Hall
The Adderall Diaries—Stephen Elliott
Childhood and Other Neighborhoods—Stuart Dybek
The Girl on the Fridge—Etgar Keret
God Says No—James Hannaham
How The Broken Lead the Blind (chapbook)—Matt Bell
The National Virginity Pledge—Barry Graham
Big World—Mary Miller
A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness--Amy L. Clark, Elizabeth Ellen, Kathy Fish, Claudia Smith
The first 7 essays in Gender, Sex, and Sexuality: The New Basics--ed. by Ferber
Book IX of The Odyssey
Large selections from Robinson Crusoe
The beginning of Cannibalism and The Colonial World--ed. by Hulme
The first half (so far) of Suburban Swindle--Jackie Corley
At least 100+ pages of critical literary theory concerning cannibals, colonialism, etc.
The first 3 acts of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Still on deck for the remainder of the Summer:
The rest of Cannibalism and the Colonial World
The rest of The Suburban Swindle
The rest of A Midsummer Night's Dream
The rest of Gender, Sex, and Sexuality: The New Basics
Much Ado About Nothing
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
She--H. Rider Haggard
You Must Be This Tall To Ride--Ed. B.J. Hollars
The Tempest
Twelfth Night
Ever--Blake Butler
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned--Wells Tower

I very probably forgot some things. And, you know, other things will come up.

I was going to do that whole Infinite Summer thing but, yeah. Year-round, full-time school and a brazen determination to continue reading whatever the hell I want on top of what I have to read for school leaves little room for such things.

Well, it's an eclectic list, if nothing else.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cannibalism and other things.

I'm in a really great lit class right now, Cannibalism, Consumerism, and the Cultures of Cruelty. I've always been a bad lit geek, because I've never been terribly interested in much that was written more than 100 years ago or so. This class is making me realize how interesting the whole "cultural studies" approach can be, and how reading in that way is just a whole different thing than the way I sit down and read a contemporary story just for pleasure. Maybe I am a late bloomer and the notion that there are multiple ways to read things should have just been obvious. Or maybe most people who enjoy 18th century lit really do just sit down and enjoy it the way I enjoy a contemporary story, in which case we are back to me being a bad lit geek. Maybe this is why lit is not my major.

I feel old sometimes at school. I've always been sort of backwards. I used to feel insecure about being young, because I was married with a baby by 22, and my "peers" all seemed so much older. Now I'm a 28-year-old undergrad and I always feel old. Not old as in, old, but grown-up, or supposedly grown-up. My 17-year-old neighbor asked me the other day if I had ever seen facebook. I was already on the internet back when I was changing her diapers, but that probably doesn't make me sound any younger.

The other day in my lit class, I was talking to a girl and a boy about writing. The girl asked what genre I write, and I said "literary." And the boy said "no, she means like sci-fi, fantasy..." And I said "right. I know what genre means. Realism, with some magical realism thrown in." Then we talked about other things. It was an odd question and I think they thought I was stupid. I fear I make that impression a lot.

I have to go do my homework now.