Thursday, December 31, 2009
When I woke up January 1st of 2009 I really hadn’t planned on being a published author. My main concern was tying the knot on my MFA in Creative Writing at Pacific University. This by itself was going to be a heck of fete to pull off. I had the stories in mind I wanted to iron the kinks out of plus the idea to write some fresh material that hopefully would be my best stuff to date.
I had also hoped to get back into a routine whereby I would send out multiple short story submissions to various important literary journals still looming out there. I had been lagging behind in my diligent efforts of the past primarily because I had become so obsessed with a few short pieces.
I hadn’t gotten around to Shades of Luz in maybe seven or eight months. Honestly, I cannot say for sure why I decided to pick it back up, but I decided it needed more polishing before I sent it off. I guess it was March or a little bit before that when I had started sending it off in what I would call a kamikaze-type mission.
I’ll spare you the gory details of how it got picked up and all that jazz. The main thing I wanted to say with this final post of the year is that I am really looking forward to 2010. A new decade of possibility. It’s funny but I was terrified of 2000. Not because I was worried about Y2K, but because I felt like a new millennium was upon us and I didn’t know where I fit into it. Back then I was a writing the novel that would get pleasantly rejected by a myriad of top publishing houses.
I toast them all. I really didn’t like that novel very much and I am glad it didn’t see the light of the lit world. Here’s to Shades of Luz. Now begins the wild-eyed quest for write the sophomore follow-up.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
What does Woody Allen say? Eighty percent of life is showing up. Something like that. It turns out I was going to support George Wallace, a poet buddy I know, by attending his reading in the West Village. Running late as usual, I bumped into him heading to the cafe.
"Hey Johnny," George said. "What's shaking?"
"Good to see you too Frank," I said.
I've always likened George to Frank O'Hara. George is a damn good poet, a hell of a reader, and a hell of a guy.
"What's this the first time we've bumped into each other in the city?"
And it was. For the past two years we've been running into each other out in Oregon. Both of us are New Yorkers, but we've never shaken hands on our home turf. this was our tipping point.
It was an amazing lineup of poets. Some paid tribute to the late great Kerouac. Ah, my Kingdom for a Beatnik! George called out before the night was said and done and made me get on stage to read from Shades of Luz. Boy, was I shocked.
You think this guy, hosting the event, would want to read. But, no. He gave me his final slot so that I could share with the packed house my Sven Bergstrom thumb-wrestling scene from the novel.
I had to give him an autographed postcard. It was the least I could do. He has a big reading lined up for the penultimate day of the year. I have a big surprise for him. And I'm not telling.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Forget the near monsoon that opened on Gotham City yesterday the turnout for my Shades of Luz reading at The Cell Theater was peachy keen.
This time around I read a thumb-wrestling scene. Why not? Frankly, I've grown a bit tired of the wine snobbery, love scenes, and whatnot. I wanted to share the coolness of hand to hand combat. Jen Ochs of NY Book Cafe and the Examiner recently described the thumb-wrestling in"Shades of Luz" as comparable to an MMA competition. Maybe so. The crowd got a kick out of Bald Bull, Glass Joe, Slippery Slim, and Benny dodging, parrying, and sneak-attacking.
Benny Fluke victorious at least for this chapter.
New stuff on the horizon. I will be putting together some reading lists for online book catalogs and web zines.
"Bones Brigade" which was originally published by Mississippi Review back in 2006 will be re-released by Shalla Magazine.