May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Saturday, May 31, 2008self censored
The other day I did like 2002 and posted an IM chat here for y'all to read. It was between me and my friend "Olivia," and we were being very silly and clever in it. I deleted all the most personal parts.
But then I looked at it online, all visible to the world, and imagined the world seeing it. Specifically, people who might come to this site because of my children's book. This is what they would have seen: badword badword hating sex badword children badword cats hate drama sex vanity badword.
So I deleted it. Not so much of the badwords, but because I realized that posting that chat session was a little like saying, "Check it out: Me and my friends are so witty that strangers should feel privileged to read our chat-distorted ramblings!"
Maybe I'll re-post it later, though, next time I haven't updated in a while. :)
I realize, now, how people become hardcore workaholics who never leave the office. I realize, because I've been fantasizing about going into work on the weekends, or going in at 5:00 AM, just so I can get some stuff done without having to answer the phone or stop what I'm doing to go to a meeting.
You hear that? I'm fantasizing about doing work. It's a sickness. I'm sick.
There is an imaginary end in sight. Right now, our particular workplace is particularly busy because of a certain law that recently got passed. (403(b) compliance. Do you feel a tingle of excitement running down your spine?) Soon (in two months? six months?) things will slow down.
I'm looking forward to that time, not because I'm lazy, but because just about everyone I work with is pretty freaking cool, and we keep promising ourselves that we'll do more team-building (AKA eating and drinking) as soon as things slow down.)
So, there it is. Busy but not bad. Things could be less busy and not at all as good. You know?
People keep asking about the cats. Starbuck and Toby are doing well. Are they still having romantic relations? Yes, but only at night. Starbuck is a good Catholic wife and she only does it when the lights are off. If Toby tries to get romantic during the day (and he does try, often), then Starbuck yells at him and hits him in the head with her paws.
"I'm not that kind of girl!" she says.
"But last night..." he says.
"Unhand me, you cad!" she says.
"Um... How about now?" he says.
"NO MEANS NO!" Starbuck yells.
And then she kicks Toby in the face, and he walks away, dejected. And then she runs back up to him, inserts herself under his body, and strikes a provocative pose.
"Now?!?" says Toby, immediately Don Juan again.
"No, stupid!" Starbuck yells, and bites him on the leg.
It's beautiful. It's so poignant.
Besides that, they like to practice martial cat arts, and they really like their new cat food, which is the Purina in the white bag with the extra special flavoring added. It's, like, chicken and orso with balsamic reduction. Or something. Can't remember the name of it.
We just gave them each a bath, so they temporarily hate us. However, even they saw the amount of loose hair that went down the drain, and they were at least a little relieved.
More later, when I get the chance. PS, my hair now looks like Katie Holmes' hair, but in auburn. With less severe bangs. And only because my stylist straightened it -- tomorrow, after I wash it, it'll be a wavy, wavy mess again. :) 7:27 PM # (12) comments
Thursday, May 29, 2008IM-in'
Olivia: omg. XXXX and Johnny are myspace friends
me: who is Johnny
also, send me link to XXXXs facebook
earlier I was not really online, btw. just left gmail running.
Olivia: Johnny Guttierez hes a writer who was trying to date Terrence when i was half-dating him
me: double lame
Olivia: he’s in POETZ-R-US
me: effing super lame
Olivia: good writer, weird scruffy guy
and friends with XXXX
me: POETZ-R-US is loserville, unfortunately
too bad he's in with bad crowd already
i feel evil for saying all that
Olivia: for saying Poetz-R-Us is loserville?
ive never known a confirmed nonloser to do it
so theres that
me: he looks interesting in that pic
evil for hating on other writers in general, as if i'm high quality literature
Olivia: he looks exactly like that pic, just more overbite, more slump
me: wonder does he wear army green all the time
Olivia: fuck it, be literati
me: did you go to smartpeepz lounge?
Olivia: im bitter and snarky too
me: can't be literati... too late
Olivia: no, ha
i was all obsessing about it
and then i just didnt fucking want to at all
Olivia: so i didn’t
Olivia: i put makeup on and stayed home
Olivia: id be happy to see him but its just the same, old, shit
me: same old song n dance
Olivia: and i have nothing new to offer, ive done nothing interesting since the last time i saw all those losers (interesting people)
me: well maybe it's their turn to entertain you, then
for them to stop being lazy all the time
Olivia: done venting. Sorry
me: don't be
you are in general rut lately, i see
Olivia: yes i am
me: right. so lamely boring.
kind of hate him, but almost too tired to now
Olivia: that makes sense
me: cats feel neglected lately
i pity them
me: but petting them makes them shed, so i neglect
Olivia: because you care about everyone and are a good mom
crosspost proves you wrong
me: hey i have to take shower
want me to call u after?
(today was kids' last day of school, btw)
Olivia: ok, yeah that would be great if i paid my fucking cell phone bill
me: oh yeah
i gained 10 lbs
must lose it back
Olivia: so, no. but ill drive and go pay it tomorrow and then we can talk again
thatll be nice
me: then 20 more
tomorrow is friday...
go to brie's thing on sunday and i'll see you there
me: then we have lunch or bubble tea
can't dinner... have to rush home and take rory to band callback audition
they gave him another, specially
Olivia: where is brie's thing
me: bc of dallas's band skills
brie's: Brazilian Arts Foundation, on 11th near Heights
Olivia: oh ok, well thats good
me: 1 PM - 3 PM
if rory makes percussion, it costs me $400 + for supplies
i think we'll have bakesale or something
jabbering now, sorry
Olivia: no no, not at all.
Olivia: this is superlesbionic but not in a hot way
sidenote *how do these crazy ass people find you
i know the answer to that because i also have crazyass people and its the internets fault
me: she meant my placenta
just cracked myself up with that
in a gross way
Olivia: i know i know, dont worry i just meant i feed on your placenta
not weird, right?
me too though
me: HA. Gross
seriously, her words grossed me out too much for me to befriend
at least I liked XXXX's words, at first
Olivia: and who the fuck she is
me: right? her and mouse in her pocket
her and the clone of herself that she molests?
fuck, i'm on a roll today
i should be writing a novel...
me: my editor just floated, in miniature, over my right shoulder. she is pissed.
her wings flap real fast, like a hummingbird
Olivia: lol hahahaha
i luv this chat
you make my eyeliner run
me: something is feeding it
what are you wearing?
Olivia: because any eye moisture does that
me: seriously -- not in hit-on way
long red skirt?
i would say you need Bobbie Brown gel eyeliner, but i know you won't
Olivia: lol right now? im wearing a see through white
tanktop (its wet, obvsly, this is internet chat) no but really im wearing comfy clothes i did makeup before changing. long red striped pajama pants
where do i even get that?
have you heard of a little lipstick company called "wet&wild"? im wearing the new fall line. "raspberry"
i'm going to put this chat on my blog, btw
i need to update but have no time to generate content
Olivia: im sending you a photo of myself. i r narcissist
did i spell that right?
me: yes. it is spelled "r"
Olivia: stop! mascara. god.
me: send it.
Olivia: sending now
i have to change clothes in a minute
im going to drink houston
im a special girl
me: love, love the pout
oh god, not drink houston
noes 9:43 PM # (0) comments
Thursday, May 22, 2008In case you're interested
Here's a video one of the authors made of the 13th Annual Children's Book Festival that happened last weekend. I'm in it for about three seconds, a quarter of the way through. Thanks to David R. Davis for sharing!
Labels: writing8:07 PM # (0) comments
Monday, May 19, 2008in Dallas
I met a lot of cool people, got a lot of good advice, and reunited with some of the awesomest artists I know.
Best part was, of course, reading to all the little kids. Little kids tear me up every time, and I'm not just posing or trying to channel Holden Caufield. I'm gonna exercise restraint and only tell you one kid story.
On Friday, I visited three elementary schools and read to several classes. (I even read my book in Spanish, for the first time. Exhausting, rolling so many R's.) But, so, I read and read, and then did my duty by inviting each class to the next day's book fair, at Dallas's downtown library. But I felt a little guilty doing so, because I had the sense that these particular kids didn't have disposable income cleared for picture books.
It turned out, unbeknownst to unorganized me, that Amerigroup, a sponsor, had purchased several cases of books to give away to the kids at the book fair. So all of us authors sat at tables, waiting for the kids who'd selected our books to walk up and get them signed.
This little 2nd-grade boy comes up with his mom and his grandma in tow. He runs right up to my table and says, "Do you know me?"
"Do I know you?" I repeated.
"Do you know me?" he said. "Do you know me?"
I realized, then, that he was asking if I recognized him. He was smiling like crazy, but behind him, his family had these distrustful looks on their faces. I could tell it was because they didn't speak as much English as he did, and they couldn't gauge whether or not he was about to be disappointed in some way.
"Did I meet you yesterday?" I asked him.
"Yes!" he said. I was right. I was the winner.
I asked him to remind me which school it was, and then we talked a tiny bit, and then I offered to sign his book. I asked for his name, and his grandmother couldn't resist telling me his full name. I spelled it out loud to be certain (it was a very Latino name), and they happily nodded. And then...
[Aw, dude. Here it comes.]
... he told me he wanted to be a writer when he grew up.
And I signed his book, and he ran away. That's all. I can't say anymore.
I'm telling y'all, those little kids tear me up inside.
Go visit the African-American Heritage Museum in Dallas.
They were the hosts of the event, which is reason enough to support them. But, also? Their museum seriously freaking rocks. I had a good long while to tour it (while avoiding mingling at the "VIP reception," heh), and the few exhibits I got to see were absolutely fascinating.
So go check it out. Tell Dr. Robinson and Dr. Dawson I said hi.
More later, taters.
Later I'll tell y'all so much more about all the famous people I met, and the fact that DC professors and syndicated cartoonists apparently can't handle red wine. (Heh. I crack myself up.)
I'll tell y'all about the shocked facial expressions I collected from other authors when they realized that I was the one who'd written that book -- the one with the dominatrix-with-futbol-player cover -- in addition to my innocent little book about tamales.
I'll tell y'all a story of a birthday boy and a tanning bed, maybe. (Sorry -- these inside jokes are obnoxious, aren't they?)
Also, I think there's going to be a YouTube video to link to, soon. I'll preview it and then share if my hair comes out okay.
So, more later, sweet taters. I'll talk to y'all soon.
Labels: writing8:17 PM # (5) comments
Thursday, May 15, 2008espresso nerves
If y'all knew how nervous and obsessive I can get over certain things, you'd probably get annoyed with me and stop reading this blog.
For instance, I live in the shadow of a fear of having my carry-on rejected at the airport. That's happened to me once in my life -- the same raggedy, navy blue Perry Ellis pilot case I've been hauling around since I was born was suddenly deemed too big by someone at Houston Intercontinental (a.k.a. Daddy Bush Airport). And it upset me so badly I almost cried. See, I go through a lot of trouble to pack everything in that one case -- even if it's for a year-long trip -- and I do that because I'm convinced that if/when I ever check a bag, it's destined to be lost.
And, apparently, losing my painstakingly selected clothing and toilettries is the stuff of nightmares for me. Never mind that those things can be found in any city I might visit -- I can't even hang with the thought. My friend Ashley pointed out the other day that I keep tight control over my image, and having my image under the control of others bothers me. That's not the most flattering trait, but I'll readily own up to it. She said this because
because I was reliving the annoyance I felt when, more than a year ago, some person had the nerve to tell me that I shouldn't wear makeup. That I didn't need it. But more than that, this person seemed to be saying that it bothered her that I wore it, because of whatever "feminist" (more likely classist) issue she was struggling with.
And I was like, "Who does that? Who tells people what to wear or how to look? Who has that kind of nerve?"
Besides men, I mean.
I'm just saying. I have these issues. I think y'all know that. I think y'all might have gathered that after 10+ years of reading this site...
back on topic
The other day, someone tweeted on Twitter that an airline had misplaced her bag. And then she was listing some of the things she was having to do without. And, dudes, I nearly had a panic attack on her behalf. She was very calm and pressurized grace, though. Jackie! I was so worried for you, Jackie! I hope you're okay!
coming down now
Really, I think I just get nervous over stuff when I'm about to have a reading. I had a reading this morning, and it went well, despite or because of my background obsession with my carry-on bag and the potential rejection of it.
People were like, "Oh, hi. How did you get the idea to write this book?"
And I was like, "After this I have to go to T.J. Maxx and buy a smaller pilot case."
And they were like, "Uh... Can you just sign my book, then?"
I got to read to a bunch of kids and they were pretty awesome. Some of them made the funniest comments when the bookstore owner read to them. (She's reading Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, and one of the characters in it says, "Have you ever tasted a hot dog?" and this 3.5-year-old kid calls out, "I ate one last night!" all matter-of-fact.) And then, of course, I got to sign books for some older kids, and they cracked me up, too. This one little boy holds my book open to the back page, where there's a photo of me and one of the illustrator, and he goes, "Is one of these supposed to be you? You don't look like them."
So I told him I'd give him a dollar if he went to a Jonathan Franzen reading and said the same thing.
And now the reading's over, and I got something blood-sugar-restoring to eat, and typing this to you guys has made me feel better. Now I can be calm.
Until I get to the airport in a few hours, and find out that they won't accept my carry-on, I mean. Or until tomorrow's readings. Or until the ones on the day after that.
I always tell people that doing readings is easy for me -- that it doesn't make me nervous at all. But I'm starting to suspect that I've been lying all along. :)
I don't have any. Yet? Everyone's talking about them today, and someone at the book store said they were all over her house. But I haven't seen them. They sound kind of awesome, if you read that article. Not that I want them around... But y'all know I have a soft spot for ants, and also for crazy people, and these Crazy Raspberry Ants sound like three great tastes that taste great together, don't they?
(Knocking on wood now.) 1:46 PM # (4) comments
Monday, May 12, 2008Explain to me
How does this person named Six_of_Cups have one of my books for sale, when my book isn't out until May 31?
This reminds me of the last time I had a book out on Amazon, and someone was selling a signed copy that I don't remember signing.
Oh, well. This is capitalism, I guess.
flying; my pants' seat
I have several projects due pretty soon at work, and there are still parts of our project-turning-out process that I don't know how to do. Learning: Too bad it doesn't seem to burn calories.
Also, I'm going to fly to Dallas in a few days, and I don't have my plane tickets yet. And I don't know what I'm going to do when I get there. And I don't know what to wear. And I don't know what I'm allowed to take in my luggage.
And I'm too tired to look it all up. I'll look it all up tomorrow.
high school reunions
I've recently come into contact with two people I haven't seen since we went to Reagan High School together.
One seemed happy. The other didn't.
happy Mothers' Day
We celebrated the birthday of one of my kids, belatedly, instead. I kind of felt bad, for a fleeting instant, that I didn't have anyone to buy a nice gift for.
I mean, I could have bought something for my mom, but she doesn't like anything nice. She only would've been happy with:
a) a carton of cigarettes and some lottery tickets, or
b) a bunch of magazine pictures scribbled with a leaky pen and rolled up in aluminum foil, or
c) like, a black nylon coat from the Goodwill that smells like smoke or something.
Which is fine, except that I didn't feel like shopping for any of that stuff.
(To those of you who are new to this site: My mom has been schizophrenic since I was very young and I'm so calloused and jaded about it that I can make flippant comments about the uncouthness of her illness once a year or so. Apparently.)
If my Aunt Sylvia were still alive, I could have bought her anything sentimental and she would've been happy. I could have bought her, say, a white ceramic bear with a lacy plastic heart glued to his chest with the words "Luv U Mom!" and a fake carnation emerging from the back of his head. And she would've been pleased.
But I would've bought her something nicer than that.
Instead, I helped pick out flowers for my boyfriend's mom. I really enjoy shopping for flowers. I said, "How about candy to go with the flowers? She doesn't like candy? How about shower gel? No?" Afterwards, my boyfriend offered to buy me flowers, too. But I declined. Because I wanted to pick my own flowers, and no one had anything I wanted. Seriously -- the flower selection was rank this year. Prematurely wilted.
I told him I'd buy myself flowers next week, when everything's replenished. Instead, I bought myself a pedicure, on Friday. "This," I told myself, "is my Mothers' Day gift."
I mean, I would've gotten a pedicure either way. But still.
I might be secretly upset about some of this, on some level, and that's why I'm typing so much about it. If so, that's okay.
And it's okay if you don't like Matt Damon, because I like him enough for the both of us.
My kids and I had a Jason Bourne Film Festival yesterday and today. I love the hell out of those movies. Even though I hated the book, The Bourne Identity, when I read it was back in the day.
Everything is better with a little Matt Damon, though. I've always liked him. Also, did you all know that Clive Owen was in the first movie? And Eomer, from Lord of the Rings, was in the second? (That's who my son said it was. I could check IMDb right now to be sure, but I don't feel like it.)
video game news
They're coming out with another World of Warcraft expansion that takes you to Level 80, and my lazy night elf character, Xora, is still only Level 35. Khan.
We opened up a lot of new songs on Rock Band, but my voice is still sore, so I bought some new clothes for my character, Xora Jane. I cut her hair short and dyed it green. My kids said, "What happened to your hair?" Kind of like they said about my real hair, now that it's short and dyed red.
But, you know. These things happen.
We got this game called Assasin's Creed that everybody keeps telling us to get. I had a long conversation with the game store clerks, during which they each explained to me, separately, that it was about the Crusades. ("What do they call that? That religious thing?") So now I'm excited, even though I can't play console games worth a crap because my fingers haven't ever adapted to the boomerang-shaped controllers. The Game Stop guy said I should totally sit on the couch and watch my kids play, though, just to see the story unfold.
I think my kids paid him to tell me that, actually. That's their fantasy -- that I get rich and quit my job and buy them more video games and then sit there, watching them play.
Stream of consciousness writing time over! It's time for bed!
Goodnight. 10:22 PM # (7) comments
Tuesday, May 06, 2008I want you to notice/ when I'm not around/ I wish I was special/ You're so very special...
Was feeling the compulsion to apologize again for sparse posting, but I know it's Spring in more places now, and people flock outdoors in Spring, away from the Internet. So let's neither of us feel bad.
We got the Rock Band game, and it is awesome. My voice is hoarse every night now. I try to play drums when our drummer wants to sing, and I'm getting almost competent at it.
In other family consumerism news: One of my kids is having a birthday, and I think we're gonna buy him a bike. Yay! Bikes for children! Either a bike or Heelies.
In other family activity news: You know what we do all the time here at home? We play badminton. We tear those shuttlecocks up.
Well, that's about it. Lately I go to work and work my brains out. I go to work, and everybody's like, "Check with Fixed Accounts on the makewhole fund distribution annuity 457(b)(c)(d)(g). Call the VPRMGPD and ask for the TPA on the PC and the AC/DC." And then I show up and they say, "Oh, hey, Gwen. We need you to run into that big room over there. Take this print-out, your pen, and a notepad."
And I go, "What, now? Aren't there, like, actuaries in there?"
And they go, "Yeah, but just run in. We'll be right behind you."
And I go, "I don't know. I'm kind of scared."
And they go, "Well, while you're running in, just yell out your name."
I go, "What?"
They go, "Yell out 'GWENDOLY-Y-Y-Y-YN... ZEPE-E-E-EDA!'"
Them: "Like, for instance, if your name was Leroy Jenkins, you'd yell LEE-EE-EE-EEROY... JEN-N-N-NKINS! Get it?"
Me: "Uh... Okay." I push open the door. I start running. "GWENDOLY-Y-Y-YN! ZEPE-E-E-EDA!"
Inside, there are dragons. And dragon eggs. And giant knights in fiery armor. And actuaries! And fund selections! And 401(k)(b)(j)s!!
I pull out my pen and slash away! Fire and numbers get all over me and I die!
But then, like in every other game, I'm resurrected right after that. Again and again.
And I will level up.
I will see this job pwned. 9:35 PM # (10) comments
Thursday, May 01, 2008today
Today I got off the commuting bus and then, a block away, saw that my local/city bus was already pulling up at the stop. So I started to run.
As I ran, I saw the last person in line step onto the bus, then step backwards off of it again. It was a man. He was holding several bags.
I ran closer. It was a homeless man. He wore a brown coat, as many homeless people do. His arms were outstretched. In his right hand, he held a very full plaid shopping bag. He also held a small brown gift-bag-like bags from Starbucks. And one in his left hand, too. Both packed full of something.
The Starbucks bags were dripping something that looked like milk.
The man was explaining something, loudly, to the bus driver. I couldn't understand him, though. His voice was very garbly. The bus driver didn't seem to listen.
I stepped carefully around the milk-dripping homeless guy and got on the bus. As I took my seat, I saw a young woman talking to the homeless guy. Handing him something. Sort of scolding him, maybe, in a good-natured way.
The bus pulled away, and I rode to work.
Homeless Man vis-a-vis Starbucks, Part Deux
A few months ago I had to meet a lawyer at a Starbucks downtown. Outside this particular Starbucks, a homeless man sat and leered at everyone. He leered at me as I neared the entrance.
"Can you spare..." he said.
"No cash," I said. It was true. I never have cash.
"How about something to eat?" he said. His tone was less than pleasant.
"What, a pastry?" I said. I don't know why I said that. I guess because he didn't seem like the pastry-eating type, and the surprised question just spilled out of my mouth before I could stop it.
"Yeah," he said.
Inside the Starbucks, as I waited in line, I looked at all the pastries and thought of two questions:
1. What kind of pastry did the homeless man want?
2. Did he really expect me to buy him a pastry?
No, I'm not being honest. There were way more questions than that:
3. I didn't actually agree to buy him one, did I?
4. Why do I feel obligated, here?
5. Why should I buy something for someone who doesn't even ask nicely?
6. Is that the kind of philanthropist I am -- the kind who needs people to ask nicely or otherwise make a show of appreciation?
7. Is there anything wrong with being that kind of philanthropist?
8. He didn't even seem like he really wanted food, did he?
9. Didn't he look hungover, in fact?
Then, a single thought: "Screw that guy."
Honestly, I was kind of scared of him. He intimidated me, the way he leered and growled. He was bigger than me, not elderly, and hungover-looking.
I didn't buy him anything. I left the Starbucks kind of defiantly -- kind of daring him to say shit to me.
Homeless Person vs Starbucks
During the same visit to the same Starbucks, amidst the events related above:
I was waiting for my latte. All around me, lawyers and their clients and court clerks lounged. A homeless woman ambled in. She walked in small circles near the pastry display, looking at everything from the corners of her eyes.
"Ma'am," said the Sbux employee handing me my latte, "you know you're not supposed to be in here." She was young, this employee. She seemed to regret having to tell the homeless woman that, and she said it as respectfully as anyone could have.
The homeless woman looked at her and practically spat these words: "I have money this time. I'm a customer!"
But her voice was so smoke-worn, it was barely intelligible. She walked around grumbling, then darted to the end of the long, long customer line.
The Sbux employee made a face of confusion and maybe some fear. She glanced over her shoulder at the other employees. I clarified for her, "She said she has money."
"Oh," said the Sbux employee. "Well... excuse me, then."
We traded smiles, but rueful ones.
I wonder what kind of pastry the homeless woman bought. 8:56 PM # (3) comments