September 1, 2012

Query Letter for Tardy Son, a novel

In TARDY SON, Pid, a fourteen-year-old boy, torn from his Mexican roots and adopted into a white California family, stows away in a boxcar hoping to get to San Francisco. He’s desperate to escape his adoptive father, Danno, and to find his real mother. The abuse from Danno alienates Pid’s mind into two personalities. Pid’s copy of Treasure Island, his journal writing, and his sense of adventure help him escape. Pid doesn’t find his real mother in San Francisco but he does find Japanese and African boys who accept his baseball playing despite his limp and a Mexican woman who loves him like a mother. This gives him a sense of himself enough to reunite his personality, though he is still angry at Danno. This anger brings Pid to steal a motor scooter and return to his hometown to face Danno again. Pid vows to kill him, though he risks arrest and injury. A bloody fight occurs and in the battle he discovers why the lies of Danno hide the truth in the mystery of his heritage. Finally, he must choose whether to stay or return to San Francisco.

TARDY SON, is a semi-finalist for the Faulkner Novel-in-Progress Award. It’s a 76,000-word literary YA novel.

August 8, 2012

Emily Dickinson, Virgin Recluse—Not

Wild Nights by Emily Dickinson, The Text

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

—”Wild nights! Wild nights!” is a poem of sexual passion. Colonel Higginson, her editor, wrote:

One poem only I dread a little to print–that wonderful ‘Wild Nights,’—lest the malignant read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dreamed of putting there. Has Miss Lavinia [Emily Dickinson’s sister] any shrinking about it? You will understand & pardon my solicitude. Yet what a loss to omit it! Indeed it is not to be omitted.

The myth of Emily Dickinson as some kind of  virgin recluse?

We poet gots passion!

August 6, 2012

Tiny whoop. Faulkner Award semi-finalist.

My novel, Tardy Son, is a semi-finalist for the Faulkner Novel-in-Progress Award. Tiny whoop.

July 31, 2012

Four poems from Charles Simic: “The Future” & Other Poems

I’ve been reading a collection of the poems of Charles Simic. I like his poems. He is a Serbian American and was named the 15th poet laureate of the United States. I love the way he juxtaposes ordinary images with evocative ones. When questioned about his style, he once said: “I wanted something seemingly artless and pedestrian to surprise the reader by conveying so much more. In other words, I wanted a poem a dog can understand. Still, I love odd words, strange images, startling metaphors, and rich diction, so I’m like a monk in a whorehouse, gnawing on a chunk of dry bread while watching the ladies drink champagne and parade in their lacy undergarments.” At another time he said: “In America, if you want to know where the heart is you listen to the blues and country music.” This juxtaposition is also something Margot Suydam does well in her work (found below). Here are two excerpts of his:

“I like to cloister myself
Watching my thoughts roam
Like a homeless family
Holding on to their children
And their few possessions
Seeking shelter for the night.”
and:
“Friends of the small hours of the night:
Stub of a pencil, small notebook,
Reading lamp on the table,
Making me welcome in your circle of light.”

Here are four of his best poems from “The Future & Other Poems.”
http://www.pen.org/blog/?p=10928

July 19, 2012

A Big Picture Window

I’m having a really hard time finding flaws with the new HBO series The Newsroom, created by the well-renowned Aaron Sorkin. With a solid ensemble cast and near exemplary writing, this freshman show has gotten my attention and will not soon lose it.

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July 17, 2012

How Colm Toibin Uses Memory in Fiction

Here’s a fine article about how a writer, Colm Toibin, uses memories of real events, places, and people in his stories—how they relate to reality, how they relate when they’re changed by a story, and how important a true sense of memory is to getting a story to be “right in the mind” and on the page. It’s called “What Is Real Is Imagined.”

He writes: “The story has a shape, and that comes first, and then the story and its shape need substance and nourishment from the haunting past, clear memories or incidents suddenly remembered or invented, erased or enriched.” —Colm Toibin

July 16, 2012

Amanda, poet

Amanda, poet

“I am Pete Rose, dying with the hopelessly screwed, scorning giants whose plans date back before saviors . . . .” —This from is a mash-up of a blogpost, lyrics from several musicians, and three poems from a poet called Amanda. She can write. Check her out here:

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June 21, 2012

Interview with a Vamp: The Paris Review and Dorothy Parker, 1956

Interview with a Vamp: The Paris Review and Dorothy Parker, 1956

When I read through this interview done in 1956 between The Paris Review and Dorothy Parker, I couldn’t help but wonder what Shakespeare would have thought of her wit. I imagined he’d say: “Call my director: I was wrong, we should be casting women for all those parts. Hell, if we can find any more like Parker, cast her in the men’s parts, too.”

The Interview:

June 19, 2012

Here’s an Interesting Article on Loneliness in Art by Sonya Chung from The Millions

On Loneliness: Art, Life, and Fucking Human Beings
By Sonya Chung

“There are days when it seems to me that what it is to be a fucking human being is to be lonely; to be in this state of deep sadness and estrangement, and to know that there is something terribly wrong about this loneliness on the one hand, and on the other (in knowing the wrongness utterly), something also potentially beautiful.”

June 4, 2012

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