Wednesday, March 9, 2011

…I have two poems, "Pedestrians" and "Reunion" up at The Ofi Press Magazine, based out of Mexico City, and "Hold On Loosely" at Nefarious Muse. All are also here under "Words In Print."

…This morning came news that a favorite story of mine--"Waterbed" about a big brother, protective of his Down Syndrome sister--won 1st place in Flash Fire's short fiction contest. That almost doubles my entire life-long earnings from this thing I do. It's quite a thrill for me, if I'm being honest.

…I am at the library again. (Yes, my internet is supremely sucky at home.) This place is hopping. And quiet. So serious. It's like when I visited the cathedral in NYC, everyone reverential and whispering. I like it. If you try hard and let your mind run, it can also be a little erotic.

…Okay, so my son and I watched "Get Him To The Greek" for the second time in four days, just to assure ourselves that the film was as funny as we thought it was the first time we viewed it. And, unequivocally, it was. This movie is hysterical. Watch it. Buy it. Spread the news.

…I got the Dogzplot Anthology yesterday and finished it in the same day. Quite a lot of great writing there. It's a joy to be included.

…Yesterday was a most productive day. I wrote a short piece, wrote 3,000 words on a novella chapbook thingy I'm doing for Housefire, and in the tub I wrote three pretty sharp poems that I like even now, a day later.

…And yesterday I got quiered to be a featured writer at 52/250 A Year of Flash. I needed to write a non-fiction piece, 250 words, about someone, living or dead, who had an impact on my life, and so I wrote this--

Will You Please Not Be Quiet, Please?

For Raymond Carver

He was already dead when I found him. There was no one to call. My stomach filled with acid, my head spinning. So, I sat down, right there in the row and read until my eyes bled. “This Is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Yes.

Others had known him before me, and I found this fact sort of disgusting. Couldn’t someone have made an introduction? How is any fair writer supposed to make their way without Ray? How?

From him, I learned about taking risks, breaking writing rules, getting lowbrow enough to seem highbrow. Ray used small, soft words that could cut your heart out and apologize at the same time. He mentored me through print—stories, poems, essays and other scraps I dug up. He himself learned from Lish--how to edit and kern the way a leather artisan tools animal figures into a belt, getting the goat’s startled expression exactly wide-eyed, making the mare’s flared nostril’s sweat.

There was Mailer and Bukowski, and along with Carver, some tagged them a male writer’s rat pack, but truthfully, Ray never fit in. He had the drinking part down, yes, but he was as shy as a breeze, soft spoken, whispering when he talked, the way one might to a lover.

His stories shined a light on small town suffering and broke-down places. He was a quiet king, and anytime I sit down at a keyboard, he’s nearby, always, saying, “Yes. There. Yes, and there, too.”

…Today I like these things:

--"Writer's take tours in other people's lives...A writer cannibalizes his own life: all we have to relate are the perceptions of ourselves and our experiences that parallel other people's perceptions and experiences. But you are not alone...I have taken what you've given me-though you never knew I was watching-and I've run it through the purifier of my imagination for the sole purpose of giving it back to you with, I hope, some clarity." Harlan Ellison.

--"Because he could not have what he wanted, he tried to want what he could have." David James

--Novelist, Anne Tyler’s late husband, psychiatrist/writer,Taghi Modarressi wrote: “I think people who write are usually people whose memories are too good. They retain too much. They write to forget, to keep from going nuts.”

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