Friday, January 29, 2010

Teenagers under siege who feel crumby

As you are most likely aware, if you are a literary peep of any description and/or you read/watch the news, J.D. Salinger has died. An obit here, and funny/serious commentary from the Onion here. Somewhere in the blogosphere, someone said he and Holden C. captured the idea of "teenagers under siege." That teenage feeling is still very clear to me--everybody just GET THE F*CK OUT OF MY FACE--and I still stumble over it today (oops--loner self showing through). And he captured it distinctly. Like someone else in the blogosphere said, we wouldn't have The Breakfast Club (yay John Hughes) without J.D. Salinger. I can't say I love Catcher In The Rye, though I haven't read it for years. But I love the sentiment. And I still don't like phonies.

So thanks, reclusive dude: directly or indirectly, you made edgy realistic YA possible. You made Morgan possible. One last thing: Holden spells "crummy" as "crumby." I am amused to no end every time I read that word.

I promise to be a better blogger from now on. I had nothing to say for a while, and who wants to read a writer with nothing to say?

Friday, January 22, 2010

How a writing career should be

When I think about my writing career, I want it to be like this photo: heading forward, not jumping the track, maybe picking up goods along the way, with a great whistle to comfort me(seriously, I love train whistles). Steady and sure, I'd just chug along (bonus points if I was a steam engine and could really chug!).

But it's really more like this.

Fun maybe once a summer. Otherwise you throw up a lot.

But then I saw one of these today. And it's still January!

So then I felt hopeful.

And then I saw this dude (he's a mountain goat, I know he's hard to see), on top of a truck that belongs to the crew blowing up the mountain at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

And I laughed my ass off.

Now I'm going to try to catch my train, even though I know I'm still on the rollercoaster. Maybe I could ask the mountain goat to help me. He seems pretty determined.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Teenage boys at their best

OK, my friends, this is why I love teenage boys: boredom + video camera = fun that gets over 100,000 hits on YouTube.

If you haven't already seen it, see it. Major props to Afternoon D Light Studios! Read more here. And if you want to see their first hit, it's here.

Big trees will inspire you . . . put your mittens in the air!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cool photos, cool contest, easy way to help

See this photo? Don't you love it? I do. It's a bit hard to see, but the lovely tattooed knuckles say BOOK WORM. Full disclosure: this is my agent Amy Tipton (woo hoo for me for having such a killer agent!). And the guy who took the photo--Ed Glazar--has the chance to win serious swag and some recognition for his work. Since I think it's important for artists to help other artists (no matter what medium they work in), here's my plea: go vote for Ed's portfolio in this contest. You vote by clicking the stars at the lower left, where it says "rate this portfolio." Also check out his page here. I am a sucker for good photography (when I wish for visual art talent, I wish for a photographic eye), so it's not hard for me to give him 5 stars.

Do your part for artists today! Especially those of us who work our day jobs and wish we could be full-time artists (which is about 95% of us, if not 99%). Not that I don't love you, Day Job, because I do. I really do. But you suck my brain out through your bendy straw (you zombie you), and I don't have anything left for the night job. Ed might have the same problem, so help him out.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy birthday, John Burrows, or a study in character

You might know that today is Elvis's 75th birthday (holy God, can you imagine a 75-year-old Elvis?). I'm guessing, however, you didn't know this: Elvis used an alias a couple times--John Burrows. I can't imagine it actually worked, but who knows?

Elvis used to be in BEAUTIFUL MUSIC--as an actual character named (of course) John Burrows--and John-Burrows-as-Elvis still exists in a short story I wrote, called "Where Would Elvis Drive?", which will hopefully be out this spring in the new issue of THE BLUEROAD READER. John Burrows-*not*-as-Elvis still exists in BEAUTIFUL MUSIC, and Elvis is referenced a bunch of times, but I had to kick his character out because eventually hijacked the book and overshadowed Gabe. Still--wow--was he fun. The most fun I've ever had with a character, actually.

It was incredible to imagine what Elvis would do after he faked his own death: how did he pull it off? Who did he pay to keep it quiet? What does he do now? Does he still eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches? Is he still involved in music? If you're interested in my answers to these questions, the short story will answer them, though in the novel version, Elvis had a karaoke bar in Vegas. Doesn't that make sense?

I think, if Elvis would have lived to 75, he would have become more simple: he would have lost weight, shaped up, stepped out of the spotlight, gotten rid of the creeps around him, and become a country boy again. He'd be a big producer in the alt country scene or in roots music. That's my theory.

Happy 75th, Elvis Aaron Presley, Jr. I loved writing about not/you, and--I couldn't resist the pun--you rock.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New year, new songs

It's that time again. Reality time. Sigh. Break is always so fast. But I am happy to see YOU, blog readers!

I did get to do a lot of research and writing while not bending my brain with teaching, so New Book is on its way! I also did some iMix-making for my novel BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN (basic plot: guy wants to be a radio dj. Paige and John are support system. Guy is complicated. Life is complicated. Both hilarity and horror ensue). The mixes are songs the characters like and songs Gabe would play for them on his show. The first mix is the show Gabe puts together for his big competition, when he tries to win a job.

My favorite new song this year (in the 5 days we've had a "this year") is "Home," Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but it's followed very closely by Brother Ali's "Fresh Air" and Cage the Elephant's "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked." (And you can draw on their web site!) Though Brother Ali got left out somehow, the other 3 are in Paige and John's iMixes.

2010 . . . here we go. Yay for all the new writerly things to learn, all the book friends to make, and all the words to rearrange. Bring it on!