15 February 2008

More Juggling

"I was juggling my own self as well in a kind of matching spiritual feat, performer and performed for, and so, entranced, had no mind for the rest of the world as for instance the LaSalle coupe that came around the corner of 177th Street and Park Avenue and immediately pulled up to the curb in front of a hydrant and sat there with its motor running, nor of the Buick Roadmaster with three men that came next around the corner and drove past the warehouse doors and pulled up at the corner of 178th Street nor finally of the big Packard that came around the corner and rolled to a stop directly in front of the warehouse to block my view, if I had been looking, all the boys slowly standing now and brushing the backs of their pants, while a man got out from the front right-hand door and then opened, from the outside, the right rear door, through which emerged in a white linen double-breasted suit somewhat wilted, with the jacket misbuttoned, and a tie pulled down from his shirt collar and a big handkerchief in his hand mopping his face, once a boy known to the neighborhood as Arthur Flegenheimer, the man known to the world as Dutch Schultz."

- Billy Bathgate, E.L. Doctorow

It's my favorite sentence.


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?