Best of AWP 2016 (Love L.A.), Part 2

Awesomeness is a book fair.

A few people were saying the latest AWP book fair was too big, too spread out. But self doesn’t see it getting any smaller. And okay, she probably only saw 1/10 of the publishers who were there. But, still, fun times!

Okay, so Chris Hemsworth was NOT actually at the AWP Bookfair in Los Angeles, earlier this month. But, please, why would self ever shy away from including a fabulous hunk of eye candy like Chris? Are you crazes? He was on the cover of Angeleno magazine!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Best of AWP 2016 (Love L.A.), Part 1

Just look at all this literary goodness!

Self decided to give herself a pick-me-up after reading today’s New York Times. What better way than by reminding herself that — people, America is full of writers/artists/publishers who soldier on, no matter what the odds! And who manage to look like they’re having a great time while they’re at it! Without needing comb-overs!

Exhausted by AWP, Turning to Everlark

AWP Los Angeles was one heck of a ride.

It was huge. It was overwhelming. It was also a lot of fun.

Self is processing.

To help this process along, she is indulging in reading Everlark fan fiction. There was an Everlark fiction exchange recently (Indeed, Everlark shows no sign of fading, even after the end of the movie series, November 2015), and self contributed a prompt. The new fics have been slowly trickling in, oh joy.

Everlark is all love stories. All the time. Angst-y love stories.

Everlark falls apart. Again and again and again and again. And then there is a delicious, excruciatingly slow “growing back together” (the most loved Hunger Games trope)

Apropos of which, a quote from fellow Stanford Creative Writing Program alum Jeffrey Eugenides, in his introduction to the 2008 Harper anthology, My Mistress’s Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories, From Chekhov to Munro:

A love story can never be about full possession . . . Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart . . .  Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Spring Fling, Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino: Sunday, 13 May 2016

Tomorrow! Sunday, 13 March 2016: Book Event at self’s FAVORITE BOOKSHOP IN THE WORLD:

Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

If self could live in a bookstore, she would live in Gallery Bookshop. Because all she has to do is look out the window and she sees the bluffs and the mighty Pacific Ocean.

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Self’s Books, Available Now in Gallery Bookshop, Main Street, Mendocino

Self is signing at 1 p.m.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Reading Laird Barron’s OCCULTAION on Christmas Eve!

Occultation is soooo creepy. The publisher is Night Shade Books of San Francisco. Self bought her copy years ago, from Borderlands on the Mission.

Sorry, dear blog readers, sorry. It is Christmas Eve. Why is self reading horror?

She thought it would give her ideas for writing a Vampire Peeta fan fic of her own.

It’s about annihilation and transformation.

There is a very smart introduction written by Michael Shae in which he says:

To be transformed, to be remade, is not a passive exercise. It is an excruciating eclosion, a branching, fracturing emergence into a much bigger, hungrier universe.

Shae is right. Can anyone imagine that process — even if it’s a familiar trope like turning into a vampire or becoming zombi-fied — isn’t painful?

(About becoming a zombie: to read a story about just how painful it is, read Carrie Ryan’s in the anthology, After: Ninesteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia. In that story, people have discovered a way to un-zombify the zombies. It’s told from the point of view of one of these un-zombified. And the way she describes the process of recovery is awful. So we imagine what it must have been like to turn in the first place)

Self will leave dear blog readers alone now so they can think about holiday good cheer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Gatskill Sentence of the Day (Story # 8, BAD BEHAVIOR)

“Connie, yo!” Franklin appeared with his hair in his eyes and his pores flowing magnanimously.

— “Other Factors” (Story #8 in Bad Behavior)

 

What if Self Had a BFF Who Said Things Like

“You have a way, you know, of shoving your vulnerability right into people’s faces. Or something that you call vulnerability, anyway. You sometimes do it immediately upon meeting them. You force people to deal with it.”

“Deana.”

“No, listen to me. You don’t do it as much as you did. But you used to do it a lot, and it’s kind of strange to be confronted so aggressively with somebody else’s frailty. Some people will want to protect you, as I did, but some people will want to hurt you.”

— “Other Factors,” Story # 8 in Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behavior

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Yesterday on the High Line: A Message

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Story # 8 in Gaitskill’s BAD BEHAVIOR

“Secretary” was over surprisingly quickly!

All self has to say is: the movie took a slight story (one of the slightest Gaitskill stories self has ever read) and made of it a fully realized film.

Who directed the movie? Must find out! He/She deserves kudos!

Self hardly feels anything for the character on the page, but in the movie, her heart went out immediately to Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character. Rent it on Netflix, if you haven’t already seen it!

Now to Story # 8 in Bad Behavior:

She remembered something he had said to her sometime before: “Don’t worry, Connie. In fifteen years, I’ll be doing my retrospective at the Whitney and you’ll be publishing regularly in The New Yorker.” He paused. “But by then we’ll be ugly.”

LOL!

To close, another picture self took yesterday, while walking the High Line:

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There is a Museum of . . . Sex? Self learns something new every day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Gaitskill: “Secretary”

Self said she was going to stop reading Bad Behavior but that was an obvious lie.

She said she didn’t believe any secretary would let her boss spank her and she still believes that but she’s still reading “Secretary.”

Gaitskill’s corrosiveness is so amazing. Just listen to what she does in this single sentence:

In light of their enthusiasm, the only intelligent course of action seemed to be immobility and rudeness.

WAAAAH! Why can’t self nail her mood with Gaitskill’s precision?

Of equal import, today self achieved one of her life-long dreams: to walk the High Line!

It was freezing! Freezing! (She wouldn’t have been freezing if she’d only bothered to dress properly. But she thought she’d be spending the day inside the Whitney. Not walking the High Line. So of course all she had to defend against the elements was a jacket)

Of all the days self had to pick for this historic and groundbreaking walk, why oh why did it have to be the day when New York’s temperature plummeted to the 40s? But, never underestimate self’s stoicism! She made it from the Whitney all the way to about 30th street.

She’s going to be dropping the pictures she took over the next few days, so stay tuned.

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Horizon, Sky: Walking the High Line, December 2015

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Sky, Glass, WOW! Who are the architects? Stunning.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Advice For Writers: Story # 6 of BAD BEHAVIOR

If you really want to be a writer, then don’t move to New York. You’ll just wind up in some dank little dump in the East Village with bars on the windows, and oh, I don’t know.

And:

She had to admit that a large part of the reason she was even trying to get a job was for the approval of people she’d known in Illinois, many of whom were living in New York and thought of her as a hopeless neurotic . . .

— “Trying to Be,” Story # 6 in Bad Behavior

It’s after Story # 6 that self decides she will leave the collection. Because Story # 7 is “Secretary,” which was made into an excellent movie about self-mutilation (The main character was played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, a casting choice that was sheer genius) and how much Maggie’s character wants to be whipped by her boss, played by James Spader.

And self doesn’t believe for one moment that there exists in the universe a woman who secretly wants to be whipped by her boss. Of course, this is fiction, and Gaitskill does have a point she wants to make.

Nevertheless.

Why has this trope proven to be so enduring? Fifty Shades of Grey, hello!

This evening, self went to Barnes & Noble on 86th and had just mentioned to the woman at the Info desk that she was looking for The Strain when the woman said: “Science fiction. Shelved by title. Look under del Toro.” Impressive!

It’s exactly the same type of reaction self got when she was in Hodges & Figgis in Dublin. She barely even had time to say The Bane Chronicles when the saleswoman said, “YA. Look under Cassandra Clare.”

Stay tuned.

 

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