Look, I’m going to be up front about this. There’s an obscene amount of self-promotion in today’s bulletin. Also, there are some seriously sketchy people on today’s episode of Judge Judy. I originally typed that Judge Judgy.
I forgot to mention that in addition to reading for Defunct at the Mission Creek festival, I will also be reading at Quickies, April 2 at 5 pm at Dublin Underground in Iowa City. I’m going to read real, well, quick, then head on over to the other reading.
I wrote a love story called Girls With Eating Disorders and it is now being featured at the Fwriction Review. This story was rejected eighteen times. I almost gave up hope on it but I also loved it and I am particularly stubborn (not necessarily a good thing).
This sums up my thoughts on Robert Pattinson nicely. He’s not attractive.
I wrote this series of notes about The Chronology of Water wherein I reveal the closely held secret that I sort of did pay attention and study and understand what was going on in graduate school even though I pretended I didn’t.
I also have this story in the Moon Milk Review print anthology called The Anger of Others. Part or all of the story I think will be online in the April issue. I will give you a sneak peek. I like the word peek.
The couple hunkered in the booth next to us are having a very serious argument, the kind so serious that neither party can bear to raise their voices. Instead, they speak in loud, ugly whispers, each word out of their mouths accompanied by a healthy serving of spittle that hangs from their lips for several excruciating moments until before falling onto the dark linen tablecloths and spreading into Rorschach blots of moisture. My husband and I cannot stop watching this couple. We live for such episodes. Later, when we are alone in bed, our stomachs rumbling as they try to digest the rich meal we ingested so gleefully hours earlier, we will dissect the other couple’s argument. He will take her side and I will take his and we will recreate the complex history of the other couple’s relationship. We will advocate our positions so passionately that the entire affair will devolve into an argument about our own relationship. That argument will burn fast and bright until we remember how it started. We’ll pause, our frustration trapped in our throats and then he’ll say something clever or charming and he’ll climb on top of me, the bed coils groaning beneath us as we athletically concede our previous positions.
We are eating out because our kitchen is largely decorative in purpose. I don’t know how to cook, deliberately never learned how because my mother told me not to even boil water so I would be worth something to a man. My husband does cook but takes no pleasure in it so we spend most of our nights at restaurants across the city listening to the lives of others. The couple has widely differing stances on having a child. He wants one, she doesn’t want to carry the child because she recently lost 112 pounds by way of surgical assistance and is unwilling to revert to her fatter form. She will ultimately win the argument. Every woman’s greatest fear is fat.
I have a story in the Re:Telling anthology called Alias: The Complete Series. I got name checked in a review of the book in Time Out Chicago, but in a good way. The success of “Viewers Like Us” depends on a cultural critique of the actual show, and the most fully realized pieces present here (like Roxane Gay’s “Alias: The Complete Series,” and Jim Ruland’s “Jack and Jill”) multitask beautifully: telling their own story while bringing new meaning to an old tale.”
Oh yeah, totally vain enough to share that.
I love my story in this anthology. Yes, I love everything I write or I would not bother with it. Buy the book. I haven’t gotten my copy yet but given the line up, it’s going to be good.
Here’s an excerpt:
She drives to the wrong side of town and parks on the edge of trouble, hides her keys in the gas tank. She walks past broken buildings and broken men who don’t even have enough heart to pay her any mind. She walks past women who sell what she’s going to give away. They see who she is even when she can’t and she loves them for that. She wants to hold them in her arms and kiss the track marks on their arms and drown in the scent of their cheap perfume. She finds a bar—loud and humid and rank. She forces her way through the crowd. She orders a drink, lights a cigarette, talks to an ugly man with yellow fingers. She says things that make her heart beat fast. The ugly man puts a hand on her thigh, pushes her dress up, squeezes, she lets him. His fingers are cold. She feels nothing. She drinks more, smokes more, her throat hurts, her head hurts. She excuses herself to the bathroom and stares at her reflection in the mirror. She
presses her hand to her waist, feels the thinly braided scar from where her youngest child was cut out of her. She finds another man who is better looking. He buys her drinks and leans in real close and keeps his hand against the sweaty small of her back.
I try to move beyond the most common themes in my writing but all my stories come back to the body in its physical extremes and violence and I have a couple other things coming out this month. The thoughts in that sentence don’t really go together so much. As I tell my students: one main idea per sentence! At least, that’s what I tell them in Composition. Then later, I tell them, rebel, do whatever you want. Be wild. The timing of when writing appears in the world is always interesting. I have no control over these things. This all feels so unreal, the opportunities I’ve had over the past year. It does not feel real. It makes me panic. People I don’t know reference things I’ve written, often in a very flattering and/or thoughtful manner, and I learn about these kindnesses via a nifty tool I signed up for some months back called Google Alerts or someone sends me a link because I don’t catch everything or people stand in a line for me to autograph their books even though I have one tiny story in that book or they send me an e-mail that inspires me and then I feel a little giddy and panicky and excited and humbled. It’s weird, right? It’s weird for me. It does not feel real. I am very appreciative of it though. None of it is taken for granted.
Seriously though, Judge Judy’s bullshit detector is exceptional.
The UPS man brought me this and this today. It was curious though. He didn’t knock on the door. He just dumped the books on the ground and I was like, THAT IS PRECIOUS CARGO and he kept on moving in his sexy brown shorts. Bastard. Respect the words. He is hot.
I lucked into an amazing writing group in my town. We met last night as we do every two weeks. The other women in my group are wonderful writers and I always look forward to whatever they send. One of the pieces I read last night was an excerpt from my friend’s latest project. It was just so so good and dealt with culture and place and the writing was intricate and I thought, great, I have to follow this—no pressure. (She also wrote this outstanding memoir and inspired my current memoir reading kick.) I’ve been sharing parts of my novel and the group has had such lovely things to say. It has been really confidence boosting to know maybe I am heading in the right direction and to hear what is or isn’t working. A lot seems to be working. I am so excited to finish this damn book and send it off to my agent and maybe some day see it in a bookstore so maybe my family will believe I sort of am a writer.
My text messages this week have been exceptional in a very low brow sort of way. I remain fairly confident about the disposition of my eternal soul. I’ll certainly be warm.
We need to talk, again, about Rihanna’s Only Girl in the World. It is just the song, THE SONG. This song is fundamental. I listen to it an embarrassing number of times a day. I dance to it.I work out to it. I do other things to it. I dig this song. Rihanna was just feeling something serious when she recorded this song. I did something super awkward and recorded myself reading the lyrics like a complete loser. I just think its so hilarious, how terrible the lyrics are and that exquisite badness really comes through via recitation. And despite the terrible lyrics, I love this song. I love how sexy it is and how sneakily dirty it is. I mean, we all know what she’s going on about which just makes the song even more awesome.