Monday, August 27, 2007

Literary Counting

An AP-Ipsos poll about reading habits has spawned an assortment of news stories. In one angle, among those who read books last year, seven was the average number of books read. But 25 percent of adults surveyed said they didn't read any books last year. (It's not clear if the poll waslimited to literate adults or not--an important factor since we onlyhave a 70 to 75 percent literacy rate to begin with.)

The Guardian notes, "of those who did read, women and retirees were the most avid readers, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices. The median figure for books read - with half reading more, half fewer - was nine books for women and five for men.... People from the West and Midwest are more likely to have read at least one book in the past year. Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books -mostly religious books and romance novels - than people from other regions."One in five people read romance novels, and women read more of every category of book than men except for history and biography.

The survey also found that fewer liberals and moderates are non-readers (22percent) than conservatives (34 percent). Which led AAP president PatSchroeder to shoot her mouth off in rather unfortunate fashion: "TheKarl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Schroeder is quoted."It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."Actually, though, the survey found moderates read the least (liberals average nine books, conservatives eight, moderates five). Which may say something about the books available as much as the political inclinations. Threshold founder Mary Matalin remarked, "As head of abook publishing association, she probably shouldn't malign any readers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Literary Continuation

My heart skipped a beat when I heard that part of a West Hollywood block was on fire. This block included A Different Light Bookstore. Thankfully, there was minimal damage and they're still open. Whew!

Here is information on the series that I'm curating at A Different Light:

The Promising Series is the only reading series in Los Angeles that exclusively features Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender writers. A goal for the series is to celebrate established writers and introduce the next generation of writers that will explore the GLBT experience. The second reading will be held on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at 7:30pm.

“The first reading in July was packed with people,” said series coordinator Noel Alumit. “It really showed me that there was an incredible literary need out there that had to be met. I hope the second reading is just as wonderful!”

The September 12th reading will feature:

Eloise Klein Healy, the Founding Chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles and Distinguished Professor of Creating Writing Emerita, is a Guest Poet at the Idyllwild Summer Poetry Festival. Healy is co-founder of ECO-ARTS, an eco-tourism/arts venture and founding editor of ARKTOI BOOKS, an imprint of Red Hen Press. Her collections Passing and Artemis In Echo Park were both finalists for the Lambda Book Award. Her newest title, The Islands Project: Poems For Sappho, is from Red Hen Press.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, a Jones Lectureship in Poetry at Stanford University and a Rona Jaffe Woman Writers' Award. Her first collection, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (Persea Books, 2005), was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and won the 2006 Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. She lives in Los Angeles and currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of Arts in San Francisco and in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Warren Wilson College.

Steven Reign’s debut collection of poetry and short-short fiction, Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat, was published in 2001 and has been followed-up with two chapbooks, Ignited and Cartography. Reigns served as Literary Director of The Center in Tampa for two years before recently relocating to Los Angeles. He has been selected as a 2008 recipient of the Los Angeles County Artist In Residency Grant, a project to teach free poetry workshops to GLBTQ seniors.

Sheila Traviss has been published in the anthology Bedroom Eyes, the Sun magazine and the collection Love Knots. Her screenplay, The Price Is Hope, and her one hour drama, The Block, have been optioned for development. She has written for the comedy show, Out There; was a writer/performer with the Groundlings Theatre and her one-woman show, Tribes, was produced in Los Angeles and off-off-Broadway. Sheila’s novel, Dreamwriter: Madison Mavis is making the rounds of publishers and giving her an ulcer. She is currently working on her second novel and pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at Antioch University.

Noel Alumit wrote the novels Letters to Montgomery Clift and Talking to the Moon. He wrote and performed the solos shows The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar and Master of the (Miss) Universe.

The Promising Series will take place on Wednesday, September 12 at 7:30pm. A Different Light Bookstore, 8853 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, (310) 854-6601.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Literary Skylight

Most of you know that I host events at Skylight Bookstore. Well, they just started their own blog:

And I'll be contributing. Oh, and that's our famous cat Lucy sleeping in the display window.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Literary Nudge

My agent called me this week. I've said this before: I think he's just great. He wanted to know how my third novel is coming along.

I told him that I printed out a draft and I'm reviewing it. He'd like to see something soon. He gave me some advice. He thinks I should settle down, find a nice guy. I'm too social when I'm single. If I'm married, I'll buckle down...and write.

I really do respect his advice. I guess I have to go out more and find a dude to call my own.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Literary Cities

A librarian friend of mine e-mailed me this link listing the most literate cities in America. It's interesting that the East Coast did not dominate the top ten. Ur, my city of Los Angeles made number 57...out of 70 cities.

The Top Ten

1. Seattle, WA

2. Minneapolis, MN

3.5. Atlanta, GA

3.5. Washington, DC

5. St. Paul, MN

6. Pittsburgh, PA

7. Cincinnati, OH

8. Denver, CO

9. San Francisco, CA

10. Portland, OR

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Literary Macarthur Park

A week ago, I did a workshop for Smartgals. It was held in Macarthur Park. I wrote a piece on the area not too long ago, discussing the park and its relationship to the Filipino community. Mucho festivals celebrating Filipino culture was held at the park and General Macarthur made his famous "I shall return" speech regarding his vow to help free the Philippines from the Japanese in World War II.

The famous Donna Summer song "Macarthur Park" with the famous line "Someone left the cake out in the rain" was written by Jimmy Webb about an apparent break-up in the park in the 1960's.

Somewhere in the late 1970's and 1980's Macarthur Park began to turn from a family environment to one most associated with drug deals, murder, and other mayhem. Without getting into details, I feel I contributed to the mayhem in my reckless youth. If I could ever say sorry to a neighborhood, I would. And that's what's happened when I did the writing workshop there. When I lent my creativity to the environment and the people in my workshop, I felt like I was apologizing for my reckless days. The amends will certainly continue, but it felt good that I was adding to the healing of the area somehow.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Literary Gore

During a late night You-Tubing fit, I came across this video interview with Gore Vidal, a brilliant writer. It's about his contempt for TV journalists and an inside take on what the rich and powerful feel about us. He says he's been around the "ruling class" and he knows their contempt for ordinary Americans.

Take a gander:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Literary Smartgals

Come and check out a free writing workshop that I'm doing on August 7th. It's being done by Smartgals and it's inspired by Suzan-Lori Parks goal to write a play a day for a year. There are other workshops on different nights. It should be the happening place.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Literary 136

If you take a look at earlier posts of this blog, beginning in August 2005, you'll see that I started blogging about writing my third novel. Here we are two years later and I think I have something of a draft. 136 pages of mish mosh vomit.
I know its nowhere near done, but it was nice to feel the pages in my hands. It stopped being this shapeless being in my computer. It might actually be something.
I promise to you, dear reader, that I'll have a second draft by August 31st. Maybe by the end of the year, I'll have something worth sharing with others.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Literary Tabloid

I could care less about reading about Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, or Britney Spears. Jennifer, Brad, Angelina? I don't give a crap. But the secret, juicy lives of writers? Baby, I'm there!
It was recently revealed that Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler was dumped by his wife. She left him mogul Ted Turner.
"Elizabeth is Butler's wife of 12 years, Elizabeth Dewberry, 44, an author in her own right, who might be attracted to Turner, 68, because the media mogul resembles the grandfather who molested her as a child, Butler writes in the shocking e-mail."
Read about it: