Saturday, January 02, 2016

200 on…Pentaculum Writers’ Residency at Arrowmont School of the Arts, Gatlinburg, TN




Anticipating Gatlinburg, I readied for hard core historic…for plaques about battles and declarations, bronze memorials to the fallen. Maybe a diorama, a restaurant with waiters and waitresses in period costume. I imagined a library with sepia maps and an Information Center with CD tours for rent.

So I felt a right prat when I found Gatlinburg packed with people buying sugar and carbs--candy, taffy, ice-cream, corn dogs, burgers, whiskey, moonshine—from stores shaped like castles and pirates and prisons. I smiled at the balconied “Vape” stores, restaurants selling burgers, pizza, ribs, Chinese buffet. It had stores where you could pose as characters from the Wild West, where you could have your initials put on anything, where you could buy your girlfriend a sexy nightie, your dog a biker jacket, your son a Confederate poster for his bedroom.

You couldn’t buy real things…like kettles or matches or six-packs of Pepsi.  There were no banks or Realtors, no chiropodists. No library. No book store. There were no African Americans or Asians or Latinos. 

Gatlinburg won’t be pulling at me this week, tempting me away from my work. Small mercies.

Monday, October 26, 2015

200 on...Incorporating memory into the "Mucking Fess" of fiction



Signed and dedicated copies of THE BEGINNING THINGS available for preorder $11:95 plus shipping.

“It’s hard,” she said, “when things change. It’s hard to know what to do when things aren’t what you think they are.” He joined in, teaming trousers with matching shirts and ties, the entire outfit bulging on one hanger. “It’s a mucking fess."
Tot to her grandfather in The Beginning Things

I grew up when society was pushing fathers towards a larger role in childrearing and my dad seemed to struggle with that. We kids knew he loved us, but that knowledge came from what he did (worked hard, fixed shit) rather than from what he said. When he did speak, it seemed he was comfiest when he was being funny with his puns and spoonerisms.  

He’d read me signs: “Dorry, No Sogs,” “Ho Nawkers!.” At dinner, he’d demand “A Tug of Me!” and “Spore Muds, Mother!” When I got older, he became more risqué: “Billy Sugger!” he’d cry. “For Sod’s Gake!”

My dad would never have said that something was a “Mucking Fess” but I like to think he probably thought it.  

Dank you, Thad. I yuv lou loads.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

200 on...The Things We Make







Signed and dedicated copies of THE BEGINNING THINGS available for preorder $11:95plus shipping.

I've always made things. As a kid, I sewed doll dresses from scraps lifted from mum's mending box. I knitted cardigans for babies: miniatures in pink and blue. I made Madeleines--sweet sponge "turrets" brushed with jam and rolled in desiccated coconut—and served them to my parents while they watched the wrestling on the telly.

As a teenager, I made plans: how I'd marry someone with TIME; how I'd live in a house with a lawn all the way around; how my husband would love me more than anyone he would ever meet. Ever.

As a woman, I made mistakes which brought me howling into truths about myself and into change..and into prose and poetry. I howled into stories, into poems, into novels.

Last year, I visited my sister in Greece and she taught me to crochet. We sat watching the ocean and I crocheted pot covers threaded with evil eyes. When I came home, I began to crochet little “give away” bookmarks for The Beginning Things.