October 29, 2009

#110

Gloom Cupboard #110 is up! Thanks to all of our wonderful contributors.

In addition, while I am saddened by the departure of founder/editor Richard Wink, I am thrilled that Lena Vanelslander has taken over and will keep Gloom Cupboard going.

October 27, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I confess that I'd rather be doing anything than writing today. Yesterday some very emotional stuff happened related to some important people in my life (yes, I am being vague), and it has really zapped my creativity. I want to play Wii Bowling. I want to sit outside and read. I want to get on my scooter and ride aimlessly around town. I don't want to revise that story I finally finished, edit poems, market my novella, or submit writing. Nothing that could be construed as productivity or work. I'm frustrated that what happened has thrown me for such a loop and has given me a case of ennui. I'm frustrated that I'm letting it bother me so much. At the same time, maybe I should just give in and be lazy. NaNoWriMo starts in less than a week. Maybe a little downtime before that adventure would be a good idea.

I'm worried that I'm less prepared for NaNo this year than I was last year. I worry that this lack of preparation will keep me from winning.

I am thrilled that I got up the nerve to self-publish my novella. I'm excited because I have a few people interested in reviewing it. I'm proud of myself for trying to market it.

I am hopeful that the week will get better.

October 26, 2009

Big news!

My first novella, A Scandal of Choice, is now available at my Lulu.com store. You can purchase it either in print or electronic format. As a bonus, if you order it before 11:59 p.m. on October 31st, you can type in the promo code "FALLREAD" at checkout and get 10% off!

A Scandal of Choice is a political novel that focuses on issues of reproductive choice. A major presidential sex scandal results in a requirement that the President of the United States must take a vow of celibacy for the duration of her or his term(s). In 2030, President Lydia Worth finds herself unintentionally pregnant, and as a result, her choices move beyond personal.

I have chosen to publish this work under my real name, largely because this piece is more in line with the nonfiction I am trying to publish (political, feminist, and focused on reproductive rights). The identity I use here is the one I prefer to use for poetry and erotica. I actually gave this decision a lot of thought, but ultimately decided that this work fits more in line with the writing persona I am cultivating with my real name rather than the one I am cultivating with my pseudonym.

October 23, 2009

Poem-A-Day in November

Robert Lee Brewer is finishing a chapbook of poems readers submitted during NaPoWriMo in April. And on top of that, he's issuing a new challenge for November. This time, readers will write throughout November, and by January will be able to submit these works as a chapbook, to be judged by Brewer and his wife. While I'll be busy with NaNoWriMo, I've been inspired to take on a side challenge. While I don't think I'll be doing the prompts, I'd like to do a poem a day in conjunction with my novel. My plan is to write a poem somehow related to the novel itself - that is, a poem somehow inspired by the gospels. They'll all revolve around the theme of the novel somehow. Because writing a novel in 30 days isn't difficult enough - now I need to create a poem a day related somehow!

I'll also be blogging my endeavors this year. Maybe not ever day, but regularly, either a poem from the day or a piece of prose. I can't wait for November to start!

October 19, 2009

"Go weird."

The post title refers to something one of my friends in my writer's group said to me on Friday night, and it's something I've been pondering quite a bit over the weekend. I got a few comments in that session about things people would like to see me try (such as writing more in third/omniscient person rather than in first person), and the encouraging me to "go weird" with a particular piece was one of those suggestions. I've been wondering about the extent to which my work might be, in a way, too safe. Which is almost weird to think about, because lately I've been writing about things that are incredibly personal, and so I feel pretty vulnerable putting them out there. But just because I feel nervous about them doesn't mean that they're perhaps too conventional, not risky enough. I may be taking risks with my emotions, but I'm not necessarily with my writing.

So I'm going to try experimenting a little more, whatever that might entail (and knowing that what might be an experiment for me might not really be an experiment for someone else). It's not always easy to know what to do, what risks to take, but that's part of the adventure. I wrote a piece of erotica this morning that's definitely outside my typical style, and I think it's pretty effective for a first draft. Now we just have to see how I work new ideas and forms and weirdness into my poetry.

October 18, 2009

Gloom Cupboard #109 is up!

Finish off your weekend with some great new poetry.

More to blog about later, but right now it is a beautiful autumn afternoon and I have a stack of library books demanding my attention.

October 13, 2009

Confession Tuesday

My writing group meets on Friday evening and I have only one piece I actually want to show people. *sigh* It's not that I haven't been productive, it's that so much of what I've produced is not ready (or at least, I've convinced myself it's not ready). I either need to write some new poems or stop being so hard on myself, STAT.

I have a novella/novelette/long story (the word count fluctuates with every round of revision so I don't have an official classification just yet) that is almost done, and I'm very excited. I'm putting the final editing/revising touches on it now (and I need to settle on a title I like). I have been working on this piece for almost a year, and look forward to submitting it. If nobody wants to take it, I think I am going to self-publish.

After giving up my novel, I feel great knowing I have a piece of writing that I really want to show the world, that I feel confident enough to self-publish if nobody wants to take it.

October 11, 2009

Readers Doing NaNoWriMo?

Just wondering if anyone following this blog will be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. Comment and let me know! My username on the NaNoWriMo forums is OrangeTangoDoble; feel free to add me as a writing buddy.

This will be my 5th year participating in NaNoWriMo, and if all goes according to plan, my second win (I won for the first time last year). My goal for this year, in addition to meeting the 50k word count within 30 days (while balancing work, dance, and a social life) is to simply have a better novel than last year. Last year, I just proved I could do it. This year, I want to have something good.

It's always difficult for me to talk about new ideas. But I do want to sketch out what I'm doing a little bit. This year, I'll be writing a novel that's a reinterpretation of the gospel stories (so basically, blasphemy). This version will center around the character of Judas - whose story is entirely different from that told throughout history. In my version, Judas was not a man, but instead a woman in disguise (in order to more fully participate as a disciple). I really don't want to give too much of the plot away, but this story will provide a completely new motivation for Judas' portrayal of Jesus.

This might be a difficult novel to write, but I'm really looking forward to November 1st!

October 8, 2009

October 6, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Yesterday and today have been about accomplishing things that needed to get done: housecleaning, laundry, groceries, oil changes, shifts at the bookstore. I've gotten a lot of things done, and even managed to get some good writing in, but I still feel like I have not been productive enough. Even though I know tomorrow and Thursday will be very productive writing days because the rest of the boring stuff is done, I feel frustrated.

I have cut down on a lot of blogs in my Google reader and have made a commitment to spending less time online. Even though I'm being successful in that endeavor, I still feel like I could be more productive.

I confess that I'll probably never be able to be a vegan. Just about any vegan dish I try ends up with cheese on it. My favorite couscous recipe is vegan, but I always add a bunch of feta to it. Today for lunch I made a tofu stew with garlic, onions, tomatoes, olives, and capers. After a few bites, I grated some Parmesan on top. I just adore cheese too much to give it up.

While I was cooking, I burned my onions because I was focused on poetry rather than the stove.

October 5, 2009

Rachel Zucker's Museum of Accidents

I concluded my weekend reading with Rachel Zucker's newest collection, Museum of Accidents. I've been a huge fan of her work ever since I read The Bad Wife Handbook last summer, and this collection does not disappoint. I love the way she combines experimental poetry with an emphasis on the domestic aspects of life. And she has a real gift for drawing empathy from the reader. I'll never have children, but Zucker's poems make me feel like I've gleaned insight into what it means to be a parent (it also reinforces my decision that having kids is just not for me). Her writing turns the most mundane everyday things into radical and exciting ideas.

Rachel Zucker is the kind of poet who makes me feel both discouraged (I'll never be that good) and inspired (I have to keep working so I can be that good) at the same time. There are so few writers in the world who make me feel both emotions at once.

I'm going to leave you with one of my favorites in the collection.

Don't Say Anything Beautiful Kiss Me

Anyway
       if my lips were rose petals they'd taste too bitter.
If my cheeks were apples they'd crawls with apple worms.
If my eyes were stars they'd be dead by the time you saw them.
If I moved you like the moon I'd disappear once a month.
If my teeth were Chiclets you'd want to chew on them and spit them out.
If my hands were birds you couldn't hold them; they'd peck you bloody.
Is my skin alabaster? Then it's cold and hard and one day someone will skin me,
     make me into a cold hard box tinged with pink or yellow, to hold unguents, then
     how will you love me?
If my vagina is a cool, dark forest you'll certainly be lost, you have no sense of direction.
If my vagina is a cave - watch out! It's prone to seismic shifts and avalanche.
If my vagina is a river of honey: orange, lavender, fine herbs, hazelnut, all too sweet.
And if my voice is music, it is unintelligible.
Don't say anything.
I am not a flower, but a body with rules and predictable, cellular qualities.
My eyelashes and fingernails and skin and spit are organized by proteins
     designed to erode at a pre-encoded date and time, no matter what you do or do
     not do to me -
I am remakably like an animal.
More like a heifer than a sunrise, I want to bite, stroke, swallow you so stop lying
     there trying to think of something to say and trying to understand me.
I am the body next to but unlike yours.
You already know me. You already know what I'm made of.

October 4, 2009

October Goals

Unfortunately, due to having to put in extra time at the day job plus the time constraints of my teacher training program, I didn't accomplish many of my goals this month. It's amazing how fast the days can fly by without accomplishing anything. My bookstore guide still isn't done, and neither is that short story; nor did I revise any of my manuscripts. I did meet all my submission goals and attend a literary event, and applied for some freelance jobs (none of which I got, unfortunately). But still, not a great month for getting things done. Here's hoping I can be more productive this October.

October Goals:
1. Finish bookstore guide
2. Submit work to at least three literary journals
3. Attending a reading or other literary event
4. Finish neglected story
5. Finish outline for NaNoWriMo 2009
6. Do a full revision of all poetry manuscripts
7. Enter the Hayden's Ferry Review Halloween Contest
8. Finish research for NaNoWriMo 2009