I’m on a reading binge!
The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway: Based on the true story of a cellist who, during the Siege of Sarajevo, played the same piece at a bomb site for 22 days straight to honor the 22 victims of the bombing. Told through the voices of 4 protagonists: the cellist, a young female sniper, a man with a young family going out to fetch water, and an elderly baker who stayed behind when his wife and son were able to escape. A very rich, very sad description of what it’s like to try to hold on to one’s humanity in the middle of war. I think this is a beautiful book.
Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette-Kowal: AKA Jane Austen with magic. Hints of both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. The use of magic (“glamour”) is really neat, described in terms of fabrics and thread. Cute love story. Very light and just the thing to read after the heaviness of the previous book. This is the first of a series, and I’ll definitely read the others.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor: Man, I wish I’d written this one. Starts off with a quote: “Once upon a time, and angel and a demon fell in love. It didn’t go well.” From there we’re in Prague with art school students, one of whom was raised by “monsters.” Really lively characters, lots of angst, lots of art. Head-smackingly good details. Also the first in a series, yippee!
The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert: The most satisfying read I’ve had in a long time. I stayed up nights, I neglected chores, I seriously contemplated calling in sick to work. The whole lifetime of Alma Whittaker and some of her history, spanning the early 1700s to the mid-1800s, with lots and lots of science through the head of a complex, knotty, cantankerous, stubborn, lovable character. This was like a really nourishing, delicious meal. I’m still thinking about it and thinking with pleasure of reading it again.
January 20th, 2014 in
Oh, another year goes by and I think, “UGH I’m the slowest writer in the world will never amount to nuthin!”
But I did get a few things out in 2013:
“This Paradise, or Some Other One” in moonShine Review v. 8, issue 1
“Estate of Crime,” in Indigo Rising UK v. 4
“This Paradise” started out as a joke years and years ago. There was a meme going around LiveJournal posting the titles of five works in progress, so I wrote five fake ones, one of which was “I left my paradise in my other pants.” The story includes a talking peeper frog, and the lovely folks at moonShine placed a gorgeous photo of a teeeeny-tiny frog next to the first page of the story.
“Estate of Crime” I wrote backwards, from ending to beginning, at my kitchen table while my friend Ben ate breakfast and talked to me and I thought about how one cannot kill houseguests for talking to you during breakfast when you’re trying to write. He very kindly ignored my surliness, and eventually the story made it where it needed to go and even found a home. It is not a happy tale. It’s about a fairy, and she is not very nice, and boy does she get punished for it. A relentless thing that many editors hated and many friends loved.
“Note Accompanying” appeared in Inkscrawl issue 5
“Blodeuwedd” (about the Welsh myth of the flower maiden) was the featured poem in Niteblade in March – I was thrilled to be featured and to have a lovely drawing to go with my poem.
“The God in the Corner” appeared in the Summer Solstice edition of Eternal Haunted Summer. I wrote this one back in the mid-1990s. It took a long time to find its place.
“We Named Our Grief Irene” appeared in the Fall/Winter 2013/2014 issue of Iodine Poetry Journal. The fall after my dad died, Hurricane Irene hit our beloved area of Vermont and caused terrible damage. This poem is a howl of my grief.
“It Is Now After” appeared in Dark Mountain v. 4. Dark Mountain is a super-interesting project, and this is a dense, beautiful book. My poem is about remaking the world after the world ends. I didn’t expect it to turn out so hopeful.
“Two Ways of Lifting” appeared in Mythic Delirium 0.1. My friend Amal El-Mohtar lifted a deer off the ice, and this poem fell out of me in response.
“The Giant in the Mountains” appeared in the Giants issue of Spellbound. I had been trying to crack this excellent children’s market for a while. It’s a great magazine, and it was been fun to stretch my muscles by writing for children. I was so pleased to find success.
Scheherazade’s Bequest v. 1 no. 1, As You Wish. What a hard, satisfying job it is to edit such a thing: to read, to argue, to choose, to plan. I’m so proud of our wonderful authors. And check it that insanely gorgeous cover art by Rima Staines!
And hey, I also write for work:
Advances in Statistical Bioinformatics: I wrote the introduction.
Amato RJ, Flaherty A, Zhang Y, Ouyang F, Mohlere V. Clinical prognostic factors associated with outcome in patients with renal cell cancer with prior tyrosine kinase inhibitors or immunotherapy treated with everolimus. Urol Oncol Semin Orig Investig online 7 December 2013
That one is just as exciting as the title would lead one to believe.
January 14th, 2014 in
“What ever happened to that Virginia person?” asked Reader 1 of 6
“Gosh, it definitely can’t be that she fell into a hole composed almost entirely of back episodes of Supernatural,” answered Reader 4 of 6.
Oh Reader 4. You just don’t know me as well as you think you do.
November 19th, 2013 in
I have been busy busy for past months getting a new job, which so far keeps me far busier than I have been in a long time. Job hunting is balls! I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad to be running at top speed on a gajillion projects at once. It makes the day go by quickly. I do like organizing things.
Another new thing: book! It feels very fancy to have my name on Amazon. It is a good book, filled with excellent stories and poems! Editing an anthology is no slouch.
My friend Sweet Pea said to me not to long ago, “Why does every call for submissions say to send your best work? What kind of moron would send something otherwise?”
I could only howl with laughter.
Long ago and far away I read at a women’s poetry open-mic in Chicago. My sister was in town, and a bunch of my friends showed up. I was as nervous as a cat when The Carrier is in the room. Mostly sissa and I remember it for the lady who read part of a story about “COSta Rrrrrrrriiiiiiiiica!” but there was also a woman who stood up and said, “So like I wrote this at work today when I was bored and what the hell, I hope you like it.”
I about had a stroke on her behalf.
Anyhow, I’m very proud of As You Wish, and very proud of our excellent writers and artists.
I am an annotator of cookbooks. An example:
That cake is currently baking in my oven.
Originally I started making notes just to remember which recipes I like in cookbooks, then to note changes that were both successful and un-.
Since my grandmothers died, my annotations are a way for me to project myself into the future. I know how much it means to me to have recipe cards in the handwriting of beloveds no longer around. I remember how much I loved pulling out the old, raggedy pieces of paper every Christmas with the recipes for fondue sauces and birds-nest candies.
I hope some child in my life grows up to love to cook and will want all of my notes, the stained pages that mark a recipe used over and over.
I tell you, this daylight savings thing is messing me up. I like to eat my dinner very early, so I have Sufficient Digestion Time before sleeping.
I keep getting home from work and getting distracted by all the sunlight into doing thinks like CHORES, which are clearly inappropriate after work when I should be (a) eating dinner and then (b) falling to the floor until my (c) elementary school–appropriate bedtime.
Dinner at 7! What do I think I am, European?
The sign referenced in this post is with its proper owner.
February 22nd, 2013 in
One morning in Denver last month, two of my dearest friends and I found ourselves stranded outside a poetry bookstore that was supposed to be open, wondering what to do with ourselves. As we sat and pondered our cruel separation from poetry, the door of Aion Cafe kept opening and throwing out delicious smells.
Finally we could resist no longer and went to breakfast. Among us we had baked eggs, quinoa with greens and merguez sausage, and soft polenta topped with tomato ragu and an egg.
Check me out:
Isn’t that nice? I can’t eat many tomatoes, because I am a hideously delicate flower (hate), so I tossed a bunch of peppers, leeks, and garlic in some olive oil and cooked them into submission.
I ate plenty of this over the polenta with a bit of goat cheese on top, and that is no slouch. But that soft-fried egg, oozing into all the crevices. Recommend x20.
February 20th, 2013 in
Do you know the old rhyme behind Groundhog Day?
“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another flight. But if it be dark with clouds and rain, winter is gone and will not come again.”
“I hope the rhyme is true,” I said then, “because it it HOT. Gross.”
Spring tried to come around here:
(See the tender little plants growing in our neighbor’s gutter? I love those things. Also, it makes me feel better about our indifferent gutter work.)
But now all that heat is over. All the Yoostonyuns who pulled out their shorts will have to wear socks again. We are having rain and rain — even a bit of hail earlier — and what passes around here for cold (but was miniskirt weather when I lived in Chicago).
I am not sad. February is not sundress season in the northern hemisphere. Also, I am currently knitting a beautiful sweater that I would Ike to wear within 8 months.
I wish I were a dedicated enough runner to run in the rain. I bet I will be someday, but I’m not yet.
February 11th, 2013 in
Misophonia! It is a thing, and I have it.
Eating noises, man. They make me want to scream words unbecoming of a lady. Or leave the room. Or possibly stab myself in the ear.
Chewing is SO BAD. Gulping is pretty awful too.
Worst of all is teeth meeting utensil. Why do people chew their forks? Stainless steel has no nutritional value!
WHY DO PEOPLE CHEW THEIR FORKS?
This is one reason why I like restaurants: they are loud enough to drown out the horrible and gross sounds of mastication. (Also: no dishes to wash.)
(Thanks, extinction, for making sure I never have to hear a mastodon masticate.)
On the other hand, I like crunchy snacks.
February 6th, 2013 in