Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Shoulder/Arm TATTOO!

It's kind of awkward to take a picture of the back of one's own shoulder, so here's the best angles I could get:

Cool as hell! I was freaking grinning WHILE the guy was tattooing me I was so excited about it. And I feel like it didn't hurt as bad as the one on my leg, or that could have been because I was so stoked!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Literary Vs. Commercial

I just came across a good Newsweek article about the commercial/literary divide in literature. And the question I hear more and more - Is reading a good end in and of itself, or is reading so called fluff or escapist literature little better than just watching tv? Is escapist literature, and reading just for fun a potential "gateway drug" to more premium, difficult literature? Or is it just another brain-sapping activity?

In the article, Zadie Smith is quoted as saying, "readers fail when they allow themselves to believe that fiction is the thing you relate to and writers the amenable people you seek out when you want to have your own version of the world confirmed and reinforced."

I think this is a valid point, especially about the nature of comfortable reading that only reinforces ones already-entrenched worldviews and values. At the same time, so much high-brow literary fiction is just so damn boring. Neither the story-lines, nor the language-usage is interesting or beautiful. For example, I read Zadie Smith's White Teeth. And I didn't like it all - I thought there were several bizarre story-lines that were held together by the contrived image of "teeth" in a novel that did shed light on a culture I was not familiar with, but felt overall pointless.

What drives me crazy is that there appears to be so little dialogue about creating a middle ground. Because each side is indignant and defensive against the other, calling each other alternately sell-outs or snobs, the accessible well-written fiction is hard to find. Why do we have to be afraid of literature that is enjoyable? Why is it either "genre" fiction or "literary" fiction (I mean, literary fiction is pretty defined by what it is NOT, i.e., NOT genre fiction)? Why don't MFA programs allow genre writers in? How do we expect to get better written genre writing, or more interesting and accessible literary fiction, or better yet, blurring the line so completely that its not entirely identifiable as one or the other?

Here's the link to the article:

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I've been feeling very blogg-y all of the sudden, ever since my sister-in-law wrote and asked why I wasn't blogging as much, and I was surprised I'd gone almost a month without blogging (I used to blog extensively at another site). It's been an odd winter, down in the dumps, and one I'll be happy to put behind me. The world seems to be perking up again - due in part to me working fewer hours, part because the weather is warming up, and warmer weather means a new shoulder tattoo! in the next couple weeks, and partiallty because it means I'm that much closer to getting to quit and focus just on school next fall. I'm finishing up one literature class that is a pre-req for grad school - Multi-cultural Literature Focus: The Southwest, so I need to get going on finishing it up.

I now have over a hundred submissions out, literally. So waiting for those responses to filter in, writing the occasional poem, tweaking short stories, but I think I'm going to take a breather from the heavy writing I'd been doing in the past few months.

The weather's warming up, which means Heather get's a new tattoo soon. Life is good. Hopefully I get the tattoo in the next week (victorian scrollwork pattern, on my left shoulder). Pictures to come!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vive La Acceptance!

Just got my second acceptance into a lit mag!! Two poems will be appearing in The Houston Literary Review. Maybe this will induce my jaw to relax?

Also, just checked out classes for the Fall semester, and I can't wait to start going back to school again. There's a Literary Scholarship class and a History of Children's Literature class that I'm eyeing...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


And, in honor of this new blog, thought I'd share a little of my artwork too. Here's my favorite painting from this past year. I should paint more, but usually it goes in spurts, most often right when winter begins.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Jaw-Ache Inducing Neurosis

So, in a new episode of neurosis, I have started grinding my teeth when I sleep and doing a bizarre tensing-my-jaw constantly when I'm awake. The husband told me I was audibly grinding my teeth while I was sleeping the other night. Plus, during the day, I can feel myself holding my jaw tight and tense, but then when I think about it, it gets worse, which makes me even more neurotic about it, which makes it tense even more!

Yeah, it's weird, and I'm attributing it to underlying stress while I wait for a second acceptance from one of the damn literary magazines - some of the irons in the fire should be coming up with a response this week, and it's driving me crazy. And inducing me to a penchant for Advil to calm down my aching jaw and neck.

Other than that, life's good. I finished the numbers obsessed story, titled "The Numeric Plague" and edited it like hell all weekend, then sent it out about 8 places. I think it's the smartest thing I've written, and with the actual rising action, big climax thing, along with intentential irony throughout. I won't hear back about that one for 2 months though, so the waiting game continues, and continues, and continues...

I am not a patient person.

But I'm also nothing if not stubborn, so even if it all comes up rejections, I'll keep pounding away at it, re-editing, writing new stuff. I'm not sure if that makes me an optimist or a masochist.