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Starting up a monthly newsletter

17 Jul

Printing_Press,_1829_woodcut_by_George_BaxterOh, hi! I’m starting up a short & sweet monthly newsletter if you’d like updates of book news and related hoopla, right in your inbox. Plus bite-sized bits on art, food, cities, botany, and literature–the stuff that fuels my writing. How many times will I reference marzipan? The only way to find out is sign up here. Fun!

December Events

27 Nov
ampersand

Olympic Sculpture Park; photo by George Szilagyi

As the year winds down into its darkest days, I hope you’ll join me for one of these events. If you come to two, I will give you a lollipop.

  • Friday, December 2, at 8 pmThe Furnace Says Goodnight at Hollow Earth Radio. Thirteen Furnace writers contributed pieces that Corinne and I have woven into a single story. The pieces are at turns raw, luminous, defiant, and hopeful. I’m super excited to see the collaboration come alive on stage.  And there will be klezmer music! Please come help us celebrate our last performance. If you’re not in town, you can tune in online at hollowearthradio.org.
  • Wednesday, December 7, at 7 pm: Superfriends: Moss + Pacifica at Open Books. Two literary magazines near and dear to me are having launch parties for their latest issues. I’m in Moss #6! Pacifica published my first poem back in March.
  • Tuesday, December 13, at 7 pm: Seattle Fiction Federation at Richard Hugo House.  A fiction-full night! I’m reading alongside Steve Sibra, Lucy Hitz, and Donna Miscolta, whose story collection Hola and Goodbye just came out from Carolina Wren Press. There’s also an open mic, so come with up to 5 minutes of fiction to share.
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Three Winning Stories

16 Dec

Some people have been asking what I submitted for the Artist Trust / Gar LaSalle Storytelling Award. They were three short stories:

  1. The Zoo,” published in Washington City Paper
  2. Old Boyfriends,” published in Propeller Magazine
  3. Sugar,” published in Gastronomica

I didn’t submit a novel excerpt, following the general grant-writing advice to use a work sample that has a beginning, middle, and end. I also strived to show a range in styles and put the sample together in the order above to modulate tone, starting with the sad/happy, getting quite dark, and then ending on a lighter note. Just putting my process out there in case it’s helpful! NB: Artist Trust gathers an amazing list of funding resources here. And here’s a post on writing artist statements.

 

Jack Straw Writers on King 5’s New Day Northwest

6 Aug
With Erin Malone on King 5's morning show New Day Northwest, hosted by Margaret Larson

First time on television. NBD.

Erin Malone and I were on King 5’s New Day Northwest yesterday morning talking about the Jack Straw Writing Program. I’m still all happy-flustered from having been on TV for the first time! You can watch the segment right over here.

Grand Plans for AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

24 Mar

Every year around this time, my post on finding a literary agent at AWP gets more hits. And thus I’m reminded that I will be attending the conference again. I love the Twin Cities, and Mike and I are doubling up with a visit to his dad, so my approach will be considerably chill. I probably won’t have time to visit the Walker Art Center, one of my favorite museums (in the world?), but my chief goals include: multiple visits to Cecil’s Deli for Jewish food and a fleeting drive-by glimpse of the Paisley Palace. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts is also well worth another visit.

Blintzes, books, and Prince–what could be better?

I do have some literary events:

  • Thursday night at 8:15 pm at The Nicollet, I’m reading at Literary Wilderness, a benefit for prison writing programs around the country. The theme is is WILDERNESS, so be prepared!
  • Saturday afternoon, 3-5 pm at Boneshaker Books, I’m reading with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, which accepted a batch of my writing prompts into their CREDO Anthology.

And a number of panels caught my eye:

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

For last year’s book fair, I had a laser beam focus on small presses to submit my first novel to. This year, I don’t have that particular laser beam, or any particular laser beam. I’m sure I’ll come home with an unwieldy pile of books and I’m sure I’ll pile up their spines in a picture, right here, just for you.

Classy Talk: Visual Inspiration

5 Jan

I did a little interview on the Hugo House blog about my upcoming class co-presented with the Henry Art Gallery and about what I’ve been reading and writing lately. You can register for the class here and see previous students’ work from the class here and here. Join me Thursday nights 6-8 pm starting January 30. Happy new year!

Spinning Yarns at Photo Center NW

6 May

There’s a real dreamy exhibit on at Photo Center NW until May 28. I’m especially fond of Erin V. Sotak’s “SUGAR and Spice,” which depicts a bride in a blue-papered drawing room about to eat a cube of sugar that is surely poisoned, and Christine Shank’s “You Promised to Listen,” an ethereal room filled with light and dust motes and a thick carpet of fuscia, white, and green flower buds, all suggesting an altercation gone seriously, and beautifully, wrong.

Image

Not at Photo Center NW, but my photo of a favorite spot in Seattle that keeps changing and is full of whimsical objects, and seems to be an ever-evolving story. I don’t think this particular arrangement is there anymore.

If you’re in Seattle, and in need of an art fix, do check it out! And if you’re not, 26 of the pictures are available online.

Marbles by Ellen Forney

8 Mar

My review of Ellen Forney‘s fantastic graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me is up on the Ploughshares blog. The first time I read the book I was drying off in a Scottish pub in Victoria after a three mile walk in the rain; I read it again in Seattle with coffee and my critic’s goggles on. Loved it through both reads. Here’s how the review begins:

Genre: Graphic Memoir

Concerning: Cartoonist Ellen Forney’s confrontation with her bipolar disorder diagnosis
And: what it means for her identity as an artist
And: what it means for her creativity and her livelihood

 

Continue reading

Story Sounds

5 Jul

So I’ve got this reading in a month, and I’ve been thinking a lot about sound and how important reading aloud is for writing. Even without having a performance to prepare for, I like to read drafts aloud to see where they’re working or not. The story I’ll be reading this August 1, “More Like Home Than Home,” uses a lot of footnotes, which is a special listening challenge, so I’ve enlisted my friend Kristen Young to perform the story with me as the voice of the footnotes. I’m really excited to be working on this with her.

I’ve also been playing with SoundCloud and hope to record a story or novel chapter soon (and I posted a recording from my last Castalia reading for now). In the meantime, here’s a fabulous article on writing and sound from Constance Hale.

The Kobe Ropeway

21 Apr

My third and final post about our trip to Japan.

The Kobe Ropeway, I learned from Wikipedia just now, is nicknamed – quite appropriately-  the “Kobe Dreamy Balloon.” Surely, it is a place where happiness is made. I took a half dozen pictures of the adorable mural beside the entrance to this aerial tramway, possibly the most cheerful mural I’ve ever seen. And then, silently, we zoomed 400 meters up Mount Rokkō , inside the little sleek black and red car, precariously attached to the cable by a tiny metal hook and swaying ever so slightly in the wind. Below us: lush trees, then the white-brick, gray-brick, and blue-glass city, then the glittering harbor melting into the milky horizon. Above us: the Nunobiki Herb Garden, an Alpine-style rest house, a concert hall, and a museum of fragrance. In the aromatherapy room, we made soap scented with lavender and geranium and tinted with turmeric and rosemary. Outside, snow whirled over snapdragons, white roses, a whole riot of springtime flowers. We wandered down the hill through the herb garden to a greenhouse with an exhibit on spices, smelling jars of cloves, saffron, anise, cardamom – essential, enlivening olfactory research!

Out of the garden and hiking back down Mount Rokkō, we passed many tiny shrines nestled into the hillside, and a few waterfalls. J pointed out this habitat as a likely home for kappa, a mythical amphibious animal notorious for stealing cucumbers and, when provoked, ripping out livers via the anus. How incredibly specific!

Here are some more pictures from the mural (click to expand):

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