Tuesday, August 9, 2011


…I am taking the summer off. Mostly I am. And I’m okay with that. I think I was getting too relentless with the writing. I’m hoping a break will bring me back refreshed, sort of like a spiritual cleanse.

…I wrote a novel a few years back called, “Clean White Pieces.” It was about this woman who physically beats her husband. I had a roommate once whose girlfriend beat him. I was always fascinated by that. Why not stop her? Why not hit her back, if you have to? But he didn’t.
In the novel, Avery doesn’t hit Ruth back either. He takes it. He’s weak and that’s one of the core themes. His only two friends are parakeets he keeps downstairs called Mac and Cheese. (Aviary is another name for a bird cage--there’s lots of symbolism in the novel.) He tells the birds all his secrets, and how much he dislikes Ruth, and the birds do a pretty good job of listening. Those are some cute scenes.
Ruth is obviously disturbed, but as the novel goes along she gets more and more crazy, sort of like Carrie White’s mom in “Carrie” only Ruth is a neat freak to the tenth power. She scrubs the tiles and counters and her skin. Everything has to be clean and white. When she finds a mole on her forehead, she cuts it off with a paring knife because she thinks it’s a sign that Satan is inside her, making her dirty.
Then we have Noah, their son, who has a girlfriend but is secretly in love with his best friend, an African American named Montreece.
Things get more and more messed up and troubling, very dark, and everything ends cataclysmically.
I’m not sure anyone would enjoy that novel, but I wrote it. I wrote it in a month and a half. It would need some polishing, but since I’m not up to that, it’ll stay sitting on the top drawer right there over my shoulder.

…How have you been? Are you having a good summer? Over here where I am there hasn’t been an awful lot of sunshine. We’ve not had the nation’s heat wave. I guess that’s a good thing.

…I’m reading five books at the same time. Well, not all at once, of course, but I’m reading one book then jumping to another and then back. They’re all very different but quite good. One is “I Knew You’d Be Lovely,” by Alethea Black. She’s a good writer. It’s a story collection, a debut, too. Sure seems like that’s a hard feat to get a big publishing house to take a first collection.

…I really want to see, “My Idiot Brother.” I really want to see, “30 Minutes or Less.”

…I’m also anxious to hear the new Kanye West/Jay Z collaboration. I ordered it. Should be here any day now.

…I know I said I’m taking the summer off from writing, and really, I pretty much am, but I wrote a few poems the other day and I’m sending them to a contest at The Sycamore Review, which is Purdue U’s lit mag. I’m probably nuts and wasting my time, not to mention $15 for the reading fee, but I saw that Louise Gluck was judging and I always thought my poetry was similar to hers in some respects. I don’t examine nature as much, but both our styles have a clear narrative arc.
We’ll see. 1st prize is $1,000.
It would be nice to win.
That would make me glad.
I’d buy you a hot fudge Sunday with some of my winnings if I won.
Keep your fingers crossed.

I like these things on an unsettled Tuesday:

"I don't believe there is any greater blessing than that of being pierced through and through by the splendor and sweetness of words…I wouldn't take the kingdom for it." Edith Wharton
moxie \MOK-see\, noun: 1.. Vigor; verve; pep.2. Courage and aggressiveness.3. Skill; know-how.
"What fascinates me about life is that now and then the past rises up and declares itself." Sue Grafton

"If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed." David Viscott

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Norman MacFinan

"The ability to concentrate and to use time well is everything." Lee Iococca

"I will make love my greatest weapon and none on who I call can defend against its force....My love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest day." Og Mandino

"Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference." Nolan Bushnell

‎"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." ~William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
~Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

--"He'd fallen so far behind he was getting ahead just by being alive."
--"Maybe the road back to yourself begins with common courtesy."
--"You were once this girl, and all you wanted was to jump rope right in the same cold wind that's blowing now."
--"Gravity is the receiver on the hook. Mortality we smell on certain people we pass."
--"You love waitresses-they always come back."
--"Life is next door."
--"We knew there was no accounting for differences in the souls of our parents just as you didn't ask why the good witch was good and the bad bad."
--Love is wanting what you already have." -- Doug Goetsch

1 comment:

  1. donate $1 to me if you win and i'll write a post about Len. good luck!