Saturday, August 29, 2009

canine dancin'

Check out this extremely happy Golden/human duo. This is a whole new world of obedience called Freestyle, I think. Let me know if I've got it wrong please.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Lorrie Moore reading in Seattle on Friday, Sept 11

Elliott Bay Book Company is bringing Lorrie Moore to Seattle on Friday, September 11th, at 7pm, at the Seattle Central Library. Moore's new book is a novel, her first in fifteen years, A Gate at the Stairs.

Microsoft Auditorium, Seattle Public Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave.
Free admission is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information, check out this link.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Julia Child 1912-2004

Yes, I've seen the movie and I loved it. Meryl Streep really got Child, and Amy Goodman was, as always, a delight. Then the other night I accidentally watched PBS, and there was the real Julia, patting a chicken with butter, preparatory to roasting said bird. Then she carved the bird. Ah, I remember watching her, and how I learned to make souffles from Volume I. Volume II is mostly unstained, but Volume I has pages that stick together. Julia Child made me a cook.

So these are the volumes I have, but jeepers, I did not pay $295. Probably more like $20 total, which was a lot of money, when I bought them, just after dinosaurs roamed the earth...

And really, Volume I is the one to have.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh Freddie, Freddie 1946-1991

Sometimes we just need a little Freddie. Leather and knee socks, rockin' Freddie, just rockin'.


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Collagist

Check out The Collagist, a lively new online venture from Dzanc Books, full to the brim with short stories, essays, poetry, and reviews.

from editor Matt Bell's note:
In this debut issue, we've got new fiction by Chris Bachelder, Kevin Wilson, Kim Chinquee, and Matthew Salesses, plus an excerpt from Laird Hunt's forthcoming novel Ray of the Star. Charles Jensen, Oliver de la Paz, and Christina Kallery each contribute several new poems apiece. In non-fiction, Ander Monson provides an innovative personal essay in the form of an "assembloir," while David McLendon's essay relates his personal experiences with the master teacher, editor, and writer Gordon Lish, exploring the impact of Lish's mentorship on both his own writing and his everyday life. Lish's story "I'm Wide" (which originally appeared in his collection What I Know So Far) is also reprinted in this issue, which I hope you'll consider first as its own unique piece and then again, in tandem with McLendon's essay.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Women Up On Blocks by Mary Akers

Wow, I just finished reading my pal Mary Akers' new short story collection, Women Up On Blocks, and it was a blast.

So many good stories, but my favorite has to be "Thunderstones," about young love and family interference and the smacking effect of old time religion. Here's a line that shows how clear and evocative the writing is:
"She can feel her future mother-in-law's insipid happiness creeping toward her through the pew cushions."

These are stories about women who make, or have to make, big decisions, and Akers knows her territory well.

I heartily recommend this collection, published by Press53, which once again proves to be a great source for lively reading.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Reading Local: Seattle

Take a look at this fine blog Reading Local: Seattle for a great calendar of readings in the area. Here's a description from the website:

Reading Local: Seattle is interested in documenting as much as we can find out about locally produced literature, zines, pamphlets, blogs, novels, chapbooks, poetry, performance and anything else concerned with the written or spoken word. We aim to include regular profiles of Washington State writers, locally produced lit, events, and places where these things can be found either in bookstores, community libraries, or roadside bins.

We are related to the equally locally-concerned Web site, Reading Local: Portland, part of Reading Local.

If you have ideas for topics you would like covered please post them, or e-mail me directly. If you are a regular producer of lit events, I would like to make sure your events are covered. Furthermore, there are some modest steps you can take to make sure your events are easily discovered and attended. For more information, see the site, Social Media for Writers.

Your Fellow Book Junkie,
Matt Briggs

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alison Lurie's REAL PEOPLE

Here's the last line from Real People by Alison Lurie, and no, this won't spoil the story for you:
"If nothing will finally survive of this life besides what artists report of it, we have no right to report what we know to be lies."

Hey, go ahead and read the whole book. I just finished it, and it was splendid. Short, vibrant, with lively characters and a swell plot. Highly recommended, except for those without a sense of humor.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Tin House in a nutshell

This is just what the Tin House summer workshop experience is like.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Eel Pie Island, near London

Eel Pie Island is famous for music and literature. And I remember, dimly, that when I was a baby and we lived outside London, we lived not far from the island.

London: Eel Pie Island


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays

Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays was written by David Ball expressly for those reading scripts for production. But it is a fine book for revision of all kinds. And Mr. Ball really knows his Hamlet. A high compliment from one who also knows her Hamlet. Also, the book is short. Pithy, even.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

notes from Tin House, July 2009

I went to Tin House this summer, and workshopped with Steve Almond. Here are my notes from the panel on endings. The last paragraph was Samantha Chang, and it really resonated with me.

Notes from Tin House July 2009 Endings
Panel with Lan Samantha Chang, Ann Hood, and Ron Hansen.

The types of endings:
Single conclusion
Ironic ending or false epiphany
Envoi (sends you off to another story, the envoy disappears)

Endings that don’t work:
A hurried ending, rushing to the conclusion
Loose ends
Unrealistic endings
The Dougie Houser ending, adding in the moral, “what I learned today was that friends are important.”

"You really have to know your story and what it is about to write the ending. If you are having trouble with the ending, ask yourself 'what’s been bothering me for the past few years?' to figure out what happens in the end of the novel you are working on." -Lan Samantha Chang