Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Land Beast, Part Two

Matt Bell asked me to send him a story for his last issue as editor at The Collagist.

You can imagine how nervous I was. I didn't want to disappoint.

I had more Land Beast, but it took months of courage for me to send it.

I finally did and he said he wanted it! I'm so happy to be in his final issue.

The Collagist: Land Beast, Part Two

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cotton underwear

Clint and I sat down to eat dinner. We turned on Netflix. Oh, let's just try that House of Cards, it's too much work to look for something good. First thirty seconds and a dog is wounded by a human. That's it for that show. Okay, X Files. Sci-fi is really doing it for me lately. I had watched the show with my family--a strange thing indeed, strange that we were allowed to watch something "iffy".

Clint and I watched the pilot over kale, carrots and pine nuts. He cooked. It was delicious.

It was '92 when the pilot was filmed and '93 when it aired. Gillian had gorgeous skin. She did a great job being a smart woman.

 I was caught off-guard when she stripped down to her bra--it seemed so intimate because she had been so buttoned up with such straight hair. Invulnerable. But the thing that made it really intimate was the choice to have her wear such an average bra. It was the same color as her skin and a basic underwire. Not black, not satin, not push-up. Then she look off her pants! She wore off-white cotton panties with high leg holes and a high waist. They didn't fit her tiny butt very well, were a little saggy. The viewer was tasked to look at her body, and then asked to examine it for alien bites.

Wait, I said! Pause it! Clint hit the space bar on our Mac.

Her underwear! Can you believe she's wearing cotton? Geesh, it's like she's extra naked.

I was very uncomfortable. It was '93 on the TV for heaven's sake. Maybe I was back to being 13 and prudish, but no, that didn't seem quite right.

It's pre-Victoria's Secret, Clint says.

Oh, I said. Yes.

I'm so used to seeing actresses in lingerie that it seems like another type of clothing, like they aren't nearly naked.  But cotton underwear, whoa. Time-warped me more than the alien abduction. Would I have reacted so strongly if I had been 32 when I first saw the pilot? Probably not. I probably would have worn the same underwear Gillian did and my surprise would only be at her stripping down in the first show. (Which, come on, was lame)Growing up during the lingerie shift, I felt shame and embarrassment when viewing her plain underwear. It felt like we, the viewers, were truly violating her privacy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's a real thing, this Internet.


My story about the rhino was picked up by The Collagist. I couldn't be happier about that placement. Matt Bell was my perfect reader for that piece, and I'm so excited he published it.

I have more work to do on it, to expand it. I'm going to just work without the end in mind.

The Collagist: Land Beast

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Would you like to read some of my work?

Here's a link to two stories and a postcard:


Scott Garson is such a great guy and always a pleasure to work with.

Anne Carson's Eros The Bittersweet

Goodreads review

So much to really, really think about. I've listed her quotes on my review, now I have to roll them over and press them against myself.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year

January 2nd:

My Joy, starring Viktor Nemets (Russian)

Oh, Russian films like this get me so excited.

"Where does this road lead?"
"What road?"
"The one somewhere around here. I came out of the woods and lost my way."
"It's not a road, it's a direction."
"A direction leading where?"
"What do mean, nowhere?"
"Like I say, nowhere. It's a dead-end, an accursed dead-end."

The movie deserves a second watch and probably a third, too. It's brilliant and punishing, has the long single takes I love so much (Especially long walking scenes. Russians walk.), and sparse, stern dialogue with matter-of-fact delivery.

For one scene you become the walker and watcher of faces in the crowd in the village. Each face: is this the face that will be important, is the face I will now follow, what is that face doing, who are they, do I need to worry about any of the faces, are they worried about me, how long can I walk and watch faces?

The rest of the movie follows the Viktor and his dead-end in the cursed village.  WWII does play into the movie as a kind of context, or background, for the older character's deeply unsentimental views on living and surviving, but the movie is firmly contemporary.

An old-timer vet, with all his medals on, walks down a snowy road, talking to himself:
"Trails, trails. I killed those trails and they vanished into thin air. Comrade General, slain trails have been  added to the mass grave... Our victory erased all trails."
A van pulls up to ask where the village is and the old man bangs the side of the van with his thick walking stick, nearly hitting the passenger. The passenger calls the old man a lunatic and the van drives off and the passenger promptly becomes a lunatic himself.

That's the way of this movie.