Thursday, February 26, 2009

On orbiting

The Laurie household has been bumming around with writers a couple times now in a few weeks. First, AWP, where I caught the Missoula-based Sadness Museum & the most recent issue of Jubilat (which features no more and no less than three [!!!] Montana MFA alumni) at the Chicago bookfair. I followed up my free pencil-taking (from The Poet's House: Issa's cherry blossom haiku on pencil) with a good stretch of full-body shutdown in the Hilton lobby.

Then, it was the volunteer recognition dinner at the Ernest Hemingway Museum in Oak Park, IL last week. The gift certificates and heart-shaped candy were plentiful. The volunteers didn't want to talk about the man fiction. Instead, they wanted to talk about Hemingway's relationship with Fitzgerald, his poetry, and... the architecture from the World's Columbian Exposition. Juicy tidbit: Harriet Monroe, of Poetry Foundation fame, was madly in love with her sister's husband, one of the dreamers behind the concept of the Exposition.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Yay Nick!

Another member of the Montana MFA class of '08 has scored an impressive pub. This time it's Nick Ekkizogloy in the latest issue of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, No. 30.

From Stowaways:

"When we got to the river we sat down and made sounds. Francis did a siren, so I would do gunshots. If he did a seal barking, I would do a fog horn. I ate some pills and we passed the tequila. We laughed like we had just crawled out of the grave as old buddies and met by Flint River to say fuck you to death. "

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mardi Gras: A Post in Three Acts

For anyone waiting on grad apps and agent query letters. For those whose mailbox overfloweth lit mag rejection letters. Hear ye my poorlings who dodge calls from the Student Assistance Foundation.

A break. Mardi Gras!

Act I: The Evening

I caught Endymion three times last night. I started in Mid City at a pre parade party, saw Kid Rock and REO Speedwagon (dreams do come true!), thought I was wiped out from a long night and went home. Looked at the clock and realized it was 7. Got the call from friends, regrouped and walked down to Canal to catch a little of the tourist yahoo scene. Around 12 walked home, caught the parade again on Tulane after it curved around Lee Circle. Respect for those tuba players hauling all night.

Act II: Loot Tips

1) Don’t stand near kids. Goodies will be thrown, but you will feel compelled to give them all away.

2) If you are a woman, stand alone amidst frat boys (if you can clear an area where you can actually catch stuff, you’ll have to be far enough away from the FQ). At one point I found myself surrounded by d-bags in backward baseball caps. The goods came raining down. I emerged looking like a sparkle bead Cousin It.

3) Catch the end of the parade route. They gotta unload it all.

Act III: The Voice of Mardi Gras: A Play in One Quote

Place: Lee Circle, New Orleans

Time: Midnight. Saturday of Mardi Gras. The final parade of the day has just passed. The crowds are dispersing, weary and staggering.

Cast: Twenty something blond woman, cockeye sobby drunk, and her two girlfriends who are holding her up, trying to get her home.

Blond Woman: “He never wants to fuck me. He won’t fuck me. Aiiiiiieeeeooooo. I don’t know why he won’t fuck me. Forever he won’t fuck me. And it’s so small. He won’t FUCK me. It was so small I almost cried the first time I saw it. Y’all don’t understand. I almost cried. It’s been two years! I don’t even know what a normal one looks like anymore. He won’t. He won’t. Ohhhhh God. (crying) Ohhhhh God (wailing). Y’all don’t understand. Y’all don’t understand.” (collapses on ground, hysterical)

And this, ladies, is why you need codeps who will recognize, get you Popeye's fried chicken and get you home. Fast.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's about...time?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Books Are Heavy


Yes. The three of us just saw one another at AWP in Chicago.

To amend: We didn’t attend the actual conference. Speaking for myself, I got paneled out last year. The Diaspora and Diaroma Aspect in the Multi-Genre Lyrical Essay did me in. The event was more of an excuse to see Chicago (Blues at Rosa’s! Myopic Books! Bratwurst!) and remingle with Montana MFAers.

I DID crash the book fair on Saturday. It’s a bit awkward, trying to cruise all the tables. The protective stance I adopted was pretty much the same I use to deflect 1-10 underpass panhandlers in New Orleans. Sorry bud. I turned and walked away from many outstretched palms. But you always cave to a couple. It’s something in the eyes.

So I bought the Oxford American New Orleans issue and a mag from Ann Arbor called Hobart because it looked cool. My friend Anna bought the latest issue of PMS and Black Warrior Review. (Member of our nonfiction class Naomi Kimball is in the current issue.) Plus all the freebies. Had to give a little grunt to load my suitcase overhead on the plane.

As I walked around that Hilton lobby, I kept swearing I saw people I knew, but then I just realized we all look alike. As in refugees from the Writers’ Gulag. I don’t know how many scarves, messenger bags, adorable haircuts and square black glasses a person can take. If I ever go again I’m wearing a track suit and white athletic shoes.

I’m not sure it’s wise, getting writers together to schmooze. Most of us spend hours and hours alone muttering to ourselves. Some days my only social interaction is scooping the cat off my keyboard.

If you get me on a good minute, I’ll smile and regale you with wit. If it’s a bad one, I might start crying and blow my nose on your hipster skinny jeans. Or I might just look off and walk away, not even realizing you said anything.

So if you looked at me, grimaced and turned away, I remembered not to take it personally. I hope you did the same.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Presses that Don't Charge Reading Fees

Found this list on Silliman's blog.

I've spent more money than I care to admit on book contests in the past 12 months. With the threat of layoffs at my workplace and given the fact that I'm the newest hire in the office, my financial future is not looking so bright. Hence, I kiss Rachel Mallino's knees for putting together this list.