About Me

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Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Illuminate

The talented Kim Chinquee is featured in Art Voice.

Illuminate

Don't miss Myfanwy Collins' latest installment of My Secret Shame.

A Novel in Progress

Tom Saunders, author of Brother, What Strange Place Is This?" has a novel in progress on his blog.

Check it out! And if you haven't bought a copy of his book, than you're missing an excellent read!

Interview

Nora McCrea interviews authors Laila Lalami and Diana Abu-Jaber.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Happy Chinese New Year and it's the Year of the Dog.

What Chinese zodiac are you?

I'm the Year of the Dragon.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Illuminate

Author Susan Henderson has written an excellent essay on her blog: "Deconstructing Memory."

Congratulations to Laila Lalami

whose book, "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits" has gone into second printing!

Veggie Revolution

If you want to know where your food comes from please click on the link (and scroll down a bit) Veggie Revolution.

This certainly gave me pause. I didn't know, for instance, the average distance our food travels before it reaches our plate. Nor did I know pigs were smarter than dogs. Now try to imagine rows and rows of pinned dogs kept in this way only to be slaughtered. People would be outraged, right? So why the hell aren't more people outraged by this treatment of hogs? Or chickens? Or cattle?

Native Americans used to give thanks to the spirit of an animal they had to kill for food. This spiritual connection is missing today in our culture and it shows through its behavior and attitudes. Not only are we allowing into our bodies unwanted antibiotics, hormones, and other unsavory items, we are essentially consuming the misery of the animal's soul.

My husband stopped eating meat (except for fish) two years ago. When I stopped nursing my son, I slowly let it leave my own plate. Now, on the rare occasion I have meat, it's usually from a restaurant. There are no packages of bacon, pork chops, chicken, hamburg, filet in my house. Don't get me wrong, I didn't do it for such altruistic reasons: I changed my diet because it's easier than cooking two different meals per night. And because I felt better with less meat in my system. I actually get sick less than I used to. But now that I'm becoming more aware of the conditions of these animals that unwillingly give their lives--if you can call them lives--I will continue to keep my meat consumption down to once every week or two. Perhaps I can make the leap to stopping period.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Public Space

Just received this newsletter from A Public Space:

ISSUE 1 UPDATE


A Public Space #1 is at the printer and will be on newsstands and ship to subscribers February 15.

The debut issue is:
Charles D'Ambrosio, Kelly Link, Anna Deveare Smith, Marilynne Robinson, Haruki Murakami, Rick Moody, Motoyuki Shibata, Yoko Ogawa, John Haskell, Lucy Raven, Peter Gizzi, Matthea Harvey, Antoine Wilson, Peter Orner, Ian Chillag, Jeremy Glazier, and others.

And here's a link to what Rick Moody has to say about the Frey controversy: If You See Something, Say Something.

Tom Bissell's "God Lives in St. Petersburg"

If you haven't yet read Tom Bissell's short story collection "God Lives in St. Petersburg," you may want to add it to your list of must-get-tos.

Set in Central Asia, these stories illuminate an area most of us will never see. The title story is probably the strongest with a heart-stopping ending, but the rest of the stories come in as a consistent close second.

With prose like this:

"He seemed suddenly to wish that he were not standing beside his father, who of course asked what had just been said. Aktar quietly back-translated for him, obviously hoping that his pea of an answer would be smothered beneath the mattress of translation."

there are moments of laughing out loud mixed in with finger-gripping tension.

and when one of the characters contemplates his own death:

"Donk had never thought much about his death before. The prospect had always felt to him like a television show he knew was on Channel 11 at eight o'clock but had never watched and never planned to."

the truth of Bissell's prose transcends place.

Neil Gaiman Meets Robin Slick

Please read her hilarious and humble account.

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Illuminate

Read Embouchure by Robin Slick. After that, read her hilarious answers to ten questions found on her blog(the second link). I particularly like the taping of two Barbie dolls! Haha!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lit Mag Roundup

I'm thrilled to announce my quarterly column is now up at Moorishgirl.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Illuminate

Two delightful reads:

Last Nerve by Jordan Rosenfeld

and

Just One by Miriam Kotzin

Illuminate

Here's another review of Elliot Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Elliot Perlman's "Seven Types of Ambiguity"

Elliot Perlman’s “Seven Types of Ambiguity” is a huge read, and I’m not just speaking of the weight of it, or number of pages, but of its scope, its depth and its heart. Perlman tells the story of a man obsessed with a lost love, an obsession that continues to thrive over more than a decade. When that man kidnaps the woman’s son in order to prevent her decisions from hurting the boy, his actions affect several people. The way Perlman chose to structure his novel is interesting. It’s narrated by seven different people: Simon, the obsessed philosopher; Angelique, Simon’s friend and lover who makes her living as a prostitute; Anna, Simon’s college sweetheart; Joe, a successful stockbroker and Anna’s husband; Mitch, a market analyst; Alex, Simon’s psychiatrist; and Rachael, Alex’s daughter. Each is connected to the rest through Simon. Each offers his or her own perceptions to the events that unfold, and the beauty of this dynamic is ambiguity is cleverly proven throughout the novel.
At times, the dialogue seems bogged down by exposition, but then, the whole 620 pages is rendered in conversation or confession: to the reader, to the court, to a friend, to a therapist. It’s like being at a thoroughly captivating, intellectually-stimulating party: sooner or later you’ll feel like you need a breather. That aside, this book is rich with ideas and rich in concept. It’s certainly one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in a while. It’s a long book. My advice is to stick with it—this book is definitely worth your time.

Illuminate

The new lit mag reviews are out at New Pages. I notice there's a special nod to writer Debbie Ann Ice for her story in Lorraine and James. Well done, Deb!

Illuminate

If you're looking for a captivating read, Wheatland Press has just published the anthology The Nine Muses. This anthology includes work from Elizabeth Hand, Tamar Yellin, and the talented Jai Clare.

Illuminate

The Turkish government has decided not to press charges against Orhan Pamuk. Let's hope the Foriegn Minister's wisdom is allowed to spread and take hold for those others still on trial for freedom of speech issues.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Curses

Okay, will the wise guy (or gal) responsible for all my unsavory luck lately (since the first day of 2006) kindly remove the curse (or curses)? I know I've lived a relatively charmed life so far and I have miles to go before I catch up with the median good luck to bad luck ratio, but honestly, I could use a bit of a breather.

This weekend Tom found yet another leak in the heating system; We all came down with nasty flu-like viruses (I took the brunt); I had a bout of acid-reflux that kept me awake all night; and this morning my dryer began to smoke. Sigh.

And yes, I know: things could be so much worse. I know this. Thanks. This is my last bit of self-indulgence (I think).


Okay. Back to literature.

UPDATE:
I walked into a wall yesterday (Yes, I know. You don't have to say it) and this morning my third toe is purple.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Illuminate

Lily has an interview with photographer Peter Roubos and another interview with Roubus's model, Kat Love.

I particularly like what Ms. Love says about nudity in art:

"I specialize in artistic nude modeling because in art, the human figure is seen as beautiful and not necessarily as an object of shame or sex. My work is not an exploitation of nudity or exhibitionism but is rather a statement against the United States' illusion of shame when it comes to nudity. "

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Illuminate

Writer Donna Storey is interviewed by Susie Bright about her story that made it into Best American Erotica 2006.

Life is Good

Tom found the last of the leaks. The smell is gone. My house only smells like lilies, hyacinth and oranges. I'm writing again--working on an old story thanks to inspiration from a talented friend and have loads to read.

My family is relaxed again.

Life is good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Interview

Here's an interview with Benjamin Kunkel from the The Observer.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Truth of Fiction

Novelist Patry Francis writes her thoughts about the Frey controversy on Simply Wait.

Dr. King's Dream

In the summer of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to the country about his dream.

What's your dream? Do you live it?

Celebrate the power of dreams.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Reading

On the flight home I read Benjamin Kunkel's "Indecision," and its sexy, smart writing was enough to keep my mind off the man whose leg invaded my personal space on the plane. And enough to spark my interest in checking out Kunkel's literary journal, n+1.

During our seemingly endless hotel stay I read Joan Silber's Household Words. I have two other books by Silber which I've been saving for some odd reason, but after reading this I'm glad I started with this one. Described as an "extraordinary novel about ordinary people" its main character, Rhoda Taber, was smart-alecky, opinionated, different, and zesty. I loved reading about her time as a married woman in the forties and following her through the rest of her life.

On a Brighter Note...

Every year Tom and I buy a painting (or piece of art) to celebrate our marriage. We've already bought this year's though our anniversary isn't until June. Tom has loved Carol Bechtel's work since he first saw one of her paintings ten years ago. And when I saw her paintings last year, they took my breath away. This morning we left the barely-smelly house to a show of her work in Chapel Hill and we bought Double Up!. (Fourth down on the left)

Lemonade From Lemons

And my lemonade is a spring-cleaned house in January! We're in, the smell is giving us its all, but I'm afraid my lilies, cleaner and fresh air (and garlic) are stronger! The smell has almost resigned to a defeat.

And I got a great workout too! ;)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Back at Home...

It's forty-somethng degrees, windy, and I've got all the windows open in the house. The music is cranked and so am I as I clean the odor out of my house, room by room.
The smell is still pumping through the vents, but it's fainter now. I'm hoping I can outdo the smell with cleaner and lilies.

And later I'll get out my secret weapon...garlic. ;)

A Few Things I've Learned in the Last Week...

* You can make a hotel room seem more like a home with one simple purchase: Stargazer lilies. We became known to housekeeping as the "Lily room."

* I'm grateful that I'm my oldest son's mother and NOT his soon-to-be dorm buddy. Hehe.

* Acceptance is the first step to dealing with change.

* It is physically possible to laugh and cry at the same time.

* I have an amazing, unselfish, strong family.

* And most importantly, as awful as things seem, people cope (and prevail) with so, so, so much worse. I'm grateful this was only a minor thing.

There's Always a Clause...

Tom and I met with our home owners' insurance rep. Of course, halfway through the conversation he mentioned the tiny wee clause called the "pollutant exclusion clause." In other words they needed to determine if petroleum was a pollutant, and if they found it to be one under North Carolina law, our damages would not be covered. I wonder if they would take testimony from Bill. He seems to think Petroleum's just dandy.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Sensitive Woman

Well I just had a showdown with the man responsible for the mess in my house. Anyone who knows my husband knows he is a calm rational man who gets what he wants by his unique ability to work with people's personalities. I am not my husband.
This morning we left the hotel to meet with the heating repair man to discuss whether or not the smell still existed. I walked in and of course the smell still exists because the ducts have not been replaced and the only solution offered so far (not by the heating man, whom I shall call Bill) is a huge ionizer running through the house and through the system. And it has helped a lot. But even it cannot disguise the hideous smell of petroleum still blowing through the vents.

So this morning this man stands there and tries to tell me that I'm "just sensitive," and that "another family who had this problem ten times worse never complained." Let me tell you, friends, I saw red. I told this man that whether another family has had to tolerate his mistakes without complaint is irrelevant to me. And that Petroleum is a toxic substance and if he would like the see the facts about the substance he works with I'd be happy to compile them. That if he thought for one moment that I wanted to spend another minute in a hotel he was sorely mistaken. That if he thought I would accept anything less than a house healthy enough for habitation he was also mistaken. And that it was his mistakes that created the problem and the solutions, financial and otherwise would come from him. And lastly I had two children to consider one of which still has a developing brain and I would not for one minute tiptoe around Bill's ego, pride, and/or pocketbook at the expense of my children.

Then I told him very calmly that if he was not willing to fix the problem that he could leave my house and I'd find someone who would because I was finished screwing around.

He then looked at me and said he appreciated my bluntness but he didn't really feel that replacing the duct work was going to help anything, but if that's what we wanted he'd do it.

Tom was right there backing me up telling the guy that my sensitivity should be the only gauge to go by. That how other people live is not important.

I don't know which made me the angriest: the man trying to convince me there's nothing toxic about pertoleum, the man telling me I'm being overly sensitive and basically a pain in the ass, or his inability to take responsibilty for his mistakes in the first place. His ignorance borders on insensitivity.

I honestly do not remember the last time I've been so angry.

I hope you all can forgive this use of my blog to vent. Hopefully it will be literature as usual next week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Still Not Home

We're still living in a hotel because our house still reeks of Petroleum and the things that should have been done days ago such as duct replacement are only now being considered.

Did I mention I'm furious?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Please Join Me in Congratulating...

the talented Jim Tomlinson for his recent Iowa Fiction Award! His short story collection, "Things Kept, Things Left Behind," will be published by Iowa Press in 2006!!!!!

Be Careful of What You Wish For and Trust Your Intuition...

So far 2006 has proven to be a bit…bumpy. We had a lovely time with family and friends in Connecticut. We arrived to snow and cold and houses decked out in holiday splendor. Luckily Tom rented a four wheel drive Volvo so traveling was easy. Xander was awestruck by the snow; when he saw it for the first time he couldn’t resist lying down in it. New Year’s Eve, Tom and I had some alone time at his sister’s party: a nice intimate group with great conversation and good food.

Before the trip I had been longing for the kind of storms I had known in Vermont, the kind that silences the world and forces it to come to a halt. A damn good Nor’easter. Well we got one—on the day we were scheduled to fly out. And like good ex-northerners we got in the car to drive to the airport (what’s a snowstorm to us?) only to find out when we got there our flight was cancelled. Back we went through the woods and snow to Grandma’s house. Yes, it was a pain and it set things back but what a glorious sight. All that heavy beautiful snow and the quiet of the world.

While we were away, our furnace was being worked on. All during my vacation I had this feeling that we would be coming home to a problem. Maybe no heat or something worse. What could be worse than no heat? Maybe a giant oil spill. And that’s exactly what we came home to at midnight. A house that smelled like the Exxon Valdez. I had suggested that we call the guy a couple of times while we were away—that’s how strong my intuition was—but I’m not sure if that would have helped anything because it was Tom, who actually used his brain (a damn good one, I might add) and figured out all the places that was holding mini oil spills and circulating it through our house. You see, someone was very careless and was not forthcoming about his carelessness. Hopefully it will finally be fixed today and then the monstrous work of cleaning linens, rugs, and upholstery begins, because the smell of my house, usually so comforting and pleasant, turns my stomach.

I just hope this is not a portent of things to come.

Happy New Year