souvenirs, novelties, party tricks

random:

  • The new novel is coming along nicely and undergoing progressive shifts and evolutions. I am pleased. I am doing more percolating than actual writing this last week or so, but that’s how I always work. 
  • I hate VW buses. I have my reasons. 
  • I picked 4.5 pounds of blueberries today while my dogs ate a fair amount off the low branches of the bushes. We barely made a dent in this year’s crop. 
  • East coast thunderstorms are no joke. 

awesome: 

  • Korean dumplings
  • really good reading glasses
  • memories attached to pleasant scents
  • songbirds 
  • the paper edition of the New York Times
  • fake names
  • fresh, blank notebooks
  • Joe Biden
  • fireworks fireworks fireworks

non-awesome:

  • shitty reading glasses
  • global tragedy fatigue 
  • chronic fabulists 
  • bands who talk too much between songs when playing live
  • unsettling dreams that haunt the next day

xo 

The Odyssey

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f+m

 

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Los Angeles screening of The Odyssey, a film by Vincent Haycock to accompany/expand the Florence + The Machine album How Big How Blue How Beautiful. It was magnificent.

As you know, I adore cross-media projects, specifically blending music with visuals or the written word. I also love artists who defy genres and labels. That could only mean I would enjoy this film, but it has been far greater than that.

I went with a dear friend and as we left the venue that evening, we both struggled with words and agreed that what we’d seen would take some time to process, and that is the truth. It has taken me time to really digest and process this masterwork.

The videos for the album and the film are filled with incredible choreography. The dance is very elemental and real, almost primal. The movements are chaotic yet precise, if that makes any sense. The screening began with live dance performances to two songs from the album. Seeing dance in person is so far removed from watching it on screen. The energy and emotion of it all was overwhelming, and it wasn’t just me feeling that way. Everyone around us in the theater was in what felt like a held breath for much of the performance. People’s eyes welled with tears, and it wasn’t a put on. It was cathartic in a very authentic sense; actually the film is, as well. There was very specific and personal emotion conveyed that was masterfully universal (THAT is the art sweet spot). I listened to conversations around me involving the most diverse participants that all said, in essence, the same thing: we all related intensely (in our own ways and perspectives) to what the songs and the images and the movement were saying, and we all felt understood and validated. I’ve not been in a situation like that before. I have seen some performances (music, film) where I knew I was in some sort of transcendent moment; in those cases, though, I wasn’t sure that everyone around me was feeling the same thing. It always felt very private, that connection to the artist and the art in the moment. This was different. It was a collective connection and it was beautiful.

The film is sublime. It is gorgeous and atmospheric and intelligent. The imagery is insanely layered and rich — shit, I know I am not doing it justice with words. Just go watch it. {HERE} Basically, there needs to be more Vincent Haycock work in the world. His eye and vision are genius.

There was a question and answer session after the screening where my friend (who works in and lives for fashion) informed me that Florence was wearing custom Gucci and we marveled at the vulnerable perfection of everyone involved with the project. It was a necessary cool down after the emotional workout of the project.

So what did I have to process? I have been working over and over in my head the stories told and the messages conveyed. This is an album and a film about having many selves, about resurrecting one or more of those selves, about traveling to hell and back, about trying your best to get a message across, about feeling tossed about by the four winds, about sacred spaces, about generations and histories, about real and invented identities. All of these things spoke to me on a very personal level. I loved the album when it came out, but the film just made it more. I always carry so many uncertainties about myself and so much damage around with me, and after the screening I felt like I had a kindred spirit, as well as reassurance that we come out of things on the other side (oh, the very end of the film is just so perfect). I felt lifted and understood and it felt really fucking good. To the core.

And I knew I’d seen true, beautiful art.

Receiving such art inspires me as an artist. I can’t explain to you (well, I guess I tried to above) how thankful I am to have been so inspired and energized. I hope you find art that does the same for you.

xo

a favor to ask

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[ ↑ that’s the knocker on my kitchen door — welcome to my idea cookery]

 

I know I have been going at this hard, so please forgive me:

My novel, Driftwood, is out now in paperback. I’ve learned that in order to rise to the ranks of recognizable on Amazon, one must have a minimum of 50 reviews. I am 15 shy of that right now. I know I’ve sold more than 50 copies, so I ask of you dear readers to please head over to Amazon and review Driftwood. I don’t care what rating you give it, just be honest. It would be immensely helpful to have more reviews on the site and I will, in some way, make it up to you one day.

 

Here is the link to the Amazon page for the book:

 

DRIFTWOOD ON AMAZON

 

Again, I know this may be Driftwood overload right now, but a gal’s gotta hustle.

Please do me a solid and leave a review. Yes, I am begging you.

In other news, the new novel is coming along swimmingly. I am clocking a couple thousand words a day and having a blast researching character details (I know a lot about West Oakland lofts and where the few remaining TGI Friday’s are in California…). Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed that I can get a draft done by the end of summer.

Love you, mean it.

xo

 

 

my aim is true

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It’s time again for awesome/non-awesome, a couple of people’s favorite list show.

awesome

  • Teaching Creative Writing class is always the highlight of my week (2x!)
  • I will see my brother in less than a week and I am simply over the moon about it.
  • I was reminded recently that I used to press flowers all the time. I miss that and intend to get back at it.
  • I am also getting ready to plant some succulents and get back to the gaaaaardennnn.
  • Michael Pollan’s Cooked on Netflix is really wonderful and everyone should watch it.
  • I am still in love with my novel-in-progress.
  • I spent the weekend doing heavy duty yard work all by myself and I am proud of how freakishly strong I am.
  • I wake up before my alarm goes off in the morning because of the song birds singing away outside my bedroom window, like I am Cinderella or some shit.

 

non-awesome

  • There’s a strange little dog (with a large electric fence shock collar thing on — spoiler alert: the electric fence doesn’t work) who somehow sneaks onto my property every night. He power walks around the outside of the house, and this drives my dogs insane. I can’t seem to catch him; either my dogs are already out and are busy trying to escort him out with no luck, or the dogs are in and the interloper ignores me and keeps walking with the purpose of an enthusiastic mall walker. Last night, he pranced back and forth across the back lawn and my dogs had total freak outs at 1:45 am, 3:15 am, and 5:30 am. I am exhausted.
  • I don’t keep well without adequate sleep.
  • I am inundates with and have zero tolerance for political advertising or rants.
  • I am already trying to formulate agent query letters.

 

xo

I got somethin’ to say…

  
Sorry, no Danzig here. 

BUT, there is an interview I did with Ross and Marcio of BRIDGE THE ATLANTIC, a really cool podcast with interesting people that I snuck onto. I talk about music and writing and Driftwood and Emma Roberts and whales and Urban Outfitters and Office Space. Good stuff. 

You can listen to it HERE

Be sure to check out their other interviews. All very good stuff. 

Enjoy!


try to be sure right from the start

  
As a Neil Young obsessive, I couldn’t resist a book with this title. My only worry was that it wouldn’t live up to expectations. Fear not, loves. It exceeded them. 

I just finished reading Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington. It’s beautiful and the type of well-crafted novel that leaves the reader feeling satisfied and still yearning by the end. I can’t seem to separate storytelling and music in my own work and life; I say with all sincerity that I need music in order to live, really live. This book and its author understand that. 

Now I am going to go listen to some Neil. If you feel like it, give the book a read. 

xo

“here is the deepest secret nobody knows”

  

thinking of all the things we keep tidied away inside, the glistening emerald truths we selfishly nurture for ourselves alone, the iron notions we deem too fragile to expose to the anticipated cruelty of this merciless, loving world, I keep coming back to this poem I love: 

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.


It’s all fleeting. And it’s all as hideous as it is beautiful. Stay vulnerable. 

xo


I’ve heard that you’ll try anything twice

flowers

 

awesome:

the freedom of the blank page

cold sunshine

daysleeping

running jokes

dreaming of the ocean

underdogs

when one person transmits happiness to another

not being who I was before

 

non-awesome:

the general fuckery in the world

icy windshields

persistent self-doubt

chronic congestion

the lowest common denominator

not being who I was before

 

Lastly, I have nothing to share about writing. However, this song was on in the car today and now won’t leave my head.

 

 

 

XO

bonne année, mon amoureux

  
goodbye 2015/ hello 2016

The writing updates I have for you are as follows:

  • Driftwood will be released in paperback in June (with a swell new cover).
  • I did a video interview with a vlog/blog that should be released in the next couple of months (it was super fun, but I am TERRIFIED to see myself on video).
  • I’ve put my current novel-in-progress on ice for now. Not an easy decision, but the right one. I’m currently developing something new. The clear slate is both refreshing and anxiety-laden. Like life. 

That’s about it. 

Please enjoy the poem above from the extraordinarily beautiful collection, Felicity, by the extraordinarily beautiful Mary Oliver. Between reading this collection and watching all of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, I’ve become an unlikely romantic. At least for now. 
xo