Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Literary Death Match

Well, LDM was a hoot (what an old word, but owls are in right now). I read "Manx" and went over by about 30 seconds. They decided to super-soak me, despite my pathetic attempt for mercy by crying "Pneumonia." I did just recover from whooping cough, but they were unswerving in their desire to soak somebody. I went dressed for it--tank top and jeans. The thing is, I hate, hate, hate people who go over the time limit. I had it timed at 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The problem was, people were laughing. It's a funny story. They read it on Liar's League. Go listen to it. It was 12 minutes on there. I pared it down to the essentials. I think the judge Russell Blackwood just wanted to shoot that watergun. Afterward, Matt Stewart convinced me to take his cap gun (a prop) and shoot Russell when he went into the women's bathroom. I took some convincing, but hey, it felt good. Really good. He got capped four times. Thanks, Matt, for the loan of your weapon and catching it on your cell phone, you-tube. See it here,


Other news, because I really have been sick and probably should not have done the reading at LDM, I asked Jane at the Writing Salon to allow me to cancel my upcoming five week class. I'm so grateful to her for understanding. I have to get ready for the new school year at Hercules High School and it's a hard time to get a class going. I basically do a little more each day. So sorry to the people who had already signed on. I'm hoping to teach a five-week class in the fall that is strictly writing, no revision. Something that I think is sorely needed in the academic world. I see so many stuck writers, people who get jammed up b/c of poor workshop attitudes and too much criticism too soon.

If you want a great website to read about writing inhibitions, read Jane Anne Staw's writershomecompanion.com. I'm her biggest fan. She's helped me edit many of my stories and she's a thoughtful, caring mentor. She helped me get "Goat Herder" into shape, which is out now in the beautiful new Crab Orchard Review. I can't wait to find time to sit down and read the whole issue. Thanks to friends who purchased a copy from me.

As for recent books, still reading the Pushcart Prizes and the Dzanc's Best of the Web. Almost done with both. It's interesting to compare the type and style of stories in each. A good writing / reading endeavor for those of you who are short story writers. Read both and see what you think is the difference or the same. I think there's quite a bit more flash and surreal work on the internet than in the print mags. By the way, internet magazines can nominate for Pushcarts, but the work still rarely makes it in there. Thanks to Dzanc for giving us the opportunity to see what they think is working on-line.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Friday Night, Liteary Death Match

Well, it's on. I was invited to read at Literary Death Match and I've been thinking I'll be like death warmed over because I'm recuperating from pneumonia. However, I am feeling better today and am ready to throw it down. My colors are orange and turquoise. I was just going to go for red, but my birthday was today and my family had other ideas. I've been practicing all week and I just can't escape "Manx," which is my favorite story to read in public. I have only read it once locally and it was the bomb, so I shortened it and now I think it's even better. I thought about reading "Stealing" or "This Scarred Wish," but "Stealing" would have to be cut down, too and it's a little confusing. Well, what of my writing isn't. And then "This Scarred Wish," which is coming out in OxMAg on-line soon is very sad and quiet and needs a different setting to be appreciated. Because I'm representing the magazine Eleven Eleven from the California College of the Arts, and my story in there is called "Rat Stories" (too too long for LDM), I decided to stay with the animal theme and read about cats. My story out in Crab Orchard Review is called "Goat Herder." Let's see, rats, cats, and goats. I think we have a short story collection going. The theme is how to deal with animals that drive you insane.

Hope to see all my friends at LDM on Friday--the Elbow Room, 7:00.