I’m giving several readings and talks this month–details below. If you’re local I’d love to see you! April 8th 6:00 – 8:00pm – URBAN ARTS PLATFORM, Parking Garage Roof at The Northern Join us on Saturday, April 8th for a night of international and local talent featuring a stunning view of downtown billings atop the Northern … Continue reading April Events with me!
For one night I lived out a small fantasy. I got to be a waitress. You might be thinking (especially if you’ve worked in restaurants) that my fantasy is a bit absurd naive. Difficult customers, low pay, other unappealing aspects too numerous to mention–where’s the fantasy in that? It’s probably because sometime when I was small and in … Continue reading I Was a Waitress for One Night
I went to a movie for the first (and probably last) time since I sustained a TBI. I have been feeling better in a lot of ways and the return to normalcy has almost been insipid. Until I stepped through the theater doors I had almost forgotten the various ways I’ve altered my life to … Continue reading Farewell to the Movies
“Nameless here for evermore.” – The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe Recently I got married, and in the moments when I wasn’t deciding where my grandmother would sit during the ceremony, or trying to remember if I ate lunch that day, a quandary of many female writers weighed on my mind–once married, should I publish using … Continue reading What’s in a Name?
Originally posted on Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Blog:
“2012” by hellojenuine courtesy of Flickr It’s that time of year when the world makes lists: best-of, top-this, best-that. In the tradition of fostering reflection, the Stonecoast Faculty Blog has come up with our own end-of-year list, our Literary Moments of 2012 (in no particular order).… Continue reading Stonecoast’s Faculty Blog’s Literary Moments of 2012
Last week, several American news outlets reported that novelist Philip Roth had written his last book.
Here is an excerpt from an article posted on Salon.com:
Roth said that at 74, realizing he was running out of years, he reread all his favorite novels, and then reread all his books in reverse chronological order. “I wanted to see if I had wasted my time writing,” he said. “And I thought it was rather successful. At the end of his life, the boxer Joe Louis said: ‘I did the best I could with what I had.’ This is exactly what I would say of my work: I did the best I could with what I had.
“And after that, I decided that I was done with fiction. I do not want to read, to write more,” he said. “I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote and I read. With the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life.”
As an artist at the beginning of my career, Roth’s statements seem hard to believe. With more books to read than I can count, and story ideas that keep me awake at night, how could a lifetime be possibly long enough to read everything I want to read and write everything I want to write?
Roth’s statements bring to light a great debate or paradox for many artists: is being an artist a job or a calling?
Once upon a time, I was a little girl and I loved Disney. My toy-box wasn’t filled with blonde, blue-eyed Barbies, it was a museum of Disney cartoons in Mattel® form: Ariel, Jasmine, Belle.
I watched the movies, read the storybooks, wore the t-shirts, had the matching curtains and comforter for my bedroom (it was 1989, they were Little Mermaid). I lived in a replicated fantasy that Disney had created for me.
Then I grew up. I realized Ariel was swimming around in a seashell bra and had an alarmingly tiny waist. I watched as the Disney Princesses needed a Prince to come to their rescue. I saw the branding and merchandising take over with “princess culture” and felt puzzled, maybe even duped. Did Disney care about creating fantasies for me or did they just want me to buy the matching toothbrush to go along with my pajamas?
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Patterson, songwriter/bass guitarist for the aptly named band Peddle Steal when we were students together in the Stonecoast MFA program. He came to me when he’d heard about my third-semester project, Today’s Body, to ask me, “How’d ya do it?”
He told me he was toying with writing some lyrics for his third semester project and I gave him a few pointers on how to survive the semester without going crazy.
Six months later I saw Dave again, and the first words out of his mouth were, “I produced an album.” His little lyrics idea had expanded into a recording project: the album How We Hunger.
“I felt a twinge of regret that I wasn’t a writer or painter, someone special enough to be invited to talk with Gertrude, to sit near her in front of the fire, as Ernest did now, and speak of important things. I loved to be around interesting and creative people, to be part of that swell,” –excerpt from The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
My boyfriend pointed out to me recently that all my friends are famous. What he really meant was that several of the people I’ve grown up with have gone on to accomplish things in the public’s eye. I have a friend who works as an intern for the Seattle Symphony, I used to dance with a kid who had amazing pirhouettes; now he’s a New York based photographer who shoots Broadway stars, dancers, and occasionally, Abby Lee. My friend the jeweler just made a necklace for Lisa Kudrow. My boyfriend isn’t immune to the fame-brushing phenomenon; one of his friends is a World Fantasy, Nebula, and Hugo award winner. In short, there is no shortage of talented artists in our circle of acquaintances.
I’m not here to tell you that I think my friends and acquaintances are cooler than yours. Like Hemingway’s wife in McLain’s novel, it’s that I love “to be part of that swell.”
A sincere thanks to those individuals who collaborated with me on the project that led to the art installation, Today’s Body. Come have a glass of wine and say hello, I’ll be at The Heart Opening from 5:00-8:00pm. Friday, November 4th 5:00-8:00pm: First Friday Art Walk Opening Reception, The Heart Opening, 227 Congress St, Portland, Maine, … Continue reading First Friday Art Walk Opening Reception