Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Promising on November 20

The Promising Series
Features D. Travers Scott, Myriam Gurba,
Ian MacKinnon, and Michelle Sewell

The Promising Series is the only reading series in Los Angeles that exclusively features Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender writers. A goal for the series is to celebrate established authors and introduce the next generation of LGBT writers.

“Recently thousands of queer people marched in Washington,” said Series Curator Noël Alumit. “Clearly, we’re doing all we can to be seen and heard. I like to think this reading series is a part of a movement: we MUST be recognized. ”

The next reading will be held on Friday, November 20th 2009 at 7:30pm.

The reading will feature:

D. Travers Scott has worked as a writer, critic, and artist, appearing everywhere from underground ‘zines to Harper’s and This American Life. For the first time, the best of Scott’s celebrated short fiction are gathered together in Love Hard: Stories 1989-2009, collecting work originally appearing in award-winning anthologies, queer media, erotica, and live performance, along with new stories never before published. Together, they offer the first comprehensive overview of Scott’s ongoing explorations of masculinity, sexuality, urban environments, family, love, and the power of writing. Scott is also author of two novels: the internationally acclaimed Execution, Texas: 1987and the Lambda Literary Award winner, One of these Things is Not Like the Other. He is currently completing a PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in Los Angles, where he lives with his husband.
Myriam Gurba is a teacher and writer. She lives in a small blue house in Long Beach with two rabbits and a Midwestern trannie. She is the author of Dahlia Season, a novella and short story collection which won the Edmund White Award.

Ian MacKinnon is a gay centered performance artist and curator of queer theatre events in Los Angeles. He is a member of Queer Exchange, a group of LGBTQ multidisciplinary artists who perform, tour, and conduct workshops around California. In his solo work Ian combines spoken text, gay centered Jungian psychological theory, digital video, and music to evoke issues central to the queer community and to Gay Liberation. He graduated with honors and a BFA in Acting from Meadow's School of the Arts at SMU. Ian was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for "Best Off Off Broadway Performance" for his piece, Spanked, performed at the New York International Fringe Festival, and toured to The New Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.
Michelle Sewell is an award-winning screenwriter, poet, and founder of GirlChild Press. Throughout her work as a poet and a social worker, she has maintained that there must be a place for women and girls to develop and express their truest selves. With that in mind she has created open mics, workshops, and writing circles to foster a "sacred space" environment for women. The Jamaican-born artist/activist’s work has appeared on NPR, in does your mama know?, Sinister Wisdom, Other Countries: Voices Rising, Campaign to End AIDS Anthology, and Port of Harlem Magazine. She is also a columnist for Swerv Magazine and Velvet Park: Dyke Culture in Bloom.

The Promising Series will take place on Friday, November 20 at 7:30pm. Skylight Bookstore, 1818 North Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 660-1175.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Seeing the Sartorialist

As you know, I am surrounded by books. Yes, I write, but I also host events at Skylight Books. Author events are nothing new to me. A book and author must be pretty amazing for me to schlepp somewhere to stand in line and get a book signed. Last night was such a case.

I'd been a fan of Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, for quite some time. He's a photographer and writer. I became familiar with his work from reading the pages of GQ. I follow him on twitter and regularly visit his blog. Click here.

I don't consider myself a fashionista, but I dig his work. He photographs everyday people and shows off an individual's personal flare. The people he photographs aren't models, actors, or designers. They're just folks on the street who express themselves through clothes.

When I view his work, I see an artist photographing artists, people who wear a coat, fling a scarf, or wear a hat as a means of personal expression. Last night, on the rooftop of the Beverly Center, I stood in line to shake the hand of a man who makes ordinary Joes and Janes supermodels.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Short Story Reality

As many of you know, I'm putting together a short story collection. I've written about the difficulty of trying to get a collection published. Recently, a short story writer came to Skylight Books to promote her book of short stories. She said her agent wouldn't even send out the manuscript. Fortunately, she won a book contest that published her collection.

Here's an article sent to me from the Utne Reader on selling short stories. Click here. Thanks, Mark, for sending this link along.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

James and Me

I had the pleasure of hosting James Ellroy when he came to Skylight Books. The first time I met him, I was scared of him. He has an overwhelming personality and he's VERY conservative politically. He's also an amazing writer. (And he was kind enough to blurb my second novel.)

I've had the pleasure of introducing him several times now and he never fails to entertain. He's boisterous and rude and you can't pull your eyes and ears away from him!

He has some interesting writing tips that I might try.

1. He outlines the sh*t out of a book before he writes a word! Hundreds of pages of notes before he writes a novel. He figures it out waaaaaay before hand.

2. He said imagination trumps research. I research the heck out of a project. I interview people, read tons of books to get a feel of a period. He said research does not necessarily make a good book. Imagination makes a good book.

3. He cuts himself away from the world. He doesn't watch TV, see movies, read papers. All of his writing is prior to 1972. He doesn't want to be in the current state of the world today. (I'm partially there. I don't have a TV.)

4. Writers grow. This may sound obvious, but I'm a writer with two books under his belt. James has seventeen! He may be famous for The Black Dahlia, but he said he's done with writing about murdered women. I wonder about writing about other things, other communities. I'm curious what my future books will be, then again, I'm curious about the future person I will become who will write those future books.

This quote is currently taped to my bathroom mirror:

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." Joseph Campbell

To see me nervously interview James Ellroy, click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Summer 2010

I sent my agent part of my short story collection. He was VERT encouraging. I hate to admit it, but I do need a few kind words to keep writing. It was like when I'd run a marathon and I'd feel like I'd hit a wall. There would be those few strangers yelling, "You can do it!" or "You're almost there!", then I'd feel energized again.

I'm still hoping to get a book to him this year. For a collection, ten stories is a good number. I have six of the ten. I'm steadfastly working on the seventh. I have the remaining three, but they're in pieces. If I'm focused, I can get my agent a completed manuscript sometime in December.

I've never tried to publish a collection of short stories, but I'm not stupid about it. A collection of shorts is one of the hardest things to get published. I know atleast three amazing writers who didn't get their collections published. And those were during better economic times.

I'm guesstimating that my agent will give me notes by early 2010, I'll do revisions, and have something ready to sell by Summer, 2010.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobel and Mudslides

I am thrilled that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I'm hoping this will make it harder for the conservative right to aim useless attacks at a man trying to do some good for our country. Rush Limbaugh was a blowhard in the first place, but calling names at a Nobel Peace Prize winner just makes you look like an ogre kicking a puppy. When China gives grief to Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama, they just look like one great big bully. This Prize will certainly affect dynamics in politics.

In other news, I'd been worried about people in the Philippines. They'd seen some real bad weather lately. Now, I'm particularly stressed because there are reports of mudslides in the Mountain Provinces of the Philippines, where my family is from. An area that was particularly hard hit was La Trinidad, Benquet Province--where my father's family is from! I e-mailed family members wondering about their safety. No word yet.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Returning to My First Love

Last weekend, I participated in the West Hollywood Bookfair. I'd participated before and always have a great time. This year was significant for me. I usually go as an author, reading something from a book or moderating a panel. This year I went as a "performer," a title I hadn't claimed in a really long time. I performed a monologue from my first show "The Rice Room: Scenes from a Bar."

Acting was my first love. I began pursuing it professionally when I was a teenager, getting my first agent at sixteen. I went to college majoring in Theatre. I thought I'd be doing it for the rest of my life. Then I discovered writing, a blind date that turned into a full on love affair. I found myself juggling two lovers.

About five years ago, around the time my father died, I sort of abandoned my first love. I felt the need to be alone, something writing allowed. I experienced a kind of transition when dad left, I truly felt like my childhood had passed away. My first love was a part of that. I'd heard that a son doesn't truly become a man until his father dies. I understood that.

Earlier this year, I began thinking about my old lover. In rekindling an old relationship, I talked about it with friends who encouraged me to go about it. I called up my agent, a very patient man, and asked him if he'd be willing to represent me again. He was kind enough to say, yes. I made sure my union cards were all in order and started auditioning again.

The fine theatre artist Michael Kearns asked me to be a part of his Queer Renegades at the Weho Bookfest. I took it as a positive sign. I went about memorizing lines again and rehearsing. It felt strange yet familiar.

I think that's why I decided to remove the "Literary" from my posts this year. My creative life will encompass more from now on.

Ironically, I started a short story about an actor. I do think I have a Hollywood book in me. If my return to acting will facilitate more stories, what a wonderful result that will be.

For a tour of the Weho Bookfair, click Here. Thanks to Karen Ocamb for sharing this link.