Sunday, January 10, 2010

Curious Lists: Unlikely Ice Cream Flavors

One book acquired over the holiday, "Curious Lists," is basically a bunch of suggested Lists to make, in any way you'd like. So, yeah, its mostly blank ... but what great lists!

For instance: Knots Used for Sailing or Declarations of a Furious Chef or True Things About Cats or Hiccup Cures or Unlikely Ice Cream Flavors. These can be taken seriously or whimsically, depending on mood or any surrounding mayhem you might find yourself in.

Kinda reminds me of the "Pillow Book," the Japanese book written around the year 1000 by a Sei Shonagon.  Part of its charm are the lists the author included, though this current book is more, uhh, interactive. (God, that word is becoming, like, poison.)

So I thought I'd throw one of those lists out there and see what folks come up with. Post any suggestions in comments and remember, fictional or literal suggestions equally acceptable (just not overly scatological or un-family friendly; those can go on your personal list you keep in your car's glovebox for the times you need to convince an officer of the law that you're more wacky than drunk and should simply be delivered home into the waiting arms of your patient but worried spouse).

So how about the last one mentioned:
Unlikely Ice Cream Flavors 
1) Aloe Vera
2) Spaceship Exhaust
3) Copper Shavings
4) Fairy Dust
5) Belly Button

Send me more!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good News from the Publication Fairy

More good news for the New Year (and beyond) from our buddy Paul Lisicky:

1) SmokeLong Weekly chose his story, "Palo Alto," as their kick-off publication piece.
SmokeLong Weekly—"Palo Alto" by Paul Lisicky—January 4, 2010

BUT, even better! his novel, The Burning Man, will come out in Spring 2011! Yahoo!!!! Major, major congrats! If you want, you can wish him your own congratulations at his blogpost.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Feckless Frazzled Furlough Friday

First working Friday of the year and it's a Furlough Friday. Fah! It all seems rather feckless to me--a half-assed, ineffectual band-aid to a problem that requires systemic change and some big-picture thinkers up in Sacramento. Fancy that! But I'm not even going to attempt to crack that nut today. Don't want to ruin a perfectly fine Friday with frazzled and fried brain cells and a bad, sizzling attitude. 

What I want to do is get beyond the fecklessness, go past the fulminating and even facetiousness and develop something more .... fortuitous, forthright, fulfilling, maybe even frothy. I've decided they'll be Fiction Fridays. Instead of going to the office, I'll go out to the my little garden-shed-turned-into-studio and crank out some scenes on the novella. What the hey. Maybe by the end of the Economic Downturn, I'll have the dang thing finished. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I took the two pix above at work on the last Wednesday before the end of the semester, and the one below on the first Wednesday we came back (today).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wandering the Interschnitzel

Being home for ten days gave me with plenty of time to wander the grassy plains of the Interschnitzel. When I should have been working on my novella, yes... but. Sometimes you gotta take a break.  And the weather was too rubbishy (rain. cold. more rain.) for a comfortable meandering, humming actual walk.
Anyway, thought I would share some of my discoveries.

Miss her photos and sensibilities.

Staircase Writing... the blog of a bonafide follower of my blog, not kith or kin!  A nice take-off from stairway wit (as opposed to the elevator pitch), that includes lots of tidbits about candy. All due to research for her  novel "True Confections." May we all be blessed with such sweet research.

ohfortheloveofblog ... love reading Molly's blog, lots of spirit, lots of compassion, lots of sass. And she's got a good reading list. Plus, she makes some stunningly yummy-looking food.

That's it for now, folks. Back to work tomorrow, in the vacant, echoing halls of academia, in Darwin Hall, to be exact, where evolution is not so much a theory as an under-funded concept.

To the Persistent, Go the Rewards

Good news for the new year! My friend and grad-school compadre, Cecilia Ward Jones, had her essay, Art of Perseverance, published in the latest Poets and Writers (Jan/Feb 2010). Three cheers, hip-hip-hooray and a thousand kudos!

The link, unfortunately, will not take you to her excellent essay, just the listing on the P and W website noting that it's available in the print edition.  But I think most of you are already subscribers,  a few of you can come by the house and read my copy (in the back room by the computer, kids), and as for the rest of you, there's the library, or lingering at the newstand or loitering at your fav indie bookstore. Just don't get arrested and try to blame it on me.

You could also buy it.

Cecilia's essay addresses that age-old conundrum: why we write, and particularly why we write when, even after years of fighting our own doubts, working against everyone's expectations (she has some personal doozies to tell you about), and slaving away in isolation, improving story by story through sheer finger-sweat, brain abuse and neglect of human relationships, there are such meager crumbs of recognition, i.e. publication. Like, usually, none.  As her (putative) friend said, and I quote from the essay: "' but that's like a hobby, right? Your writing. Since you don't publish.'

"Okay, everyone, in unison: GRRRRRRRRRRR! 

Cecilia wonders, "I'm not published, ergo I'm not a writer?" which leads her to that question in the back of so many of our minds:  If I'm not getting published, then why do I do it? 

The irony is not lost on Cecilia, no siree bob, that her published essay is about her not being published. 

Struggling with that same question, a bloggin' buddy, Kathleen O'Hanlon posted this on her blog Southern California is My Desk :
" It is my pleasure and my burden to get to spend time inside my head everyday, to the detriment of exercise, professional development, home-cooked meals, going to movies with friends. This is what I do for better and worse. And most days it feels like this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Don't know why. Don't know if I ever will know why. But there it is." 

It's similar to Cecilia's conclusion: "a normal person probably would have gone on to other things, but I continue to write. Stubborn? Maybe. But it's what I do. I write. I get up every morning, sit in front of my computer and work away."

Cecilia and Kathleen have nailed it: we don't know why, but we do; we write. For better or worse, we write. In sickness and in health. In rain, snow, sleet, dark of night and bright of day, under blue moons and during monsoons. We write, ergo we are writers. So there.