“The Nursemaid” up @ Lightning Cake

March 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

Just in time for AWP, I have a new story stretching its legs out in the wide world: “The Nursemaid,” a flash fiction piece, is now posted on Lightning Cake! Lightning Cake is a beautiful new online magazine of speculative bites, and not only am I in great company with a handful of other talented writers, but the editor, LiAnn Yim, creates a delicate, unique illustration for each piece. Take a look, and enjoy!

drawing by LiAnn Yim

drawing by LiAnn Yim

Review Review Review

January 13, 2013 § 3 Comments

Just a quick bit of weekend reading: “Meta-Deference in the Knowable World,” my review of the latest issue of The Normal School, is up at The Review Review. Give it a look!

An excerpt:

tns9_cover_thumbWhen I’m reading something that’s really hooked me, I don’t even know how good it is until I realize that I’ve been reading it out loud.

A couple of things:

I’m not a big reader of nonfiction.

I grew up in Memphis, TN, but I never went to Graceland. By choice.

So imagine the weirdness of suddenly realizing that I’m reading, out loud like a holy incantation, a sentence by Ned Stuckey-French, affirming his belief that Elvis wasn’t by any means, as he puts it, dumb.

What name should we give to that feeling, that light-bulb-going-off realization, when we awake from a pleasurable reading stupor to find that a very talented writer has just caused us to respect—maybe even to like—something which we’d previously disdained? What’s the term for the condition I found myself in, whispering Ned Stuckey-French’s rationalization of Elvis out loud to myself, like it was holy writ? A Writer-on-Artist Lovefest. Meta-Deference.

Thanks for reading!

Why Stories are Important

December 12, 2012 § 4 Comments

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After my grandmother died, my mom told the story of her last minutes to everyone who asked. She’d been with her mother—my grandmother—at the hospital in Franklin, Indiana, and it was nighttime, around Christmas. She was about to leave when she noticed that it was snowing outside. She commented to those there that she was glad, that her mother loved snow. When she left, she watched the snow fall around her and on the lights and decorations outside the hospital. A peaceful knowing came over her: she knew that she wouldn’t see her mother alive again, but that it was ok. She drove to my uncle’s house. My grandmother was gone before my mom pulled into the driveway.

My mom will always tell this story, because she needs to know that her mother’s passing was a quiet, wondrous and good thing at the end of a wondrous and good life. It was acknowledged, not just by her, but by nature itself. This, for her, is the story of my grandmother’s death.

But it’s not quite enough—enough for her, perhaps, but not enough to share. Because there’s the story of what happened, and then there’s more. There’s the story you tell other people, and the story everyone needs to tell themselves. The after-story, the Er-story, the story that can feed everyone. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Favorite.

November 8, 2012 § 31 Comments

It should be almost as blasphemous to pinpoint a favorite book as it is to single out a favorite child, especially if you’re a Reader with a Capital R. What will the others think? Will the Grimms become bitter? Will Peter Pan, knowing that he’s loved but not (gasp!) my favorite, develop some deeply-seated childish drive for attention? That is, more than he already has? It’s a risky move, both because someone on the shelf might get offended , and because there’s always the chance–some say–that you might change your mind.

But I won’t change my mind, even if my favorite book has lots of competition.

In my apartment there’s a special shelf, where my Grimms live, all of my Sendak, Barrie, and Trina Schart Hyman. Also, most of the criticism of the aforementioned hang out there as well. It’s the place of honor, away from the YA paperbacks and college poetry textbooks, where my 1st edition of Barrie’s The Little White Bird sits next to Lore Segal and Randall Jarrell’s The Juniper Tree, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, which was given to me by a good friend in a time of book-need. All of Maria Tatar’s Annotated series (Hans Christian Andersen, The Grimms, Peter Pan) are here, along with a copy of War of the Worlds, as illustrated by Edward Gorey, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales, as illustrated by the late, beautiful, Trina Schart Hyman. Audrey Niffennegger’s The Three Incestuous Sisters, next to both volumes of Tony Kushner’s study of the work of Maurice Sendak.

All of this is not to brag, but to say that it might surprise some of you readers, who’ll have already been exposed to my rants and exultations about many of these titles, that none of these (not even Peter and Wendy, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman!) is my favorite book of all time. In fact, the author of this book is someone whose name has never appeared on this blog before. It’s a book I grew up with without attaching any significance to the name, the way I now do with my hoarded information about authors of books that I love. I love this book not because there’s any thrilling backstory or deep personal turmoil in the making of it. It’s simple, beautiful, and, sadly, out of print.

This, dears, is my favorite book of all time:

« Read the rest of this entry »

3 Spooky Radio Stories

November 1, 2012 § 5 Comments

Because Halloween should last all autumn, don’t you think?

I’m mourning the end of October by sharing what was a pretty exciting Halloween present for me, to have three–not 1 but 3!–short stories of mine read by actors and performed for the radio on OSU’s Writers Talk, for its 4th annual Halloween show. Plus, at the end, an interview with RL Stine! LITTLE KNOWN FACT: RL Stine was an OSU alum like myself, and was known, both there and in his days at MAD Magazine, as “Jovial Bob Stine.”

The first, a longer short story, is called “Good Creatures, Small Things,” and is chock full of strange creatures in the Appalachian woods, and–sorry, narrative purists–it goes backwards. Fun!

The last two (about halfway in) are short-shorts: “Her Honeymoon,” featuring a jealous telekinetic lover, and “The Nursemaids,” a study in infant vampirism and its effects on matrimony.

Take a listen to an access-anytime stream here, or download it for free on iTunes.

Enjoy!

photo by Joanna Monger

“Baba Yaga and the Land of Forgetting” @ HALLOW STORIES

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

This past Saturday was Queen City Saturday in Poughkeepsie, and POKLIT, the series of readings I organize, contributed to the day of the arts with HALLOW STORIES, a collaboration between myself and Bettina Gold Wilkerson, better known as Poet Gold. HALLOW STORIES was a spliced-together performance of spoken word and lyric poetry by Gold, Glenn Werner, and Gold’s Evolving Wordsmiths, which took place between scenes of my newest short play, “Baba Yaga and the Land of Forgetting”…

…in an empty, crumbling historic firehouse. « Read the rest of this entry »

Baba Yaga Returns to Poughkeepsie

October 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

This weekend in POK, come out to hear a staged reading of one of my short Baba Yaga plays, “Baba Yaga and the Land of Forgetting,” as well as poetry “intermissions” featuring local Hudson Valley poets, who will lead the audience through the empty Lady Washington Firehouse in between scenes of the play. It’s going to be creepy and fun! I am working hard on a miniature Baba Yaga hut marionette, made of wire and felt, just for the occasion.

Linda Roper returns as Baba Yaga, after originating the role in May’s performance of “Baba Yaga and the 5 Steps of Hypothetical Grief” in the Poughkeepsie Sculpture Park, and Michele McNally and Mark Stochmal will also be returning to read/perform the roles of “Woman Who is Not Vasilisa” and “Mortimer/Koschei the Deathless.” Myself, I will be reading the part of “Death, Who is a Little Girl.” Gina Samardge and Andy Rinehart will be on hand providing accordion accompaniment.

Poetry will be read and performed between scenes of the play, in the nooks, crannies, and large empty rooms of the historic building by Poet Gold, a phenomenal and inspiring spoken word poet, and her mentees the Evolving Wordsmiths, as well as Glenn Werner of Beacon, NY.

Come out and hear as POK writers read their fears–bonus? It’s free.

You can find out more at www.facebook.com/POKLIT, and at the event page.

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