Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From the Hammock to the Desk

I spent a week at Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia (near the gorgeous city of Savannah)-- and I'm just getting back to work. Although-- this was a first-- the beach house was wireless, so I kept up with email between watching the shore birds and wading out to watch the dolphins.

I'm in the middle of Susan Choi's A Person of Interest. I'll have more to say about this wonderful novel when I've read the last page. All I can say now: Choi is a writer of enormous talent.

I finished reading Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors and Dry. Scissors especially is one of those fascinating memoirs you tear through, thinking, how did this kid survive his family? Dark, funny, honest, shocking. Not since Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle, have I been so absorbed in a harrowing life story.

More later this week. Got lots of writing and revising to do. Not to mention a harvest of tomatoes and peppers to gather and a new batch of weeds to thin.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Zen of Writing

I'm guest blogging about the Zen of Writing over at A Good Blog Is Hard to Find. Come on over.

When you're in the zone, you're not even YOU, you're watching this story reveal itself (in hard glimmering icy plinks or long, luxurious warm rains-- the story is fickle as the weather), and, then, somehow, you're writing it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The raindance worked

And our parched red clay earth finally got some rain. Scenes from the garden:

Tomatoes blushing here (hiding there in the foliage) while the sunflowers chortle--they're so gregarious, such flirts.

Meanwhile, the bedroom windowbox is thrillin' and spillin':

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Good News and Good Book

Here's the latest good read I just devoured over the weekend:
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta is a real page-turner. I loved Little Children for its social satire, and the novel's appealing (and conflicted) characters, and I'm happy to say the Abstinence Teacher is a terrific follow-up, with humorous send-ups of suburban soccer moms (and dads), a born-again restless post-80's rocker, and a sex ed teacher who can't bring herself to cheerfully spout a new "abstinence" curriculum. As usual, Perrotta's tale crackles with inside jokes and laugh-out-loud moments, but his send-ups never lack heart, and his characters' internal struggles and conflicts with each other--make for a fascinating read.

Oh, and here's some good news I'm honored to share:

SC Arts Commission
Names 2008-2009 Artist Fellowships

The South Carolina Arts Commission Board of Commissioners has approved the 2008-2009 Individual Artist Fellowship Award recipients. This year, the Arts Commission is presenting awards totaling $30,000 to six South Carolina artists — two each in the categories of prose and poetry, and one each in music performance and music composition. Fellows each receive $5,000 in recognition of their superior artistic merit. Panelists named alternates in all categories.

The 2008-2009 fellows and alternates are:

Prose: Julia E. Elliott, Lexington County
Mindy Friddle, Greenville County
Jonathan Sanchez, Charleston County
Stephanie Young, Greenville County

And I'd personally like to send out a big thank you to the " Out-of-State Panelist" for Prose, Mako Yoshikawa.
  • A scholar and novelist, Mako Yoshikawa is an assistant professor at Emerson College in Boston, Mass. She has an A.B.D. from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. Her first novel, “One Hundred and One Ways,” was published by Bantam in 1999. A bestseller in the U.S., it has been translated into six languages. Her second novel, “Once Removed,” also published by Bantam, came out in 2003. She has received numerous honors, including fellowships from the Bunting Institute at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Garden Gargoyles

This one we call Guardian of the Menstrual Hut:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Third Angel

I just finished reading The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman...a real treat. Hoffman's storytelling is, as always, whimsical and compelling. The novel is divided into three narratives--three characters in three different decades, yet the characters are connected through a London hotel, ill-fated lovers, and each other (although they don't always see how--the reader does, thanks to the capable omniscient narrator). It's an appealing, effective structure (think The Hours and Three Junes).
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