Friday, August 26, 2011

Follow Friday!


It's Friday and you know what that means. TOMORROW IS CATURDAY! Yes, but it also means today is Follow Friday so get commenting and get pressing that follow button.

Today's question:

Q. In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

OH MAN DO I LOVE TRUE BLOOD. Never read the books though.. Hmm, an interesting question. I'll say witches. Yeah yeah yeah I know all about those dusty little shops filled with folks in frocks rubbing stones together for the moon goddess of the north, but I'm talking WITCHES as in Harry Potter and Charmed. Actually, I'd like to come out as a witch. I think that'd be a good thing to be. I think it'd be best to be a Bewitched witch. No demons would try and kill me, although all that housework... a demon within itself.

I almost said fairies, but a lot of us are already out of the closet ;)

Thanks for reading AND FOLLOWING,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Book Binger's Separation Anxiety


I'm going back to cowledge this Saturday Caturday and I haven't packed my underwear or toothbrush or rice cakes yet. I have packed all my books.

I don't get it. They're heavy; I'll never have the time to read/re-read them what with all the reading I'll be doing for classes, essay writing, working, and manuscript revisions. Also, socializing. If you don't socialize in cowledge it can be pretty unbearable. Still though, I packed up my Steinbeck boxset, my Faulkner boxset, complete collections of O'Connor, all the Palahniuks and Heims and McCarthys and Oates and about twenty or so more novels that simply CANNOT be left behind. Am I crazy?

There's such a safety in these books, such a gathering of home. They're all kind of my friends, I guess. They're your grandmother's pillow you took after her funeral. They're your mother's perfume when you're all grown up and she's gone, but boy does that smell take you back. Does this make sense? Am I dumb?

When a friend saw all my piled books they said, "When will you ever have time for casual reading?"

I hate the phrase "casual reading" and if anyone ever uses it to describe my manuscript when it grows up to be a novel (I've decided that WILL happen) I might cry. No reading should be casual. Fiction must be jarring, has to grab you by the neck and rattle you to a world away from your living room so that you can understand your living room.

All novels must not only abduct you to be a success, they must also bring to you Stockholm Syndrome.

What's casual about that?

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back To The Real World of Fiction


Toronto was fab. Days were spent hounding the streets and shopping and getting hit by waves of exhausted silence only to stop for a Blue Lagoon or Pale Ale or Beached which sent us into a type of delirium that resulted in us imagining Great Danes dressed up as one another. We're strange. At night we drank orient apple Absolut Vodka in the hostel and made ourselves pretty. A man from Austria asked me if I was Persian and I felt like the classiest guy. Then we headed out and club hopped, bar hopped, hopped out of our fancy ouchy shoes.

I miss it already.

But I have this distraction in that the manuscript I've been working on for however long is coming to a close. The first draft. I think I know what I want to call it, but for now it will stay "manuscript." I don't think unpublished authors should be allowed to call works in progress "novels" or "books," because chances are they aren't. Novels and books are things that have struggled through query letter hell and submission hell and agent revision and editor revision and galleys and ARCs and finally ended up on a shelf, in a Kindle. Maybe this manuscript will make it to that. I have hopes for her, but before any of that comes REVISIONS. Writing is rewriting. Editing and chopping and copy/pasting.

Right now they're killing each other to this:

Now I know I have a few writers following me from cowledge (which I return to this week which means homework is going to try and interrupt the revising of manuscript especially because I'm in two 300 level classes and a 400, but I will prevail. Somehow), but what about the rest of you? Any writers? What do you write? What's your writing habits?

Thanks for reading AND WRITING,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All That Glitters is Old


A summer or so ago I attended a writing workshop on creative non-fiction. My piece was complimented by the mother of one of the other writers. I thought that was pretty sassy of the mother to come and gush all over me while her kid ate a quarter of a ham sub in the corner. Well, I've since revised revised revised and now it's been published on Thought Catalog! Check it out here: Why I Am Water Between Two Worlds

They changed the title.

I also found out that another short story of mine, "Little Deformities", will be published in Cannoli Pie Literary Magazine! I'll link you when it's up.

And guess what else? I'll be working in the school library this year and no fried chicken is allowed.

Now I'm going to Toronto with two of my girls.

Thanks for reading (you're why I write),

Monday, August 15, 2011

Barbie took a seat on the sofa...


She said with blonde hair twined with between finger and thumb, "I only do coke on special occasions."

"What's so special about today?"

She let loose the hair and told me the month, day, year, and time. "It will never be now ever again."

She sniffed up her fifth line and dabbed the aftermath blood drip with a caked tissue already stained pink.

Thanks for reading,

What the Zombies Wrote

A review. Of a book. The day after I finished it. I do believe in miracles. I do. I do. I do.

"She lifts both arms in surrender, but the bleeding black thing disappears, vacuumed through the open window, a single swift bolt, as though it never existed at all." 

Finished Scott Heim's In Awe. It's his lesser known work, overshadowed by Mysterious Skin. I must say that I understand that shadow. The misfits in Mysterious Skin were odd in a way that lent them to likability, while the misfits in this work were kind of... freaks.Their actions are bizarre  outlandish, and at times unbelievable, but each eyebrow raised action pours them out to the reader. These weirdos give us their insecurities and fears in raw detail no matter if we can handle it or not. This is what makes the novel strong.

In Awe surrounds three people coping with the death of a mutual friend family member. There's Harriet, the delirious and spaced mother of the diseased; Sarah, a young woman obsessed with the macabre and horror flicks; and Boris, a disturbed teen obsessed with a boy that doesn't know he exists.

At times, the novel's language makes the book seem somewhat paranormal, despite no supernatural elements. It's a dreamy language, hazy at points. It's easy to get lost in, to flow too in the rush. But that's what these characters are: Lost. Abandoned. Unrequited. Their fantastical worlds have spilled to reality.

In Awe is an exact representation of living after losing a loved one.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Follow Friday & Book Blogger Hop


You know the drill! Follow moi et I follow tu. That's french. I think. I'm not very good at French. I failed all my exams and had to retake them for a higher score and left the class with a C. Meh. C'est la vie.

Question for the week:

Q. How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?

I'M STILL A TEENAGER. No I'm not. I'm twenty years old. T-W-E-N-T-Y. That spells "old." No it doesn't. 

Surprisingly, my reading habits have changed quite a bit between nineteen and twenty. My teenage years were lazy days. I went to school through the motions. Didn't have too many friends. Don't get me wrong, I didn't wear Korn t-shirts and paint my nails black and blab about the world not understanding me. No, that was middle school. In high school, I spent most of my free time either re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer or reading books. I loved Stephen King and still do. He's vastly underrated. I have moved beyond that safety net quite a bit. I really enjoy transgressive, southern gothic, and literary fiction. I didn't know I liked Young Adult until I became an adult. Reading time has changed quite a bit. I attend college now, have become QUITE social, and write consistently. Of course I still read. All writers must read. It's more of a planned activity rather than a way of life now, which almost seems sad. Sometimes I have to schedule in reading time. I don't think it's all that melancholy. Books help us understand the world and what good is something understood if we do not take the time to embrace it?

Book Blogger Hop's question:
“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

 Hmm. I particularly enjoy The Chronology of Water and The Grapes of Wrath. Very strong titles that really jar when the eye scans over the spines. Never Let Me Go, Mysterious Skin, As I Lay Dying, Gravity's Rainbow are all great too. Wally Lamb, while his works can be too sentimental/melodramatic for some, comes up with striking titles like She's Come Undone, The Hour I First Believed, and I Know This Much is True. I hear his next book will be called Willow, Weep For Me or We Are Water, both great. 

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prized Pig


I can always tell Summer's coming to a close when the county fair rolls into town. I was pretty patriotic the day we went to the fair. I listened to American Pie by Don McLean and what is any more American than a county fair? Prized pigs, funnel cake, and freak shows are staples of the red, white, and blue.

The best part of the whole thing was on the hay ride that takes you from the parking lot field to the entrance. So I was sitting there with two of my girls and it was food drive day so I had some sweet corn in my. The air was all horse shit and cotton candy. The sky was blue. And in surveying the scene you'll never guess who was sitting there on that hay ride with me.


Uncle Sam? No.

Guess again.

Lady Liberty? No.

Fine. I'll tell you. IT WAS MY EX-KFC BOSS.

So then I made this noise that should have been a scream, but I stomped it out before it became scream. So it ended up being this muffled whale sound. I quick whispered the news to the girls, but who are we kidding? When I excited whisper I kind of shout. I realized this and stared at the can of sweet corn until we got to the gate. 70 cals per serving. 3.5 servings per can. Doesn't that seem like a lot? I had green beans the other day and they were only 20 cals per serving for the same amount. Strange.

We finally got off the ride and Ex-Boss got off first, thank God, because if I had to walk by her I probably would have stepped on her of flailed at her or something ridiculous. PS: She wore her tacky black work shoes out in public. I had on these great boots that were originally $99, but I got them for $11. Steal, huh?

The rest of the fair was fun. We looked at a lot of cows and one of the girls taught me how to tickle a horse. We ate honey and snubbed all the "photography" in the Arts & Crafts barn. I wanted to eat everything, but only had lemonade.

When we left a tanning bed boy told me through bleached teeth that I was wearing my sister's jeans. The girls tripped over each other to tell me he was a middle school moron and that I was masculine blah blah blah. But actually, I was kinda flattered.

You guys got any good fair stories?

Book update: I'm reading In Awe by Scott Heim. I like it a lot, but there is some real nasty stuff in this one.
Writing update: I WILL be reaching my goal of having the rough draft of this manuscript completed by August 27th, which is the day I head back to college for sophomore year. Yay for keeping deadlines!

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, August 6, 2011



I saw a dead squirrel when I was walking home yesterday. It wasn't roadkill, just quiet dead with shut up eyes and a limp neck. Today I walked the same path and it was gone from the thicket. I say Squirrel was sleeping.

And I say "squirrel" is a difficult word to spell.

I remember Alice in fourth grade. She lost the spelling bee to "squirrel."

Thanks for reading,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flock at Me


Another follow Friday! I love these things! They get people talking about books and they tick up those numbers. I know, I know, I know it shouldn't be about the numbers, but come on... we all love how our tummies get squishy whenever we gain one more follower.

Today's Question:

Q. Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).

Today's Answer:

Invisible Monsters was a book that really sparked something in me as a reader, but more importantly, as a writer. It showed me that the unconventional can be embraced. Agents always say that you should never write for a trend and that you must write what you want to write, but this seems almost too good to be true considering markets and demographics and all the risks that goes into the manuscript to bound novel metamorphosis.

For those of you who haven't read it, the story surrounds the rehabilitation of an ex-model who has had half her face blasted off. To go from a life so rooted in pleasing the world with ascetics and to have that inverted made the novel such a compelling and poignant read.

Invisible Monsters stresses that it is okay to be bizarre, outlandish, freaky, and most of all, yourself. 

Thanks for reading, 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


"The heavenly light you admire is fossil-light, it's the unfathomably distant past you gaze into, stars long extinct." 


Today I review a book. Yes, I know. This is a rarity, but it should not be as this is kind of a book blog. I read often,  book binge, but the starved novelist is often writing and writing and writing and not being paid for that, but has to pay for other useless things like nourishment and shelter and that is as exhausting as that run on sentence was. However, sometimes books really clutch you. They rattle you so much to the point where you simply have to stop and praise/curse it's title. Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates is one of those books.

The story surrounds a rabble rousing girl gang making mischief in the 1950s. At first it's small, wearing red scarves and crafting homemade tattoos, but then the mischief contorts into macabre and the comfort the gang had provided to the girls suddenly turns on them when one member decides to stands alone after such a time of them standing as one. 

Foxfire burns bright. The narrator, Maddy-Monkey is a meek thing, but she has an irresistible voice, a readable ramble that sends us traipsing through the gang's past. Maddy joins us, reliving old memories through journal entries. We know her well and this technique lends to a certain relativity that makes the Foxfire affair so real. We share her envy of Legs, the group leader and her distaste for Violet, a saucy gal that joins later in the game.

Foxfire is a read to stumble through, as the narrative is at times fractured. Oates abandons the laws of grammar to bring small town voices to life. At times she omits commas to give a rambled sort of voice, something rushed and impatient as if it has so much to tell in so little time. This really elevates the novel above the plot summary. It's what is most important in literary fiction, not necessarily the plot, but how the plot is shown to us. As a writer and a reader of the genre, I count myself lucky to be educated and entertained by this novel, this triumph.

Joyce Carol Oates leaves readers nostalgic for a place they've never been. Although, I guess that isn't true. I was there. I rode in, through, and out on the simple spell cast by language, a world created by words.

That last part was cheesy, I know. Sometimes I like the cheese, but I gotta keep it outta the serious writing. Literary agents don't like cheese. So here, you have it. Put it on nachos.

Thanks for reading,