Sunday, July 29, 2012

Interview with poet and activist Joseph Ross

Joseph Ross recently published a magnificent debut poetry collection, Meeting Bone Man, from Main Street Rag Publishing. I've read with Ross a couple times, and I think he's one of the best around. He graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me:

Me: How did you come to writing poetry?

Joseph Ross: I started writing poetry in high school and boy, was it bad poetry. It was sentimental, predictable stuff. I continued in college but got more into songwriting. The lyrical work tried to be poetry but it really wasn’t. As I studied, read, and wrote more, I gave myself more and more to poetry. When I was in graduate school, in my mid-to-late 20s I began to take it more seriously.

Me: What was your inspiration for the image of the archetypal character of “Bone Man”?

Ross: The death of my mother was the genesis for Bone Man. Her death struck me very hard and I felt I was “seeing death” everywhere. So I went with that image. I wanted to explore what it would look like to see Bone Man, the personification of death, at a party, on the beach, driving in the car next to me? After all, I felt I was seeing him everywhere, so why not describe him in these places. It became a way to resist him, a way at least to say “I see you!”

Originally, the Bone Man poems were not part of the manuscript that became this book. But thankfully, my friend David Keplinger, director of the Creative Writing program at American University, suggested I use the Bone Man poems as the book’s organizing principle. I’m glad he suggested it. That suggestion helped the book fall into place.

Me: You often write poetry about other people when so many poets are much more focused on writing about themselves as windows to the world; was there an event that got you started in this direction, or have you always written the poetry of witness?

Ross: In some ways, writing poetry of witness can mask writing about myself. In writing about forgotten people in Darfur, I was, on another level, writing about abandoned parts of myself. Coming to know myself as a Gay man in America, I found myself writing about people or groups that were hated. I didn’t always write explicitly about Gay and Lesbian people but I saw my own experiences of exclusion present in the exclusions of others. So writing poetry of witness, on a deeper level, is sometimes about my own life.

I also think poetry of witness, poetry which some might call political, is very important in our time. We sometimes do terrible things to each other and poetry can be an effective voice to speak about those things. Perhaps we can make the world more beautiful and more kind with poetry about the ugly and cruel ways we sometimes treat one another.

Me: Tell me about Cool Disco Dan; what appeals to you about his work?

Ross: Cool Disco Dan is a graffiti artist in Washington, D.C. He’s been around, off and on, since the 1980s in the Red Line corridor of Washington, D.C.’s Metro system. My friend, Jefferson Pinder, first pointed out Cool Disco Dan’s work to me. Two elements of graffit art fascinate me. First, the announcement of self. Why would someone, especially a young person, feel the need to shout his or her name in huge, painted letters? Do these artists feel unseen or unheard? I think that’s a fascinating element of graffiti art. Also, I love graffiti art that seeks to memorialize someone who has died. Often, in D.C. at least, a local murder victim will be memorialized by a graffiti artist. The victim’s name might never be known to most people if the artist did not paint his name and birth and death dates. In this way, graffiti art is a modern elegy. It brings the dead back to life.

Me: Will you share the impetus for the Darfur poems from the collection? What inspired them?

Ross: One summer evening, a few years ago, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum held a slide show on one of the museum’s outside walls, titled “Faces of Darfur.” I went to this event and sat there on a hot August night, watching the faces of people suffering in Darfur flash over and over before me. I knew I wanted to write something about Darfur—poetry of witness again. So I read everything I could find about the crisis in Darfur and then began to write. I found myself writing persona poems, which I’d never written before. As a result, the Darfur poems are written in the voice of a worker in a refugee camp who washes and prepares the dead bodies. I hope these poems invite the readers to feel and see and hear what was happening in Darfur, because most of us will never go there.

Me: The thing that surprised me most about this collection was seeing that many of the poems either hadn’t been previously published. Have you encountered resistance in publishing your work, maybe because of the possibly graphic subject matter?

Ross: I always feel very fortunate that many of my poems have been published in various journals and anthologies. I don’t know that I’ve experienced resistance to my sometimes-graphic subject matter. I do choose carefully the journals where I send my work.

Me: Which writers inspire you and why?

Ross: There are so many poets and writers whose work inspires me. For years, I have loved William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda, and Lucille Clifton. Among living poets today I have great respect for Naomi Shihab Nye, E. Ethelbert Miller, Martin Espada, Randall Horton, Aracelis Girmay, Niki Herd, Jericho Brown—to name a few!

Me: Who are you reading now?

Ross: Right now I’m reading lots of fiction by Junot Diaz. His work is magnificent.

Me:  You’ve been doing a lot of readings to support the book. Any favorite venues or interesting stories you’d like to share?

Ross: I’m really grateful I’ve been able to do so many readings around the country. I thought it would be harder than it was. I had a terrific experience at a reading at DG Wills Bookstore in La Jolla, California. That bookstore has hosted lots of amazing poets and writers over the years so it was an honor to be there. I also had a wonderful experience in a reading at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. Many friends were able to come so that was an especially terrific evening for me. The launch reading at Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C. was also wonderful. The D.C. poetry community is a real family and it was great to launch the book here.

Me: You’re a teacher as well as poet; how do you balance the workload and still find time to write? Do you find that teaching adds to or takes away from your writing?

Ross: Thankfully, I’m not one of those writers who experiences long writing deserts. I find a way, both when I’m busy and when I’m not, to write at least a little everyday. The school calendar actually gives you a lot of time off—the summer! That’s a real gift to a writer.

I love teaching and I think it certainly adds to my writing. I get to spend my day working with young people on their own writing and discussing great literature with them. There’s a great dialogue in teaching. The teacher presents information-- or the text we’re all reading is presented-- and then we all respond. Teaching provides an opportunity to discuss some of life’s most important realities. What could be better for a writer?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Series

I've been working on this series of stories, two of which have appeared in Fried Chicken and Coffee here and here with a third forthcoming. I've written about half a dozen and have plans for two or three more. A published I won't name has expressed interest in them, which is awesome. The thing is, right now, it's just a bunch of stories with no shape or flow. I have ideas for a couple that might turn this into an actual collection, but I haven't written them yet and, unfortunately, have a pretty busy schedule coming up so I probably can't finish them any time soon, unless I just get really lucky. But who knows, maybe I will. I'm thinking a couple more stories and then one long one -- maybe a novella -- to round it out.

I just got a sneak peek at the cover for my forthcoming zombie novel. Good stuff.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Interview with Artist Greg Folken



Me: Can you tell me a little about the various mediums you work in? What are they, how did you get started with each, and do you have a favorite?

Greg Folken: I work in oil painting and printmaking. I drew when I was a kid and continued to draw through high school. Drawing classes are great because they train your eye to see. You analyze and dissect what you are seeing, allowing your eyes to see relationships between all of the elements of the visual field. I didn't learn how to paint with oil or make prints until college. My drawing experience carried over into painting and printmaking. Each discipline has its own unique challenges, so I like them all.

Me: How long have you been painting/printmaking/etc.?

GF: I've been making art for about 10 years.

Me: Tell me a little bit about process. How do you get started with a work of art? How do you know it’s finished?

GF: I like to look through photographs that I've taken, old and new, to generate ideas for work. Most of the time as I'm out in the world or within my own, I'm studying my view. Often I'll see something in a way I hadn't seen it before--in a way that gives the scene and its participants new meaning. I'll grab my camera and capture the scene. Other times I'll get an image in my head, perhaps from a dream. I will recreate it, using myself or willing friends as the models in the scene, and photograph it. Once I've got a shot I can work with, I'll make adjustments using Photoshop and then print the photo out to work from.

If I'm making a monotype, I roll out an even layer of etching ink onto a sheet of thin plexiglass--my printing plate, covering the entire surface except for the very edges. I hold the photo in one hand while manipulating the ink with the other, looking back and forth between the inked plate and the photo. Using paper towels, toothpicks, q-tips, and my fingers, I wipe away the ink and draw into it, recreating the photo in the ink. The ink will start to dry after about 3 hours. Once I'm satisfied with the image, I soak a sheet of printmaking paper in water and blot it. I then lay this dampened paper on top of the plate and run it through a printing press.


 If I'm making a painting, I plot a few key points from the photo and transfer them to the canvas. I then draw the image on the canvas. Once the underdrawing is complete, I start painting. One of the great things about oil painting is that I can spend more time on the piece. I can make it look exactly how I want it to look. If I'm not satisfied with something in the painting, I can wipe it away or paint over it. I recently heard a painter say that they never finish a painting, they just stop working on it. I try to get to a point in the painting where I feel that I can live with it.

Me: What draws you to art? What do you get from it?

GF: Early on I found that art was a way for me to make sense of the world. A lot of things that I had passively accepted in my life -- religion, values, people -- were not making much sense to me. I felt that I had some level of control, some grasp on reality, if I could represent on paper a group of objects or a figure.

Art is a great way to examine and explore consciousness--to see how fascinating the mind is. I can look at a work of art to study the artist's technique and also to study the mind. Every aspect of a work--from the size, to the style, to every single brush stroke--represents a choice.

As much as I plan out a work, it gets to a point where my mind, my gut instinct, or my self takes over and just creates. I know what I need to do and how to do it. All of my acquired knowledge and ability is right there up front. Distraction, doubt, hesitation--all that is still there, but it doesn't matter anymore. I know that I have everything I need right here within me to take on the challenges that come up. The whole process allows me to learn about myself. And the more I know myself, the more it seems that I know the universe.

Me: If history will remember you for one piece/project, what is it, or have you created it yet?

GF: Withdrawn seems to resonate with people. And it's part of the permanent collection of The Art Museum of South Texas.


Me: Whose work do you admire?

GF: I like the detail and style of Wyeth; his subject matter is depressing. I enjoy Raymond Pettibon's style and power. Alex Grey--I admire his goal of transcendence. James Turrell does beautiful things with light. Nan Goldin's photos are an influence. Krystle Cole's fractal art is amazing to stand in front of--the infiniteness and depth is striking. I'm grateful for getting to view it often. Andy Goldsworthy takes nature to another level. I admire Banksy for the risks he takes to get his message out. Lately I've been studying methods artists use to market and sell their work. I admire the ability of some artists to make a living from their art.

Me: Where can I find your art?

GF: Half my work is in Above and Beyond Corporate Gifts and the other half is in Mead Street Gallery, both in Wichita, KS. They will be there through July 23. All of my work can be viewed online at http://www.gregoryfolken.com/.

Me: I see you make some funny videos called Getting High With Greg on Youtube about ‘natural highs’; how did you get started with these?

GF: A lot of them are natural, but my main objective is to keep it legal. It started one night when I was wanting to explore my consciousness but didn't want to risk losing my freedom. So I looked into legal ways to get high. I found out that theobromine can create an effect similar to MDMA--ecstasy--and is commonly found in chocolate. Did a little more digging online and found that dark chocolate, and in particular Hershey's Special Dark, contains the highest amounts of theobromine. So I went to Dollar General and picked up a large bar of it and ate it. The state and federal governments don't forbid its citizens to explore their consciousness, just the chemicals that make it safe and productive. I thought it was a bit ridiculous and pathetic, but it was fun. I recorded the experience along with a few more and decided to share them. I created a YouTube Channel called Getting High With Greg.

Me: This is a controversial subject in a country that seems to be going more and more towards a conservative extreme. Have you had any negative backlash about these videos?

GF: A little, but most of the negativity has come in the form of criticism of the amount I take or the methods I use to ingest the substances. Due to the subjective nature of the experience, I would not have guessed that there are drug snobs. Despite this, I have received a lot of support, encouragement, and, um, advice and tips.

Me: What are you working on now?

GF: I'm working on a series of paintings of my fiancee Krystle Cole, the founder of NeuroSoup. I'm also painting a portrait of her cat Karma that will be featured in L'Image, an art printing and framing store at the Towne East Square Mall in Wichita. Next month I begin the Master of Fine Art program at Wichita State.

Oh, and I'm shooting footage for new GHWG videos...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Writing Update

I've been writing tons of reviews lately, several for Ampersand Magazine's website, several for Gently Read Literature, and a few more either for the blog or to send out to various journals. I've even got a paying one or two lined up.

I picked up two columns for Monkey Bicycle, one reviewing journals -- I've got a couple print lined up as well as several of the oldest online journals -- the other, a monthly series on the post/non-MFA writing world. I'm pretty excited about these.

I'm knee-deep in another novel I hope to finish this week. It's odd -- the idea just came to me, and I started on it a day or so later with no plan or anything. Usually, I sit on an idea for a while and have an outline. After I finish this one, I hope to get back to two series of linked stories I've been working on off and on for a while.

The one thing I haven't been writing much lately is poetry. I've met a few people lately who said, "I thought you only wrote fiction." That's crazy to me. No matter how many novels or short stories or whatevet I write, I still consider myself basically a poet.

Anyway, that's it for now. I just keep piling it on, and somehow, I keep getting it all done.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Review of Ben Tanzer's My Father's House

My Father’s House, a novella by Ben Tanzer. Charlotte, North Carolina: Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2011. $9.95.


The narrator in Ben Tanzer’s novella likes to run, likes to feel the wind in his face, the pounding of his feet as he moves farther and farther away from what’s behind him. He doesn’t like to talk about his feelings or his problems, though; he’d much rather run. And that’s an issue, because he’s having some problems. His father is dying of leukemia, and as the novella follows the family through attempt after attempt at treatment, each more desperate and with less chance of success, the narrator has to run more and more to escape his burgeoning realization that there’s no real hope for saving his father’s life. He also drinks, spends long nights away from his wife, and ignores things he maybe shouldn’t. But he keeps on running.

My Father’s House is a portrait of a man falling apart emotionally as his father falls apart physically. Tanzer explores the perspective of the son who is, at times, angry at his father’s past transgressions, terrified at his father’s looming probable death, and peering forward at a future beyond this scenario. The narrator balances his anger at his father with anger at himself. His father has always been a ‘tough guy’, which means he doesn’t talk about or show his feelings, and the narrator is determined to follow suit.

This novella is about relationships, from the narrator and his wife who suggests, at one point, having a child because it might be a good donor match for the dying patriarch, not realizing the weirdness and pressure she was putting on her husband by bringing this up; to the narrator and past friends he encounters during his many trips to visit the family. The narrator is aware of his actions and motivations. He doesn’t always act accordingly, but when he missteps, at least he knows it. This is a thoroughly modern character, who’s been to therapy, who’s left behind outdated stereotypes, and, similarly, Tanzer avoids outdated and clich├ęd tropes in his writing; his narrator may run to escape dealing with his feelings, but this isn’t a heavy-handed exercise in symbology; instead, the narrator is fully aware of what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.

Tanzer’s prose is clean and clear. He gets to the heart of each scene, each conflict, without wasting a moment. He also avoids melodrama in what could easily be an over-the-top book in less capable hands. Tanzer also places the novella in time with cultural references to movies, especially. It’s as though he’s saying that in the looming absence of a father, this narrator looks to the culture at large. Similarly, he doesn’t look to religion or some ethnic denotation for solace; he looks to film, which is an interesting insight into the mores of this generation.

Ben Tanzer’s novella is a good read, as are all of Tanzer’s books that I’ve come across. Tanzer is not-that-slowly building a strong body of work, demonstrating again and again that he’s a writer to keep track of.

-CL Bledsoe

Monday, July 09, 2012

Time Management

I was interviewed by a lady a while back who had aspirations to be a writer. I offered to read something of hers, and she replied that she didn't have anything new, what with work and everything. I politely let it go, but the truth is this is a bullshit statement. The truth is, this person isn't a writer and probably never will be. If you can't carve out some time to write regularly, well, you aren't going to write anything. If you don't write, you're not a writer. I'm not saying you have to write every day, though, really, if you want to build up a body of work you need to try to write on a fixed schedule. Raymond Carver said he would write on weekends when he was struggling to make ends meet -- he'd borrow a friend's office and hole up for a few hours to pound something out. What I'm saying is if you want to actually be a writer, you make it happen.

For me, it's kind of the opposite of Carver. I tend to be able to find some time during most weekdays -- maybe a lunch break, whatever -- whereas weekends and holidays are a struggle because I'd like to actually see my wife and daughter from time to time, though I still tend to write every day. I work as a teacher and college counselor, which means I'm very busy. I also have a baby. And yet, I manage to write SOMETHING just about every day, usually a thousand words. And I hear other folks talk about how much more they get done.

But my point isn't to scold folks for not writing every day, just the opposite. If it's a struggle for you to write regularly, don't bother. Give up the pipe dream. You're not a writer and you most likely never will be. Doesn't that make life easier? Now, you can watch TV or play video games or go out with your friends and not feel guilty. You're welcome.

Because the reality is writing isn't a chore. If you're a writer -- truly a writer -- it isn't a question of banging away at the keyboard as though you're going to the gym. It's the exact opposite. Writing is what you'd rather be doing when everything else gets in the way. And I don't mean that in a euphemistic way. Writing is a compulsion. When I don't write for a day or two, I feel it, physically. I get cranky. I feel stressed. I get headaches. But all I have to do is write, and I feel better. It's really most analogous to an addiction.

Only slightly less annoying (and frankly sad) is the complaint that "I don't have a good writing space." A writer can write anywhere. I've written locked in the bathroom at my in-laws. I've written on airplanes. I've written while children scream and play in the next room. I've written while my students worked on an assignment. I've written while driving (I usually pull over, but I can't always). Obviously, I'd prefer to write in a quiet room with a cup of tea, sitting in a comfortable chair, etc., and many times, I do just that, but I will also pound out a thousand words while I'm in my office waiting for a student to come to a meeting, or whenever I have some free time. I'm writing this while my wife puts our daughter to bed. My daughter is screaming and fussing because she wants to play, and I'm typing away.

As Billy Crystal's character said in Throw Mamma from the Train, "A writer writes. Always." So please, stop blogging about how you don't have time to blog. Stop writing about how you don't have time to write. Either write or don't. But don't try to guilt yourself into it. That's not how it works.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

An Interview with Author and Editor Meg Tuite

Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in numerous journals including Berkeley Fiction Review, 34th Parallel, Epiphany, Valparaiso Fiction Review, JMWW, One, the Journal, Monkeybicycle and Boston Literary Magazine. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She is the fiction editor of The Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press. She is the author of Domestic Apparition (2011) San Francisco Bay Press, Disparate Pathos (2012) Monkey Puzzle Press, Reverberations (2012) Deadly Chaps Press and has edited and co-authored The Exquisite Quartet Anthology-2011, stories from her monthly column, Exquisite Quartet published in Used Furniture Review. Her books can be purchased at: http://www.megtuite.com/

Her blog: http://megtuite.wordpress.com/.

Me: How did you come to writing?

Meg Tuite: I don’t know if you read my essay up at Jennifer Haupt’s Psychology Today’s blog in June, 2012? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-true-thing/201206/her-mothers-daughter
That says a lot about my childhood. My mother was a librarian and an extremely prolific reader and so our family was marching up to the library every weekend to get six new books each week. My siblings and I would trade books because we always finished the one’s we’d chosen before the week was up. I used to write poetry on the cardboard from my dad’s shirts from the cleaners when I was six or so and at some point attempted to write a novel about a girl running away. My mother was a bit concerned. Kept asking me if it was fictional. I don’t remember my answer.

Me: I see that you write poetry and fiction; do you consider yourself more a poet or fiction writer? Are there advantages to one form or the other for you?

Meg: I have always loved poetry and poetic prose. I have a chapbook of my poetry/prose poems coming out this month through Deadly Chaps/Joseph Quintela’s A5 series. Very excited about that! But, I’ve published mostly fiction and am teaching a class right now on flash fiction. Without a doubt, I have written way more fiction in long or short form than poetry, but that doesn’t account for the lust for rhythm and the movement of words in sentences that I try to attain in everything I write. I did just finish a novel and that was interesting, hellish and somewhat competitive. Me against myself, as always.

Me: The poems and stories of yours I’ve read have had a surreal bent to them. What draws you to this rather than straight realism?

Meg: I’m so glad you have read them as surreal. I have many hybrids, but tend to see myself writing very intense characters in stifling situations. The feeling of being trapped in one’s body, relationship, family, etc. I am always trying for something that will get some feeling from a reader. The best deal for me was when I’d read a story, “Creep,” at a Santa Fe venue about a father who had beaten his kids and was now sitting in a wheelchair in a rest home with one daughter who came to visit him, and their strange relationship. Some guy, after the reading, came up to me and said, “Damn! That was my father you wrote about.” And then he told me he was now motivated to write his memoir that he’d been afraid to write. I don’t think it gets better than that for a writer. The story was published in Specter Magazine in Sept. 2011. http://www.spectermagazine.com/one/tuite/

Me: Is it difficult to balance editing two journals: Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press? Do you find that editing hurts or helps your writing?

Meg: I enjoy editing and reading manuscripts. And they are two completely different birds. SFLR is an annual print magazine, whereas CP is a bi-monthly online magazine. We’ve just finished the last round of edits for SFLR and the 2012 issue will be coming out sometime this month. And so the last few months have been busier than usual. But CP is an ongoing magazine and I try to read at least a few submissions every day. I feel honored to be able to read a writer’s work before it’s been published. And when I find a great one, it makes my month. I’m ecstatic!

My flash fiction class I’m teaching this summer has a mix in the curriculum of classics from other eras and work that I have found unforgettable of the contemporary writers out there now. It’s exciting when my students ask about a specific writer I know and want to buy their book or check out their blog.

Me: As an editor, you must’ve noticed the glut of online journals out there. Is this a positive or a negative? Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Meg: It’s interesting because the last five years or so have seen a huge change in the publishing world. I used to send my manuscripts to print magazines exclusively. I wouldn’t even consider an online magazine. It was just like when I was a media buyer in advertising in the early 90’s, and no one would consider buying cable stations. We thought they were a joke, going nowhere. Well, we all know who the joke was on now. Most of the work I have published in the past two years has been through online magazines. My work is read by more readers, by far, in an online magazine. Most writers can’t afford to buy subscriptions to the print magazines. I do tell my students that they should subscribe to at least one print magazine a year, and a few if they can afford it, to keep the print magazines in circulation. We should all do that. Another huge change is that all my submissions used to be via snail mail and now most of the magazines (print, as well) are taking online submissions. That makes the turn around pace a lot quicker.

It’s a whole new universe and yes, I do see a vast number of online magazines coming in and dropping out. It takes a lot of work to keep a magazine going, whether it’s online or print and some people jump into it without knowing what they’re getting into. I just read fiction for CP and that takes a lot of time. I can only imagine what kind of pressure Ken Robidoux, the founder/editor-in-chief, has to produce such an exceptional magazine twice a month with so many diverse columns in it. He started out small and didn’t expect any compensation for it, except for the enjoyment of putting out other writer’s work. He has a strong will and an endless imagination that keeps his magazine growing and he rarely sleeps. That, I know. This is a deep commitment if someone is willing to sacrifice a lot, a lot of time and energy. He has an extensive audience that spans all the continents (except Antarctica), unless something has changed since last we spoke and he has readers there as well.

Me: Would you mind telling me a little about your novel in stories Domestic Apparition?

Meg: I published all, but one, of those stories in various literary magazines. I sent DA out as a collection and got two publishers that wanted to publish it. I went with San Francisco Bay Press and the publisher, Jeff Hewitt, asked if we could rework the stories into a narrative with the same family and the same narrator. I saw that it was possible and so went at it and then after a back-and-forth with his editor, Bob Arthur, we pulled together what we decided to call a novel-in-stories. I was very happy with it when it was done.

Me: What was the genesis for this collection; is it autobiographical?

Meg: I could never say that it’s a memoir because I always work toward a good story, if I can. So what may have been inspired by a real incident, quickly got lost in my mind-trench of writing something that was believable, meaning, not as strange as the truth.

Me: Who are you reading? Who are your inspirations?

Meg: I have been reading a lot of collections lately. Paula Bomer’s “Baby & Other Stories,” “Three Squares a Day With Occasional Torture,” by Julie Innis, “Cul-de-Sac,” by Scott Wrobel. I have just received six more books in the mail: J.A Tyler, Michael C. Keith, Ryan W. Bradley and David Tomaloff, Nate Jordon and Mary Stone Dockery–all exceptional writers who have inspired me consistently. I find that poetry collections and poetic prose tend to stay near my desk more often than others. They give me a jolt when I’m feeling nothing coming my way.

Me:  You’re very prolific. Would you mind telling me a little about your writing process: do you write every day, do you have a specific routine, etc.?

Meg: I try to write every day. My intention doesn’t always manifest, but I make sure to read some manuscripts each day and I’m always reading books when I can. I figure if it’s not coming on the page then something is brewing in my head. At least that’s what I make myself believe.

Me: If history is going to remember you for something you’ve written, what will it be, or have you written it yet?

Meg: God, I hope I haven’t written it yet! Don’t we always look toward the next venture, Cort?

Monday, July 02, 2012

Child (Death) Proof

How to Childproof a House

1. Find a midget. Get him/her drunk to the point where s/he can only crawl around. Then, turn the midget loose on your house. Tell him there's beer or snacks or gold hidden somewhere; whatever s/he'll believe. Follow the midget around, seeing what kind of trouble s/he gets into. Then, after s/he passes out and you've called the police to remove him/her for 'breaking and entering,' all you'll have to do is follow the blood stains!

2. Invite a coworker with a baby over for dinner. They will be desperate to come for the sake of adult human interaction -- but stipulate that they have to bring the baby. Then, after the coworker has had a couple drinks, convince them to let the baby crawl/walk/run around your house. The child will find anything dangerous for you. Then, all you'll have to do is simply clean up the mess and fix all the problems the baby found! You can also use a niece or nephew for this, if you don't like the kid very much.

3. Duct tape pillows to your child. This could get expensive; duct tape doesn't grow on trees. On the plus side, you will probably be able to keep your drinking problem with this option.

4. Similar to option 2, you can substitute your own child for the coworker's child. The drawback, here, is that your child is probably going to make a mess. Or maim him/herself.

5. Remove any and all items from your home. This is the only way to be sure.