Sunday, January 30, 2011

...I finished Mary Karr's poetry collection and essay, "The Sinner's Welcome." (That's the book jacket up top and a photo of Mary, presumably in her office--note the very cool stack of books holding up her shelf.) Previously, I had not read anything else not Mary. Her book, "The Liar's Club" is credited with setting off the memoir boom. Her poetry is pretty sharp. "Sinner's Welcome" is a lot about her becoming at Catholic at around age 40, but the pieces are raw and definitely not choirboy stuff (think Anne Lamott with a pair of brass knuckles and half a dozen drained shot glasses.) I like lyrical poetry, but poems that are not hopelessly obscure (pretty words that only mean something to the author and acid trippers.) don't really linger beyond a reading. Mary's poems sting. You'd have to read the whole thing, but here are some of my favorite bits and scraps:
--"The heart is a mirror also..."
--" ninth grade, he sat running pencil lead beneath his nails. If radiance shone from those mudhole eyes, I missed it."
--"They'd caged me in a metal desk--the dull word writ to show K's sound. But K meant "kick" and "kill" when a boy I'd kissed drew me as a whiskered troll in art."
--"Gathering up my mother's clothes for the poor, I find the coathanger that almost aborted me."
--"But if you're in a frame of mind gloomy enough to refuse prayer, despite its having worked bona fide miracles for you before, nothing satisfies like a dark poem."

...I still have not seen, "Blue Valentine" starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. With AWP looming in a couple of days, it's looking less likely that I will get to a theater before the film is gone, so please go see it for me and then tell me how wonderful it is and why I am such a dope for not having made watchinging the movie a bigger priority.

...I have a new short piece, "Big Oak" up at Hulltown 360 and also here under "Words In Print." Hulltown is a great journal, however, I'm unable to clip my story out as a link, so I thought I'd just print it here fore you:

Big Oak

I am busy holding myself together. In the mirror I am pulleys and strings and wrong answers. My sister claims I am thinner than her, a broom handle. She says she can make bows out of my skin. She tosses candy wrappers at me and chuckles. Mother watches from the kitchen, blurry-eyed and bored, drawing hard on a cigarette, as if self-emulating.
Our house is a bear trap that I hate. The walls smell like sins and sewers and burnt offerings, so I go out to the backyard. I make sure no one’s watching. I hide behind the big oak, use my hands to dig, fingertips going raw in seconds. I shouldn’t have buried it so deep, but it’s hard to be trustworthy with the world. The planet feels heavy and sluggish, a jug of gasoline, sloshing forward so obese.
I dust dirt off the metal box and open it. Unwrap the cloth and take out the photograph. We were three. My twin looked like me, maybe a little smarter with his lip cricked. I feel guilty that I can’t remember him. We would have shared meals together, TV time, sang. We might have played tag round this tree. Dad said we were playing Hide and Seek and that he didn’t see Jesse tucked behind the rear wheel. I might have been the only one who believed him. Still, he shouldn’t have killed himself. Losing both of them has dried up all my sweet spots.
I hear the new man’s truck pulling up, coughing like a dragon, stereo thumping full blast. No matter what she says, no matter how many times she hits me, I’ll never call him Dad.
I put back the box, bury it, stand up and watch the sun dart through the leaves of the big oak as if it’s a playground and the spackles of light are alive.

Friday, January 28, 2011

…I have two new things--"Rich" @ 52/250 A Year of Flash and "Lost" @ Monkeybicycle. Both are also here under "Words in Print."

…I'm listening to Matt Pond P.A. right now. They're a canadian band and quite good.

…Apparently 6,605 people have pre-registered for the event next week, or so says the AWP newsletter than landed in my email box. Yikes.

…I wrote a poem this morning, just now, like five minutes ago. I think it's good. I read one of Jim Valvis's that he posted from The Foundling Review that was really sharp and it sent me scurring for a blank piece of paper.

…Robert Olen Butler won the Pulitzer Prize for his story collection, "A Bad Scent From a Good Mountain." Evidentially I should have read that instead of, "Intercouse" which I'm trudging through right now. In this book, Mr. Butler writes one page stories about historical figures engaged in lovemaking. For instance, one page will be Helen of Troy's thoughts and emotional responsed while on the next page we'll have Menelasu, King of Sparta, musing on his reaction. The premise is a clever idea. The end result, however, is very bland. It's a lot like eating a fistfull of almonds--chalky, dry and sort of, bleh. There's nothing sexy about Mr. Butler's, "Intercourse," and as everyone with a pulse knows, it's pretty difficult to make sex uninteresting.

…I got Jason Jordan's collection, "Cloud" in the mail and I'm excited to read it inflight to AWP next week.

…I recently watched "Raising Arizona" again because I'm loving the TV show, "Raising Hope," that the film is based on. Nicolas Cage is not my hero by any stretch of the imagination, but he's brilliant in "Arizona" as it the whole movie by the Coehn Brothers. You should rent it again. You'll be glad you did.

…Maybe I have male menopause. I'm having a lot of baby cravings. I love kids and babies. I'm having visions of babies. I'd like a few more. In keeping with that thought, then, here are some more factoids from "Esquire" magazine that you might enjoy, whether you're male or female, parent or not:
1 in 10 -- Number of men who say they aren't comfortable handling a baby
1 in 10 -- Number of men who experience postpartum depression
1 in 4 -- Number of dads who don't take paternity leave
42 -- Percentage of dads who spend less than 2 hours with their kids each day.
1 in 4 -- Number of men who rate their father's parenting skills as "below average"
The major reason -- He didn't show enough love
The average father's top parenting fear -- His kid will run with a bad crowd
The average father's biggest parenting concern -- Not enough money
$181,480 -- The cost to raise a child to age 18
22 -- Percentage of men who think kids should reimburse their parents for raising them
1 in 4 -- Number of men who believe having a child will help keep their marriage from turning sour
19 in 20 -- Number of current fathers who would still want kids if they had to do it over

Thursday, January 27, 2011

...The photo is from Roxane Gay, founder of PANK, who is publishing xTx's new collection, "Normally Special." The top image is a clearer shot of the book cover. You should get the book. I'm certain you'll like it. Go to PANK's website or click on xTx's link here in "Writers to Like." xTx is crazy good. Raw, and writes like a slice of lightning just took half of your face off.

You know how some people are afraid of clowns? I'm afraid of dolls. They creep me out. I once saw an old "Twilight Zone" episode about a doll named Mrs. Beasley who ended up killing an entire family (this was long before Chucky) and ever since dolls of any make or model tend to give me the heebie jeebies (does anyone say "heebie jeebies" anymore?) Seeing the headless baby doll holding xTx's book sent a shiver through me. My wife and daughte once happened about a country road where a slew of mangle Barbie's sat strewn in some gravel. Naturally, I wrote a story about it (called "Bones" here under "Words In Print") that so scared me as I wrote it, I nearly stopped. Seriously. And yeah, I know I'm a wimp.

…I was in Border's the other day. Outwardly, the building was impressive--two stories tall, lots of rust-colored brick and glass. Inside it was like a dentist looking at a mouth filled with missing teeth and decayed molars. In the section entitled MUSIC AND MOVIES the slots contained clearance Christmas Cards. There was one little wagon-looking thing with discounted, ancient cd's by Bad Company and Tony Bennet. There were two rows of Blu-Ray DVDs. Under the subtitled section saying "MUST SEE MOVIES" there were triple features of Shirley Temple or Jimmy Stewart or black-and-white fims about Al Capone and his posse.
…Border's made me sad. Someday soon that whole building will be a solitary shelf with a couple of Kindles on it.

"Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay." Flannery O'Conner

"Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living." Gustave Flaubert

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

…I need to be more productive, pick up the pace, be less distracted, look around less, stare at my computer more, stick to crossing off what I put down (and often carry over to the next day's ) to-do-lists, and turn off Facebook.

…Speaking of Facebook, a writer friend wrote this yesterday: "Facebook is a lot like prison. You waste all of your time writing on walls and getting poked by random people."

…I have no knew stories up since the last post, but I have at least fifty floating in submission land and I wrote a bushel of them yesterday and the day before.
I've been reading Lindsay Hunter's collection, "Daddy's." She writes like a coil of barbwire you accidentally got your foot caught in; her writing is barbed and won't let you go. I'm trying to read it as a poor person would eat a very expensive meal or dessert. She's the kind of writer who makes me want to write and has actually forced me to stop in mid-sentence and write an entire story of my own.

…I finished Sam Pink's novel,"Person." It's odd and funny and like nothing you read. If you don't believe me, here:
"I eat some more ice cream and stare at him.
It looks like I could just walk into he livingoom and jump on his head.
It looks like me and him are dust in someone else's carpet and we can't say hello for fear of having to come up with a good reason.
When I leave the room there is just the dark quiet of the livingroom behind me and I have done nothing wrong.
When I shut the door to my room, I'm safe.
I imagine a large person playing with a replica or our apartment as a dollhouse--me and my roommate for dolls.
I want to say to this person, "What's botherng you, tell me."
And I'd be fine with a million tomorrrows if I could plan them all out right now and if they all began with me jumping onto a large container/vat of puppies with Dutch accents."
…I just pulled that excerpt up by random. There are others that are weirder.

…I like Esquire magazine and I like the things they teach me about other people or myself, sometimes with words and sometimes with numbers. Here are some factiods:
1 in 2 -- Odds that the average guy will become a dad
How this title affects his manhood -- His testosterone level dives 65 percent for 3 months after th birth of a child
1 in 100 -- Number of dads who faint during delivery
Tuesday -- Day most newborns arrive
1 - 10 -- Number of men who preserve the miracle on video
2 -- Number of such miracles the averag guy experiences
1 in 10 -- Number of men who spawn four or more sons or daughters
1 in 13 -- Number of couples who name their kids after pop-culter icons
Brett and Favre -- Names chose by David and Emily Kinsaulf of Palatka, Florida for their new twin bosy.
(More factiods coming next time…)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

…I have a new story, "Acts of Love" up at This-A Literary Zine and also here under "Words In Print."

…My son and I saw "Somewhere" today, the film by Sophia Coppola (daughter of Francis) who also directed the critically acclaimed, "Lost in Translation." "Somewhere" was a beautifully shot movie, well acted, but it was a fifteen minute film drawn out to 156 minutes. Sophia needs to get some scissors. I believe in "Show don't tell" as much as the next guy, but really? Ten minutes of one shot of a car going around in the same circle? Really?

…On Valentine's Day Youtube will turn 6 years old. Isn't that a weird thought, to think it's only been around such a short time?

…I often express my love of Esquire Magazine here on this blog. There's a fantastic article in the new issue entitled "Is James Frey the Most Important Writer In America?" by Stephen Mache. Here are some excerpts that caught my eye:

"Today is an uplifting, degrading, and all-around confusing time to be a writer in America. Even as creative-writing departments proliferate like bedbugs and each year brings a fresh claimant to the title of Great American Novel, content farms are herding the young and determined literati into anonymous sweat-shops run by all-seeing, unforgiving masters of metrics…"
"…The truth is that anyone who spends $40,000 a year to be taught how to write by writes who cannot make a living by writing, or who imagines that fairness and common sense have anything to do with the publishing industry, could probably use a lesson in how life really works…"
"…But the lessons Frey offers for ambitious writers are essential: Never apologize, never give up, and be entrepeneurial. It also helps to know how to write."

Friday, January 21, 2011

…I have two new things up: (surprise! an attempt at humor from me) "Lionel Richie Runs Things" at 52/250 A Year of Flash, and "Pieces of Rain," a series of water-themed micros, at The Write Room Magazine. Both are also here under "Words In Print."

…Yesterday I wrote five poems, a freaky story about a child molester's encounter with retribution, and also a couple thousand words on the new novel. The novel is going well. I know the characters intimately. I can see them, every one of their faded scars and imperfections, the physical and metaphorical ones.

…The new Hello Goodbye album is really, really good. If you like pop music, you should get this and your friends and neighbors should get it. Nicki Minag is growing on me. A few good songs. The new EP by Girls (which is really some English dudes) is pretty strong. Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon is not as good as his new cd, despite what the critics will say. At this exact moment I'm listening to Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach. It's one of the more unusual collaborations, but it works.

…Do things ever cling to you? For instance, someone on Facebook went on a rant about Sarah Palin being, essentially, the anti-Christ, and how they would "de-friend" any "friend" who supported her. And then this person went on and on some more. I am a very, very strong Democrat. I don't like Sarah's politics. Not at all. But isn't the Democratic party the party that's supposed to support freedom of expression, the political slice that is supposed to embrace differences? Haters and the like really get to me. They're like tape worms.

…Changing the subject, AWP is coming up. I read Roxane Gay's blog where she talks about being so nervous and neurotic about this year's event. Roxane Gay?? She owns the internet. Well, her and Al Gore. I thought it was cute how real and vulnerable she was. The when-I'm-nervous-I-prentend-I'm-talking-on-my-phone-but-I'm-just-speaking-nonsense-to-no one-so-that-I-don't-look/feel-foolish was precious. But me, I'm like "Look Who's Coming to Dinner." I don’t have a posse or click. I've never physically met anyone who will be there. At the most, I've spoken to one person who will attend the event. (This is just me being a bit whiney, sorry.) Still, I'm excited. I've made a list of people I admire that I want to meet. I'm up to 35..

…If you've never read, "Motel Life" by Willy Vlautin, you need to. It's wonderful. I just read his third novel, "Lean On Pete." The writing is so simple and spare yet it draws a coil around you and doesn't let you go. My heart must have broke fifty times reading it. He's often compared to Raymond Carver, which, of course, is like a songwriter being compared to the other god, Dylan.

…I'm reading "Person" by Sam Pink. Sam Pink, I think, is not his real name. He's a great artist/illustrator and I love his short fiction. This novella is just really stream of thought writing. Maybe it will hit me later, sort of like a migraine after the spots are overtaken with switchblades between the eyes.

…"It's hard to love something and not look closely at it." Willy Vlautin

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

...I have a new story, "Scarecrow" up at The Red Asylum and also here under "Words in Print."

...It's so sunny at the moment that glare is skidding off the lake surface in scalding white sheets and my eyes are bloodshot but it feels so good to see sun that I'm going to just let myself go blind until the clouds arrive, whenever that may be.

...Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. Sometimes it can be the very last thing you want to hear. I read an agent's blog where she said that, for a writer trying to get a book published, it's no different than an actor going to Hollywood and landing a role in a movie or sitcom. I'm not giving up, though. I realized I need to go to more writer's conferences because that's your best shot at physically interacting with agents and editors. Thus, yesterday I clicked on over to Amazon and ordered the 2011 Writer's Market for a pricey sum. Hopefully it will arive before 2011 is over.

...I am nuts for William Gay. That's Mr. Gay's photo. I was a little surprised when I saw this photograph, along with the other images of him. He resembles his writing, yet I did not expect him to. I pictured the Marlboro man in buckskin and chaps, or else someone like Corma McCarthy with a square jaw that looks like uppercuts would just bounce right off it.
Just so you know that I'm not exaggerating how gifted Mr. Gay is, I'm leaving you with these goodies (excerpts from his collection, "I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down.")

-"You need to know what a man's capable of. You need to know what things cost."
-"You know how we always thought he (Dylan) had a handle on things? How he knew where the answers were in the back of the book? He doesn't. He's just wandering around this sideshow like everybody else. Trying to make it through to daylight the best way he can."
-"For the first time in his life he realized that sometimes you go through doors that only open one way. You can stand before them and think about whether you want to go through them or not. But when you do and the door closes behind you there is no way to go back. The door is featureless and unknobbed and smooth as a sheet of glass. You can pound on it and claw till your fingers are bleeding, scream until your throat is raw, but no one will open the door, no one will hear you."
-"Maybe we are all the authors of our own doom, she thought."
-"Something about her affected him the way medicine might. Maybe comfort was just another kind of medicine."
-"She didn't say anything. The wine was strawberry, and she could smell summer in it, hot green leaves, berries warm in the sun. She was thinking how little time it took to alter things forever. To arrive at a place you can't get back from."
-"Her pale heart-shaped face held only the promise of beauty and its customary vulnerability. It said what it always said: Well, here it is. Help me or hurt me, it's all the same to me."
-"What he wanted done was something to eliminate the inequity of people's lives. A balancing out of things."
-"There was an air of ruin about her, sweet corruption."
"He felt like counting out more money, as if it was all he had, a down payment on a life someone was going to repossess anyway."
--William Gay

Monday, January 17, 2011

…I've been gone for a week. In the interim, I've had a lot of writing published:
--"Summer on the Dock," at Poetry Addicts
--"Related," at 52/250 A Year of Flash
--"Slasher Film," "Moving On," "The Divorce Attorney," and "Aquatic," at Eunoia Review
--"Things I Know About Rabbit Holes," at Necessary Fiction
--"The New Boyfriend,"@ twenty20 Journal
--"Cherry Picking," @ Real Time
All of these are also included here under "Words in Print."

…Hawaii was a nice break from everything. I saw some unusual things: a man with one of those wood-paneled stationwagons pulled off to the side of the road with a black boar roped to the hood of the vehicle (I actually think the animal was alive); a bikinied woman next to the ocean reading "Jaws"; "Donkey Crossing" signs on the highway; miles and miles of black lava rock that resembled fields of hotfudge brownies; real lava spilling molten into the ocean; a rainforest; seven four-foot-five Japanese women getting into the elevator with me (I'm six three) and not saying a word the whole ride.

…I read a lot--nine books. Here were my favorites:
--"I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down," William Gay
--"And Then We Came to the End," Joshua Ferris
--"The Coast of Chicago," Stuart Dybek
--"The Black Tickets," Jayne Anne Phillips
--"Lean On Pete," Willy Vlautin

…One of the restaurants/bars in Hawaii is littered with dollar bills pinned to the walls and ceiling, hundreds and hundreds of them, all with cryptic messages. Here are some samples:

--"Jeff Craig RIP"
--"Been there and wrecked that."
--"Thx for nothing, you damn hippies."
--"I don't want to leave."
--"Seattle sucks."
--"If I were sober I'd write something clever."
--"It wasn't a shark that bit me."
--"Live and Let die."
--"Love like you'll never get hurt."
--"It hurt when she left."
--"Marriage isn't a word, it's a sentence."
--"Barry and Hannah 4evah"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

...I am still in Hawaii, back on Monday when I will do a better job of keeping current on this blog.

...For now I will say I having a great time. I've got about 50 new story ideas and my novel outlines are shaping up. I'm reading terrific books. One is, "I Hate To See That Evening Sun Go Down" by William Gay. It's a story collection, and oh boy, what a collection.

Here's an excerpt: "Sometimes in life you go through doors that only open one way. You can stand before them and think about whether you want to go through them or not. But when you do and the door closes behind you there is no way to go back. The door is featureless and unknobbed and smooth as a sheet of glass. You can pound on it and claw till you fingers are bleeding, scream until your throat is raw, but no one will open the door, no one will even hear you."

Monday, January 10, 2011

…I have a new micro piece, "Arugula" up at Eunoia Review and here under "Words In Print."

…Life is a curiosity to me. Anymore, the most random things show up and create meaning in my life. Perhaps it's because I'm writing now, and writing naturally opens up one's receptors, flings the shutters wide so that sunlight can get all the way through. It can be a song lyric, a scene on television, something one of my kids says, the view outside my window, the look on a stranger's face, a memory--and it will all give me pause and I'll absorb it in raw form and then that random sliver will manifest itself in a the form of a story or poem I write, and when that happens I'm always grateful for having had the dumb sense to make myself aware enough to notice those things in the first place.

In a similar way, this morning I was in my office which is stuffed with shelves of books, all kinds--fiction, non-fiction, leadership themed manuals, books about God, humor books. For whatever reason, my eye fell on this very slim volume, skinnier than a diary, and I pulled it out and read. And it's wonderful. Here is a long excerpt I culled. I think you'll enjoy it. I know I did.

"After all, when you look at the faces of a class of graduating seniors, you realize that each student has only one thing that no one else has. When you leave college, there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be a thousand people doing what you do for a living.
But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn't look so good,or when the doctor says, 'Prognosis poor.'
…So I suppose the best advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. DO you think you'd care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?
Get a life in in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines. Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
Turn off youe cell pohone. Turn off youe regular phone, for that matter. Keep still. Be present.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work."
--Anna Quindlen, "A Short Guide to a Happy Life"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

…I have a bunch of things up:
"Settle" @ 52/250 A Year of Flash
"Story Problems," "First and Last," "This Is Not A Game For Me," and "Neighbors" @ Eunoia Review
"Medicine and Meat" @ Wrong Tree Review
All of these are also here under "Words In Print."

…My short poem, "Homecoming" was also named one of Cynic Online Magazine's Best of 2010. That was a minor thrill for me.

…Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading other people's writing and trying to comment or send notes on what I liked. I love to get feedback, especially an email, and I try to be the voice of recognition for others. Writing is such a lonely thing, and unless you're Stephen King of the likes of him, I'd wager to say you're insecure, so hearing praise--if it's it honest, accurate and heartfelt--is important.

……Here are some random excerpts to "A Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction" that you might enjoy.

"Short stories allow readers to see a world in a grain of sand." William Blake

"If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writetr had stated them." Hemingway

"Flash fiction is about ambiguity. Flash is about a singular moment, a slice of life, a sketch."

"Every work bears weight. Thus, lyrical writing tends to work well in this form."
"Be proud of your ability to capture (and capture well) one discrete moment in time. What else is there?" Nathan Leslie

"Finding a good flash fiction is like sighting a comet, all the more glorious for it being rare." Shappard and Thomas

"Flash fiction has to be brief,yet intimate. We're in the punch-in-the-gut business."
"In order to fully understand and appreciate characters in conflict, sometimes we have to push REWIND."
"Outside, the sound of a jet enjine passing overhead is a reminder of passengers taking off to near and far places. So, too, are the bueses, trains, and subways of South Station that will kids back to school. As writers, this is what we are competing with--the constant need to move. This is strong advice for any storyteller. Get on with it." Stace Budzko

Thursday, January 6, 2011

…I have a new story, "Greener Gardens" up at The Momo Reader and here under "Words In Print."

…The USA TODAY reported yesterday that last week's top six selling books were all bought as electronic formats via things like Kindle. I wonder how this shift will play out. At least people are paying for books versus stealing them the way they do music. It's just hard to imagine not having that visceral reaction, that sensate response to a literal book, holding the binding in your hands, smelling the corn-stalk scent of the pages.
But, yeah, I'm still old school that way. I'm also one of those guys that used to love having an album in my hands, even if the thing was as big as a pizza box. And cd's as well, replete with their obnoxious security tape that took five minutes to peel off, were to me worth it just to get the extra packing materials inside, which typically included a lyric sheet and then, hopefully, some other random information about the artists and their influences. But those were the old days when you could browse double decker Tower or Virgin Record stores. Soon, we'll be saying that about Borders and Barnes and Noble.

…I was going to watch "The People's Choice Awards" last night but then Queen Latifa came out, singing some lame Black Eyed Peas-type song, strutting down the aisle with a troop behind her and, well, it was all just so awful. It was reminiscent of something you'd see a high school choir attempt. I had to resist the urge of badly wanting to throw something heavy and blunt through the flat screen. I know Queen Latifa was good in "Chicago." She was. I'm not sure how, but it's true. However, everything else I've ever seen her in makes me want to jump off a high place.

…I've been introducing my fourteen year old son to Dylan. That's a tricky prospect in a climate where Eminem, Taylor Swift and Kayne West all vie for Album of the Year Honors. But he's getting it, or at least I think so. He's a bright kid, yet opinated like me. I played him the first live version of "Like a Rolling Stone" when Dylan, halfway through the set at Monterey, totally reversed the accoustic folk he'd been playing, and went…electric! A few thousand folkies are seated on the floor, legs crossed, nodding their head to yarns about old John Brown and old John Smith and they're thrilled because they're getting what they want, the precise product they'd paid to hear. But then, Dylan turns things on their head and, well, people in attendance are not happy. Right before "Rolling Stone" begins you hear someone in the crowd yell, "Judas!!" In a retort, Bob says, in a slow, deliberate drawl, "I don't believe you." There are more taunts. Then Bob leans into the mike and says, "You're a liar." More jeers. Then you hear Bob talking off to the side, likely to the keyboardist, saying, "Play it really F*&^%ing loud!" and they rip into the opening chords. Brilliant stuff.

…I wanted to name our son Dylan, but I got out-voted.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

…I have a new micro piece, "A Perfect Match" up at Eunoia Review and a story, "Small World" at Blue Lake Review. Both are also here under "Words In Print."

…I had a productive evening writing two stories, one about how nobody reads anymore, and another about a war veteran, inspired by Dylan's gut-wrenching, anti-war song, "John Brown." Then, early this morning, before I took my son to the bus stop, I wrote a couple of poems. I usually don't write this early, so it's been a good start.

…Did you see it? According to Monday's USA Today, there is some shocking stuff happening on line:
"How honest are you on social networking sites?"
--31% Totally honest
--26% Fib a little
--22% Flat out lie
--21% Total fabrications
Holy crap! Flat out lying? Total fabrications? Really? Yikes...

…Here are some more excerpts from Frank Warren's book, "A Lifetime of Secrets":

The hands I was afraid of when I was a kid now are just part of a frail, lonely, sad man.

I'm glad he isn't alive to see me as a lesbian. I'm not ashamed, but he would be.

It sucks having your dad go to jail when you are only in sixth grade.

when you said I wasn't good enough to be your girlfriend, I used it as my inspiration. congratulations, asshole, you're famous.

I wish I could interview your ex-wife and find out why she left and see if they are the same reasons why I have considered leaving.

I leave encouraging notes in open lockers

I handed the most important person in my life the drugs that killed him.

I wish my dad was still alive so he could scare awy the boys

I lied. it never came out negative. I just didn't want both of us worrying.

I don't believe in Satan but once I prayed to him and offered my soul if he would make me pretty

I am very afraid that this is the climax of my life

Sometimes I sit alone in the caferteria. I have conversations with myself on the phone so people don’t think I have no friends.

I don't know if I was raped

Whenever I make you a cd I'll hide one song that says how I really feel about you

I stole a picture of you from your honeymoon. it makes me happy to think that there was a time when you loved each other and that you were once happy.

The 11th was my 16th birthday. I told everyone that I got wasted. I really went to see a movie with my dad. It was my best birthday in 16 years. I love you, Dad.

I'm embarrassed that my dad sells cars even though he provides me with everything I need and more.

When I have a little girl later in life, I want to name her after the teacher that saved me. Thank you.

I miss when you were just proud of me.

The first time I got drunk, my friends left me in an empty room because I blacked out. I woke up naked and bleeding. I was 12.

I'm embarrassed by my dad's nose piercing.

I'm scared to death that my son will grow up to realize I'm gay.

To my Momma bear-- Thank you for never leaving me alone with him. I wish Grandma had protected you.

I'm too afraid to tell.

Monday, January 3, 2011

…I have a new story, "Compass" up at Berg Gasse 19 and an interview about my story "Free" up at Twentysix. Both are also here under "Words In Print."

…It is cold here and I don't like it. Part of the lake is even froze over. But what's a boy to do? Oh, yeah, go to Hawaii. That's what I'm doing next week. Just decided on the spur of the moment.

…I spent the last few days combing through a book that is supposed to help writers find an agent. This book is a tome. Today I will finish reading the listing part, polish up a query letter, and begin solicitation.

…I had a productive day in the bathtub yesterday. Wrote a story. Finished my 2011 New Year's Resolutions. And after I dried off I learned I had a story accepted.

…A few postings ago, I mentioned that I'm reading "A Lifetime of Secrets," the latest book from Frank Warren and Co., the people behind Post Secret whereby people anonymously send in their deepest secret. Here are some (Warning-they're pretty gut-wrenching):

I'm trying so hard to remember that life is beautiful.

I only allow myself to read your letters once a year (9/17). Then, I let myself fantasize how my life would be different if you were still around. Sometimes I find myself hating you because it's easier than missing you.

When I was younger, I used to write letters to imaginary men ending affairs that never happened. I would address them to "resident" and mail them out to addresses I picked at random.

I don't make the bed after you leave, so that when I look at it, I feel the thrill of knowing how it got that way.

I used to pray my parents would get divorced, not because they weren't in love, but because all the cool kids had divorced parents.

I suffer from depression but I'm afraid to tell my mother because she'll be disappointed not have a perfect daughter.

I want to meet someone who will still love me after they know my secrets.

I destroy videos of myself as a child because it pains me to see a time before I ruined my innocence.

When I was fourteen someone told me: I'm excited about your life. Thank you. Those words have stuck with me. They keep me going. I won't disappoint you and I keep passing them onto others.

My best friend slept with the only man I ever loved. Their son is now in college. I still drive by their house.

Thirty years ago I stole the pillowcase we shared, and have kept it unwashed ever since.

I imagine dying with you every night when we sleep.

Everyone thinks we adopted because I'm infertile. The truth is, I'm frigid.

I aborted the baby you never knew about. Sometimes I want to tell you. But I doubt you would even care.

It seems like just yesterday she was born. She'll be 17 on Saturday. I am no where close to being ready to let go.

I still wonder how different my life would be if I had taken that sunrise walk with you.

I stopped wearing panties to the office. Work has never felt so refreshing.

I still remember my rapist's birthday.

Out of all the students who tried out for 5th grade choir, I was the only one who did not make it. It is my first real memory of shame. It seems like it should be a small and distant memory but I still won't sing, even in the shower.

I'm secretly learning how to play the guitar just so I can write our own personal love song.

I am pawning my wedding rings to pay for therapy.