Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Go outside, already

Sunshine's here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ain't No Sunshine. Not even a little.

Is this a good version of the song? I have no idea; my computer is still without sound, a problem I have not tried very hard to fix. But it's Bill Withers, so it must be good. "Use Me" by Bill Withers is also excellent, and there's a pretty good cover from some years back featuring Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz.

Now that your daily musical needs have been met, let me report there ain't no sunshine in Indianapolis. That's a problem. Tomorrow is Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a chance for ladies who've embraced the latest exotic fitness craze to showcase their -- what? No? OK. Apparently it's pole as in Pole Position, as in qualifications for the Indy 500. And it's rainy. The last two weeks have been gray and rainy. The drivers are probably playing many games of checkers in their trailers, waiting out the storms.

Maybe there will be sunshine for next Friday's Carb Day, a chance for everyone to eat as many donuts as possible, and -- what? No? OK. Carb Day as in carburetor and the final day of practice before the race, though from a fan perspective it seems mainly to serve as a giant pre-party. Sponsored by Miller Lite. Featuring a concert by ZZ Top on the Miller Lite stage. ZZ Top, people! Beer flowing like urine! Shirtless people of all ages!

It's not quite as fun to have a super-long beard and twirl your guitar in the rain, or to attend a concert and drink beer shirtless in the rain. The day is billed as "a tradition of rock and roll excess crowning a day of beer, engines, and sun." All the pieces are in place. So come on, sun.

Speaking of cars (weren't we?), I have a new car-related short story up at Booth, Butler University's innovative literary journal, called "Collision Physics for the Math Averse." The story will be up until next week, then archived. Booth, named after Hoosier writer Booth Tarkington, provides a little bit of sunshine amidst the dreary. Booth the writer won Pulitzers for The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. His home, not too far from my own, also seems worth a visit: it is oft-featured in the newspaper for being handsomely decorated. I was going to suggest a tour of the home if Carb Day gets rained out, but the current owners might have other plans.

And now, a cheerier song about no sunlight, from Death Cab for Cutie. Click for Black Cab Sessions video. I am forbidden to embed.

At least, I think I remember it being "No Sunlight." I had to read their lips.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

First impressions

The Internet is quiet at 4 a.m.

The dream about desperately needing to find a bathroom means: get up and find one.

I read about strangers' lives and feel as if I know these strangers. When it's fiction, I feel comforted. When it's blogs, I feel creepy. The kids now say "creeper" instead of "stalker." I feel as though I'm repeating myself on that point. But it clearly made an impression.

8:30 a.m. is too early to ring the doorbell (three times) and bang on the door asking for someone who doesn't live here, man with a cross tattooed next to his eye. Really, there's never a good time. But the "Thank you, ma'am," was a nice touch. Appreciated.

The dream about introducing my friend Terry to my other friend Terry -- they both looked the same but one wore glasses and the other didn't, I couldn't believe they hadn't met yet, in my mind they were totally separate people -- and non-glasses Terry said something offensive and glasses Terry got up and left, means: ???

Good morning to you, too, birds. But how about we exchange greetings after 4 a.m., from here on out? You don't know about daylight savings time, I take it.

Awkward silences can last months.

The Internet is quiet generally before 9 a.m., when people arrive at work and begin not-working. Digital selves are standing in for our real selves, said the woman looking at a screen with a picture of herself on it. People are very, very upset that the free online service they've opted into where they publicly share private details wants to make those details more public. The free online service is meeting NOW, like right this minute, to discuss the outrage of their clientele.

I just misspelled "publicly" as publically. D-.

I predict the introduction of online warning labels. Put yourself out there in the vast Internet void, but do so privately. Open the door, peer out, and then hide. Be forewarned: a man with a cross tattoo next to his eye is gonna come knocking one of these days. And he'll still have the wrong place.

Friday, May 7, 2010

And then the Universe said HA HA!

I recently learned that two articles I wrote for NUVO last year won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists' annual Best in Indiana Journalism contest.

-“Unite! Hotel workers fighting to unionize” won first place for Social Justice Reporting
-“A different kind of chance” won second place for Social Justice Reporting

And yesterday, after receiving a rejection from a lit journal for a short story, I sat outside re-reading the wonderful Olive Kitteridge, finally relaxing into the sudden done-ness of the teaching semester. And then a bird shat upon my bare leg.

Universe, subtle you are not. But you do have a way of reminding a person that today's news is tomorrow's fishwrap. Onward, yo. It's time to write another novel.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Poems for Sale

Whenever my husband and I pass a vacant storefront in the neighborhood, we jokingly discuss the logistics of renting it to turn into a writing shop. There I'd sit in front of the plate glass window, writing on demand. A While-U-Wait operation, perhaps with a laundromat nearby so customers can pass the time or buy a soda. In this scenario, I'd sell short profiles for fifty cents, and a poem for a quarter.

Turns out I'm selling myself short. Molly Gaudry came up with the idea to charge one dollar American currency for a poem written just for the recipient, but is willing to accept donations beyond that modest fee. And this smart cookie set up shop on the Internet, bypassing that whole "rent" issue.

Of course I felt compelled to support another writer, and promptly placed my PayPal order. But I didn't necessarily want to dictate what she wrote about. (Come to think about it, that is one thing that sullies the idea of my imaginary writing shop: having assignments.) Molly will work with or without guidelines, and here is what she wrote for me: O.K., O.K.?

I love free enterprise. Does this make me a patron of the arts? I suddenly want to commission a painting.