Friday, March 22, 2013

the story of a story and some more

My short story "Birds" was the Friday Flash Fiction winner this week at the Portland Review website.  You can read it here.

Here's the story about this story. Year ago, some local writers were putting together an anthology about sex, and stories about sex, seduction, all that goes with the territory. I wrote "Birds." I had a voice in mind, a character I wanted to portray and I wanted to have a little fun. I sent the story off and then went on with my life. A few months later I got a nasty rejection letter. Not just "your piece isn't right for us" but a pretty eft up critique of the piece, the voice and my writing style in general. I must have really offended the person who rejected me; I imagine the person was a hemp-panty wearer. I ignored it, put the piece in performance rotation. Audiences loved it. I was a finalist at Literary Death Match with the story. It was fun. And now, published. Pretty damn happy. I'd like the mention that I once saw the anthology I originally submitted "Birds" to a few years ago; somebody was using it as a doorstop. No bullshit. No hate. Just an observation.

Life has been good. I was in Tucson a few weeks ago for the Festival of Books. I was on the brilliant "Ban This" panel, live on Book TV on CSPAN.  I wan't nervous to begin with but when were being ushered into the auditorium where the panel was being held I noticed a long line, wrapping around the building. I asked the volunteer leading us to the event "What are all these people waiting for?" The volunteer smiled and said "your panel." I got nervous. I managed to compose myself and think I did okay. But when I asked about the book banning in Arizona I ever-so-eloquently sputtered "It's crap!" 

The weekend in Tucson was wonderful. I made new friends, laughed my ass off and got to spend time with one of my favorite writers. I saw him in the author lounge the first morning of the festival. I had a plan, I was going to go up to him, tell him how much I loved his work and ask him to sign a book of his I had brought with me. I was cool, collected. I went up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned around I lost my shit and cried "I love you!" Silly fangirl: full force. So it goes. He was gracious and kind and I actually had several nice conversations with him and wife over the weekend.

I've been working on micro memoir pieces every morning. After I meditate I sit down and write one page of memoir. I give myself a topic; childhood friends, high school loves, my Tijuana party days, etc. I write one page, no editing, not stopping, full go. I haven't gone back to look at any of the writing yet but I'm pretty excited to see what I've come up with. I date the files and put them in a folder. I allow complete vulnerability, I go to the scary place. It feels great.

Life is good, busy. H and I have a long vacation planned this summer. I know I shouldn't book vacations during the summer as it is my busiest work season, but when H mentioned wanting to go to Switzerland to visit his sister I had to say hell yeah!

Honing some other short stories these days, trying to get them out. 

Good times. After so many years of crap I am often amazed at how happy I am. And then I get even happier. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

tipping, dreaming

I love this time of year. Birds are singing out to each other. The mockingbird comes back. Hummingbirds start showing up on my balcony because the jasmine is blooming. These are the last couple of weeks of winter, the tipping accelerates and everything is starting to unfurl. Dawn come earlier, the sky is a sharper blue, everything is thick with light, glorious. I love spring.

Last night in my dreams I was in the setting my books takes place in. I was wandering around from building to building, checking out the landscape, interacting with the creatures that inhabit the world I'm writing. I happened upon a place that I didn't even know existed in my book, but now that I think of it, it makes perfect sense and adds another layer.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend, surrounded by friends and family. As always, I am awed at how incredibly blessed I was to be born into my incredibly family. Friday night I had a karaoke party with 20 friends and family members. Sunday we had a family bbq. H was in town, I love him.

I had a random, or not so random experience that made my actual birthday one of my best. Years ago I read a book by an author and thought to myself "I'm going to meet her, I know it." On my birthday I had to meet with a new client early in the morning. I was a little cranky, H was leaving that afternoon and I wanted to spend the whole morning alone with him. I drove to the client's house and it was the author I told myself I was going to meet. We had a great conversation, she gave me a signed copy of one of her books. The whole experience made my day.

Working on this book is a slower process than the other one. This one sets everything up, creates the world, puts the events into motion. There are moments I freak out a little. But I love it so I keep going. I remind myself that this is what I'm meant to do. Everything in my life has been leading up to this, creating space for this, preparing my mind for this. I got it. Go.