Tuesday, February 6, 2018


First (click to embiggen):

What I hope is the first of many yoga/writing workshops I will teach with the amazing Alicia Easter. Get in touch if you're in LA and you want to come. I'd love to see you. Facebook event is here.

I'm writing this post to warm up toward writing a review I don't really want to do. The book has been getting praise from all kinds of reliable sources, and the audience for the outlet I pitched fits the book like Legos locking together. But I'm dubious about the book. I'm not sure whether what it says is worth saying. I'm not sure why the narrator is worth rooting for; not that likability is necessary, but there has to be something redeeming or at least positive about a narrating character and I'm not sure that's the case here.

This morning I quit a book I was reading for review after 50 pages. I feel super guilty, because I made a bit of a fuss about getting the book and I had a great idea for a venue that would pay me for a review, but it's an even worse fit for me than the book in the prior paragraph. It's almost Victorian in its explanatory quality, in the plainness of its style, and I kept wanting to pick up a red pen and slash through whole paragraphs.

I didn't think I could afford to be picky at this stage of my work, but walking through mud sucks.

It's okay. The stack of books I have to read/review is still 10+ tall (including commissioned reviews, the existence of which in my wee life is slightly beyond belief to me). I haven't asked for any new ARCs in some weeks because of the backlog, and because I can't keep this up; the stack of non-review books I want to read is now alarming and I really want several weeks to hole up and read for fun instead. I can't keep reviewing at the rate I have been and still continue to enjoy reading. I don't know how this conflict is going to settle out, but that is how my life has been going for the past few weeks: in a pickle and not knowing how to dill.

My new obsession is the small press The Operating System, from which I bought a quartet of chapbooks after reading the wonderful book The Science of Things Familiar by Johnny Damm. The chapbooks are terrific, small and well-made, experimental and heartfelt.

Other parts of my life are interfering with writing, or possibly writing is interfering with other parts of my life and the other parts are retaliating dramatically. 2018 did not begin well, personally. The huge Tarot spread I did on New Year's Day tells me better things are ahead in February, but I'm unsure whether I'm supposed to be taking action or not. This is why trusting stuff like Tarot is so risky: you start to wonder whether the cards are interacting with your proactive efforts, or if you're supposed to sit still and let the world work.

Out in the world:

An essay about work, which I wrote over a year ago and which kept getting rejected. I knew it was oddly shaped and unparallel to itself, but I didn't want to change it; I wanted it to wind, like a story. Gayle didn't want to change it either, which is why I'm so happy that it's on Lady/Liberty/Lit. The title is a reference to The American Way of Death, which has become obscure, I think, even though no books have come along to replace it that I'm aware of.

A Books I Hate interview with Tomas Moniz. He is a very nice man and a fine writer.

Victorian Spam columns three, four, and five.

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