Monday, January 31, 2011

You Bake an Apple Wrong, It's Still Edible

Josh made baked apples last night. We'll leave it at that.

The Egypt stuff is weird. Like fascinating and worrying. Every time there's huge protests in a place, I try to imagine them happening in Kansas City and I can't. My friend, Kyle, went to Argentina a couple years ago and they were having protests. He said the taxi drivers went on strike and people were blocking off major streets with flaming barrels. Kyle's host family just acted like it was par for the course.

I don't mean to compare apple protests to orange protests, it's just I don't know how else to respond. That's kind of the consensus among other online fiction writers. As writers (albeit liars), are we supposed to respond in some meaningful way? How do we illustrate our interest and care for the people involved? Do we pretend to have any answers? I don't know. Have gay issues? Come to me. But anything like this, I just don't know. I'm reading about it, but that doesn't make me different than anyone else. You're reading about it too. Or at least you're aware of it.

In delightfully selfish news, I have another story up on Necessary Fiction today. Steve Himmer, editor of Necessary Fiction, sent out a call to previous writers featured in the magazine asking them to submit stories with an opening line taken from the closing line of another writer's story. This became a special project for January called "First Footing", inspired by the Scottish tradition. I have xTx to thank for the first line of my story. Thank you, xTx.

I don't know the protocol for announcing things like this, but I received an acceptance from an online lit mag I love. I'll post a link when the story goes up. The story is shorter than a kitchen stool, but I'm proud of it.

There's supposed to be snow headed our way, IF YOU HADN'T HEARD. Buy your milk! Buy your eggs! It may or may not be a blizzard, there's no way to know until it's breathing down our necks and making unnecessary comments about what we are or are not wearing.

I keep hearing noises in my house, but I'm the only one home.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Learn Your Lessons Well

People keep asking me if I've "posted" more work online. Because this is something that maybe needs explaining, online literary journals are not places you "post" your work. They are like print literary journals, only ONLINE. Writers still have to submit to them. Work is still rejected or accepted. Editors still edit. Readers still read. The words are still words. If I'm published in an online literary journal, I'm allowed to be excited by that.

In less defensive news, I made cornbread in a cast-iron skillet. Over Christmas, my grandmother told me I'd never really made cornbread if I'd made it in a baking pan. She swears by cast-iron. She's right about everything. If you're reading this, Nanny, YOU WERE RIGHT.

I have this desire to do lunch. I don't care who it's with. If you're attractive, I may develop a crush on you if we do lunch, but don't let that stop you. If I have a crush on you, you're likely to become the inspiration for many stories. You will be memorialized by my creepiness. You will learn important lessons about writers. You will learn to withhold certain information about yourself. You will be the envy of every man.
You may even see internet publication!

Speaking of creeping people the fuck out, writer xTx makes me squirm in my seat in the best away. Her story collection, Normally Special, will be released in March by Tiny Hardcore Press. Order it before it orders you.

Tell me a story about the time you got in trouble for saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

There Are People Who Sing Happy Birthdeee

Larst night (that 'r' is there on purpose), I went to that birthday party at that place with those Monday night food deals and tried to ignore that thing that insists it's a thing. I try to tell myself it's not a thing, but it's a thing for me and that's probably the worst part--that it will never be a thing elsewhere. Gah. I do go on.

I had nearly two pitchers of beer and a shot that tasted like applesauce. Other people ordered food, including the object of all that birthday affection, so I ordered food too. I met people I want to meet again, which is saying something, I think, about how much time I spend away from people in general. I collected some phrases and then lost them in all the drinking. These people want to sing for a living. Most of them are teaching. It sounds just like everything else. They sang to the birthday boy. It was the least they could do.

I'm almost finished with the best story I've ever written. Me saying that means nothing. Don't listen to me when I say things like that. I don't have to tell you. You know.

I said I wouldn't make this a rejection blog, but it turns out I like having something to share. I received another rejection that was promising. I sent a story to a very specialized online literary magazine, and in my egotistical imaginings, I saw it having a home there. They rightly pointed out that the story was a good story, but not good for what they were specifically trying to do. Duh. A total beginner's mistake. It will find a home somewhere with a fireplace and a view of the trees.

I have a story out there being read AS WE SPEAK. That's kind of horrifying, knowing that. The internet has powers it uses for all sorts of evil. Knowing when your submissions are being read is sick. You check your email even more than you already do. You worry that this story will be accepted and you'll have to explain to people that while it mirrors certain parts of reality, it is fiction, in the end. I mean, I haven't had to explain that to anyone yet, but this story might be the one.

Last night, all these fancy singers tried to get me to talk about my writing. If I can make a bad music joke, it was the one sour note of the evening. Ha. Ha. I hate talking about writing. It's like talking about an ex. You love it, you hate it, you want everyone to know, you want to keep it a secret, you want to know what sort of perverse fascination people have with your inner life anyway. Then you think, usually too late, it's a good thing people even care to ask. Give them what they want. They may never ask for it again.

Also last night, I almost told this girl she looked like a young Sissy Spacek. I wasn't sure if she'd be offended or flattered, so I miraculously kept my drunken mouth shut.

That's about enough of all that.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Things You Blog About Before You Fall Asleep

I'm in art school nostalgia mode. Well, I guess nostalgia's a strong word for it. I'm writing fiction inspired by my art school experience. I was such an asshole. Art school was an asshole too, don't get me wrong. Wait, YOU DON'T CARE. Believe me, you don't really care. You'll read the story and say, "I'm not better for knowing any of that."

Another rejection today, but it was a personal rejection. I almost printed it out. It was that amazing. My first critically personal rejection. I'm taking all those words to heart. In fact, I ate some of those words and was surprised by their taste. Like a salty chocolate.

I have the broken blender standing on top of my fridge like a weird memorial. I think I should fill it with something. Potpourri? Pencil shavings? Yarn snips? Wine corks? The decorative possibilities are simultaneously endless and lame. Oh, I know, matchbooks! No, no, wait. . .miniature hotel soaps! See, the fun never stops.

I'm going to a birthday party on Monday night at this restaurant/bar that has these really great Monday night food deals. I wonder if I'm going to be the only fat ass who gets anything to eat. Yes, probably. It's going to be so amazing, you'll see. I'll have burger juice on my chin all night. And no one will say anything about it. They'll be too drunk. Don't worry, I'll be drunk too. But I won't be hungry.

It's supposed to snow again. I feel guilty when it snows, like I need to do something with what I've been given. I just discovered where the snow shovels have been hiding. They've been in the garage, duh. You can bet when it snows again, I'll be out there shoveling my ass off. My upstairs neighbor says it's cathartic. I say, "Bring it on." Yes, like that cheerleading movie. There needs to be a holiday for cheerleaders so I can feel justified in ever watching that movie again. That or Miss Watson needs to sleep over the next time she's in town. We can do a triple feature. Bring It On, Slackers, and Grind. Oh, and Detroit Rock City, you know, to leave on while we go to sleep.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Things You Blog About Before You Shower

I'll probably not elaborate on any of these.

Bright spots: reading, mini quiches, lunch with the girls in a bar with a baby, finishing a story, starting a story, submitting a story, receiving a story from someone else, having a dream I lived in a gigantic old house with Julian Zugazagoitia (the foxy new director of the Nelson-Atkins), new blender, new table, clean house, writing so I can get out of myself (yeah, yeah, I know--ugh), being recognized for one of my stories last month, still being in love with Josh after all these years.

Burnt spots: a story rejection, snow, snow, snow, possibly freaking out a friend with an honest compliment, early episodes of the Twilight Zone, working out till my body's sore, broken new blender, lumpy hummus, blogging when I have nothing worth blogging about.

Kinda crispy spots: my last paycheck from the museum, renewed toska, French.

Anyway, it's Friday and that's great. I'll get drunk tonight, I think. Pick my poison? If you pick wine or bourbon, you can be my drinking buddy. If you pick beer, yeah, that's more than fine too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How About I Say Some Things

Listen, I think I just killed the new blender. I made lima bean hummus in it, and in my pursuit for the creamiest hummus ever, I think I burned out the motor. Whoops. Maybe it'll come back to life when it cools down? Yeah, I know, probably not. Damn, damn, damn.

I finished the ostrich story, which is really not an ostrich story, but a story in which ostriches make a minor appearance. It's totally a NSFW story. I guess. NSFW doesn't mean much when you don't have any work. That was unemployment humor. *cue the sound of deflating balloons*

It's snowing right now. Beautiful and annoying. I'm sick of winter. Blah, blah, blah. Let's complain about winter some more. I'll put on my fur-lined hoodie and you put on your mittens and we'll have us an old-fashioned bitch fest out on the snow-covered front porch. You bring the cigarettes and I'll bring the makings for hot chocolate. Minus the marshmallows. Plus the bourbon. I'm on this anti-marshmallow/pro-bourbon kick. It comes and it goes.

I'm going to make tiny crustless quiches in muffin cups now. How's that strike you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Family Member (OK, It's Just a Blender)

Recently, I received dubious advice. It's the best kind of advice to receive. I like when conversations start with, "Let me give you some advice," or, "If you want my advice. . ." If people want your advice, they'll ask you for it. I always ask for the dubious advice I receive, otherwise, it's worth nothing. I don't know why I'm talking about advice. It's because I don't want to talk about why I was asking for advice in the first place. Seriously, it's none of your business.

Josh's stepmother bought us a new blender, a nice one with a glass pitcher. Let's hope Josh doesn't break this one too. Between you and me, I think he broke the old blender on purpose. Don't tell a soul, OK guys?

I've been watching some good movies. In no quantifiable order: The Red Shoes, The Class, Charade, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Last Days of Disco.

I've been reading some good stories, too. Most of them online, but some in Amelia Gray's Museum of the Weird. I also started War and Peace on my e-reader, mostly because I think that's hilarious. Reading is important. I'll probably say that a lot on here. If you're not spending any part of your day reading a book, I at least hope you're baking something delicious.

The story I'm working on right now has ostriches in it. I had to look on YouTube for ostrich noises. I had no idea they sounded like that. I bet you didn't either. When you read my story, you'll know how they sound. I'm not going to waste the image here.

I kind of want to use this blender, but all I have in the house is bourbon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pleasure Me Guilty

There's this Chinese take-out place a few blocks away that Josh and I kind of like. I mean, it's not the best, but it's take-out, so what do you expect?

I've started getting the "special" Phad Thai from this place and I really, really like it. There's this sweet and smoky flavor that I can never quite place, but it's so familiar and delicious. Last night, I placed it. It's barbecue sauce. Hmmm. Yeah, I'm still going to eat there, like, all the time. Maybe even more.

Another rejection, another day. But another submission, another chance. I'm polishing one story. Wait, sidebar. I really have trouble with the word "polishing". I always read it as "Polish-ing". And then I think of sausage and then I think of currywurst, which I've never had, but I'd probably like because I love curry. I almost named this blog "Vicious Curry". OK. No I didn't. But I really love curry. I seriously hope I die with the taste of curry on my tongue. If you plan on killing me, do it after I've had curry, please.

Actually, don't kill me. If you're planning on it, don't.

Anyway, I'm polishing this story about my coming out experience. I've been trying to write it for nine years, but only now am I removed enough. I know, right? Being gay is such drama. I'm also shopping this museum guard story around, but it keeps getting rejected. I fiddled with it today and submitted it somewhere I've never submitted anything before. Let's all cross our fingers, m'kay?

I've started this story about a man stuck on a sailboat in a hurricane. He's mourning the loss of his lover. It's a further exploration of this stupid poem I wrote in college. So far, it's a pretty good story. Especially since I know NOTHING about sailing.

Speaking of sailing, I was once part of the crew of a sailboat. Back in my teenage churchy days, I sailed to the Bahamas with my youth group. We all "learned" how to sail, but the only thing I really did was draw in my sketchbook. Oh, and collect seashells. We all laid around on a beach one day, and I brought back some shells and scattered them on the deck to dry. The captain threw them overboard and then went on an Ahabesque tirade about unnecessary clutter. Yeah, I was pretty pissed. But really, they were just seashells.

We also
used dish soap to bathe in the ocean . That's what I know about sailing. Lemon-scented dish soap.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year, New Blog, New Stories

I used to have a blog, not this blog, but now I have this blog, so you better get used to it, OK?

I have a story at Necessary Fiction. I have a story at Staccato Fiction. Read them, if you please. I plan to have other stories elsewhere. I'll let you know how that works out for me.

I've received three rejections in 2011 so far. No acceptances. I won't make this into a rejection blog. Roxane Gay already does that far better than I ever would. Read her blog. Read her stories. Just read, God.

I'm a museum guard, sometimes. Right now, I'm not. I mean, I guess I'm on reserve. There's a special exhibit in April and I'll go back to work that for a few months if nothing else comes along. My most recent stint there ended yesterday. I liked the other temporary people I worked with. Out of the group of us, I liked almost all of them. That's a rare treat indeed, like those foreign candies you buy at World Market because they seem so exotic even though they're really just chocolate or gummies or licorice with different names.