Saturday, October 29, 2005

Literary Encounter: Mary Gaitskill

Mary Gaitskill came around Skylight to talk about her new book Veronica. We sat around and chit-chatted. She told me a horrifying story of wanting an HIV test back in 1985. (I've been dedicated to the fight against HIV for a good fifteen years now, so I'm interested in these things.) And she said that the doctor discouraged her from taking an HIV test because women rarely get it. Well, now that countless women have died from HIV, I bet that doctor is eating his words!

I know that Ms. Gaitskill is a cultural phenomenon and all, but I took to her because she was wearing orange, one of my favorite colors. Not everyone can wear orange, but Ms. Gaitskill pulled it off flawlessly. She had an orange bag, a sweater with orange stripes, champagne colored jeans with orange hues. I told her that orange is the preferred color of the insane. She responded: "I started wearing orange when I became MORE sane. Besides, the insane are right about some things."

Literary Photo?

So, my friend Ericson Herbas took some author photos of me. This is my favorite. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Literary Distraction: Friendster

So, during those times in my writing life, when the writing is pure hell, I distract myself. One of the ways I do this is is by sending messages, making friends, checking out bios on Friendster. Yes, Friendster! I bet if the internet existed at the time of Charles Dickens, he would be on Friendster, too. It's a great way of keeping in contact with buds and meeting new ones. It's terrrific for a writer who yearns for company, yet wants to be alone. If you're on friendster, look me up and send me a "smile."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Literary Reading

Over the weekend, I did a reading at Michael Kearn's Space in Silverlake. It was a blast. I hadn't done a reading in quite some time, so spitting my words out was a welcomed experience. The writing has been slow (sh*t), so doing this reading made me feel like a writer of some kind.

I must confess that I thought the highlight of the evening wasn't me, but when Sister Buffy (pictured), of the performance troupe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, did a little talk on Evangelist Sister Aimee Semple Mcpherson. Trust me when I say it was a hoot!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Literary Substitute

The Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany is currently taking place. Frankfurt attracts publishers, agents, writers from all over the world. The book deals and the martinis must be flying.

I don't have the resources to galavant to Germany. So, in honor of the book fair, I commit to watching Liza Minneli in Cabaret.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Literary Skids

Whatever creative progress I'd been feeling toward my third novel has come to a crashing, ear-splitting halt. I hadn't looked at that mess of a book for days. I can't even look in the direction of my computer! I've had it! This novel writing thing is a pain in the ubot. (You can guess the English translation.)

With that said, I'll try to write tomorrow.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Literary Memories: Monty's Birthday

Today is Montgomery Clift's birthday. I credit him for inspiring my first novel. I hope he is happy wherever he is.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Literary Winner: Nobel goes to Pinter!

Okay, every year people place bets on who'll win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Feathers get ruffled, usually when it's some "unknown master". This year, playwright Harold Pinter won. I'm elated, considering that I'd studied theatre waaaaay before I got into writing novels. Pinter is certainly not unknown. I'm sure drama geeks are giving standing ovations the world over.

Check it out:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Literary Prize: Booker Award

Britain's Man Booker prize was recently announced. Congrats are in order to John Banville for his novel "The Sea." There is always some controversy that comes with such prizes. Below is a link about a Booker judge and why he chose "The Sea."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Literary Encounter: Susan Straight

With my new novel, comes a new author photo. I asked author Susan Straight--one of the coolest people you'd ever want to meet--what she thought of author photos. She replied, "People told me don't smile, you'll look sexy. Or Smile, you'll look friendly. I wondered, What does any of this have to do with my book?"

Indeed, I know readers want to know what the author looks like, but shouldn't the writing itself be the ultimate attraction? Has writing gone the way of the music industry? It's not enough to just have a great voice, you have to be photogenic and be willing to dance.

Ms. Straight manages to have a sense of humor above all else. When I asked her if I should smile in my picture, she suggested that I try "the smoldering stare."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Literary Encounter: Rick Moody

I've been curious about how music affects other writers. Rick Moody came into Skylight Books to read from his latest novel "The Diviners." Mr. Moody said he "thinks about music all the time" and he'll "listen to anything." The only type of music he doesn't like is "smooth jazz." I asked him if he were a musical instrument what would he be and why. He said he would be a tambora because it has beuatiful overtones. He said, "It's not flashy, but a bedrock on which other things are made."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Literary Music: KD Lang

Like many others, I turn to music for respite, entertainment, inspiration. Last year, KD Lang's CD "Hymns of the 49th Parallel" carried me through a difficult time. Those songs of longing, yearning--themes I often explore--helped me deal with my father's death and rewrite my forthcoming novel "Talking to the Moon."

I saw her at the Hollywood Bowl and she won me over for life. She was funny, personable, and, most importantly, entertaining. I ran to buy other stuff by her like her album "Drag." What a voice.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Literary Death: August Wilson

Playwright August Wilson (pictured) recently passed. What remarkable contributions he made to the world of Letters. As I rise into my middle years, I hope to write some good stuff. I don't know how many books I have in me. At this time, I'm thinking maybe four, maybe five? I hope I have enough time on this earth to get all those stories out of me.

Here's a link about Mr. Wilson's passing:

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Literary Panels

I just left the West Hollywood Book Fair where I sat on my fourth--and last-- literary panel of the year. I forget how many people are hungry to hear how to write and how to get published.

I used to be that person who voraciously read through the LA Times and LA Weekly looking for announcements for "How To" panels: How to write better fiction; how to get published; how to promote your work. Now, I'm sitting on the other side of the table.

I do hope I say and do something useful when I "panelize." The best part of the day is running into people I haven't seen in awhile or meeting earnest young writers hoping to be the next best thing.