Saturday, December 3, 2016

Elves and Shelves.

Dave goes rogue and buys Elf on a Shelf. I say nothing. The next day, our 9 year old is upset because the Elf didn't move or give her a gift or become engaged in an elaborate marshmallow fight instead it stayed in its box. Dave and I are alone. "So this Elf..." he says.

I say, "Look there's a reason why we never had an Elf on a Shelf."


"What is it?"


"Have you seen our Easter Bunny game? Have you not noticed that the kids think that Tooth Fairies have a genetically poor sense of the passage of time? How our advent calendars just kinda go dry from distraction four days in? Sure, we say that cash prizes hidden by a series of difficult clues on Christmas are an odd familiar eccentricity, but do you remember how the tradition started? This Elf plays to all of our weaknesses, none of our strengths."

We both stare at the Elf, icily. He stares back.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Once the first draft of the novel is done... some tips.

I wrote a post-NaNoWriMo essay for Bustle on what to do once the first draft of the novel is done. (If you balk at #4 - Suffer fools gladly, I know a lot about you. More than you want me to.) 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

today.

While reading John Irving's In One Person, I remember stopping cold on this line, "By ’95 – in New York, alone – more Americans had died of AIDS than were killed in the Vietnam War." I remembered walking through the city in the summer of '89, seeing this young man stop to look at himself in the long window of a postal truck, his skin wounded by the disease. My sister was in theater, my best friend in fashion -- the loss of life, the generation who were taken. 
Today, on World AIDS Day, I remember my cousin, Jack. At our wedding, he likely already knew that he was dying. It was the last time I would see him. He was a father, a sweetheart, a good soul. I think of him each time I hear of a new scientific advance, each time there's hope, as if I can bring him back somehow. 
I think of Tom Hanks choking up in his Inside the Actor's Studio while talking about the filming of Philadelphia. Lipton reminds him that 53 gay men with AIDS were in the film. A year later, 43 had died. Hanks tells the story of one of these men who worked in a noodle factory. He says that it's a hard film to watch because he sees the men they lost. "They last forever, you know, these films." 
These past few weeks writing has seemed pretty pointless. Art has felt so flimsy. It's not pointless and we need all of it, from any willing to risk making it. All hands on deck. Sometimes it changes people. Sometimes it endures. We don't, none of us.
Here is the audio clip of Hanks' talk, mentioned above. For that story, listen in at 23:30.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Introducing ...

My daughter, sculptor Phoebe Scott, has new work -- and I'm thankful for the strange beauty of her mind. For more, visit her site.







Friday, November 11, 2016

Hypnagogic Hallucination Hunting...

I wrote this piece for Tor about my obsessive hunt for these pre-sleep hallucinatory slide-shows. Nabokov and Poe had them and wrote about them. I'd love to hear if other people A. have ever had them and B. want to try to recreate the experience. I'd love to hear how it goes. 

Yours in weirdness... 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NOT ideal timing but ...

Look, I know the timing is tough ... what with it being an Election Day AND one of the most contentious and important elections of our lifetime. BUT my new novel comes out today so IF YOU WANT TO LOOK AWAY, YOU CAN LOOK HERE.

A novel about a fifteen-year-old girl who realizes that she has the ability to move between alternate parallel universes of her own making.


“…The clever, fast-moving plot features a strong, appealing heroine, Sylvia Plath's poetry, romance, betrayal, and heart-stopping suspense…” – Kirkus Reviews


“This ambitious sci-fi novel, filled with multiverses and what-ifs, has a slow and complicated buildup but contains complex world building that would appeal to fans of TV’s Orphan Black.” -- Booklist



“A fantastically fun mind-bender from start to finish, The Infinity of You & Me will thrill its readers and leave them hungry for more!” - Karen Akins, author of Loop and Twist

FIND MORE AT IndieBoundAMAZON, or Barnes and Noble -- or your favorite bookseller.   

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Physicality of Process...

I wrote the short story out of order, which was fine. But when I started to novelize it, the non-linear structure just couldn't be sustained. There were four plot lines and each of those was also told out of order.

I could only see one way to reorder -- a certain physicality.

I printed it and labeled sections pre or post or now or extra. Then I arranged all the marked pages as they were printed. Then I chopped them into sections pre, post, now, extra. After that, I put each section into their own chronological order. Finally, four piles emerged, each in order. I then went back to my document and cut and pasted a new draft. It lacks connective tissue but is roughly in place.