10 February 2008


"My old typewriter was named Olivetti. I know an extraordinary juggler named Olivetti. No relation. There is, however, a similarity between juggling and composing on the typewriter. The trick is, when you spill something, make it look like part of the act."
- Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

It could be the real secret to success. It's really about perspective, then. Isn't it?

Some years ago, we waited in a long line upstairs at Powells after hearing Tom Robbins read from his latest book - I lose track which one. It was hot and there were more people than I ever expected. Robbins is Rick's all-time favorite writer and my appreciation was due mainly to his recommendations. Mr. Robbins was gracious and unhurried as he signed our books.

I am generally baffled into silence by autographing authors, especially if my admiration extends to a larger body of work and the success as a working writer. I could only offer my name over my worn copy of "Roadside Attraction."

Tonight Herbie Hancock won a Grammy for Album of the Year. What an achievement. What a musician. He is one of the sounds of my childhood.

It's after midnight. My life is messy. Full. Amazing. All the balls in the air. . .


06 February 2008

How do they get those big teeth into the Mammoth?

Last year I made a total of 346 submissions to a target group of literary magazines and anthologies. As a result, 6 pieces were accepted. 1.734%.

Granted, my story "Black Bird" skewed the statistics since I wrote and submitted it during the 3rd quarter of the Monday Night Football Giants/Falcons game and it promptly won (as did the Giants) the Whidbey Writers Student Choice Award the next day (the story-not the Giants). Definitely my unicorn.

But I digress. If it takes 346 submissions to achieve 6 publications, how many does it take to get a novel published? Or does that just count as one piece?

Three years ago (has it been so long?) I couldn't even fathom writing a novel. Heading up Dangerous Writers, Joanna Rose and Stevan Allred kept telling me it was possible. One bird at a time.

Now I have the first draft of a novel - working title "Something Big Far Away." And another in progress - "Thicker Than Water." Although lately I am inspired by Jim Harrison's novellas, so perhaps it is a short novel.

OMSI opened up the new dinosaur exhibit for members only. We had no idea there were so many other science geeks in Portland. What a relief.

2 rejections today. 2 submissions. Who says there's no balance in the world?


27 January 2008

Oh the Snow

My eyes are still a bit sun-affected after spending the day in the snow up in the Gifford Pinchot forest, above Swift Resevoir and south of Mount St. Helens. At Eagle Cliff, a sheriff flashed his lights at us to say that the roads ahead were unplowed with 14"-16" of new snow.

"I turned around. Not going to make a mail run today. But you can go if you want," he said. "Not like you can go off the road. The sides are all piled up."

Up the road to Curly Creek, we followed a truck pulling a snowmobile trailer, staying in the tracks cut ahead of us. The big fir trees were so weighed down by the snow they looked like folded up umbrellas. The Jeep slipped around, but Rick kept us more or less on track in between the walls, kind of like a pinball. Sans the giant flippers.

Random thought? It's a fine line of perspective whether you see your place and feel like you have something to do with how and why you are there or you feel like someone else got you into this mess and that same someone should probably step up and make it better for you.

Submission count this weekend: 13