It’s official, real and true: Clementine – I mean, OH MY DARLING – exists in the world as a real book. I opened the box from the printer and had a very, “oh I know you!” moment looking at her fresh, shining cover. You always hear people say that about having a baby, and I guess it’s true for books (for me). She has zero perfect fingers and zero perfect toes and is overall perfection and I am in love with her. In time we will have to have a party, several parties, but for the moment I’ve been carrying a copy around with me everywhere I go and making everyone look at it. Have you seen her? Isn’t she beautiful?
In But What’s Next? news, my excellent Hugo House class is over and I’m trying to decide what to take next out of the many good Spring 2015 class options on offer. I wrote more than 38,000 words during the five weeks of class, and I have almost a full, utterly terrible first draft. (My husband hates it when I talked about how bad my novel is, because he believes in me and supports this mad writer dream – but, sorry love, it really does suck right now. It’s supposed to!) I have a beginning and an ending and a chunk of the middle, which is where I’ll need to focus in order to finish the damn thing. My deadline for finishing is June 1, and I’m saying it here because everything one reads on the internet is true. I’ll be done with the first draft by June 1. Really.
Later this week I head east – a bit – for AWP in Minneapolis. It’s my first AWP, which seems ridiculous; yet another perk of MFA studenthood I didn’t take advantage of when I could (should) have. I think I was always too broke or couldn’t get the time off work (that old chestnut) – at any rate, I’ve never been, and what better year to go than this year! I’ve been spending a lot of time with the catalog of readings and lectures and discussions about craft, so like any good earnest nerd I will be showing up bright and early on Thursday with my schedule for every day of the conference already completely determined, a fresh notebook and a dozen new pens in my bag. I had a hard time narrowing down my choices to one per session, and I’m excited about what I’ve got: women writing sex, women writing the West, Alaskan poets and novelists, the dirt on national park residencies, tips on research, and on and on. I’m packing a bag and bringing a second empty bag to fill with books – perhaps they’re being hyperbolic, but that’s the advice I always hear about AWP.
If you’ll be in Minneapolis, you can find me in a few places:
- Thursday, April 9: Black Lawrence Press reading at Kieran’s Pub, 7:30 – 10:30 pm (open to the public)
- Friday, April 10: Chatham University reception and alumni / faculty reading (I believe you have to be a conference attendee to get in)
- Saturday, April 11: Signing books at the Black Lawrence table in the book fair, 2 – 3 pm
Recently I finished Wilderness by Lance Heller – another PNW-set book by a PNW author that I purchased at an independent PNW book store. Look at me go! I am living the lifestyle, surely! More importantly, go read this book. It’s everything I love in a novel: shifting timelines and points of view, place so well developed you can smell the salt in the air, a great cast of characters. A man and his dog. Don’t misunderstand me, the story and everything the characters endure are absolutely, gut-twistingly devastating. But it’s beautiful, too – so, so beautiful. I’m tempted to immediately read it again.