Monday, January 31, 2011

In a Landscape.

(Corot: Woman Reading in a Landscape, 1869)

The current landscape is shaky--filled with packing and repacking borrowed carry-on rolling bag in various geometrical patterns in order to find the perfect combination that allows me to bring all that I need in D.C.

AWP Conference Time (whoop whoop)!

I've never been a fan of flying. The thought of being trapped on a metal bird makes me want to vomit (yes, my fellow flying classmates are aware of this)...It has been quite some time since I've flown...I'm talking prior to 2001.

Therefore I've visited the TSA website so much, trying to figure out what I can and cannot bring on board:

Throwing stars? No.
Liquid bleach? No.
Snow globes? No.
Gel inserts? No.

Note: You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.

Imagining a gaggle of MFA students each carrying a pie aboard our flight to D.C. really sends me into hysterics. Apple? Pumpkin? Rhubarb? Pecan? What would they say? Would we have a pie party in flight?

But really, the schedule is hectic--being with 10,000 fellow writers, students (professors, professionals) and the likes is both exciting and scary. At least I'll know everyone from our program and a few from my undergraduate program as well.

To D.C. and Beyond!


Monday, January 24, 2011


[from Latin, neuter of continuus continuous] a continuous series or whole, no part of which is perceptibly different from the adjacent parts
--(according to Collins English dictionary)

Being on campus this semester feels a whole lot different than being on campus last semester. And I guess this "realization" makes sense (especially if you stop to think about it)--I'm taking different classes, I have a different schedule.

For example, instead of working in the Writing Center in the mornings (opening it, if you will) I am working in the afternoons (closing it).

My classes are only "at night" (during the evening slot)...which starts at 5:30 pm. This is the same time slot for evening classes at the University of Memphis, so I am "used" to it. In fact, I really like it. My classmates with afternoon classes like to say that I'm "in night school." True, true.

I remember a former instructor (also an MFA student at the time) complaining the morning class he was teaching (and I was in). He said, "Don't they know writers stay up all night?" Cue the laughter from the class. But this seems to be very true to life. Morning classes should be reserved for....journalism students. They have to get up early to chase the news!

(He also liked to drink tea, I have become a heavy tea drinker--the stronger the better. Coincidence?)

In actuality, the morning time should be reserved for writing, or the night time should be (depending on when you begin functioning). For example, Flannery O'Connor wrote every morning. It was part of her writing schedule. And as I mentioned (danced around the topic) in a previous post, we should all have one.

Everything is different, yet everything is the same. And I have more reading to complete.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Plan.

Although I don't exactly look like what Van Gogh painted in 1888 (which apparently sold late last year for more than three million dollars)... this is somewhat how I imagine myself to look as I read, read, read, read (you get the point) all of the assignments I need to finish before classes next week.

I am seventy-nine pages away from finishing Wise Blood (Flannery O'Connor). Then I've got seven "short" stories to read (three of those are submissions, as I am part of an editorial staff)...

remember that comprehension is implied when I'm talking about reading--which is evident up there too, because Van Gogh's reader is obviously paying close attention. Reading and annotating (I should've originally written)--but in my world they naturally go together.

I'm happy to be in submerged in the world of words right now, they are comforting--like a heavy mug of tea for the brain.

I'll worry about the writing, scheduling, and shopping later.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Literary Autobiography (2)




(Pre-teen Reading)

Only 13, I remember having to check Gone With the Wind out from the library over a couple 6-week periods in order to finish it. It was the longest book I had read at the time.

V.C. Andrews (and her mystery formula) captured my attention when I was around 10. I got most of her books from a neighbor's "yard sale" bin. I continued to read these books until a few years ago.

The Sweet Valley Twins seemed like the coolest girls. I identified with Elizabeth, the "nerdy" sister who worked on the school newspaper. We even had a version of their "club" the Unicorns.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Literary Autobiography



(these are even the correct book covers!)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Really: Happy Birthday!

(continuing from yesterday)

Of course, if you live in Memphis you've heard of Ugly Mug coffee (if you haven't, I am a little disappointed in you).

If fact, it was "Hardy Passion" that is partially responsible for getting me through my first semester of graduate school.

I’ve had my Limited Edition Elvis coffee too! (Sorry, obviously I enjoyed all of mine a while ago--you can just look at the lovely picture provided)…

Ugly Mug does have “Blue Suede Shoes” currently available if YOU are interested though.

Speaking of Blue Suede shoes...did you see Edison Peña's awesome shoes at the Grizzlies game last night? (Or maybe hear his rendition on television?)

Rescued Chilean miner, an Elvis fanatic, visits Graceland in Memphis

He's cutting the birthday cake at Graceland and everything else today. Very cool!

This year (to coincide with Elvis Week) the Elvis Mr. Potato Head became available, which means I got an Elvis spud for Christmas a couple weeks ago…

You can also see my "mini" Elvis ornaments (the big ornaments have already been packed away) and more limited edition wine in this picture too.

Between the pictures and the CDs and the doll (or this one) and the calendars and the aforementioned collectibles I've detailed already--I'd have to remind you:


Thank you, thank you very much!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy (almost) 76th Birthday!

(to The King, of course!)

My Senior year of high school (let's erase the year) I remember being in my "Journalism" class (as co-editor of the newspaper) and one of my classmates came in with the answer to a very big and important question.

Kyle (a self-proclaimed U2 and Elvis fanatic) came in and wrote the following on the blackboard:


Oh yes, that rather famous anagram had never been pointed out to me before, so I was taken aback. I was impressed. I was sure THIS was the coolest discovery in wordplay ever (obviously, I was a bit naïve).

But, get this--it's still TRUE!

With over 15,000 Elvis-licensed products out there (according to a spokesperson at Graceland) it’s no surprise that Elvis Presley is always on Forbes Top-Earning Dead Celebs’ list. (He came in at number two in 2010)

Hey! The King is alive in our hearts, right? (alternative word for heart: wallet)

So this holiday season, just like every other holiday season in recent past, I was surprised with more fantastic, wacky Elvis-related collectibles. Obviously I AM one of the Elvis "people." At least I'm easy to shop for, right?

Here are a few of my relatively "recent" fun ELVIS collectibles….

like the Classic PEZ candy dispensers in 3 different Elvis Presley designs (as you can see) and there is a 3-track CD featuring a song from each era: '56--Hound Dog, '61--Follow That Dream, '70--The Wonder of You.

Dark chocolate (adorned with '68 Comeback Special black leather *purrr* Elvis), made locally by Dinsthul's (get you some!)

And lastly (for this post at least) that's a bottle of limited edition Elvis wine. We have a couple numbered bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, which shan't be opened anytime soon, but we have actually consumed the Chardonnay--not bad, not bad at all!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011


like a man-eating SHARK

Led by its
the common cold."

consult your physician!

And I have the antibiotics, steriods (oral and inhaled) to prove it...

Mastering the Neti Pot is not as simple as it seems (I may as well stand in the shower everytime I do it).

Classes start when? Oh brother!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's taken two weeks, coupled with a sudden cold (that just won't quit) to drive me back between the pages of a book.

Of course, it's something I didn't expect to read over break--nor is it very long (less than 200 pgs), but you have to start somewhere.

As someone without ambitions to write a novel (just yet), I'm happy to find a shorter novel that was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.

With "new year" reading begun, I am also happy to announce some writing too. The previously mentioned four days spent knocking on death's door may mean that what I've managed to get down may not be too thrilling.

But words are words are words.

Both (reading and writing) are "resolutions" I plan to keep. I want to read a certain number (25 books in 52 weeks) as well as finishing ten pages per week (or 520 pages for the year).

NEW pages? I haven't decided whether or not to include "edited pages" in that number or not. But I don't need to over think it. I got that number from my "old" professor Richard Bausch (thank goodness for Facebook):

If you can craft two pages a day, two pages, and keep to the daily schedule--averaging two a day, so if you miss Sunday and Monday, you write four on Tuesday and Four on Wednesday. If you can keep to it, put your ass in the chair and keep to it--that's 730 pages in a year.

Lastly, from a classmate--check out this link Readers by Authors by Lauren Leto. It had me laughing so hard snot was running out of my nose. Great image, right?



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