Ah, here’s something brand new for you I’ve been meaning to share, now up at New World Writing. The beginning:
Built on the catacombs of old zinc mines, the tornado licked the ribs of this town clean. Look at this, my grandmother says, her lawn pocked, pitted. It was level before. The low heel of her sandal twists in a divot. She twines her arm with mine. Overhead, ends of ribboned VHS tape trail from a knot in the gum tree stripped down to crucifix limbs, its rustle whisper thin. The birds are gone. The hum of electrical wires, silenced. Pulp of pulverized homes dries on the truck-bed, blue and white Ford, ’71, pushed out of its ruts just so. This town is a turned-out coat.
In case you’ve ever wondered …. So, Stymie Magazine of Sports Literature asked me recently to explain myself. For starters, there’s this:
At first I wrote because my mom said I was excellent at telling tall tales, and it’s always nice to be excellent at something besides making a ventriloquist dummy of a rubber-worm fishing lure sing “Free to Be … You and Me.”
Check out the rest here. My creative nonfiction story “Sport of the Future” appears in Stymie’s Spring/Summer 2012 issue, which can be found here on page 25 (but read the whole issue while you’re at it because it’s full of “feminine perspective” awesomeness).
A few new(ish) interviews to tell you about. I recently chatted with screenwriter Sarah Koskoff and director Todd Louiso. You might remember Louiso as Dick from High Fidelity or Chad the nanny in Jerry Maguire, but he’s also making his mark as an indie director with features such as Hello I Must Be Going. I also interviewed one of the stars of the documentary Last Days Here, Sean “Pellet” Pelletier, the fan and manager who helped Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling make a comeback after decades of drug abuse. And, as part of TNB’s “21 Questions” series, I geek out with Erik Sharkey, documentary filmmaker of Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, a film that focuses on the iconic movie-poster artwork of the great Drew Struzan.
Now available for pre-order (with a discount and free shipping), a lovely coffee-table style anthology of stories, interviews, and comics exploring The Way We Sleep, edited by Jessa Marsh and C. James Bye and designed by Steven Seighman. I’m excited to have an illustrated flash-fiction piece, “Melon,” included in this one. For one thing, it’s proof that the year I’d spent as an art student wasn’t entirely in vain, if “so childlike it’s charming” line drawings count. I like to think of myself as the Meg White of illustrators. And don’t you love Meg White? Yes. So pre-order you copy today!
Now available for pre-order, the Routledge anthology The Participatory Cultures Handbookfor which I contributed a creative nonfiction essay about a San Antonio, Texas family completing work with volunteers on their Habitat for Humanity home. Many thanks to editors Jennifer Jacobs Henderson and Aaron Delwiche for including me and to Antoinette and Henry and all at Habitat for Humanity San Antonio for letting me share their stories.
So, maybe you’ve wondered where I’ve been the past few days. Funny story. Not long ago, a good friend of mine asked me for a list of films she might show at the “apocalypse party” she was throwing to celebrate her 2012 birthday. I came up with a decent list initially, but I decided what this really warranted was a sprawling infographic of end-of-the-world films, researched on at least three poster-board mock-ups and one improvised three-dimensional miniature rendering in Fritos and Duplo blocks. (This is sort of like the time my parents asked me to transfer their Super 8 films to DVD and I made a Star Wars tribute film featuring an animation of our station wagon as a spaceship. It’s also sort of like the time Richard Dreyfus built Devil’s Tower out of mashed potatoes.) I should note that This Is How The World Ends … At The Movies is hardly comprehensive because I wanted to leave room for robot doodles and so forth. Hopefully, though, you’ll still find a few of your favorites on here. You are most certain to find Gary Oldman and Jesus. Enjoy! (Click image to enlarge it on Flickr.)
It all began when Joe Daly found himself thinking of Brion James. You know, the bug-eyed replicant in Blade Runnerwho gets kind of nervous when he takes tests. This led to Daly’s stellar list of the ten greatest character actors of all time, which led me to add five of my own in commentary – including Chris Cooper, John Hawkes, Mark Strong, Clancy Brown, and Brian Cox, in case you’re curious. It would seem, though, that neither of us found ourselves thinking of women in these sorts of roles. At first I reasoned, “It’s because there aren’t any! All the good supporting character-centered roles are written for men!” Then I had a vision of Joan Cusack in Say Anything pausing in the chaos of her young single-mom-hood to remember how she used to be fun. Then I couldn’t stop thinking of great female character actors in more substantial roles than this little blip in the Cameron Crowe classic. So, without further ado, here are ten great female character actors for your consideration …. read the rest here.
Special thanks to Stymie Magazine for hosting a fun and fabulous reading at Chicago’s Theory Sports Bar on AWP weekend recently. Here I am reading a squashed-down version of my brand spankin’ new creative non-fiction story, “Sport of the Future,” scheduled to appear in full in Stymie’s spring “Feminine Perspectives” issue. There’s video, but my voice is little (and I thought I was yelling) and the background noise, not so much — so you’ll just have to imagine me saying: “I’m gonna snap your chin-up bar in half with my Chuck Norris hands!”
New Years Resolution: update blog in a timely manner … starting right after I post this news of a piece that ran almost a month ago. But if you love film and you love to write and you love writers in film, this one may have been worth the wait. Thanks to Ryan Rivas for including my Ten Lessons of Fictional Writers in Film on the Burrow Press Blog in December. The following is only the first lesson. Check out the rest here and have a look around Burrow Press while you’re at it.
In Funny Farm, Chevy Chase plays a writer who moves to the middle of nowhere in order to jumpstart work on his manuscript in solitude. When he’s finally done, he rents a hotel room, chills champagne, hands his wife his manuscript, and sits with his hands folded together in anticipation—watching intently, reading her facial expressions as the pages turn, leaning to check whether or not her laughter erupts in just the right places. Lesson? Don’t do that.