Wednesday, October 27, 2010

now there's a story idea. . .

For sale in the quite beautiful etsy shop called restless general store is a lock of brown human hair for $12.  Hmm.  I'm not sure whether I find it more strange that this is strange (vintage?) or that someone might actually buy this.  Are you making dolls?  Or are you placing it carefully on your mantel beside a well-worn pair of shears, as a new, exciting, totally unique objet d'art?  Either way, I've got a lock of blond hair I could sell you. . .

Monday, October 25, 2010

what the what?

I happened upon a piece of an interview with the writer Linda Barry the other day as I was driving home from the morning carpool.  She said that creativity, be it drawing or singing or writing, is a biological need.  I found myself chewing on that phrase for most of the day.  What are our other biological needs?  Eating, breathing, drinking, sleeping.  Are artists simultaneously so revered and reviled because we've found a way to make a living (sort of) by living?  Are we akin to the folks at the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest--fulfilling a biological need in an obscenely public and gluttonous sort of way?  I don't think this is what she meant.  I think she meant that the desire to tell our stories and connect to one another is as integral to our species as opposable thumbs.  Whatever she meant, I found it a little bit easier to sit my ass in the chair and do it.  Breathe, Drink, Write.  (Great book title, eh?)  I sat down to do my work and I thought--it's in me.  It's biological, for god's sake.  Like acids breaking down proteins.  Like bones connecting and twirling in their joints.  Like the thick muscle in your chest flexing itself with a rhythm it found years ago.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

twenty days. . .

. . .seems like a lot more in internet time, doesn't it?  Nothing like the sound of gas burners in the pre-dawn light to break up the fall.

Twenty Ways to Not Blog for Twenty Days:
  1. Wake up at 5am, drive the bikes to a convenient location, bike into Balloon Fiesta Park, take loads of pictures for sharing, then give in to all urges to nap the rest of the weekend.
  2. Check out loads of books from the library.  One of which is The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai whose writing is like a sweet reward and compels shutting the computer earlier and earlier.
  3. Bake two loaves of banana bread every three days.
  4. Spend a decadent afternoon at the bookstore reading each and every magazine you'll never actually buy.
  5. Sew clown pants for T.
  6. Felt an array of bowls.  (Felt is a verb there, guys.)  
  7. Host sleepovers, watch Michael Clayton, Revolutionary Road, and Thirty Rock.
  8. Forget you have a blog.
  9. Remember you have a blog.  
  10. Take out the trash.
  11. Buy overpriced drapes.
  12. Return overpriced drapes.
  13. Buy cheap drapes; hang cheap drapes; hem cheap drapes.
  14. Learn the capitals of Spanish-speaking countries.
  15. Establish new rules about no screens during the week; try to lead by example.
  16. Rearrange your office.
  17. Indulge yourself in mild bouts of melancholy brought on by cool air and early dusks.
  18. Pretend you're moving to Istanbul.
  19. Play Scrabble.
  20. Believe in tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010


There were pieces from Michael Cunningham's editorial in Sunday's NYTimes that I found deeply moving.  I'm not entirely sure how much of the article I completely agree with, but this passage alone made me want to stand up and hug him:

     Here's a secret.  Many novelists, if they are pressed and if they are being honest, will admit that the finished book is a rather rough translation of the book they'd intended to write.  It's one of the heartbreaks of writing fiction.  You have, for months or years, been walking around with the idea of a novel in your mind, and in your mind it's transcendent, it's brilliantly comic and howlingly tragic, it contains everything you know and everything you can imagine, about human life on the planet earth.  It is vast and mysterious and awe-inspiring.  It is a cathedral made of fire.
     But even if the book in question turns out farily well, it's never the book that you'd hoped to write.  It's smaller than the book you'd hoped to write.  It is an object, a collection of sentences, and it does not remotely resemble a cathedral made of fire.

I had a really nice time at the New Mexico Women's Book Festival yesterday.  Thanks to everyone who was there.  I'm still puzzled by the elegant-looking woman who asked why I seem different on this blog than I did behind the podium.  Hmmm. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

are you coming?

I'll be there in the Fiction tent at the Museum of New Mexico on Sunday, October 3rd @1:30, speaking about my current work, the craft of writing in general, and maybe reading a little bit from DEAR STRANGERS.  It should be fun.  It's FREE and it benefits the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.  You know you want to come. . .  

Friday, October 1, 2010

fall fruit

I ate a pear this morning for breakfast and it tasted like fall.  We had a pear tree in our back yard when I was growing up.  The rotting pears always ended up smashed underfoot in the grass like an albino dog poop, or spilling in messy clumps from the dog's foul-smelling mouth.  This turned me off of pears for a very long time.  Then, in my twenties when I'd come home for the holidays, my father would store a beloved box of gifted pears in the garage.  Sometime mid-afternoon, bundled in his camel-colored cardigan, he'd ceremoniously make a trip to the garage and re-enter the house with two or three huge, beautiful pears.  He sliced them and presented them on a plate with the greatest of appreciation.  I couldn't resist.  Now, I love me a good, juicy pear and this morning as I ate, I wished I could cut one up for my father.