“Day Off” is a Mythical Creature

I don’t know about you, but my days off never feel like days off.  There’s always a million things that need to get done.  It’s been a rather productive morning, though, and this stuff won’t do itself.

  • Updated my book contract and reviewed my quarterly royalties statement.  That was pretty neat, actually, since my book just came out last quarter.  If you have not yet read it, please consider doing so.
  • Made edits to a story I have coming out in a few weeks.  The name of the collection has not been decided on yet, so when I have it I’ll pass that information along.
  • Formatted and submitted two manuscripts for my university’s English Dept. Writing Awards and the campus literary journal Analecta.  If you submit for one, you’re automatically considered for the other, which is handy.  I sent one manuscript for fiction and one for poetry.  Analecta has a history of hating my work, so I’ll be posting my first rejection blog in a few weeks. 😀

I’m hoping once I get through the homework portion of my day that I can get to work on some new poetry pieces.  I wrote a new piece last night, and I’d like to continue down that road and see where it takes me.

Who Should I Be Reading?

Some of my favorite authors I would have never found if I hadn’t had friends tell me, “You need to read this!”  Piers Anthony and Terry Pratchett.  Clive Cussler and Robert Jordan.  So, who should I be reading?

Leave me recommendations in the comments.  It can be an author in general, or a specific book.  Feel free to tell me why you’re recommending this person or book.  After I start getting some recommendations, I will try to have at least one blog a week about the author/specific book.  If someone suggests an author I already read (and really, this is pretty likely), I’ll do a post about why I love those authors and which works are favorites.

Do not recommend the Twilight series unless you’d like to read a dissertation on why those books are systematically destroying the fabric of human social contact.  Even then, don’t do it.

Except for the above, all genres are welcome.  Yes, even (shudder) romance.  I can’t wait to start getting suggestions. 😀

The Afterlife is a Dry County

Among the many things I’m reading is The Afterlife is a Dry County by Charmi Keranen.  To be honest, she hasn’t connected with me yet.  I don’t know if it’s because she had the misfortune to be read alongside Cynthia Cruz, or if it’s simply a matter of needing to read her more.  Probably the latter.  The title poem, however, is one that’s beginning to grow on me.

The Afterlife is a Dry County

He refuses to call them

structural.

Stair-step cracks, cold in

the grasp, stippling.

The vertebrae

lingering

whatever alludes

a prescient motion.

I watched a woman with the

mind of a bison light up a foyer.

This is my fault, isn’t it.

The deep wet felt,

the undertow.

(11)

Two things strike me about this piece.  The first is the line “This is my fault, isn’t it.”  The second is “a woman with the mind of a bison.”  There’s something very cool about that phrase.  It’s almost a primal thing.  It’s not something I have ever considered doing in my own work, but it’s intriguing.  I’ll have to play with that sometime and see what happens.

A View of Things to Come

I’m a lazy blogger.  I can admit it.  I wear many hats, you see: mother, student, employee, partner, friend, and recently I got to add patient to my collection.  Of course, these hats get broken down further, on occasion, into mini-hats…beanies or maybe tiaras.  What I’m trying to say is sometimes sleeping is more important than blogging.

As I mentioned in my first post, this place is going to look like a Schizophrenic runs it.  Although I am most known (and I use that loosely) for fiction writing, I started out as a poet.  Poetry is a love of mine, and it heavily influences my fiction writing.  I’ll be posting poems I find engaging.  I’ll be posting some of my own work.  I’ll be posting about the submission process and how it feels to be rejected.  It sucks, and you know this, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway.  I’ll even post about the progress of my book…you know, if I ever get back to working on it.

I also take requests.  Just saying.

Since I’ve had several requests to post it, I’ll leave you with my newest poem.

 

I Was Told These Sheep Were Fireproof

I used to pretend that wool was asbestos.

It wouldn’t burn.

It would give you cancer, though…so there’s that.

Pick your poison, little lamb

Die slowly every day, like everyone else

Only faster

Or build up like orbital re-entry

Until your skin explodes like pork rinds?

Ewe should have seen it coming

Mary never loved you

 

 

 

Neither did Joseph.

A Matter of Taste

I’ve been reading The Glimmering Room by poet Cynthia Cruz.  It took reading several of the poems until she clicked with me, but now that she has I’m really enjoying her work.  This is the poem that finally resonated with me and opened me up to the rest of the book.

NEW YORK STATE (4)

Beautiful and sad Sarah, girl

Ruler of the underworld. Strange

Saint of the otherworldly low

Weight. In mint panties and dreamed

Halo, waiting in the Arctic

Hallway for the morning weigh-in

With the rest of us.

None of us fit

For marriage, or for

Anything else,

For that matter. All of us dead

Or else hid in some mother’s suburb,

Somewhere. Expert only at

Long-distance running.

Wearing the war paint of

Women stunted

In preadolescence: skater-boy haircuts

And glitter-blue nail polish, holding

Care Bears and My Little

Ponies, wearing paper crowns.

(pp 35-36)

The most striking thing for me is the juxtaposition of the dark imagery with the child/girlish imagery.  Maybe dark isn’t the right word for it.  Perhaps a better way to say it is the harsh vs. the innocent imagery.  There’s also the clinical feel of the first three couplets, the “Arctic/Hallway,” that brings back every time I’ve ever had to be in a hospital.  Then there’s the line “None of us fit/For marriage/Or for/Anything else/For that matter.”  Marriage is the primary thing they’re unfit for, the most important thing they’re unfit for, and then almost as an afterthought, “oh yeah, we weren’t really good for anything else, either.”  If you haven’t read this book yet, you should.  Read it in your head, and then read it to the empty room.  Chew the words and listen to how you spit them out.  You’ll be glad you did.

Obsessions

One of the things I’m currently obsessed with is Tardar Sauce, a.k.a. Grumpy Cat.  I love this cat.  If I had a cat such as Tardar Sauce, I would never be sad again.  My friends and family know of this obsession, so now anytime someone finds a Grumpy Cat meme, they either tag me in it or post it on my personal Facebook wall.  Here is the one my boyfriend’s step-mom tagged me in today:

Hopefully, no one ever says this about any of my stories.  The best thing about Grumpy Cat memes is that they span all pop culture references and real life situations.  One of my favorite movies to quote is Silence of the Lambs. So of course, there’s a meme for that.

Not into stories about serial killers who make suits out of female skin?  No worries!  Tardar Sauce has Harry Potter covered, too.

It isn’t bad enough that I’m obsessed with the cat.  I have my children doing it, too.  My oldest son, Matthew, even came up with a meme just for me.  It was actually generated by a friend of mine for him.

Among my interests, though I’m not very good at it, is science.  I could be good at it, if I gave it the proper amount of effort, but I’m a writer and I’d rather craft art than be stuck in a lab somewhere.  I get an extra kick out of science based jokes and memes.  Grumpy Cat did not let me down.

Finally, because if I posted all of the Grumpy Cat memes I’ve either found on my own or was tagged in you’d be here all day, sometimes I find that my obsessions collide with each other.  Two of my other notable ones are little pug dogs and Daleks.  If you do not know what a Dalek is, I command you to watch Dr. Who A.S.A.P.  I leave you today with what happens when Tardar Sauce meets a little pug dog and some Daleks.

Who Ordered the Snow?

I despise snow.  Sure, it’s pretty to look at.  I’ll admit that evergreens dusted like pączki make for a lovely picture.  Until you have to go out in it.  Yeah, no thanks.

Now, unless you have a large Polish community where you live, or are yourself Polish, you probably have no clue what pączki are and why you should love them.  At their worst, they are a lot like jelly or custard filled donuts on steroids that are covered in either granulated white sugar, confectioners sugar, or glazed.  Oh, but at their best…at their best, these glorious creations are like this:

 

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Ok, what’s the catch?”  Because of course, there is one.  First, unless you order them from somewhere, they are only available from areas that have a decent Polish community.  In fact, I’ll wager some of you have never heard of them before.  That part isn’t so much as a catch as it is an inconvenience.  The real catch is you can only get them before Lent.  Pączki are a way to use up eggs, butter, and lard since they are forbidden during the Lenten period.  If you haven’t gotten one by Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), you won’t be getting one.  I know what I’m doing this week.  😀