Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Break

I listened to this book during my walks this spring break. I found it hilarious, sad, and motivational in turns. The audio book has its bright side -- in that Tina Fey actually narrates it. The book, I'm sure, would have its bright side -- in that the pictures she references are right there. I would definitely recommend this book to pretty much everyone. It's great to see inside her development as a performer and writer.

I'm sure people in my neighborhood think I'm crazy. Not only because I walk around with a dog tied to my waist -- it makes sense, believe me -- but because I've been laughing and crying aloud and completely ignoring them as I go by. I'm sure they can't see my uber chic iPod buds and the brilliant white wires, so they think I'm just rude. Or crazy.

Listening to this made me want to write comedy. I wrote one stand-up routine once, but never delivered it. Fey's background is in improv, which I loved in theater class growing up, but I feel more comfortable with the whole memorization thing. I've been thinking of a comedic novel, though. What would that look like coming from me? But then I look at the list of WIPs and sadly slink away from emulating Douglas Adams or Tom Robbins.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Roller Derby...Again

Last night I volunteered at the opening of the season for the Big Easy Roller Girls. Right this moment, I'm shopping for street wheels for my skates -- the ones I had custom made four years ago, the first time I wanted to do derby -- so I can start to get my chops back up before try-outs for "new meat" positions in the fall. There, I ordered them: purple wheels and cheap bearings so I don't ruin the good ones I already have on my skates.

Sacrifices will have to be made to make the practices and what not, but I think I'm finally ready to make it happen. I'll spend the summer working the bouts, learning the ropes, meeting the people I need to know, and skating all over the place. After that, maybe I'll be ready to try out. If not, well, I'll have fun getting to that point. Now to go dig up all my gear.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fairhope Revelations

I went to the creative writing teachers' conference in Fairhope, Alabama this weekend. This is always an interesting and sometimes nerve-racking experience. I often leave with a different perspective on what I'm doing with my life and how I'm getting there.

Fairhope is a beautiful town, almost Stepford perfect, which is why it was hilarious when I tripped and skinned my knee and both palms on its Stepford-perfect sidewalks after having a few drinks at the pub down the block. The irony being that I can come home from the corner bar, or all the way from Markey's even, managing the holes, dips, rises, and all the other inconsistencies of a New Orleans sidewalk, but I can't walk on a perfect sidewalk in a perfect town?

I guess that fall -- which was witnessed by a shop owner who told me "I do it all the time" -- is something of a metaphor for my entire weekend. How I can traipse along perfectly well in my own sort of damaged, psuedo-successful publishing world -- small press horror anthologies, ebook short stories, sci fi web zines -- and feel good about everything and like I'm doing fine. And then -- BAM! One hundred thousand dollar advances from Random House that other people are getting hit me in the face like the concrete sidewalk. I'm left bloody, sore, and -- worst of all -- embarrassed.

I was wearing flip-flops after all.

We'll make this something of a six things Saturday.

  1. I have realized if I want to write a novel -- a real novel, not a collection of short stories like I already have, not a novella like the several I've churned out and sit on -- that I need to A. sell a novel to get an advance so I can work on another novel (something of a catch-22, since I can't get the first novel written). B. Win a grant to finish my first novel so I don't have to work while doing it. C. Get a part time job that pays enough so I have time and money to finish my novel. Short of working as an escort or exotic dancer, I don't think that job actually exists, so it's not an option. So instead I sit here, one of those English teachers who has "the great American novel" inside her but just can't find the time. Sheesh. Maybe this summer, right?
  2. I should have spent more nights hobnobbing after workshops when I was in the MFA program. But I always had to get up the next morning at 5:30 to go to work, so it seemed an impossibility at the time. Now I realize I might not still have to be getting up at 5:30 every morning if I'd gone to network back then, so you see my problem. It's hard to make up for lost time when you only see those people once a year.
  3. I hate palmetto bugs. I wish someone would pay me to write a chapbook rant about how much I hate them. I know that's a bit off topic, but I had to get it out there. Heck, I'm going to do it and put it on Smashwords. Maybe I'll work on it tomorrow. Would you pay ninety-nine cents for that? I wouldn't, because I hate palmetto bugs.
  4. In my defense, genre fiction is a perfectly fine way to make enough money to buy groceries and pay car insurance while still working on "the great American novel." Really. It is. Did I hear you say, "But if you spent that time writing the novel, it would get done"? Maybe, or maybe I'd want to write about space pirates instead. I like space pirates. There's nothing wrong with space pirates. Really.
  5. I'm pretty certain I can't actually write a novel. I've blamed it on my attention span, wanting to always move on to the next thing, but I think instead, once I get up to twenty or thirty thousand words, I start to doubt the worth of what I'm doing. I need to get over that.
  6. Finally, I have the best friends, family, and fans. Y'all have given me opportunities and feedback that I am completely and utterly grateful for. I walk solid on broken sidewalks because of you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Walking

I've been walking the streets of my neighborhood quite a lot lately. Two or more miles each day essentially. I've seen some interesting things, like today in the dumpster behind Studio Inferno was an orange feather boa. I had to wonder how it got there and why someone would throw something so lovely away in the first place.

I also found twenty dollars today which, though not nearly as whimsical, is pretty damn awesome.