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my mom likes my novel and you will, too

October 30th, 2011

Not even kidding! My mom just finished reading my novel (finally, good God), and yes, the verdict is in and she likes it.

Thank you, Jeebus. This from the woman who never reads my blog. (“You still write your little blog?” Yes, I do, woman.)

So what more glowing recommendation do you need than that? Also, my sister thinks it’s great! (Yeah. You think I’m like, damning with faint praise or pointing out the obvious or something, but they love to read, and I drive them both a little “bonkers,” so for them to like my book? This is high praise. My entire life I’ve been shoving pages in their faces and yelling READ THIS RIGHT NOW! “Alright, already, calm the hell down, Sylvia.)

(ps private note to my cousin and my father-in-law, who as far as I know are my sole family members who read The Blog… Hi, you guys! kiss kiss.) (My sister does read it sometimes, I think. Steve, too, but I think only because I follow him on Facebook and he feels “obligated.” Since FB and Twitter took off, I have about four readers total, I believe.) (Yeah, my daughter and son glance at the site once in awhile, but only to make sure they’re not mentioned. They’ve forbidden me to write about them here. Ever. Hi, you two. Mommy loves you!)

If you have a Kindle, buy yourself a copy. Gift one to a friend while you’re at it. If you don’t have a Kindle, go read the excerpt and maybe you’ll want to order a copy when we start printing ’em. (Steve is putting finishing touches on the tech stuff as I type this.) We’re working with Create Space on Amazon — will keep you posted as we battle through our latest tech-geek adventure. (Thanks, Stevie. Sorry you haven’t had any weekends off in… uh… a long time.)

Will it be on the Nook? Who knows. We’re trying. But Amazon and Barnes & Noble don’t seem to groove that well with each other at the moment, do they now? (understatement of century.)

Apparently some of the snobbier book critics out there refuse to read/review any books that are self-published. Well, how are they going to enjoy my fine book if they stick to this rule? I’ve never peed in anyone’s pool in my life, thank you very much. Well, there was that time when I was 6, but hello! I was 6!

It’s not like I haven’t tried to get an agent/publisher — I have. For years. If I wrote books whose covers were illustrated with high heels, champagne glasses, baby bottles and binkies, I think I’d have a better shot. But you know what? As much as I love that genre (“jenner,” as my late friend Milly called it. “I love that jenner!”), it’s not my style. My stuff is a little… dark. Funny. Intense. Creepy. I cut to the bone. What’s wrong with that? I made a deal with myself, when I was a really little kid, that I would only write stuff that was no bullshit. Cut to the chase. The bone, if necessary.

I was furious, senior year in high school, because this stellar essay I wrote was “too personal,” according to my English teacher. Imagine.

(How did I know it was stellar? My teacher told me.) He wouldn’t let me read it aloud at an event they had on campus. I was one of three students whose work was entered in a contest for the National Council of Teachers of English. They were allegedly honoring us. Well, not all of us. Yeah, it was a big deal and all. Except if you were me.

You know who got the glory? A guy who wrote a story that was a complete and total rip-off of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, right down to the stinkin’ albatross. Where is the justice? (That was me, walking home from school, waving my fists at the heavens.) That’s called plagiarism, ya idiots!

You know the only reason “Confederacy of Dunces” was published? The author, the brilliant and misunderstood John Kennedy Toole, took his own life. He was depressed over his book not getting published, that’s why. Some idiot editor told him it had no point. If you haven’t read “Confederacy of Dunces,” you need to read a copy of that, too. You will see that it is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. (One of my favorite book titles of all-time, btw.)

Kennedy’s mom, Thelma Toole, went a little crazy, herself, after her son died. She was determined as hell to get his book published. “Each time it came back I died a little,” she said, about the numerous rejections she received. Finally, she barged into the office of writer Walker Percy, who was then a prof at Loyola University New Orleans. He was a little concerned that she was apeshit, because, you know. She was.

But then, guess what? He read the book. He fell in love with it. And he helped to get it published.

See how important mothers are?

Also, if Toole had been able to self-publish as easily as we can nowadays, maybe he would have stuck around to write some more books. That would have been nice, but like they say in Texas, que sera sera.

Now go read my stuff and pssst… pass it on.



qotd: “Arrested Development”

October 28th, 2011

Michael: “And you finished off the whole bottle?”

Lindsay Funke: “I had to, it’s vodka. It goes bad once it’s opened.”

Michael: “I think that’s another of mom’s fibs, like ‘I’ll sacrifice anything for my children.'”

QOTD: Trillin

October 27th, 2011

“It’s no use arguing with somebody like me.” — Calvin Trillin

We caught writer Calvin Trillin on the Daily Show last week. Man, is he funny. Go buy a copy of his new book, and buy some of his other books, too, while you’re at it.

for my girl Lynda Barry, the best cartoonist in the universe: a love letter from Wacky Mommy

October 27th, 2011

Lynda Barry, how I love thee. Let me count the ways:

1) In the beginning, there was Poodle with a Mohawk. (“He knew what people thought of his kind: ‘High Strung. ‘Spoiled Rotten.’ ‘French.'”)

2) Then there were Marlys and Maybonne, who always managed to comfort me as they comforted themselves.

3) There was the time I caught a special about Lynda Barry on cable TV. She was introducing an audience to some of her big paintings, and she was amazing, the way she talked about her art. “See? In this one, she’s saying, ‘Perdon?'” She was cracking herself up and I thought, You can be an artist and really have some fun with it. And if people don’t like your stuff, or say it doesn’t count, well, screw ’em. (Honestly, I was already getting that reaction from a lot of people about my writing. Too domestic, too much cussing, and then there was my complete and total refusal to re-write The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and claim it as my own. I do love Coleridge, Wordsworth and Donne, but my style is… my own style.)

4) I just really liked the way she put art + words together, and I loved how gritty her work was.

5) Lynda Barry is the best combination of fearless + goofy.

6) Her essay, “The Sanctuary of School,” is one of the finest essays I have ever read.

7) Just fyi: She went to the Evergreen State College. Their mascot is the geoduck. (Pronounced “gooey-duck,” for those of you not from these parts.)

8) She is friends with cartoonist Matt Groening.

9) My old friend Nina and I used to clip Lynda Barry’s cartoons out of the papers and mail them to each other, from the west coast to the east coast and vice-a versa-a.

10) You can pre-order her book, “Blabber Blabber Blabber.”

11) “Well, you little bad asses. How about that?” — Lynda Barry

Wacky Mommy, out.

QOTD: Gandhi

October 26th, 2011

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

stuck/not stuck

October 25th, 2011

I get writer’s block.

I don’t “suffer” from it, but I “get” it, in that I understand, yeah, writing is a drag sometimes. Sometimes you run out of ideas, or you’re too busy, or the kids have dentist appointments and the hamster just died. (Our hamster did just die, truth be told. I miss her. Working from home gets a little lonely sometimes, and you find yourself visiting the hamster, just to see what she’s up to. “You got anything written yet? No? Me neither.”)

Mostly I just chug along — here, in my journal, on my other blogs. I scribble notes and leave them around, write letters to friends and family, send e-mails and post on those dang time-sucks that are known as “Twitter” and “Facebook.” It’s more hypergraphia than anything else. Without the epilepsy or manic depression.

I’m still working on my Dear Late Granny’s memoir/cookbook. I have all the writing done; it’s been done for awhile now. I’m concentrating on the recipes now, and it’s all tech, all the time.

I’ll get it done, but I’m not writing with my usual frenzy of excitement. It’s just… typing. I’m a writer, thus, I type.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

— wm


Condi Rice protest, 5 pm TONITE Weds. Oct. 19th in Portland, Ore., aka “Lil Beirut”

October 19th, 2011

Rock it. Portland’s peace community will speak out against Condi Rice’s appearance at PSU Fundraiser 5 pm TONITE Oct. 19, 2011 at the Oregon Convention Center, NE 1st Ave. and NE Lloyd Blvd.

Sunday Book Round-Up, Condi Rice, Sandra Steingraber and…

October 16th, 2011

We like cats. We like every kind of cat. We’d like to hug ’em all but you can’t hug every cat…

Seymour Simon is a genius. Is Seymour Simon real, or some kind of magical factory where they crank out excellent books that kids leaf through over and over and over and over?

Will ponder this later. His book “Cats” is no exception.

So. The kids are supposed to write this review for me (see: lazy mother; lazy writer; lazy blogger; see, also: cleaning house (in middle of); cats (always a challenge) and summer furniture (needs to be put away, not getting drenched on deck).

Maira Kalman writes the Pete books. I love the tiny details in her books, the little gimme’s. I would like to own everything she has ever illustrated/written. That is my dream in life. That, and peace. Tomorrow night, the Portland Public Schools School Board will vote again on the Starbase contract, here in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Everybody seems so nice here, but really we’re a bunch of rebellious revolutionaries who started the bottle bill and like to drink Mason jars full of beer.

And because I am all about my lack of commenters but my amazing Google juice: Portland Public Schools, Portland Public Schools, corrupt behavior part 912. Portland Public Schools Re-Districting is also on agenda. This should be a lively meeting, with all of us peaceniks and all of the people who shout, We paid big money for a house in a good neighborhood, so we would have a good school, and we don’t want to talk about this and you guys are just mean! Mean meanies.

Remember Starbase? Item #47 on the agenda or something. Uh, yeah. Will Occupy Portland turn out for this peace event? I hope so. Hello, Occupy, whassup?!?!

Wednesday night is Condi Rice protest outside the Convention Center. Damn commies again! (is there anyway to make that highlight in red? Portland Commies, Portland Commies, Portland Commies.) And… Thursday, Sandra Steingraber is here.

(edited Monday afternoon to say: just got a call that Steingraber had to cancel due to family situation. Hope everyone is okay. She will be here sometime in 2012, they’re working on re-skedding.)

Big, big week in Little Beirut. I plan to attend all three both events. I will be the one all in black, cuz I’m mourning for the next month. I’m a little peace activist over here, and from now on everything I do is to honor the memory of Frank Morgan.

(“There’s that little communist librarian,” is how he would often greet me. “All power to the people! Universe, YOU TOOK THE WRONG ONE.)

Wait! The kids are here.

Wacky Girl: Starting with “Caring for Your Cat,” This book is adorable. We didn’t really read the books.

Me: Losers!

Wacky Girl: I’m not a loser, I’m a Laser.

Me: Well, I did read them. They were good. Son, do you have anything to add?

Wacky Boy, v. cheerful: Nope! Cuz we didn’t read them!

Me: We’re done.

Wacky Mommy, out.


October 15th, 2011

Sonny’s World & Friday Recipe Club: Lucinda Scala Quinn

October 13th, 2011

It gets lonely being a housewife/stay-at-home writer/blogger chick. That’s why they invented soap operas and cooking shows.

My personal favorites are General Hospital (Lizzie is having a nervous breakdown, and it’s still Sonny’s Hospital) and Lucinda Scala Quinn. GH I have loved since age 12; Ms. Quinn is new to me. Recipes, anyone?

Chili-Lime Popcorn

Black Beans & Rice

Dark Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars

Pasta with Chickpea-Tomato Sauce

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