54 posts categorized "self-promotion"

February 22, 2013

There ARE Second Acts in American Blog Posts

It seems my "damned if you do, damned if you don't" post about white writers writing about POC has been Tumblred and hit some sort of critical mass. It even reached people I know who missed it the first time around. Someone even emailed me today for permission to use it in a presentation. (The same day I deleted a comment calling it "reverse racist." I don't allow that term to be used on my blog.)

So I went to the original Tumblr post and read through all the comments (I still don't get Tumblr. Why make it so difficult to see people's responses?) and I find I have a couple more things to say.

  1. This is a "shut up and deal with it" post. It's not a post telling you what or what not to do with your life. It's a post telling white writers who have been fortunate enough to complete a book, find a publisher, find an audience, and have a public discussion happen about their work to "shut up and deal with the negative criticism in the midst of your good fortune." Shut up and deal with it.
  2. Dude, you don't know any of these people who might be criticizing you. Why would you let my saying that a few nameless, faceless (literally, this is the internet) POC will criticize you stop you from doing anything?

...

Yeah, that's pretty much all I had to say. Beyond that, whoever doesn't get it, doesn't get it. Maybe someday they will.

Also, here's a good rephrasing.

And here's a moment of perspective.

And, if anyone was wondering, here's an ideal response from a white writer.

March 13, 2011

The Apocalypse Artist on Stretcher

ShieldsSeeSaw

Hello everyone! A collaboration I worked on has just been posted on Stretcher, the local San Francisco arts webzine.

The feature is called See|Saw, and features works by artists and writers responding to each other. I was supposed to look at artist Christine Shields' work and respond to it, but she and I decided to get a little more complicated than that. She showed me a couple of her paintings, then I wrote a story responding to them. Then she read an early draft of my story and made a painting responding to that. (That's, of course, the painting you see above.)

Here's the post.

It was a really fun project and I look forward to seeing future See|Saw projects!

January 08, 2011

SLIGHTLY BEHIND Can Haz E-Reader Version!

Also, I just checked and the e-Reader version of Slightly Behind and to the Left is now available on Aqueduct Press' site, and on Amazon, both for $5.95.

Do buy directly from the publisher when you can, though -- I mean for small presses -- because then they get the whole price and not just the 50% or less that they get from distributors.

Yay!

Hey, my leetle book got onto io9's list of the top 15 books of 2010! Yay! It's good to have friends in high places!

Thanks, Annalee!

November 15, 2010

I'm Reading This Friday!

Fire flyer full color lo-res

October 04, 2010

Migration and Identity

No, this isn't another race post.

You might have noticed a slight change in the look of the blog recently ;). The amazing Derek Chung is redesigning my online personality right now. When he's done, I will not only have a MUCH prettier blog (though my soul will remain as schmutzig as a pig's latrine), but I'll also have a whole website with stuff.

Feel free to express positive opinions about the lovely redesign. And also feel free to tell me if something is uncomfortable or doesn't work right.

That is all.

July 25, 2010

Encyclopedia Project Vol. 2 Out Soon!

Hey hey hey!

So I submitted stuff to the Encyclopedia Project ... yeeeeeaaaars ago now, and stuff was accepted, and then other stuff happened, and as it turns out, stuff got published in my leetle chapbook first.

But now Volume 2 of the Encyclopedia Project is finally coming out!

The project is a very cool thing. It's an "encyclopedia" of narrative organized in narratives. The editors asked a buncha writers to select entries for each volume (1 is A-E, 2 is F-K) and collected these pieces (mostly stories and experiements) into encyclopedia volumes. Volume 1 came out about four years ago or so. And now Volume 2 is finally ready!

The book includes entries from such luminaries as Jonathan Lethem, Rick Moody, Chip Delaney, and Aunt Jemima (?). But there's also stuff from a bunch of really cool lesser-knowns. I'm super excited to be part of this and hope you'll spread the word.

Also, if you order now (the book will be out in October) you can get it for $25. That's a discount. Not sure how much it will be regularly, but probably at least $30. It's a serious, hardcover, encyclopedia. You can also get Volume 1 for $25, or both for $37.50. Do it!

June 28, 2010

Nobble Reading Thursday!

Hey all, I'm breaking out da nobble for a first ever reading this Thursday. For those of you in the Bay Area, it'll be at a private home in Oakland, so please follow the directions below to get the address.

Hope to see bunches of you there!

DEBUTANTES: A FIRST LOOK AT WORKS IN PROGRESS

with Sita Bhaumik, Samantha Chanse, & Claire Light

WHEN: July 1; doors 6:30 pm; presentation 7-9 pm

WHERE: a very lovely home in Oakland. RSVP at SFDEBUTANTES (at) gmail (dot) com

HOW MUCH: $5 suggested; proceeds go to KSW
(the broke and the forgetful not turned away)

WHAT: Three Kearny Street Workshop artists will present works in progress in fiction, theater/performance, and visual art. It is a complete coincidence that they are all female and mixed race. Tea, wine, punch, cookies, and finger sandwiches will be served. Someone will spike the punch. All proceeds from the event benefit Kearny Street Workshop's programs educating, supporting, and presenting multidisciplinary arts. Attendees are encouraged to bring seat cushions and wear flowered hats.

WHO:

SITA KURATOMI BHAUMIK is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and writer born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles. She is an MFA/MA candidate at California College of the Arts and likes to exhibit at galleries that appreciate good food. She is the art features editor for Hyphen magazine, a community advisor for Kearny Street Workshop, and currently teaches at Rayko Photo Center. You can reach her at www.sitabhaumik.com

SAMANTHA CHANSE is a writer&performer, educator, and arts organizer whose work has been presented with Kearny Street Workshop/Locus, The Marsh, the NY International Fringe Festival, Bowery Poetry Club, Asian American Writers Workshop, Asian American Theater Company, PlayGround in residence at Berkeley Rep, Intersection, Bindlestiff, and others. She received an Individual Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission, an Artist In Motion residency from Footloose/Shotwell, and an Emerging Artists Residency from Tofte Lake Center. She served as KSW's artistic director & as a Locus co-director, co-founded salon series Laundry Party, and is pursuing a MFA in playwriting at Columbia University in NYC as part of her bicoastal lifestyle. Her solo play, LYDIA'S FUNERAL VIDEO, will be published by Kaya Press in 2011. For more information please visit www.samanthachanse.com.

CLAIRE LIGHT used to be KSW's program manager and is now on the board. She has an MFA from San Francisco State, a little collection of short stories called SLIGHTLY BEHIND AND TO THE LEFT from Aqueduct Press, and a Bay Area-based freelance practice in nonprofit hackery. At this event she will be debuting her novel-in-progress, CHINAMAN TREETOPS, an intensely literary masterpiece about a Chinese feng shui master on Mars.

June 02, 2010

I Am Writer, Hear Me Read

Just poking my head in for a second to note that a story I recorded for KQED's "Writers' Block" podcast is now up on the internet. You can check it out onsite here, or just listen to the embedment below. ... or, you know, just ignore it.

April 26, 2010

Reading This Friday!

Hey Bay Area Friends!

I'm doing a reading this Friday with NY novelist Ed Lin, whose second mystery novel SNAKES CAN'T RUN is coming out.

Info:

Friday April 30, 7:00 pm

Eastwind Books of Berkeley
Ed Lin reading with Claire Light and Joel B. Tan
2066 University Ave.
Berkeley, Calif.

(510) 548-2350

Hope to see some of you there!

April 06, 2010

Beautiful Websites

I'm finally getting the website train rolling. It's a part of my declaring that this first book will not be the last; declaring a sort of grand opening of the professional enterprise of my writing (though I don't expect to ever make money off of it.)

So anyway, I'm collecting beautifully designed websites that can help me and my designer figure out what I want. I'm going to post some here, and please post the URLs of any websites whose design you love and would like me to see.

Thanks!

The Bold Italic: this is an SF Bay Area culture, events, and tips magazine. Very cool design in terms of visual aesthetics, and also in terms of how they intend the site to be used (see the icons on the left edge of the frame?) Too busy, though, and a little difficult to figure out what the different categories mean. Also a little too difficult to figure out what the website IS at first.

Cranky Girl Archive Project: this is a very old art project around family archives online. The aesthetics aren't really me, but I just love clicking through this piece. Nothing here that I can really use for my own website, but it belongs on a list of website I dig.

Snog: a great commercial site for frozen yogurt. It declares its target demographic immediately, and brands hard and fast. I love the single bright color and the sepia photos against the white backdrop. A bit stark, but that works for me in this context. Great choice of photos too. Also a bit too busy with the text. I like a clean, simple homepage.

Like Falcon, for example: this is the anti-splash page. Eyeball kick, but no splash. Just the image that declares what the site is about (yay!) and a much smaller company logo. The navigation isn't hard to find or use, but it's so small and held back that it is essentially not there, aesthetically. I also dig how, when you move into the site proper, the aesthetic impact reverses and you have a black background with machinery guts, and white text. I don't do white text, but it's a great concept: outside/inside.

Monty Lounge: I don't like too much text on the homepage, but I love this idea: the text IS the graphic element. The only image on the entire site is the (small) logo. On this homepage, the text is text, not linked. But this would be a great idea for a writer's website: using chunks of text in different fonts, sizes, and shapes to link to pages, to be a graphical navigation that was more radially oriented, or at least oriented in tables.

Finch: I like the simplicity of this design, with the huge logo, the small nav bar on the side, and the single paragraph of blog text leading directly to the blog. The more complicated navigation is below in the dark, so it doesn't look like the one page is too cluttered.

Seven Trees: I like the framing conceit on this one, and how it is continued in the banner top and sides inside the site. Not my aesthetic, but it works for this company and is good branding.

Matt: Although I don't like how this site works (log in, enter through only one link), I like the aesthetic here, and how the aesthetic works into how the information on the site is presented: the drawing, the torn edge, it all works together.

Great Works: I really like this website, but there's nothing about it that I want for my own. It's got too many layers of navigation, too many different levels of logo, too much going on. I don't like a homepage that you have to keep scrolling down on. But I think it looks great for itself and works well for its purpose.

Colourpixel: Love the bright colors! Love how the theme demonstrates the company's title! The designer has a lot of stuff going on on this page, but somehow manages to keep things in order and easy to understand and find. That's some talent there.

Jak & Jil Blog: This is just a blog, but I love the "splash page": the type and the chic simplicity of it. It's a photo blog, so it can get away with not having any images in its design. I love that it does that.

March 18, 2010

Updates: Reading and Writing

Okay, since I hate writers' blogs that are just post after post of "look at my reviews!" I've decided to combine updates on my writing stuff with posts about other things. Ready?:

And in reading, I just disposed of Georgette Heyer's Friday's Child and The Reluctant Widow. Like I said before, I tend to consume Heyer books in threes. I enjoyed Friday's Child a great deal (although I feel like I've read it before ... probably because it's so similar in plot to others of hers) but didn't like The Reluctant Widow at all. The hero and heroine were neither of them attractive, interesting, or likable. So now I have to read a fourth one to finish out my Heyer fix.

March 11, 2010

io9 Review

I'm a bad self-promoter, but I gotta do this:

Annalee Newitz reviewed my book on io9! Yay!

February 23, 2010

Birthday Party/Book Release

Yay! As of three minutes ago, I'm officially fort-- er ... twenty-nine. Yay for me!

To celebrate, I'm having a party tonight (Tuesday) apropros of which the following information will be relevant:


Tuesday, February 23, 2010
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Socha Cafe, 3235 Mission Street, San Francisco

Come celebrate my four decades on this earth, and the start of the next four! Also: Help officially launch my new chapbook, SLIGHTLY BEHIND AND TO THE LEFT. I'll also be selling limited edition, hand-printed book jackets by Wasabi Press (see the image to the right and the video of Patty printing covers below!)

There will be readings (by me and others) as well as music and performances and silliness. We'll have a mic, so if you have five minutes' worth of something creative, please let me know!

Plus, we'll just be celebrating the start of a new, more morally prosperous and creatively appreciative decade. Yee Haw!

February 15, 2010

My First Review!

Squeeeeeeeeeee!!!

January 27, 2010

Reading and Interview

Hey all, quick self-promo here:

This Saturday afternoon I'll be doing a reading at the Oakland Library as part of the kickoff for the Oakland Word project, a series of free writing classes at the library. (I'll be one of the instructors.)

Here's the website with info on the program. And here's the event info:

Saturday, January 30, 2010; 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Oakland Public Library (Main) Auditorium
125 14th St
With words and music by:

  • Award-winning novelist DANIEL ALARCÓN, author of Lost City Radio and War by Candlelight
  • Poet and writer TENNESSEE REED, author of Spell Albuquerque: Memoir of a "Difficult" Student and multiple poetry collections
  • Our exceptional Oakland Word instructors, LINDA GONZÁLEZ, CLAIRE LIGHT, CARRIE LEILAM LOVE and BISOLA MARIGNAY
  • Beats provided by DJ MAX CHAMP
Also, Bryan Thao Worra just posted an interview he did with me on Asian American Press, which you can read here.

January 20, 2010

Squeal!

I'm on Amazon! Look! I even have a sales rank 'n' everything! (663,210 ... strangely that means nothing to me.)

December 13, 2009

My Chapbook Is Out! Yay!

Conv-series-26-cover  (Although someone pointed out that, because it's perfect bound, it's not technically a chapbook.)

Yay! My little book, called Slightly Behind and to the Left: Four Stories and Three Drabbles, and is available NOW at Aqueduct Press' website! (Click on the "orders" button and scroll down.)

Right now, for the holidays, the book, usually $12, is $9, so get it now! Also, the book is part of a series called "Conversation Pieces," which you can subscribe to at $80 for 10 consecutive subscriptions (and you can choose which title to start with.) I've read a handful of these titles and they're all worth it, so you might consider a subscription, or make it a gift for the feminist or progressive geek in your life.

OMG, I'm so excited!

November 10, 2009

Reports of Child Sex Abuse by Women Rising

This post on Broadsheet alerted me to a new study in the UK that shows reporting of child sex abuse has risen sharply, and with it the reports of women -- mostly mothers -- being the abusers.

Sex abuse claims directed at men still far outnumber those aimed at women. A 2007 United States Department of Justice report noted that females are responsible for less than 10% of sex crimes and less than 1% of all forcible rape arrests.  They also have a different modus operandi than male offenders -- including a higher likelihood of committing their crimes in caregiving situations and in concert with a male partner. But the uniqueness of female perpetrators can make it harder for victims, particularly boys, to come forward. The DOJ report noted “sexist beliefs that depict males as controlling all sexual encounters and females as passive and submissive recipients… Misperceptions exist about the ‘ability’ of women to sexually victimize males.” And the jokey cliche of a boy seduced an older woman muddles the seriousness of the crime.

This makes me prick up my ears because of that story I wrote a few years back (currently titled "Vacation") in which all the men disappear from the world and some women end up becoming sexually predatory with young boys. The story was inspired by the Mary Kay Letourneau case, in which a 30-something, white (blonde) schoolteacher and mother of four had an affair with her 13-year-old, Laotian student, and went to prison for seven years after she got pregnant with their second child, against a court order not to see him again. I wrote the story after reading that Letourneau had been released from prison and had immediately married her former student, who was at that point 22 years old.

The story isn't based on the Letourneau case, but is rather an attempt to explore in a more general way the kind of predatoriness that would cause a perfect Barbie-mom to go after a young boy who was in her care for much of the day (Letourneau was actually a grade school teacher, and the boy had been in her class when he was 11 and 12.) In this story I turned the tables, and actually had a rape?/not rape? scene in an alleyway. But the articles above seem to indicate that woman/boy sex abuse doesn't fit the stranger-danger stereotype any better than man/child abuse usually does (most of that happens within family or friendship circles.)

This gives me a lot to think about, like how my story works best where the public attitude is that women don't generally sexually abuse children. But this article has started to change my view of that. My tables-turning isn't quite so powerful in a world where a lot of women DO molest children. So I'm very disturbed by this on two levels. I might have to write another story, a different one, to get at whatever it is comes out of this.

By the way, I'm bound and determined to finish proofing the chapbook tonight, now that that grant is done. I hope the book, with "Vacation" in it, will be out in December.

November 02, 2009

I'm Reading On Nov 12!

Yep, another reading. Fall is a busy time. Since I'm counting down to my chapbook publication, I'll probably be reading something from the chapbook. Here 'tis:

Kimberly DaSilva & Guests*

Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia Street, San Francisco
November 12th / 7:00 p.m.
 
 
Local author Kimberly DaSilva will read from her current manuscript:  The Same Tide For Us Both, a ghost story about a demon, a mother, and the end of the world.
 
Kimberly’s work has been described as “impressive” by Kirkus and “elegant” by The Advocate.  She has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, an American Library Association Stonewall Book Award, as received an ‘also noted’ in Ebony Magazine.
 
Guest readers include a myriad of local writers of color and queer writers.  Come hear:  Claire Light / Natalia Vigil / Jaime Cortez / Carole Simmons / LeConte Dill / Elissa Perry / Kenji Liu / Adam Smyer / Mel Hilario / Mahru Elahi / and Rona Fernandez   all in one place!
 
Discussion between the audience and the writers will follow the readings.
 
*This reading is a product of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Grant program.

October 31, 2009

NaNoFiMo

I almost missed the beginning of NaNoWriMo, as I do every year, but I caught it in time, thanks to Justine's blog.

I've never succeeded at a NaNoWriMo-type project, but a few years ago, when I tried to write a No in a Mo (not exactly the Mo of November) I did get more than half of it written.

So I'm going to try (again) to use NaNoWriMo as an inspiration to Get Stuff Done. As in, Get My Novel Done. So this year's November is my National Novel Finishing Month, or NaNoFiMo.

Actually, I'm not going to finish finish Da Nobble; that's not even in my plan. I just want to finish the third draft. Once that's done revision should get easier. Here's how it's going to work:

  • Da Nobble is epistolary (written in letters) and is organized by mailbags. Each correspondant contributes one letter to each mailbag, of which there are 15. There are five correspondants, which gives us a grand total of 75 letters. I'm currently in the middle of the fifth mailbag.
  • Of course, some of the letters are short and some are long; some of the letters require hefty rewriting and some do not.
  • I intend to complete planned revisions on 3 letters per day--that is, three letters that require revisions--until I hit the difficult ones. The difficult ones are the ones that don't just need revision, but the actual incident described in the letters needs to be thrown out and rethought. For each one of these, I will simply work three hours per day on them until they're done.
  • I'll check in daily here.
That is all. Wish me luck!

October 23, 2009

Octavia Butler Panel Podcast

Okay, so I did a piss-poor job of advertising my LitQuake Octavia Butler panel appearance here, so I'm trying to make up for it now.

The Agony Column podcast came to the panel, which was part of the SF in SF series hosted by Terry Bisson, and recorded both the panel discussion, and separate interviews with each of the panelists: awesome black-lesbian-vampire-novelist Jewelle Gomez, awesome Latina-chicklit-vampire-novelist Marta Acosta, and non-vampire-novelisting me (but wouldn't it be cool if I had written Asian vampires and was able to complete a trifecta?)

The reading and panel was a tribute to Octavia Butler and a fundraiser for the Butler Scholarship, which is administered by the Carl Brandon Society (which I'm on the Steering Committee of.)

The podcasts have been posted now and here they is:

Yee haw!

October 21, 2009

My Views On The New NEA

Hey all,

I was asked to participate on a six-week blog panel discussing current issues surrounding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the federal government's national arts agency, now that it has installed a new director and will be facing new challenges (in this economy), and new opportunities (under the new president.)

The panel is hosted on Barry Hessenius' Barry's Arts Blog at the WESTAF site. Each week of the project brought in a new panel, composed of different sectors of the art world: 

  1. Former NEA
  2.  National arts leaders
  3. Funders - public & private 
  4. Arts Education leaders, Academia, Emerging Leaders, and Consultant
  5. Private Sector / Stakeholder
  6. Working Artists

We're now at week six and I'm on the panel of working artists responding to questions about how the government can best support and promote the arts in the coming years.

Please do check it out and comment at will!

August 19, 2009

Publication News!

Amid the moany-groany there's some good news:

The awesome Timmi Duchamp, editor of Aqueduct Press, has accepted a short MS of mine for publication in her Conversation Pieces chapbook series! Yay!

The book will be called Slightly Behind and to the Left, and will contain four stories: "Pigs in Space," "Pinball Effect" (which will be published as the "gravity" entry here,) "Abducted by Aliens!", and "Vacation." There are also three drabbles (100 word stories) in it, all written for FarThing, although she only took two (beeotch!)

It'll be out most likely by the end of the year, although that's not yet locked down. Open the champagne!

July 14, 2009

I'm Teaching A Blogging Class (post #666)

Hey Bay Areans,

I'll be teaching a weekend blogging workshop through Kearny Street Workshop this weekend in San Francisco's SOMA district. Saturday is a free two-hour blogging 101 class for absolute beginners. The goal will be to set up your first blog. Sunday is a three hour blog writing and marketing workshop with me and Glenda Bautista that costs $50.

You can get details here or below. Please spread the word to those folks in your life who want more blog in theirs!


Weekend Blogging Workshop

July 18-19, 10:00am - 1:00pm
KSW @ PariSoMa, 1436 Howard Street

This weekend intensive blogging workshop will take you from beginner basics to blog bragging rights. Sign up for one day or both, and get into the blogosphere.

DAY ONE: Writing 101 with Claire Light
Saturday, July 18, 11am - 1pm

This FREE two-hour class will help absolute beginners get off the ground. We will discuss what a blog is; what things (skills, technologies) you will need to start a blog; how to actually create your blog; and how to connect with the blogosphere so you're not casting your pearls into the void.

Prerequisites: familiarity with email programs and web browers; moderate skill with Microsoft Word; possession of a laptop with wireless.

Cost: FREE
Minimum class size: 4

To register, please email ellen@kearnystreet.org with your full name and contact info.

DAY TWO: The Art of Blogging with Claire Light and Glenda Bautista
Sunday, July 19, 10am - 1pm

This three-hour paid class is designed around examining blogging as a writing form, or a written art form. We will discuss blogging as a form; what are its opportunities and limitations; what is commonly done within the blogging form and what are some interesting outliers; what technologies exist to facilitate blogging as a writing form. We will discuss "blog marketing" not as a commercial enterprise but as a method of connecting to a community that furthers the art of the blog. We will also do writing exercises in various blogging forms, on the internet. The result of this three-hour workshop will be a number of blog texts and a group project (for example: a blog carnival, or possibly even a group blog.)

Prerequisites: you must have a laptop with wireless for the session and have an established blog; this session may not be ideal for absolute beginners.

Cost: $50 per person
Minimum class size: 5

To register by check, please send check or money order to: Kearny Street Workshop, PO Box 14545, San Francisco, CA 94114-0545. Or pay online by clicking here and then clicking on the Buy Now button.

June 12, 2009

First Book Trailer!

Wow! I'm super proud of this book trailer we produced for Kaya Press (Sam Arbizo did the work.) After having a look at the field, it seemed there was a lot of room for improvement. What do you all think?

(By the way, I'm still working on some longer posts. Just recovering from jet lag and getting back into the swing.)

May 25, 2009

atlas(t) Now On Twitter!

Just created a twitter feed for my mapping blog atlas(t). It's at atlastweet.

May 08, 2009

Busy Today


Brian 1 color300dpiWofford2

Brian Castro and Jenifer Wofford in conversation tonight at SomArts.

Now I have to go pick up Brian from the airport. Will be a headless chicken today.

December 29, 2008

10,000 Hours

I got a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers for Christmas and read it in one day. One of the things he talks about in the book  is the idea that, to achieve mastery over any field, you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice.

I'd heard theories like this before, but Gladwell unpacked it in a particularly enticing way. So naturally, the first thing I did was to calculate when I would have hit my 10,000 hours. I wasn't the only one.

It's hard to do, because I write, and have always written, everything: fiction, plays, poetry, screenplays, essays, articles, letters, journals, online discussions, and most recently, blogs. And I count all of this together. Although I recognize genre differences, and differences of purpose, as far as mastery of writing -- including the use of the imagination that is so necessary in fiction -- every kind of self-expressive writing that I do contributes equally to my development. I accept that other people may write differently, and may process their different kinds of writing differently. But I don't.

It's also a difficult calculation because I haven't written at a steady rate. There have been years when I would come home and just write for hours every day, and other years when I would write for a few hours maybe once a week ... and to no "productive" purpose. There were years when I wrote nothing "creative" at all, but rather handwrote letter after letter to friends who never received any of them. You know how it goes.

Anyroad, I decided to go conservative and average ten hours of writing per week. Starting at fifteen (the year I bought my first journal -- as opposed to my first "diary" which was bought for me when I was maybe 8 -- realizing that I could write down what I was ACTUALLY thinking rather than some boring YA version of "Dear Diary, this is what happened to me today ...") this would take twenty years; subtract four years (conservatively) for the long stretches when I was writing thirty hours a week, and that would put me at 31 when I hit my 10,000 hours.

I got very excited when I figured this out because 31 was, of course, the age at which I finished the first draft my "breakthrough" story, "Pigs in Space," the one that got me into grad school, got me into Clarion West, and then got published in McSweeney's. (McSweeney's subsequently asked me to record it for an audiobook, which you can download here.) It remains my sole big story publication, (although I'm sure that will change this year ;) ) so take that as you will.

More importantly, though, I remember writing that story, and it took me a while. I wrote the first part and it was a good idea, like a lot of "first parts" I had written before. But this good idea actually brought together a lot of social and political concerns that had been on my plate for a long time, but that I hadn't found a way to put into a story. I couldn't figure out how to end it, though, for a few months. After processing it internally, the solution popped into my head one day and I wrote the rest of the story. I then spent the next two years revising it, putting it through nine drafts, never quite satisfied that it was ready to go.

I turned it in as a writing sample for grad school, got in. Worked on it some more. Workshopped it in class. Wrote 20,000 words of backstory. Used it as a writing sample for Clarion West. Got in. We were supposed to workshop it the first week but I asked to do a new story, since I was sick of "Pigs." Fortunately for me, our first week instructor, Nancy Kress, had read and prepared a critique and gave it to me in our one-on-one session. It was a substantial, but simple, structural rearrangement that she suggested, and she was right about it.

It still took me a few months to see that she was right, but when I went over the story for that last draft, the scales almost literally fell from my eyes and I understood not only what Nancy had said about the structure, but why. It was a small moment that hid a huge transformation. After that, I could actually see story structure in my head: an amorphous, not quite solid, three dimensional shape.

When I look back on it, I think what I was doing was taking the last steps towards understanding story as an integral -- a living -- organism. Not thinking about it as a living thing, which is the same as saying "asking a question," but understanding it a such, which is the same as saying, "having an answer." Just one answer, of course.

That was also the point at which I realized that I had been struggling, without knowing it, toward an end goal which I had reached without ever defining it. And, in reaching it, I realized that it wasn't an "end" goal. The way I explained it to my students at the time was that writing is like running up a steep flight of stairs to a locked door at the top. You bang on and push against the door until it finally gives way ... and then you find yourself on a landing, at the foot of another steep flight of stairs with another locked door at the top.

What changed at that point for me was confidence in what I was doing, and in my ability to do it. This transformation actually took two years, but it started right around the time I would have hit 10,000 hours, and ended in the middle of a four year period where I increased my writing time to over thirty hours a week, adding over 5,000 hours to my total.

Okay, now you: when did you hit your 10,000?

November 30, 2008

I'm Boring

Don't agree with me!

Now that the election is over, I have nothing to saaaaaay! Argh.

But I've reshuffled some blogging dooties: I'm blogging again at Hyphen magazine, if you wanna check me out

November 05, 2008

Yay1000!

Over the next four years, there's gonna be a lotta Obama crit coming from this blog, so let me just take the opportunity right now to say: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy shit!

Last night was amazing! I spent the evening with some friends at their house and finally, we couldn't stay in anymore. We drove downtown. People were driving up and down Broadway in Oakland, honking and dancing. I stuck my hand out the window and a blockful of people ran up and high-fived me. Jaime said it was like we won the world cup but it was much, much heavier than that. People were elated, but also dazed and serious.

I hope this feeling lasts long enough for us to change the way we've been doing business. I'm so glad to have my country back.

Oh, also: Jaime made a chocolate cake with white frosting and an American flag on top in berries. Perfect.

October 23, 2008

Mono Lake Materials

Just a quick check-in: I'm up at my cousin's (bless him!) house on Mono Lake for a week (I'm halfway through the week now.) I had visitors with me the past five nights: Patty until yesterday and Sam the past three days until today. The next three nights I'm on my own. That's good, in its way, but it does mean that I'm not going to be reading Turn of the Screw in this phase of the retreat ;).

Patty was working on some sketches for her new calendar project, and Sam did some work yesterday on residency applications. I do not envy her. I've been working on an essay for Timmi, which I have no idea if it is good or not. (I also have no idea if I structured that clause correctly.) I'm hoping to get that done today so I can get at least two good days of work in on da Nobble, but I'm not sure that'll happen. This essay is a monster and it's killin' me.

Anyway, last night, after Patty was gone, Sam and I brainstormed. We are both looking down the barrel of Kearny Street Workshop's 10-year APAture retrospective (called Shifted Focus), part of which will be a reading and a performance night at the de Young Museum in conjunction with their Asian American art exhibition (called Shifting Currents, see what they did there?). I'll be doing a reading on December 3 and Sam will be doing a performance on January 23.

Anyway, we agreed a few weeks ago to a) both present new work created specifically for this event, and b) collaborate on that work by c) coming up with a set of "materials" from which we would both create our pieces. By materials, I mean characters (and names), concepts (like "fossil"), locations, (like "rooftop"), activities (like "two fisted drinking"), words, phrases, etc. The idea is that we'll come up with a short set of things--one in each category, perhaps five or less--which we will both be constrained to use in the pieces we create. (The examples I used above are probably not the ones we're going to use, by the way.)

So we're still brainstorming, but we'll have the set ready by next week. I don't think I'll post them here. I think, instead, I'll encourage you all to come to the reading (maybe I'll post a video of it on YouTube) and the performance and see the results for yourselves. Itsth an ecthperiment!

September 15, 2008

Carl Brandon Society Hispanic Heritage Month Book List

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month y'all!

If this looks familiar to you, it's because you've seen this sort of thing before.

Every national heritage month, members of the Carl Brandon Society (an organization of writers of color working in the speculative fiction genres) create a list of ten speculative fiction books in print written by writers of that particular heritage. The 2008 Carl Brandon Society Hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Reading List (I know, it's long) is below.

Please forward and post everywhere, take to your bookstores and libraries, tell all your friends! These are books worth reading, and it would be great if you could read one of them between Sept 15 and Oct 15 and blog about it! Yes?

*****

The CARL BRANDON SOCIETY recommends

the following speculative fiction books by writers of Latin American heritage

for Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • COSMOS LATINOS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SCIENCE FICTION FROM LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN: a terrific, five-year-old anthology of early-to-contemporary SF stories from Spain and Latin America, showing the breadth of Latino social concerns and imagination.
  • Jorge Luis Borges LABYRINTHS: A short story collection very like FICCIONES, his other book. Am not sure which one has my two favorite Borges stories: A) the story about the man who is on a bus trip and who is fated to die 2) the story about Judas being the real savior because he was the one who was despised and rejected of men. Just turning the entire Jesus story around and saying Judas was the lamb who sacrificed himself.
  • Adolfo Bioy Casares THE INVENTION OF MOREL: Casares was an Argentine writer in the circle of Jorge Luis Borges. MOREL steps directly into the realm of science fiction, in the tradition of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, dealing with unnamed technology and its very specific effects on human psychology.
  • Julio Cortazar HOPSCOTCH: Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books where you get to choose your own endings, make your own timeline, and generally skip around and rearrange the chapters? This is the best of the best. It's a novel about philosophy and order and meaning and quite fun.
  • Carlos Fuentes DEATH OF ARTEMIO CRUZ: This is the first book (the only book?) I ever read where each chapter is written in a different person. First person, Second Person, Third Person. There is also the great f*ck chapter. An old revolutionary is dying and thinking about his life. We see a lot about the Mexican revolution and get tons of stuff about political corruption.
  • Angelica Gorodischer KALPA IMPERIAL: a quirky collection of stories about a fictional great empire that rises and falls and rises and falls. Translated by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • Mario Vargas Llosa AUNT JULIA AND THE SCRIPTWRITER: hilarious, mischievous, and masterful...a wonderfully comic novel almost unbelievably rich in character, place and event.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE: Totally wonderful love story with folk-legend. It's like listening to one's hoo-doo believing grandmother telling you about events in her life. A lot of brothers, a lot of love, a lot of passion, a lot of spiritual cause and effect.
  • Guillermo Gomez-Peña THE NEW WORLD BORDER: the strangest book about performance art you've ever read, Gomez-Peña casts forward into, and writes news reports from a borderless future where whites are a minority and the language is Spanglish.
  • Juan Rulfo PEDRO PARAMO: A man goes back to his parents' village to try to find the father who abandoned him. Trapped there by ghosts, he learns the horrifying story of his father's evil deeds. One of the first "magical realist" novels from Latin America.
       

For more information, please visit www.carlbrandon.org.

July 29, 2008

Recent Figure-outey

Because of a recent post I did on my entertainment blog about the Bechdel test, I've been thinking about it lately. And the only big moobie I've seen this summer that passes that test is ... drumroll please ... the Sex and the City moobie. And I haven't even seen that movie.

Makes you think don't it?

July 03, 2008

My Entertainment Blog!

Hey all,

I know posting has been spotty 'round here lately. Partly because my outrage machine got broke when Obama won the nom. Now I'm keeping my mouth shut while I try to work up more than nominal (get it? nominal?) enthusiasm for his cause.

But it's also because I've been working hard to establish my new entertainment blog. It's called "EnterBrainment" and is my usual thinks-too-much maunderings, except this time, unrepentantly, about the trashiest trash trash.

I'm being paid, you see, to be a featured A & E blogger on a new blogging site called PNN, the personal news network. The innovation of this site is that you can lay out your blog to look like a newspaper, with different pages and sections. The result is halfway between a website and a newspaper, with columns and captioned photos, and headlines, and the works. You kind of have to see it to get it. The way the blogging software works is different from more "traditional" blogging software, and should appeal to people whose minds work in a more modular fashion. The software also rewards multitasking, unlike traditional blogging software, which pretty much restricts your blog posting to one track. Again, you have to see it to get what I mean.

What this all means for my blogging is that I'm getting an excuse to turn my formidable bitchiness on the lightest of pop subjects. It's pretty cool. It is, however, also taking time away from my other blogging.

So please go over and check out EnterBrainment (yes, I know, but I'm old enough to enjoy puns now) and slip me a link if you want. I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to have a blog roll or just a page of feeds. Feel free to make your entertainment blog known to me.

Yay!

June 21, 2008

I'm Gaius!

How did I miss this quiz?            
What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Dr Gaius Baltar

You have betrayed humanity, for a blonde.  However you'd rather people learnt to just get past that.  After all, you never meant wipe out the human race.  Luckily you are cleverer than everyone else, so no one will ever know.  Even though they look at you with suspicion behind their eyes.

         

Dr Gaius Baltar

         
81%

CPO Galen Tyrol

         
75%

Tom Zarek

         
69%

Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)

         
63%

Col. Saul Tigh

         
63%

Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)

         
50%

Commander William Adama

         
38%

President Laura Roslin

         
31%

Number 6

         
19%

Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)

         
6%
   

June 19, 2008

wordle

Wordlenobble
Via Justine, this wordle word cloud of the most used words in da nobble.

May 23, 2008

At Wiscon

Hey all!

Those of you at Wiscon who want to meet up should:

  1. Come to Opening Ceremonies at 7:30 tonight (Friday) for a Carl Brandon Society-led hootenanny.
  2. Come to the Carl Brandon Party tonight (Friday) after 9 PM in room 623, which we're sharing with the Speculative Literature Foundation. New and renewing members will get a special cocktail!
  3. Come to the Carl Brandon Society update panel tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 AM in Conference Room 5 to find out what's going on with the awards, the scholarship, our wiki, and other cool things we're doing.
  4. Come to my reading with Doselle Young and Alaya Dawn Johnson tomorrow (Saturday) at 4 pm at Fair Trade Coffee at 418 State Street.
  5. Come to the Carl Brandon Society panel "Some of Us Are Brave: Identity Intersections in an Election Year" on Sunday at 4 PM in Conference Room 5.

Plus, I'll just be around, dude!

May 07, 2008

My Wiscon Sked

Is as follows:

Carl Brandon Society Update
Join the Carl Brandon Society Steering Committee for some brainstorming, some celebration of people of color in SF, and an update including information on the Awards and the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship. The gang will mostly be there: Nisi Shawl, Victor Raymond, Candra Gill, Bryan Thao Worra, 'n' moi!
Saturday, 10:00-11:15 A.M.
Conference 5

Red Beans and Rice
A reading, starring Alaya Dawn Johnson, Doselle Young, Bryan Thao Worra, 'n' moi!
Saturday, 4:00-5:15 P.M.
Fair Trade

April 20, 2008

Death and Pop



Does anybody else find this video terrifying?

Sort of underlines why so little pop music deals with death.

April 07, 2008

One-Hit Wonder

Mcswe So it's coming up on four years since my story "Pigs In Space" was published in McSweeney's and it remains my only major publication.

Like a proper one-hit wonder, though, that same story is getting a new lease on life. Claire's greatest hit.

A month or two ago I recorded it on some portable equipment and now McSweeney's has released the first in what is supposed to be a series of audiobooks collecting pieces from various issues read by the authors.

The original idea was that we were to find some public place to record in that would put the recording in danger of being interrupted, or at times overridden by local noise. But that didn't work out for me, equipment-wise or in terms of ideas. (A friend of mine suggested an airport, but that had some obvious homeland security issues, and the nearest pig farm I could find on google is halfway to Sacramento.) So I just recorded it at home, interrupted only by my own amateurishness.

It's out now, and available on emusic. You can find it here. It's called McSweeney's Field Recordings: Close Calls and Dangerous Propositions.

I haven't heard it yet, but apparently, my "narration imbues [my] piece with an undeniably creepy tone." Hm.

April 01, 2008

I Knew That!

Space radiation endangers manned Mars expeditions.

Duh.

Hint: this is an issue in da nobble, WHICH I WILL START IN ON AGAIN THIS WEEK! YAY!

February 04, 2008

Carl Brandon's Black History Month List

Hey all,

As many of you know, I'm on the steering committee of The Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to increasing representation of people of color in the speculative genres. We've polled our members and come up with a recommended reading list of speculative fiction books by black authors for Black History Month.

The idea is for you to read these books this month, forward this list around to your friends, take this list into your local bookstores and ask them to display these books this month, post the list on your blogs and websites, etc. I hope you'll all strongly consider at least picking up one of these books and falling into it. It's a wonderful list, and your February will be improved!

So, without further ado:

THE CARL BRANDON SOCIETY
recommends the following books for BLACK HISTORY MONTH:

  • So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
  • My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
  • The Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust
  • Mindscape by Andrea Hairston
  • Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell
  • Futureland by Walter Mosley
  • The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  • Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

And the 2005 CARL BRANDON SOCIETY AWARD Winners:

• PARALLAX AWARD given to works of speculative fiction created by a person of color:
47 by Walter Mosley

• KINDRED AWARD given to any work of speculative fiction dealing with issues of race and ethnicity; nominees may be of any racial or ethnic group:
Stormwitch
by Susan Vaught

(cross-posted at Other magazine blog.)

February 02, 2008

Coolio

Looky, I am now a professional blogger! (Can you believe they're actually going to pay me for this crap?)

I got hooked up with KQED (the San Francisco NPR affiliate, for those of you outside of the Bay Area) and will now be blogging for their arts and culture section a couple of times a month. I'm covering the East Bay, so East Bay folks, bring your artsy fartsy to me.

Yay!

November 18, 2007

Blogroll

If you're the noticing kind, you'll notice that I took my categorized, annotated blogroll down because it was out of date and already too long.

I'm going to be revamping. It will probably still be categorized. It will probably no longer be annotated. Please consider this an opportunity to send me a link to add to my blogroll. Do it in the comments to this post, or send it to my email address, which you can access in my about page.

I WANT TO POST:


  1. My friends' and family members' blogs and websites. Please send!

  2. Blogs on topics of interest to me on this particular blog. This means that if you are not a regular reader of this blog, don't presume to know what would interest me.

  3. Blogs of organizations I have had something to do with, or organizations I would be interested in based on the regular content of this blog. This means that if you are not a regular reader of this blog, don't presume to know what would interest me.

I WILL NOT POST:


  1. Random personal blogs of people I don't know. I might not remember that I know you, so please remind me of how I know you ;).

  2. Corporate blogs of any kind.

  3. Blogs of organizations I don't know that don't have anything to do with my interests.

  4. Anything commercial.

  5. Any kind of randomness.

Seriously now, DO NOT SPAM ME! I will TAKE STEPS!

October 08, 2007

Come See Me Read!

Hey there, all! Yes, it's Litquake time again! Yes, I'm reading again during the very cool Lit Crawl. I'll be in Phase III from 8 to 8:45:

Mission Laundromat, 3282 22nd Street Lit Journals: Authors from On the Page and Tea Party Magazines Blair Campbell, Deborah Crooks, John Dylan Keith, Clara Hsu, Claire Light, Craig Santos Perez

Hope to see some of you out and about that night! I might even ... we'll see ... do a "blog reading," an as yet undefined type of performance which I might not have time to experiment with. We'll see ...

March 03, 2007

Octavia Butler Tribute Fundraiser!!!!

LAST CALL FOR BOOZE 'N' SCI-FI!

Yes, cows and cowboys, tomorrow's the big day. You DO NOT want to miss this one.

Nalo_1Nalo Hopkinson will be there, she of the interesting hybrid accent, straight from Toronto, author of two of my favorite books: Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber (wouldn't it be cool if she did a sequel to Brown Girl in the Ring and called it Tralalalala?)

Jewelle
Jewelle Gomez will be there, in all her former grantor glory! Four words: lesbian escaped slave vampires. I know that's enough.

Gomez_penaGuillermo Gomez-Peña will be there, mixing it up, literally, linguistically, futuristically, and poetically. A MacArthur Genius. Heh, like Octavia. Now how often do you get to see geniuses?

Susiebright_1 Susie Bright will be there, erotica'in like there's no tomorrow. Really, do you want to miss the woman who is the nation's true expert on sex fiction? I think not.

MartaacostaMarta Acosta will be there, and can someone please explain to me what could possibly be wrong with Latina vampire chicklit? Yeah, that's what I thought.

DeguzmanJennifer de Guzman will be there. Comix goddess, yes. That's "Woman of Color Comix Editor" to you, sucka, Ms. de Guzman if yer nasty.

So you see why you can't miss out.

Here's the info again:

The Carl Brandon Society presents an

Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser

with readings by

Nalo Hopkinson
Jewelle Gomez
Susie Bright
Marta Acosta
Jennifer de Guzman
and
Guillermo Gomez-Peña

A fundraiser reading to benefit the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship.
Fabulous fabulists honor one of our great writers and raise funds for the next generation.

Sunday, March 4, 5 - 7 pm

The Starry Plough
3101 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA.
510-841-2082
http://www.starryploughpub.com/

$5-20 sliding scale.

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship will enable writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start. It is meant to cement Octavia's legacy by providing the same experience/opportunity that Octavia had to future generations of new writers of color. In addition to her stint as a student at the original Clarion Writers Workshop in Pennsylvania in 1970, Octavia taught several times for Clarion West in Seattle, Washington, and Clarion in East Lansing, Michigan, giving generously of her time to a cause she believed in.

February 26, 2007

Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser

Hey all! I know you're all sick or fighting it off, and it's cold outside and raining, and it's still February.

Me too.

So come shake it off and get inspired this Sunday with a terrific reading event supporting a great cause! I'm co-organizing this with Charlie Anders and it's gonna be a great time. Check it out.

The Carl Brandon Society presents an

Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser

with readings by

Nalo Hopkinson
Jewelle Gomez
Susie Bright
Marta Acosta
Jennifer de Guzman
and
Guillermo Gomez-Peña

A fundraiser reading to benefit the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship.
Fabulous fabulists honor one of our great writers and raise funds for the next generation.

Sunday, March 4, 5 - 7 pm

The Starry Plough
3101 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA.
510-841-2082
http://www.starryploughpub.com/

$5-20 sliding scale.

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship will enable writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start. It is meant to cement Octavia's legacy by providing the same experience/opportunity that Octavia had to future generations of new writers of color. In addition to her stint as a student at the original Clarion Writers Workshop in Pennsylvania in 1970, Octavia taught several times for Clarion West in Seattle, Washington, and Clarion in East Lansing, Michigan, giving generously of her time to a cause she believed in.

October 12, 2006

I'm Reading at Litquake's Lit Crawl

Okay, it's time.

Time to tell you that I'll be reading (for eight! whole! minutes! I love festivals!) at Litquake's Lit Crawl event this year.

Lit Crawl is a nifty three-and-a-half-hour pub crawl, except you go from reading pillar to literary post rather than from dive to dive. (Most of these places will be bars or will be providing drinks, though, so don't worry. You can still get drunk and make an ass of yourself. I plan to.

I'll be reading with the Writers With Drinks group during phase three (there are three sessions or "phases"), which supports Other magazine, and yes, I will be reading something woo woo: specifically, an excerpt from a story in progress about what happens when all the men in the world disappear and the women get all predatory with the pubescent boys that are left. For eight! whole! minutes!

Here's the deets:

PHASE III, 8:30–9:30 p.m.

Latin American Club (21 and over)
3286 22nd Street
Getting Boozy: Writers With Drinks and Manic D Press
Writers With Drinks: Claire Light, Lauren Wheeler, and Alvin Orloff. Emcee: Charlie Anders. Manic D Press: Jennifer Blowdryer, Justin Chin, and Jon Longhi. Emcee: Jennifer Joseph

Come talk to me afterwards!

March 29, 2006

New Blog

Yes, I know, it's not like I don't have enough to do, what with this blog, and the great amerkin novel I'm writing, and packing to moobe, and my identity theft business taping shredded documents together, and trying to find a life partner/inseminator I can stand for more than two consecutive minutes, buuuuuut ...

I've started a new blog! Yes!

This one is called "atlas(t)" and it's about one of my continuous obsessions (or rather two of them): mapping and taxonomy. Mapping being not just geographical mapping, but conceptual mapping -- using a spatial metaphor to organize ideas, or whatever -- and artists' maps. And writing about mapping and jography. Taxonomy being any system of hierarchical (or other system) of organizing or naming ... uh ... things, which includes, but is soooo not restricted to, internet and computer taxonomies.

That's a lot, but basically it's about putting up pretty pictures and trying to say smart things about them. Some of my entries are gonna be me analyzing maps, so be wooooorned.

Please check it out and let me know what you think about the "design" 'n' stuff so far.

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