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. :)
Sunday, January 25, 2009Hermann Park, Houston, January
Labels: photos6:46 PM # (0) comments
Wednesday, January 21, 2009Being a writer.
A couple of weeks ago, I reached that point in a writer’s career where the writer stops reading reviews and stops searching for her own name on the Internet. Not a moment too soon – it was killing me. Every time I did it, I’d get anxious. What if some stranger – some person I’d never met and whose impressions I couldn’t control or even affect – said something bad? The fear of that eventuality was making me feel sick, every time I opened a new review, no matter how favorable the review was or how many times I found favorable ones.
Then, it finally happened – I read an unfavorable review. (A real review by someone who didn’t care for my book, I mean. Not a “How dare this woman write such a thing! I have issues!!!” review.) And, after reading it, I thought, “Yeah, I guess I can see why that person didn’t like it. Oh, well. Not everyone’s gonna like it.” And then I stopped worrying. And then I stopped searching.
I’m very glad when people like my writing – especially when they identify with my characters and feel less alone in the world after reading about them. But I no longer need to read about people’s opinions of my work (or me) in great detail anymore. I’ll do my work, put my work out there, and do more work for as long as they ask me to. I’ll continue enjoying the work of others. And that’s enough for right now.
Are you an artist? Did you or will you reach that point in regards to critiques about your work?
Here’s a conversation I have often:
Other person: Hello. I am obligated to interview you, speak to you, or otherwise interact with you because of my job.
[We conduct the interaction. Then, afterwards….]
Other person: You know, I’m a writer, too.
Me: You are?
Other person: Yes. I write [poems or plays or a novel or librettos for operettas about mimes]. But, unlike most writers, my goal isn’t to get published.
Me: Oh, really?
Other person: That’s right. See, my goal is to create art, for myself. I don’t care if anyone ever reads it. I don’t need other people to read my work in order to feel fulfilled as an artist.
Me: Well, that’s good. Congratulations.
Other person: [Voice gets louder and faster.] That’s right. Because I write for my love of the craft. Not for money. I think so many writers these days are writing for the wrong reasons. Don’t you agree?
Other person: Sure, I could submit my work to an agent and probably get a two-book deal… if I were needy like that. But I’m not! I’m confident. Therefore, I don’t need the quote-unquote approval of being published, like some people. Do you know what I mean?
[Half an hour later…]
Other person: … and then I said to my friend who was debasing himself by sending his sonnets to all the journals, “Why do you hate yourself? Why are you so insecure? You must not be secure about yourself as an artist.” And he said, “I just signed a three-book deal.” And I felt sorry for him. You know why? Because….
Me: Right. Yeah. No, I know. Um, listen, are you going to email me the interview, when it’s done, so I can make revisions? Or are you just –
Other person: … because I’m a real writer! I’m the only kind of legitimate writer there is!! Anyone who seeks to be published is a lap-dog of popular culture and the lowest common denominator! Anyone who kisses ass in order to get published is….
Me: Okay. I have to go now. My kids are waiting for me. [Turns to go.]
Other person: What? Oh, okay. Hey, well, I’ll email you, okay? Take my card. Oh, and… Will you let me know if your agent’s looking for anyone? Hmm? Oh, okay. All right. Good talking to you! :) Bye!!!
(I’ll regret typing this half an hour after I post it. Then I may or may not take it down. But, then again, what am I risking? Being alienated from people like that? I’m too nice most of the time. See, people are rude to me and I just stand there and smile, because I want to be “nice.” Then, I worry about even describing the rudeness, because I’m *nice.* My friends tell me all the time – quit being nice to rude people and psychos, Gwen. Hell, I tell that to other women. (Except I don’t call them Gwen. I call them by their own first names.) ‘Cause it’s mainly a woman thing, right? No, it isn’t. Now that I think about it, I know men who are “too nice,” too, who put up with crap from people. Especially from interviewers or “connections.” You know why? Because, sometimes, unhappy people seek to have power over happy people. Like, if the “other person” described above put his/her energy into trying to get published, instead of putting it into trying in vain to make writers feel bad about being published, then this other person would probably succeed. But for some people, it’s way easier to put the energy into being negative. And then, for other people, like me, it’s easiest to just be “nice.” I hate being around the negative, unhappy people. But fighting them on their own terms would expel too much energy. My Nice Muscles are well developed. My Trying-to-Make-People-Feel-Bad Muscles are lax. Work to your strengths, I guess. That’s what I try to do.)
While I’m ranting…
let me just say something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time, which is this:
Homophobic parents, please stop encouraging your gay children to closet themselves.
I don’t know what the deal is, lately – maybe it’s just because I live in a conservative state? – but there have been quite a few closeted gay people in my life lately. And they are the most miserable, effed-up people I’ve ever met.
Seriously as hell, there have been at least four miserable closeted gay people in my life in the past year. And this is how my friends and I all talk about them:
“Joe just needs to come out.”
“He would be so much happier.”
“It’s, like, so lame – the way he’s always lying to us about all the women he sleeps with and whatever. It’s so uncomfortable to listen to him and know that he’s lying right to our faces and thinking that we’re dumb enough to believe him.”
“Or thinking that he has to lie to us, because he assumes we’re homophobes.”
“Right. I don’t know what the big deal is. Like, are his parents going to disown him if he comes out?”
“I guess. He never talks to them, anyway. They live in Hoboken.”
“It makes me think that he lies about other stuff, too. It makes me not trust him.”
“Really? I just feel sorry for him. He's young and handsome, and he could be happy dating guys, but he's not. He's throwing away his youth and he's gonna end up like Larry Craig, married to some woman and tapping his foot at a cop in the bathroom.”
“Really? I just lose respect for him. He’s so chickenshit.”
“You think so? He makes me sick, because I’m gay, and it’s like he’s saying that it’s shameful that I’m gay, and that you all must secretly be ashamed of my gayness.”
“Really? I just don’t care. I just ignore him as much as possible, because I can't deal with his closeted gayness.”
Then Joe walks in and says, “Oh, hi guys! Guess what! I just met a total blonde hottie with a nice ass and nice tits in the coffee shop today! And I’m going to screw her brains out! Ew, Bob, your shirt looks gay – watch out for the gays with that shirt on – they might gay you! Just kidding – your shirt’s fabulous, Bob! Let me feel the material…. Okay, well, I’m going upstairs to jerk off to this Victoria’s Secret catalog now! Because I’m straight! Toodles!”
And none of us say anything. And I imagine Joe’s parents, and I want to shake them until their teeth rattle. Just like they probably used to shake Joe.
If you have a son or daughter you suspect (know) is gay, and you're directly or indirectly asking that child to pretend not to be gay because you're worried about what others will think, then you are weak. You're not a good parent.
I'm on the phone with AT&T Uverse now, and I have to save some ranty-ness for them.
:) 8:53 PM # (14) comments
Sunday, January 18, 2009Here's a picture
of me and my dad.
Labels: photos12:23 PM # (0) comments
Wednesday, January 14, 2009Let's get the cyclical stuff out of the way, first.
1. Lost weight but then gained weight, trying to lose weight, yo-yo-dieting is not good, Gilad, Sharon Mann, CathE, Shimmy, I mean I still like myself no matter what size I am so don't worry, but I don't wanna buy new pants, blah blah blah. Carrot cake.
2. Something happened and then I felt sorry for myself and then I told myself not to and now I'm moving on.
3. Publicity. Writing. Day job. Stress. Pause for gratitude and acknowledgment of good fortune. Publicity. Writing. Day job. Stress.
We went to the book store today.
My boyfriend (fiance) was really excited and he took a picture of my novel on the Noteworthy Paperbacks table. But I wasn't excited about the books on the table, because I had a lot on my mind. I'm finishing up my second novel right now. My editor sent my agent and me a mock-up of the cover for this second novel, and it looks way more beautiful than I could have imagined it. Whoever does my covers and picks the fonts -- I love y'all. Thanks for being awesome.
So I was thinking about that and thinking about sales figures and thinking about scheduling. And then we got home and guess what came in the mail. An advanced copy of my next children's book! So now I'm thinking about that, too.
We might get laid off soon.
And it'll be okay, as long as they hurry up and let us know, as soon as they know. The not-knowing is worse than the knowing, I always feel.
I get to read some poems tomorrow.
And I'm kind of excited about that. I haven't read poems out loud in a while, and it's a slightly different mindset from the fiction or the prose.
Thinking about it makes me want to make another chapbook. This time, I want to make one in Kindle format, because
Oh, my god, forget whatever else I was saying...
I got a Kindle for Christmas! A Kindle!
My boyfriend, Tad, said he had a lot of trouble acquiring my gift this year. And I was puzzled, and hoped he hadn't gone through too much trouble.
And then I called Tad's friend Mark (psuedonym) to see if Mark thought that Tad would like the gift that I bought him. (Nintendo DS Lite, Pokemon edition.) And Mark said yes, that he, oops he means Tad would like that very much.
Then Mark said, "It's so funny that you called about that, because Tad asked me if I thought you'd like your gift, too."
And I was like, "Really?" And then I realized that Mark was being an info-hoarder and a tease, and potentially a spoiler, too, so I said, "Mark, don't tell me what Tad got me, or I'll drive to your house and kill you."
And he promised not to tell me and ruin my surprise. Then, right before he hung up, he blurted, "I just have to tell you that all my friends who have what Tad got you, play it all the time!!!"
And I yelled "Damn youuuuuu!!!!!" but he'd already hung up, so I had nothing left to do but spend the next 52 hours wondering what in god's name Tad could have bought. Something to play. Something that Mark's friends would play all the time. Hmm. A Rock Band thing? No, because we have all that. A Nintendo DS Lite, Pokemon edition? No, because I'd spent weeks pretending I didn't even know what that was (to throw Tad off track).
An electric guitar? No.
A PSP? No.
A... board game? Maybe.
Tad got me a board game. But a board game that was hard to get. Hmm. An old Parker Brothers ouija board? A special-edition Trivial Pursuit?
I couldn't guess. I gave up trying.
And then, Christmas morning (Okay, I'm lying, it was Christmas Eve, well before midnight, but), Tad handed me my gift and said, "This is something you've been deserving for a long time, baby."
A vacation? No.
A vacation day that I don't spend working? No.
A set of 800-thread-count sheets?
No! I opened my gift and it was a freaking Kindle!
Seriously, I almost cried. I think I did cry, a little. Because that's the kind of thing that, if Jay Leno walked up on the street and said, "Would you like a Kindle?" I would of course accept, but that, at the same time, I'd never ever expect someone to buy me, or ever imagine buying for myself.
So he gave it to me, and I won't get into a long explanation of how it works, because you can just click the link or google it and find out, but, long story short, it worked so beautifully that I immediately downloaded and read 5 books. Within, like, 3 days. It was so insane. I was taking it everywhere and just tearing up the reading. And the only reason I'm not reading more books on it right now is because I'm supposed to be finishing my own book, so I forceably took the Kindle away from myself. I mean, I took it out of my purse. But, as soon as I finish this book I'm writing, the Kindle goes back into my purse and I'll read 8,000 more books on it.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "OMG, Tad is the nicest boyfriend in the world." Either that, or you're thinking, "Buffalo wings would taste so sexy right now, I'd even eat them cold." But, either way, you're only partially right.
A week after Christmas, we were commuting to work. Tad was driving, and I was reading the hell out of my Kindle. After 40 minutes of that, I turned to Tad and said, "Baby, do you mind that I'm reading instead of talking to you while you drive?"
He said, "Baby, why do you think I bought you the Kindle?"
Rim shot, people yelling "BURN!" But then he said just kidding. But I knew he was only mostly just kidding.
But, best of all? I didn't even care. I went back to reading my YA sci-fi novel, and I was happy. 9:42 PM # (8) comments
Saturday, January 10, 2009Things to Do
1. Tell y'all how it feels to have fiance living with us now. (Hint: awesome.)
2. Update the "events" list above this entry with readings in Chicago, Austin, and Rockdale, TX.
3. Obsess over the honeymoon trip I'm planning where y'all can see it and add your opinions.
4. Give away a book or two as prizes in a contest I will fiendishly devise.
5. Show y'all some pictures of cornish hens and stuff.
Soon, soon, very very soon.
Labels: domestic6:34 PM # (0) comments
Thursday, January 01, 2009Happy New Year
I didn't get very drunk last night, but my fiance did. Just before he hit senseless oblivion, however, we counted down to zero, and this is what he said:
2009 is going to be our year. In the future -- in 2015 -- we'll kiss on New Year's and say, "Remember all the stuff that happened in 2009? That was awesome."
When he said that, I felt the chiming of a universal truth.
Happy 2009, people. May it be a year for you to remember fondly in 2015.
Labels: domestic4:03 PM # (5) comments