Monday, June 18, 2007

"Always the last to know..."

Del Amitri and Me. That is what my understanding is today; because, apparently someone issued a memo that says it is okay now to wear your pajamas whenever you want. Which is really sad to me--that I didn't get the memo I mean--because I love wearing pajamas. I mean, first off, who doesn't like to be comfortable all the time in loose fitting flannel pants. I know I sure do. But apparently, as evidenced by the jackhole in the Kennedy Plaza Bus Depot, they make pajama shorts that you can wear around out in public now too.

Ugh... Doomed.

I discovered a new site today--which means, naturally, that everybody else has known about it for ages. It is called Five Chapters, and it is a great online literature site. Look at some of the authors that have contributed:

  1. Josh Emmons
  2. Jennifer Egan
  3. Aimee Bender
  4. Anthony Swofford
  5. Ben Greenman

It's like a who's-who of authors that I wish I could be--except for Anthony Swofford;who, I am sure, has seen shit that you just can't unsee and I don't need that. Anyway if you like reading and are into submitting writing then... WOW how can you not be excited about this site.

What they do is put up a short story in five serialized installments Monday through Friday. I read about six of them today, all of them were fantastic. Check it out.

I started working "banker's hours" this week and I have to come clean: I kind of hate it. I had been working Wednesday to Sunday, mostly in the evenings and usually two ten to twelve hour days and three six hour days and I loved it. Now I am Monday to Friday eight to four and I am already bored: it is day four. This is going to be a long arduous summer.

The good news: the theater where I work is starting to talk about some of the concepts for our shows next season and it is going to be very, very exciting. So at least I have something to which I can look forward.

So I am going to put up a list of books and albums that I am listening to so that people can keep track (or check them out if they are interested); I will also be giving an on-deck circle for books I will be starting when I am finished with the currently started book.

Right now I am reading two books. The first, is Good Omens, written by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchett. The Second is The Loss of Leon Mead, by Josh Emmons.

Now it may seem odd that I JUST DISCOVERED a website featuring Emmons' work and I am reading his book at the same time. If you are paying attention, you are probably saying, Shenanigans, V., SHE-NANIGANS! The truth is that Josh Emmons is a friend of a friend of mine and my friend has been NOT pushing the book on me nearly as hard he should have been because it is a brilliant piece of writing. (As it should be considering Josh's pedigree from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, a place that I will sadly never attend. Woe is I.)

My on-deck circle is currently occupied by The Golden Compass, by Phillip Pullman, which is going to be made into a movie soon.

I am a big fan of children's fantasy, and I am thrilled to say it all started with Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising. I know I do a lot of jaw boning about entire post about this or entire post about that, but I think the time is right for me to follow through and sit down and write an entire post about something meaningful, and this is it. So stay tuned, sometime this week.

Currently I am listening to Lovely Wife's Eighties mix that is on her iPod, but I spent my work today catching up on some Power Pop and Retro sounding stuff. I highly recommend the albumWelcome Interstate Managers to anybody. Fountains of Wayne has been one of my favorite bands since Radiation Vibe came out in the mid-nineties and in all honestly it helped get across the country in my first big move from New Mexico to Florida. The other album I was listening to is called Under The Influence Of Giants a self titled album by... well it is self-titled so figure it out. Great 80's sound to these guys, I literally had iTunes say you like [some band I don't remember] so you should check out this band and I did and I am thrilled with them.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"We've lost the plot and we just can't choose. "

I don't know how time gets away from me sometimes but it does and I logged on to the dashboard, on accident, and saw that it has been 12 days since my last posting which is reprehensible.

So the move-in is nearly complete. Well, the move-in is nearly complete in-so-far-as I am finally sick of seeing things that I own and can't remember where I picked them up so I am starting to throw things away willy-nilly (never a good thing). I threw away my college portfolio today--well I threw away the boring parts, my service essay, which started off, I hate doing this, but you told me I can't graduate with out it (or something really similar). I was startled at how impetuous I was when I was in my early twenties. Most of essays that I was rereading start off similarly, a recurring theme is: Can't you guys see how smart I am I want a degree without having to work for it, so why don't I give you thirty grand you give me a slip of paper and we will call it even.

I think hindsight and humility have given me a better perspective on some of those years and how anybody suffered my presence is a real testament to their character.

One of the things that I found were some old play that I wrote. One of them was about two vampires (because you know, closet goth) having late night dinner and talking about being in Love. It wasn't bad, and it was great to reinforce my confidence a bit. Another thing I found was a paper that I wrote called "The Inevitability of the Civi War" and it was an essay saying that slavery had very little to do with the civil war and it was mostly an economic issue that culminated in war and when the North was losing, it turned into a civil rights movement. The paper was typed up one night, probably the night before it was due, and it was absolute rubbish. The teacher marked it up for grammar--commas missing, wrong homophone, that sort of thing--which has never really been my strong point. On the back she wrote that it was a good piece and that it needed more work, but (and this is the part to pay attention to) I could probably be very good if I would take my time and use the revision process.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... It is humiliating to think that if I had read that back when I was twenty-one things might have ended up differently. But the truth of the matter is that I don't know that I read the back of the paper. I probably looked at the front, said great a B, I passed, then put it away and never looked at it again. Oh well. You can't change the past. Right?

Other news. I have been doing a tremendous amount of writing later and am hoping to have some stuff to start sending off for journals. I think I have come to the conclusion that the genre I most identify with is Fantasy and that as much as I would like to be a narrative writer in the style of say, Kenzaburo Oe or Jose Saramago or Orhan Pamuk, it is probably just as well that I am incapable of finishing a story about regular life. But if you give me a story about an ill-intentioned toy store and I can bang out two thousand words in about an hour.

I will keep this site updated with news as I get it. In the meantime I keep getting stuff up on the Six Sentences site and they have a contest coming up that I am going to enter and see what shakes out.

I have been listening to a lot of music lately and have a couple of albums to recommend.

  1. Mew, Frengers
  2. The Fratellis, Costello Music
  3. Travis, The Boy With No Name
  4. Blonde Redhead, 23
  5. Air, Pocket Symphony

[This is a total sidenote to the post, but I remembered the tag for an open list without having to look at my little HTML tag cheating site. I am quite pleased with myself.]

I was a pleased to see the Travelling Wilbury's have rereleased their albums. It is long over due and greatly appreciated. Here is the thing that was funny about the Wilbury's; it was probably the first super group I remember. Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. How is that for a line-up. And they made really fun music. I am not a fan of any of them singularly--except Harrison, who I think is a G-d--but I really liked the Wilbury's; so much so that I actually wore my tape through. So I am happy that I have it anew.

One last thing that I was hit with the other day, I reconnected with one of my best friends in the entire world. But one, who lives in another state, and who I just don't email or talk to all that often. We had about an email exchange about what we are reading and then a phone call about some old business thing that we were involved with a long time ago. Anyway it was to talk to him again and it makes me feel like a schmuck when I am too lazy to pick up the phone and talk to my friends. Lesson learned.

Monday, June 04, 2007

"Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody..."

Marlowe's Sketchpad has an update.

Here is the story on it. I hate it. There are bits and pieces that I adore, but I got lost somewhere, or rather I lost the plot and I haven't been able to get anywhere back to where I was when I started it. It is just brutal having something started, and not being able to finish it.

So I am asking for help. Help me get back on track. Do ditch the crazy girl? I don't know, all I know is that I feel like the story isn't worth telling, because we have all heard it already.

Do you know what I mean?

If you have any thoughtful ideas post them on the sketchpad and I will check back. This is something that I want to finish, but damn it all I am just stuck... STUCK STUCK STUCK!


Sunday, June 03, 2007

For the first time in my life (since I have been out of college and on my own) I have central air conditioning.

I can't even tell you how exciting this is. Yesterday was stifling. It was one of those ridiculously humid days where the air hangs thick and you can cut it with a machete. I was running around for most of the day trying to help get things set up for this big black tie affair that happened at the theater where I work. The good news is that it went off without a hitch, I had a lot of people that I did a good job. I was pretty psyched. I like doing good jobs.

The cool part was that one of the people who was an honoree was Olympia Dukakis. Which was awesome. She has been in plays a couple of times at the theater and she was the recipient of the lifetime achievement award and she gave this awesome two minute speech about fighting for things. It was pretty amazing. So this year I have met three no shit big time stars. In December I got to meet Billy Peterson, of CSI fame; Amy Morton, who is one of the most remarkable directors/actresses I have ever seen; and now Olympia Dukakis. Wow! What a year. I can't wait until next year. I am going to hold out for Richard Dean Anderson.

My new apartment is incredible it takes me four minutes to round trip to work. I left the soiree last night and was in bed fifteen minutes later. (That included a shower.)

I know I promised a post about my experience in Ikea, I am still working on it. It will be an epic post when it comes out.

Last thing. I have been reading a lot of the Neil Gaiman website lately. He has a great journal that he updates nearly everyday, access to short stories, updates on the movie Stardust (which is a film adaptation of one his novels). All in all a great website. One of the things I like best is the Q&A that he has on there. A lot of the questions offer some really great advise for young writers (young in career that is). I would encourage everyone to check it out if they get the chance.