Thursday, May 29, 2008

Chuck Pahlaniuk Wouldn't Steal My Book

My friend
Mary Akers alerted me to a video from Borders books in Michigan, in which author Chuck Pahlaniuk recommends books under the guise of those people would be most likely to steal, and how they'd steal them. It's very tongue in cheek and funny, and, at one point, you can see my book Make a Scene, prominently displayed behind him. Oh the fame!

To view it,
click here and scroll down and select "How to Prevent Stock Shrinkage" and watch for a few minutes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Soon they will be gathering again, from all over the country. Their notebooks and ideas and works-in-progress tucked dreamily under arms and in backpacks. They will take trains and buses and planes to the lushly green setting, move their things into white clapboard houses and spend nearly two weeks filling up on words.

I graduated from Bennington's writing seminars three summers ago. I can't believe it! For awhile there, the experience was still fresh--the feeling of Tishman Hall packed to the rafters on a humid day; half of us drowsing, favorite teachers' legs draped through the railings overlooking the speaker, a feeling of purposeful gathering as we took notes. Or the trek from dorm to the Carriage Barn for readings, some of which were spellbinding, others so longwinded you wished you'd taken a seat in back so you could sneak out. The carousing, the intense workshops. The purposeful stride of our bear-like leader Liam Rector, who took his own life this past year. The endless day, beginning at breakfast and ending long after 9pm, often on the commons lawn if it was summer under the drone of fireflies, or the dank, foul-smelling pub in winter. I can still conjure the images of it, but the feeling of it--of having actually lived it, spent five residencies there, written hundreds of pages of material and read as many books, has become more insubstantial. More something I know I did, than remember doing.

Still, every time I receive the preliminary schedule (they include alumni), I get nostalgic. Wish I could be there to hear the lectures, to drink in the lovely surreality of academia where constructing a manuscript feels like the most important work on earth.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Study in Contrast

Me and a tree, April 2007

Me, and a tree, May, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Waiting Game

I am not sure at which age my habit of "doing" kicked in--maybe somewhere around the fourth grade; it could have had something to do with my acquired twinkie habit at the time, which is like meth for grade school kids, or maybe that's just the age when children whose parents need intoxicants to function start acting out. Either way, I have to look back pretty far to find a time when I wasn't compelled to be in action, producing, creating or achieving.

With a couple periods of exception in my life, I have now entered a foreign time of not doing. Of having absolutely nothing TO do. No list. No assignments. No deadlines. No writing. No jewelry making. This is, of course, at my own choosing in preparation for Operation New Life. While I am aware that this window of time is about equivalent to a mili-second of my life, and that in a few weeks I will look back on it with nostalgia, it's very weird. Like being let go from a job, but without all the grief.

I don't even have a garden or a pet to tend to. That means I have now entered the stage of making things to do for myself. Maybe I will, in fact, end up writing some of the fiction I've unfortunately put on hold for awhile. Maybe I will become the world's greatest house cleaner, or finally clear out all the seasonal spider webs gathering in the eaves of my home.

Or maybe I will just rest and meditate and walk and imagine the person "coming to live with us" as E. puts it, who will change everything.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's in a Name?

When I first got married (almost 9 years ago!!), E. and I both found our new "titles" a little squirrely. Calling him "husband" felt sort of like calling him "Reverend" or "Lordship." The very word "wife" felt like it should be applied only to something that is possessed by another. It took us awhile to feel comfortable wearing these terms, and now that we've gotten comfortable in them, we often revert to other titles for fun and games.

No matter how much I may believe myself to be master of words because I write and therefore manipulate and shift and change meanings based on how I use them, I am aware of the deep, historical layers of meaning and power at work in a word.

Now we will be adopting yet new titles, and with them, new roles. Just like a husband and a wife have a different set of obligations than a boyfriend and a girlfriend (depending on your morality, I guess), "Mom" and "Dad" come fully loaded with a differnt set of instructions and meaning than say "aunt" or "friend" or "people who don't have kids."

And with these new titles/roles will come a whole new level of scrutiny from the world--people looking in who believe they know better or more correctly the way to be parents.

Hoo boy. Here it comes!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Strange Reactions
Observations on my ninth month:

At the busy intersection where no one ever stopped for me before, now they stop--sometimes screeching to a halt.
Elderly women often get teary eyed when they see me.
Elderly men pretend they don't notice.
Teenage girls look away very quickly, as if terrified of the size of me compared to their own lithe forms.
Teenage boys don't know where to look, often opting for my (newfound) cleavage
Young children openly gawk, and occasionally point and ask questions.
Men make jokes about midnight food runs and how we pregnant girls are impossible to please
Mothers with young children smile wearily at me.

Monday, May 05, 2008


I can barely turn over in bed
Getting out of a chair feels like exercise
2 hours of work at my desk is a full day
Even eating isn't fun anymore
Feet? I have feet?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Respect the Fowl!

Please join me on May 4th in celebrating International Respect for Chickens Day. It's been a long time coming for the tireless activists who have pushed to get this day on the books. Now it's here and chickens will no longer go unheard. Champion the Chicken! For one day of the year, please don't chase, torture, annoy, eat, bend, fold, staple or mutilate a chicken.