Wow. It has been a busy couple of months. I want to get a few more entries in before The New Year.
I met my gorgeous niece Amara over Thanksgiving and visited with my family while doing some research about a story I'm incubating about a guy with brothers who gets together with them and the rest of his unusual family around the birth of a new babe.
The Fourteen Hills benefit reading, with Kim Addonizio and Nona Caspers, turned out to be one of the best literary readings I've attended in recent years. Both writers were expert readers, engaged with their material, and present for the audience. The event raised some well-needed funds to help the editors take the literary magazine to, as they say, "the next level." Look at how packed it was (the photo doesn't capture what a beautiful night it was...the room was lit with dozens of candles):
Here's Kim Addonizio reading:
And the proud editors Rae Freudenberger and Lusine Khachatryan:
(See below for the announcement of Fourteen Hills upcoming reading at Red Poppy Gallery.)
My reading at The Poetry Center with Dustin Heron also happened since I last blogged. It was a blast. I read three ten minute segments from the beginning, middle, and end of the current draft. Thanks so much to The Poetry Center for including us in their incredible lineup and to everyone who turned out. It was especially meaningful to me to see folks from so many different areas of my life: former professors; Bonnie, who I waited on tables with in the mid-nineties; my friend Mark with whom I share an ex; my Monday Night Posse; and others. Dustin, too, had quite a showing. It was fun for both of us to get a chance to read for each other's audience (his crew was noticeably younger than mine, and I felt grateful for the opportunity to read in front of "the next generation"...hehehe...). Speaking of young'ins, one of my colleagues ended up bringing her entire class to the reading, so lots of my current and past students were there, too. It felt GREAT to read from LETTERS FROM THE DEAD...and to see the point of the reading series become real (I proposed a reading series that would bring together unlikely writer-ly couplings in hopes to expand conversation and individual audiences).
I've been deluging myself with the arts, taking in as much as I can in order to study story arc. I've been to see dance performances, hear songwriters, a musical, tons of films—even my Netflix selections are study sessions; my notebook is always open in my bed to steal ideas of how film and TV directors are telling their stories. I'm working on finishing a draft of LETTERS from beginning to end, and for me, plot comes out of characterization. I never know where my stories are headed (other writers get an idea for a story and then create characters to realize the idea. I'm the opposite). Luckily I'm only interested in writing about characters who are in trouble. Usually big trouble. And usually they want something. And usually there's something in the way of them getting it. So plot ends up happening naturally, so I've been out in the world studying how various storytellers order their work. Alice LaPlante's new book on writing, The Making of the Story, which I used for my characterization class, has also been proving quite helpful.
There's so much more to write about, but I need to get back to work. It's also finals time at SF State and things have been busy at Performing Arts Workshop as well. So, more soon. In the mean time, consider joining me for:
I will be leading an 8-week writing laboratory for those curious: writers of all levels, artists, and humans interested in prose. It will be Tuesday evenings starting on January 8th. I'll include a separate posting soon and feel free to email me for more info.
Thursday night 12/13 I'll be attending this:
Modern Times Bookstore Ecstatic Monkey presents:
A release party in celebration of Toni Mirosevich's new book of non-fiction, "Pink Harvest"
With EM members Susanna Kittredge and Colleen Bazdarich
"The narrators of Toni Mirosevich's stories are upright outsiders. Honor is not an obsolete word to them. Yet they'll settle for just about anything people come up with instead, because Mirosevich possesses an uncanny ability to slip into another's skin, an uncanny sympathy. She is a born listener and watcher, a born chronicler. Her stories are full of the wit and wryness, the mirth and sorry of lonely, suspicious, uneasy, endearing characters. Mirosevich moves among them and subjects her own life to the same steady and undeceived attention."
— Valerie Trueblood, author of Seven Loves
Wednesday December 19th, I'll be attending this:
FOURTEEN HILLS PRESENTS:
Issue 14.1 Release Party at Red Poppy Art House
2698 Folsom Street at 23rd Street in the Mission.
Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
Writers Joe Cervelin, Liz Young, Ron Thomas and Evan Rehill will read.
14.1 Cover Artist/Painter David Silverman will show work. There will also be live music and a raffle.
Prizes include: tickets to the Asian Art Museum, tickets to the
Berkeley Repertory Theatre, tickets to the Conservatory of Flowers, 1
month unlimited yoga at Yogic Motion, gift certificates to Stacey's
Books, autographed Giants memorabilia, and many more prizes.
And on January 16th, I will be reading at SMACK DAB, a reading series in The Castro hosted by the fantastic Kirk Read. (More on that later).