Monday, January 31, 2005


Just in case anyone was wondering, I haven't given up on House of Leaves. I have just gotten a little stalled out in the appendices at the end. So I'm not quite done yet (though maybe for all intents and purposes, I am).

I will post a more lengthy post when I am officially done, but for now, I will say it knocked my socks off (and also made me feel as if I wouldn't want to meet the author in a dark alley!). But it's really, really amazing. And it was very unsettling indeed.

That's all for now. Hopefully I will get through those appendices soon but I am still kind of dragging what with some long hours at work, which of course leads to the inevitable flake-out-on-the-couch syndrome.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, January 30, 2005

Five Points

Has anyone ever read the literary magazine Five Points? It seems to have a whole lot of critical acclaim but I just ran across it... I had never heard of it before or even seen it, even though it seems to be a magazine that sometimes offers up candidates for Pushcart Prizes and such. I thought I'd pose the question...

Thanks for reading,


Interesting... But Not

Ah, the disappointment. This month's Wired had an article that really enticed me with its headline: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. For anyone who needs a refresher course, the right brain is the creative side of our processes.

The article just ended up being a sort of amorphous argument for why the left brainers are going to end up getting left out in the cold, economically speaking, since left brain tasks can so easily be exported for cheap labor. I guess the article did a good job of supporting its argument, but it didn't really explain how right brainers are going to become the new coveted brainiacs. There were a few half-assed examples, but... yawn.

Let's hope that such prediction also includes getting paid for literary endeavors. ;)

More exciting perhaps was the cute (albeit too young for my blood, but I'm just looking) Firefox guy on the cover, but so far the issue has failed to impress me too terribly much.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, January 28, 2005

They Come In Threes

For those of you who keep count, I just received my second form rejection in a matter of two days today. What's perhaps worse, is this story is what I consider my crown jewel of my story portfolio. I've been aiming high with this one -- obviously too high. But I love it and I really want to get it somewhere very special. (Stop dreaming??)

Ah well... I could say... rejections (bad things) come in threes, or I could say, maybe, third time's the charm. :) We'll see. There are several others that are overdue. But now I have quite a list of stories I need to send out to new markets. I guess I won't be hurting for a weekend of constructive activity.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, January 27, 2005


All right, so tonight I was too tired and braindead so I didn't have anything proper for Rabbit Hole Day that Maktaaq let us know about. So, I figured there is a veritable cornucopia of (weird!) songs featuring Alices. (And no, I don't tolerate the Jefferson Airplane song in the least, even though it's the clearest Alice in Wonderland reference.) Let's sing along!

Two of my personal favorites are "Alice" by Sisters of Mercy and "Alice's House" by Psychedelic Furs. Both are a bit eerie in their own ways. It's not like Alice in Wonderland wasn't a weird and unsettling book.

Also, for the smell of Alice In Wonderland, try Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. Check under Mad Tea Party -- highlights include a scent called Jabberwocky and, of course, Alice, which is quite nice. Some of the scents might make you feel just a tad transported down some kind of rabbit hole...

And it really was a kitten after all. -- Lewis Carroll.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Whiny Wednesday...

I returned to work today and felt like a pile of rubble had fallen on my head. Well just in the fact that some stuff had gone on without my knowledge (seeing how I was in my sickbed Monday and Tuesday, other than brief bouts on this blog). Nothing terrible, I just felt like somehow I had missed a lot and was sort of panicked and stressed all day. Then I ended up the day by taking on some new responsibilities.

Nervous breakdown, here I come! Hee hee, just kidding.

Anyway, that's my own problem that I didn't feel well and things got backlogged. I just felt like whining about it.

In other news... there's not much. I got an anticipated rejection from Kenyon Review -- yeah, I didn't really expect to be accepted there. It was a nice rejection of the "form" variety. I have other responses that are due as well. It's one of those pockets of time when a bunch are due. Always great for the old self esteem. ;)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Behind Every Strong Writer...

... is a strong partner. I watched The Daily Show yesterday (don't ask me what day it was from, it was TiVoed) and Jon Stewart interviewed John Grisham. I found it interesting that he said his wife is an important influence over his work.

Apparently she'll let him know if a manuscript isn't going to work. He said that once she threw a manuscript -- all 500 pages -- at him, because she thought it wasn't good. It reminded me of Stephen King's stories of how important his wife's viewpoints have been to his writing. (She fished the draft of Carrie out of the trashcan when he thought it was bad -- and that ended up being his break into fame.)

It's nice to think of a life when you have someone who backs you in your writing endeavors. I've had a few boyfriends who were supportive of my work, but also a few who really could have cared less. Some were supportive but not necessarily interested in actually reading anything I wrote. I hope that one day I have a significant other who takes a real interest in it.

For the time being, though, I do have a few friends who are great about reading my drafts. My roommate's also a great person to bounce them off of.

Write on,


Monday, January 24, 2005

Cancel My Monday

All right, so I'm not feeling well today so I'm not at work nor am I even working at home. I'm not sure what it is, kind of a big case of "ick" followed by the feeling that my brain's not working properly. I just woke up, what a long winter's nap that was. Hopefully I'll be back in tip-top shape for Tuesday.

Anyway, I need some help with a short story character's employment. Anyone have ideas on an occupation that's usually described as "noble," or some adjective of that ilk, and doesn't pay a lot? I had originally used "teacher" (my roommate's occupation, and it is noble and doesn't pay much) but thought maybe I should try to think of something else since that was the first thing that came to mind. She suggested someone who works for an organization like Greenpeace or PETA, which I think is a good idea. She also suggested police officer or firefighter but let's just say, I don't peg this character as either of those. The character is a male.

Another thing, the character is kind of slacker, emotionally anyway, so therefore, I'd say that "teacher" or any other number of those occupations doesn't really compute. He's in his mid-30s.

Any other suggestions? Thank you in advance.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Aftermath

So I was just pretending it was really bad outside -- so what! Ha. After eating a lot of mediocre food and watching rather mediocre movies (Stepford Wives, Resident Evil 2) this weekend, I finally ventured out today and the streets are very clear. I swear here in NoVA we hardly got a bit of snow -- maybe 2 inches, if that. However, the wind is gusty and wicked and it's cold. So I'm not too put out that I'm being a homebody today, too, with even more mediocre food that I just bought at the grocery store.

I also have something for work I should be tackling, and I'm desperately trying to procrastinate. The last couple weeks have had some deadlines there that I really haven't relished. And some new initiatives mean that I have more and more meetings to go to. Joy...

I'm still enjoying House of Leaves very much. I liked the rather long discussion on labyrinthes, as I have a tattoo of the labyrinthe from Chartres Cathedral -- which took years for me to decide that was the design I wanted for my second tattoo and I did a little reading on labyrinthes at the time. I'm sure the artist hated me when I walked in wanting that.

And imagine how difficult it was for me to fall asleep last night, considering the apartment was absolutely groaning and creaking from the gale force winds... not what you want to hear when you're reading something like House of Leaves! I didn't get out the tape measure though... ;)

Hope you're all enjoying your Sundays...

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Let it Snow

I kind of like when the forecast is for a snow storm, even on the weekend. (During the week, the office rarely closes, I'd be more likely to just work at home.) But on the weekend, it's pretty much, well, I'm staying in and I'm totally justified to do so.

So last night, I felt prepared. Food? Check. Snacks? Check. Diet Coke? Check. Cigarettes? Check. Logs for a fire in the fireplace? Check. A book to read? Check. Some Netflix movies? Check. Some movies stored up on TiVo? Check.

I've got my needs pretty much accounted for, although an extra 12-pack of diet Coke might have been nice. Oh well, there's also plenty of coffee and tea here too.

Lack of power might be a downside in my plans, of course. However, I have this killer lantern that throws off a lot of light and, again, I could always light a fire for warmth. And I don't think it's going to ice enough to prove to be a power concern.

And hey, maybe I'll even do a little bit of writing... I have a lot of time to myself, since my roommate went to visit her family in Philly... the day is MINE!

Anybody have special plans for the snowstorm?

Thanks for reading,


Friday, January 21, 2005

Lost... the House of Leaves. I was just commenting about some of my first impressions (I'm about 70 pages in), and decided to just make a post about it.

This book, wow. Somehow it manages to make you suspend your disbelief and suck you right into it, like it somehow becomes a personal experience. As I commented, as I was reading last night, I started freaking myself out, like, "maybe I don't want to move into a new place... what if this sort of crap started going on? You never DO know, do you???" (Ha. Damn the overactive imagination!)

And those of you who have read it might understand why my first night of reading it, I went to wash up for bed and thought, if my hot water doesn't work, I'M GONNA FREAK OUT!

It even occurred to me last night, maybe I don't want to read this at night, before bed. ;)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is, there are rare books that affect me like this. I'm a horror movie junkie and I guess have had my times when I have read horror. However, it's damn rare that a book or story just reaches out and grabs you; where you're not comforted with the old, "Oh it's just a book" thing, kind of like the old, "Oh it's just a movie" thing. I mean, you can think to yourself, "Oh, yeah, that's creepy" without being truly creeped out or losing sleep over it. Another book that had such a pronounced effect was It, by Stephen King -- I had moments of true heart-pumping fear while I was reading that one. I haven't had heart-pumping fear yet with this one, but it's definitely doing its thing in just leaving me utterly unsettled.

Anybody have any books that just scared the CRAP out of you?

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dear Diary

I just finished Chuck Palahniuk's (Lord, will I ever remember how to spell that man's name right off the top of my head??) Diary (a novel, in case you were wondering). It made a good buffer in between two longer pieces, Dhalgren and next on my agenda, House of Leaves.

I should start this off with admitting that I have read a good deal of Palahniuk's work. I read Fight Club (which was a bit ruined, since I saw the movie before I read the book), and so, while I liked it, well, like I said, it was a bit ruined. I absolutely loved Lullaby, but reading Survivor made me begin to assume that the guy's a one-trick pony.

Having read Diary, though, I guess I have to admit he has at least a couple tricks. I mean, you'll still get some standard Palahniuk fare, like listings of arbitrary facts (which end up not being so arbitrary at all). I swear, the man is King of the Factoid.

Somehow, though, Diary breaks into a more empathetic role. Sure, you've got some of his usual abrasiveness here, but Misty Wilmot becomes a rather sympathetic character. I think some of his other books, you're too busy being shocked and horrified to have a tremendous liking for his characters.

And while it certainly does hearken to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery (and no, this isn't exactly a spoiler, seeing how the reviews page has it right there), I still didn't exactly expect what happened to happen. At the beginning, I felt like maybe I had it all figured out, but really, it took a few twists and turns and in the end, I feel like it was worth the trip.

Meanwhile, there are also some good nuggets for those of you who like to read art satire as well. I think he makes a few excellent points in the pages.

All in all, I thought it was a fun ride and more than a little bit creepy.

Speaking of creepy, I started House of Leaves last night and I'm already creeped out. Big time!

Thanks for reading,


The Elusive Rejection

Now this one's worthy of a blog posting. After all my bitching about McSweeney's non-responding ways, I finally got that long-awaited rejection today.

And... you may ask, how long did the response take? Uh, 20 months! Yes, indeed, this story was first sent to them in the spring of 2003. Yep, 2003, that's not a typo.

I guess if I didn't keep careful enough track of my submissions I might have forgiven them because of the email (which, I might add, definitely seemed a form rejection if I've ever seen one). However, it went on about their back log as well as their commitment to reading every piece fairly.

Here's a snippet: Sorry again for the slow reply; we were extremely backed-up, but we wanted to give every story a fair look. I think we're finally getting it
under control.

They did have a part about welcoming another submission, but since the whole thing read very much like a form letter, I have my doubts whether that holds much credibility.

In case you're alarmed, I did give up on this one quite some time ago and had since resubmitted it elsewhere. Just so I don't sound like too much of a ninny, like I just let that slide for 20 months. (Ugh.)

Anyway, thought I'd let you guys know in case you wanted to take a swing at McSweeney's. Seeing how they have it under control and all. ;) In all seriousness, though, sure, McSweeney's would be a coup, but if the competition's that steep to get in... well, might as well submit to one of the other big names, which, while not fast in responses, are a lot faster than this.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Time's Running Out!

Okay, I have not received my mythical gift certificate yet and I've got a bunch of stuff sitting in my cart. I thought it was interesting, though, that there are only four copies of Gargoyle No. 48 left at Amazon, with more on the way.

This could mean anything -- it could most certainly mean that Amazon only has five copies at any one time, or what have you. But it makes me think about the wider accessibility of items with the advent of the Internet. I would imagine (all this being pure speculation of course) that Gargoyle's circulation was pretty much limited to local bookstores ten years ago. Now, anybody from anywhere can easily hear about the magazine and get their own copy using the auspices of Amazon.

I think that's pretty cool really. That is, if my speculation is anywhere near correct. ;)

In other news, I have no news. Nothing really going on in the world of writing at the moment. It's freezing outside and it's a Tuesday that feels like a Monday. Enough said!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, January 17, 2005

Breaking Records

Okay, so I'm about to break my own record for number of insane blog postings in one day. What the hell? Maybe it's that there were a ton of other more constructive things I should have been doing today -- it's a bad habit.

Anyway, it's gonna be interesting when I'm out of material later in the week.

But anyway, Poppy Z. Brite's blog has a great posting about Bad Advice she's had as a writer. You may agree with some or all of it, or none of it, but I thought it was worth a look. In particular, I liked that she debunked the idea that short stories are useless for writers -- that novels are where it's at. (I guess I particularly liked that one since NaNoWriMo kind of nailed it home that I suck at writing novels, or even novellas, for that matter!)

Okay, it is bitter cold here in DC and my bedroom in this apartment always tends to be 10 degrees colder than the rest of the apartment (three windows on the end of the building explain the phenomenon -- an end unit sounded like such a grand idea when we signed the lease). Meanwhile, if I turn up the heat, my roommate roasts in her room -- what a design! So, I'm gonna go get on the thermal layers and the woolen socks (yes, I am such a sexy goddess) and hit the hay. And so I bid you all adieu for the night. Stay warm!

Thanks for reading,


Structural Breakdown

Does anybody know if there's a way, in Word, to create two columns throughout an entire document and be able to write in both the columns consecutively? The columns function doesn't seem to be allowing me to do this, which seems stupid to me. Any advice?

Yes, it's for a short story. I want to show two episode's in one person's life, juxtapositioned next to each other on the page. I wouldn't think that this should be this hard, of course.




Okay, so upon awakening, I realized the snow is gone now. Easy come, easy go. Rewind to Saturday night, and I went to see the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. A friend of mine landed free tickets through her employer, and they were good seats at that. I haven't seen an orchestra play for... God, I don't know, years! And I mean years.

It was a nice time. I had forgotten how different an orchestra sounds in person than it does on recorded media. However, I'm not a huge fan of classical. The program included pieces by Mozart, Wagner, and Strauss. My favorite was Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde. However, I also rather liked the sound the orchestra made as they were making sure they were all in tune, at the beginning of each piece.

Interesting parts were my observations of the different body language of the musicians, in particular the strings. Some would emote so much, obviously feeling the power of the music and kind of living it. However, there was one woman who was very pretty but looked like she wanted to kill us. I don't know, it was weird, she just looked so miserable and put out. Weird. There was a soprano who sang for a few of the pieces. I see where they get the word "diva" from -- she kind of looked a little too pleased with herself, as I told my friend later.

I enjoyed watching and experiencing the audience members too. A woman in front of me was obviously transfixed by the music, moving her hands and leaned forward in her seat like she wanted to leap to the stage. There was a very old man in the box seats with his head fully down on his chest half the time, asleep. There was also a teenage girl with her head on her friend's shoulder, also asleep. The elderly gentleman next to me was delighted after several of the pieces, and even shouted out, "Bravo! Bravo!"

I've complained I don't put cultural events into my routine nearly enough. I'd be more likely, of course, to go to the theater than the symphony, but there's nothing like a free ticket. Glancing down at my ticket, I saw our seats would have cost us $65. Ticket prices for all kinds of similar events are daunting these days.

At any rate, it was nice to take a little time out for something I might not have otherwise experienced.

Thanks for reading,


It's Snowing!

It's obscenely late on Sunday night (er, Monday morning) but I have Monday off SOooo... I watched "Requiem for a Dream" and then had to follow it up with "The Matrix" to cheer me up a little.

Damn, "Requiem for a Dream" -- I just have to say, damn! It brought me down and weirded me out and all that (well, "summer" wasn't so bad, but "fall" was tough and "winter" was relentless), but it was so good. I actually watched the beginning (uh, "summer") over again... and realized that's an ownable movie because of all the stuff you don't key into the first time. I guess I have been remiss by not having seen it before now. I remember hearing about it (vaguely)... truth is, I went through a few years where I was hardly watching any movies (other than, sad to admit, keeping up with the horror genre).

Anyway, I think the thing that moved me to write despite the late hour is I realized it's snowing! Well, it's a pathetic dusting of snow, but it has covered some cars outside. And since DC has seen NO snow so far this year, it seemed worthy as a blog entry before I collapse into bed. After all, if anyone went to sleep at a decent time tonight, they might have missed it and not even known it was out there...

Nighty night,


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Oyster Shortage

Update: Oyster Boy Review is closed to submissions for the entirety of 2005, due to a backlog of submissions. Previously, when I checked, they had said they were closed to submissions till this month.

Take that one off the list of places to submit to, for the time being anyway.

Thanks for reading,



Okay, then, Dhalgren, by Samuel Delany -- what can I say? I'm not sure what to say. It was definitely one of the most unique books I have ever read. Ever. I see now what Hebdomeros meant when he was talking about the difficulty in categorizing Delany's work, though. It had elements of so many different types of fiction...

Is it sci-fi? Porn? Literary? Experimental? Hell, I don't know! I will say the voice was incredibly individualistic, and the style was as well. It takes a turn at the end, where the way it is written is different than the whole rest of the book.

I don't think I ever got a real sense of what was going on, though. It doesn't really wrap everything up in a tight little bow, and give you the "solution" to what the whole epic was actually about. In the end, the themes that hit me the hardest were race and gender relations, the idea of "cult of personality," the idea of being an artist, which feeds into the previous theme, and the human necessity to make order out of chaos.

At times, I would have called the book addictive -- the first half, I had a hard time putting it down (which resulted in some late nights). Around the middle, it took a different turn and I would say that slowed it down for me for maybe a 100 pages -- I think it was because suddenly the main character, known only as The Kid, suddenly took an unexpected turn in characterization and my own brain had a hard time processing or assimilating that information. (Trying to figure out -- who the hell is he? What's he all about?) However, after that it sped up again -- I got used to the change.

The most cool elements for me: a gang that calls themselves scorpions, which live in nests; their lights that project animals when they're "terrorizing" neighborhoods; a newspaper that has a different date (day and year) for each issue (Tuesday, Dec. 11, 1979 and then the next day, Saturday, July 4, 1901 -- random), a garden with different names for months ("they crossed the bridge from December to July," that sort of thing). There was the idea that the city itself was alive, changing, mutating. Elements like this made the book very surprising and different and thought provoking. And I have a feeling that everyone who reads it is going to get something different out of it, fixate on some different aspect. Because like I said, I'm not sure I can say I understood a damn thing that happened, like a dream. But it was an interesting and thought-provoking ride.

Next on the agenda: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. I figured I needed to follow up with a book that is not so long, this time.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, January 14, 2005


I finished Dhalgren last night, and while I have a ton to say about it, I think I'm going to hold off for a bit. Just because -- all I have to say is WOW and I haven't quite collected my thoughts yet.

At any rate, I also had a question. What does everybody think of the magazine Ploughshares? Now that I'm on the literary magazine mailing lists, I got a piece of marketing from them and wondered if it was worth a subscription. I made that mistake with Glimmer Train, ordering a subscription when most of the content actually annoyed me and pissed me off. I suppose if nobody reads Ploughshares, I should just go to the bookstore and maybe get a sample copy.

Meanwhile, check out BBC America's web site if you get the chance. Actually, here's the link to what I'm referring to. They're running a short story contest, and the winner gets an iBook. Your story has to be about a theme from Canterbury Tales. (Sadly, I don't remember much about Canterbury Tales from college, but I'm thinking I could easily tackle "lust.") For my part, the difficulty is that I don't have stories under 2,000 words, my lusty stories tend to be about 3,000, so I might have to pare one to enter.

Anyway, I think it's interesting for 2 reasons: 1) because it is givin away an iBook 2) because it is sparking up interest in reading and of course, 3) because it's sparking up an interest in writing. Awesome.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Step Back

Yep, two steps forward, one step back...

Since I seem to write a lot about relationships (when I'm not writing horror, hahaha), I have tried a gazillion times (ok, exaggeration) to get into Conversely, an online magazine that supposedly pays $100 and prints fiction about relationships.

They also have a snazzy online submission process.

Anyway, given my frequent attempts, I know that they happen to have two tiers of form rejections, one that says, generically, "Thanks for sending this, we don't want this" and another that says, "Thanks for sending this, please send us more." (This is, of course, all paraphrased.)

I was heartened that my last couple submissions to them, I kept getting the "good" one: PLEASE SEND MORE.

Today, I got the very generic one, the "ew, we don't care if you don't us another story" one.

Ah well, two steps forward, one step back. I guess to look on the bright side of it all, I need to analyze what was different about the other couple stories and how this one is not as good -- or maybe it's not that it's not as good, but how it's different. (In all seriousness, I'm not sure that it's my strongest piece, but anyhoo.)

Ah, the writing life!

Thanks for reading,


All-Expense Paid Trip to Amazon(.com)

I was the happy recipient of a windfall today -- a $100 gift certificate is on its way to me in the near future. Now, that's really going to brighten my January, considering this month is generally a time when you batten down your hatches, freeze your fanny off, and don't really buy much since the holidays just depleted all your resources. (Not to mention, I'm going to be super strapped because I have ordered my plane ticket and have a hotel for New Orleans first weekend in March. Whee!)

So anyway, so far on my mental wish list is Anthony Kiedis's Scar Tissue and Kelly Link's collection of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, and probably the latest issue of Gargoyle. (I love how I've already decided these things before I've officially received said gift certificate, but anyway.)

Maybe some music too, or some DVDs. After all, I have a reading list a mile long, of stuff I already have floating around this apartment. I am sooo excited. Anybody have any must-have reading/music/movies to suggest? $100 doesn't go that far, of course, but with free shipping... whoohoo!

(Yes, I am easily delighted.)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Getting Mouthy

So, I've already shared that I write a lot for work. A lot. Whew! But the funny thing is, and I've always had this problem, I just don't speak as well as I write. I guess that's why the whole Information Age has treated me well. Because for me, an IM works better than a phone call. An email works better than a face-to-face meeting. Does anybody else have this dichotomy going on?

Yesterday at a meeting -- a sort of troubleshooting, brainstorming meeting -- I found it happening again. Like writers block, but for the mouth. Everybody else just started shouting out ideas, and I sat there like a deer caught in headlights. It seems my best ideas flow through my fingertips and NOT through my mouth. I sat there feeling like some kind of mental midget.

Anyway, this comes as no surprise since I've kind of been this way all my life -- better conversing one on one, and certainly more creative and clever on paper, and definitely shy in a crowd. (I had one college professor who would literally call me out from the back of the room, "I KNOW you know the answer to this!") I guess maybe I sit there self editing myself or something, and fear that whatever comes out of my mouth spontaneously is going to sound dumb. But I welcome anybody's ideas about this... if you're the same way, or used to be, and found a way around it, or anything.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, January 10, 2005


I've been wondering if maybe my work's not ironic enough for today's literary marketplace. I see short stories out there that blow me away -- they're ironic, cynical, and so funny. It's the brand of fiction that I see a lot in Gargoyle, and what I think Barrelhouse is working to achieve.

Now, my sort of odd stream-of-conscious stuff I wrote 10 years ago seems to be doing very well in recent times, which people like to joke with me that I was before my time. Ha.

However, these days, I'm not really doing the stream-of-consciousness stuff so much. My stuff now is much more straightforward and although I think I definitely have a wack voice at times, I wonder if it's a little dark, a little bitter, a little melodramatic (eek!), but not exactly funny or cynical.

Ah well, no use beating oneself up about what one's "voice" is like. Although I have to say I am so jealous of those people who have those wondrous ways with words and make me laugh at the crazy stuff they come up with.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Yes I'm Still Reading

Hahaha, I just wanted to make it clear that yes, I'm still reading. Ha. I am still working on Dhalgren, which some of you know, is 700 or 800 pages, and with the holidays, I didn't always have time to read. (And getting back into the swing of things after the holidays has been just as challenging.) I have also lots of deadlines at work, and trying to keep up with the other hurdles of society... and so, it just hasn't been going at a very good clip.

Soon, I will be finished, and will blog about it, and move on to one of the other books in my reading pile (and yes, there are quite a few right now!)

Thanks for reading,


White Noise

Since I blogged about going to see White Noise, I guess I should say how it was. I'll start with this: EVP (electronic voice phenomenon, or recording the voices of ghosts) does scare me. I have a bit of skepticism about paranormal stuff, but I do believe it's possible and have had enough paranormal experiences (or known people who do) to have a fair amount of openmindedness about it. So the idea of the movie kind of scared the crap out of me, and the commercials even scared me, but the movie wasn't that scary.

I wouldn't completely pan it, it was perfectly fine, but it just wasn't that scary of a movie. Also, it wasn't the most coherent film I've ever seen, either. I was thinking about it last night and realized that parts of it didn't make too much sense.

So, anyway, it wasn't quite the thrill I was looking for, but I wouldn't say that anybody should not see it. (Though I will add, I was glad to see a matinee!)

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Dear Editors

I just sent a gentle email nudge to the editors of one magazine where I submitted, and their response is a bit overdue. Maybe it's a bit too early for me to do so; I can understand what with the holidays, maybe they're running behind, but then again, when I checked their site, their guidelines seem to have changed, so I'm wondering if my submission got lost in the shuffle.

It's funny how you can get to that point where you feel as if your work has just gone into the ether. Another editor for a different magazine had given me his personal email address for my next submission, and even though I used that to send another piece, I feel like that one went into the ether too. It's times like this that I have an appreciation for auto responses...

Ah well. Business as usual, I guess.

Write on,


Friday, January 07, 2005


Anybody out there ever have what feels like a really good week, and then suddenly, at the end, feel like a bunch of people kind of shit on you? (Figuratively speaking, of course.) Talk about raining on the parade. I don't know, I just suddenly lost all motivation today, and just had a few things make me get mad at people until I finally kind of blew my top. (And my version of blowing my top was basically just leaving work much earlier than I should have -- "stick a fork in me, I'm done" type of thing.)

Maybe it's the writer's temperament (I will say, I was exhausted all week and I always get more sensitive when I get mentally tired), but damn. And I guess I need to work on the fact that I don't deal well with my own anger or feelings of annoyance or whatever. All of this was social stuff and interpersonal relationships, and I'm also mad at myself for getting all steamy about stupid crap. I guess this is going to be a good weekend to reboot and I'm probably going to lay pretty low (other than seeing White Noise, of course).


Thursday, January 06, 2005

They're Everywhere

Spammers, that is. I do believe I have received my first piece of non-solicited literary spam. (I think?) How incredibly, incredibly bizarre. I guess this means that one of the places that I submit to has released some email addresses? Perhaps somehow someone I know, knows these people? I have no idea, but I do believe this is the first time ever I have gone to a Web site connected to a piece of spam. So congrats to them.

Well, considering the site cracked me up (and no, I have not actually read the fiction there yet), here's the site: LitVision. I'm just not sure what to make of it all, but check it out if you are interested.

In other news, I visited dear friends tonight who have a new baby. I haven't seen him in a month or two, but boy did I terrify him, with my big hair (ah, humidity) and black clothes. Plus I think he caught on to the fact that I'm relatively unqualified to hold a 4-month-old, because he freaked (after he tried to do a backflip out of my arms!)! He's a cutie though. But anyway, they gave me, for Christmas, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, which I am totally psyched about from reading the description, and a groovy night light in crimson with dangling beads (which will come in handy, seeing how I'm psyched because of plans to see "White Noise" this weekend, a horror movie I suspect will actually scare me, which few do).

Meanwhile, I burned a bunch of music from my illustrious Houseguest of a few weeks ago, and so right now I'm listening to "Change Today?" by TSOL. How old-school is that, I ask??? Although he and I were in disagreement -- I always liked TSOL's "Beneath the Shadows" and songs off the "Suburbia" soundtrack best... he was into "Revenge."

Write on,


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Late, Late, Late!

It's been a couple months since my last point where a whole bunch of responses were expected imminently from magazines, and now I'm at that frustrating point again, where a few are due, a few overdue, a few are coming up in about a month.

Strange how magazines with different reporting times can leave you on tenterhooks for a couple weeks, all at once, instead of on a staggered basis.

It's all neither here nor there... just another reason for me to start checking my email compulsively and wonder at what point I should send out the gentle nudges.

Hopefully I will get some of the good mojo like Hebdomeros experienced recently, with his acceptance in a Canadian anthology and an accompanying payment! Awesome.

And check out Maktaaq's blog, where you can vote for her blog for the Individualism Romanian Blogs 2004!


Moon Over Bourbon Street

My cousin and I are trying to plan a trip to New Orleans for late February or early March. I've never been there (although I've always known I should go there, and I can hardly think of a better place to spark some creative inspiration (and to assuage one of my very rare impulses to "get away from it all" -- it hardly ever happens, I'm not a huge traveler, but man, I am feeling the need these days).

However, the air fares are looking pretty expensive (for my blood, anyway) considering the fact that I'm also trying to pay down debt and save money for an iBook. I don't know why money never seems enough, but anyway, we are currently trying to consider our options, including maybe just making it a road trip into Americana.

See, it's funny. Travel has never really had that much appeal to me. I have this weird attitude: "wherever I go, there I am" or whatever. It's also such an intangible -- the coveted iBook, of course, being quite tangible and something that would make my everyday life ever so much fun and productive, seeing how hacking away at this antique iMac with its outdated OS is becoming a bit of a pita.

Travel is so funny, people who love to do it don't understand those who don't, and vice versa. Truth is, once I get off my ass and do go somewhere, I generally do like it. Maybe what I dislike is all the planning, packing, and adjusting. And crap, getting up early for plane rides, ha.

None of this insight into my motivations is all that pertinent, though, considering I have finally driven myself to the point where I want new scenery, an interesting new place, a new experience, a place to take some blinkin' pictures of something I've never seen before. Hopefully the air fares will go down... or maybe a road trip is just the ticket. Get me outta here!


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Get Happy

I watched the movie Sylvia tonight and I'm not sure quite what to think of it so I'm going to blather here for a while. It was definitely interesting from the writer's point of view, although I suppose it's nice to theorize that we most of us don't have to be one step away from destructively depressed or otherwise slightly mentally ill to write or otherwise create intense works of art (although I'm sure my own melancholy spells do help at times).

I guess I got to thinking, that if her relationship with Ted Hughes was so destructive as it was portrayed (and I can't say that I know much about Plath's personal life other the fact that she was married to Ted Hughes and that she did commit suicide), I guess my question was, would her work have been so intense if things hadn't gone the way they had? What was most chilling, maybe, was when they were in their honeymoon phase, she was happy, and baking cakes instead of writing. Like being happy gave her writers' block. (Again, it is a movie, of course.) It was her misery and suspicion, according to the premise, that started the downward spiral but also broke the dam, where she started writing her masterpieces. (At one point, she says his abandonment felt like she was liberated.)

It's an interesting thought, all that "road not taken" jazz, although I suppose it's arguable that regardless, her chemical imbalance would have deteriorated regardless of how the marriage progressed. Some people may be creative at a terrible price, but I definitely don't think that all artists must be tortured or anything of that nature. But it's thought provoking to think of the twists and turns in life that may feed or smother the creative impulse... And in fact, I know I've written my way out of tough times.

And on this note, let's all be as cheerful as possible, please! :) I suppose bringing Sylvia Plath into any conversation may not be such an "up" conversation piece. I guess if it struck me so I should look into reading up on her.



In regard to paying markets, Hebdomeros had suggested Wordwrights!, and I couldn't find it easily through a Google search yesterday. It seems there are several entities called Wordwrights!, and I knew that the one he spoke of was a DC-based operation.

In the weird ways of synchronicity, though, today I picked up the most recent Poets & Writers I had sitting around, and it had a "call for submissions" for Wordwrights! in its back pages. Here is its Web site. They charge a $5 reading fee and they do pay between $20 and $100, and read stories under 2,500 words. (Most of my stories tend to be about 3,000 to 3,500 words, so I'm not sure if I even have something that I can send -- there's also the deal that most of my stuff is submitted right now.)

At any rate, it's a good one to keep in mind, especially for those of us living in and around DC. They accept emailed submissions, with the $5 reading fee payable through PayPal, according to their Web site, although the call for submissions doesn't mention a reading fee.


Ah, 2005

Hello everyone. I can't even believe how incredibly low key my New Years Day was. After a lovely New Years Eve party Friday night, I slept late on Saturday, went to brunch with my roommate, and ended up sitting on the couch for most of the day. It's so funny, because I'm sure lots of people spend New Years Day that way, given hangovers and wild times, and although my roomie and I did get home extremely late on New Years Eve (or, I guess New Years Day morning), I wouldn't say it was an exhaustingly wild party. It was fun and it was nice but it was also relaxing. So I'm wondering if my New Years Day behavior is a sign that I will be lazy in 2005!

I did get a little bit of writing-related work done. I submitted a story that I've neglected submitting anywhere for a while. I decided to send it to Missouri Review, a market I haven't tried in years, since I figured it was one of those markets that didn't take electronic submissions. Well, I checked out their web site yesterday and they do accept e-submissions now, with a $3 fee to cover expenses. (Somehow that didn't offend me as much as those $10, $15, or $20 reading fees many magazines charge to submit, or for contests, so I shelled out.) Also, their automated email claimed a response within 15 business days, which seems awfully soon, but I wouldn't complain if that were the case. It is a paying market, too, so I can feel a little better that I have a story sent somewhere where I could, theoretically, get paid.

I glanced at a story I started briefly last weekend, before The Houseguest came back... changed some words here and there... but didn't actually do a great deal of work on it. I guess maybe I could be doing that today.

Well, anyway, here's to a lovely 2005, I hope! With lots of writing-related achievements for us all!