Monday, September 26, 2011

readings now and future

This week I'm offering a free tarot reading or dream interpretation to anyone who buys 2 or more No Tell Books titles. Details here. It'll probably be the last time I run this offer for the press for quite a while. In the past I've done it once a year.

In the future I intend to branch out and offer tarot readings and dream interpretations for a fee. This wil be my own pursuit, unrelated to the press. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long, but have been too chicken shit.

Chicken shit no longer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We went a new restaurant tonight. The service was good, the food was fine, yet for what possibly may be the first time in my life, I asked to see the manager. Why? Because when I asked the waiter not to bring the dessert tray to the table, he apologized but said he was required to so for every table. He brought the tray out, set spoons on the table (also required, he explained) and described all twelve desserts (required). All while G became more and more agitated because we told him we weren't getting dessert and there was dessert, three inches in front on his face, mocking him.

I understand dessert trays are a successful dessert-selling tactic. But I was also was under the impression that this restaurant was one of those healthy lifestyle establishments, touting its fresh, seasonal vegetables, no frying and asserting that nothing on the menu is more than 475 calories. It was why we decided to try it out. So why push the sugar, restaurant of moderate eating?

I explained to the manager that I could never come back because of their dessert tray policy. It's just too unpleasant a way to end dinner with a 6 year old. He explained that their policy is not to bring a tray to anyone who refuses. I wondered if perhaps I didn't object strenuously enough. I said to the waiter, "I rather you didn't." Maybe that was too soft? Chris said "no means no" and that should have been enough. I agree. The waiter knew we didn't want it, but felt like his job was on the line if he didn't. I didn't want to stress out the waiter, so instead I enraged G.

The problem wasn't with the waiter, but with the restaurant's policy.

After I shared my complaint to the manager, he reached into his jacket and I thought he was pulling out one of those free appetizer cards or something like that. No. He gave me his business card and told me to ask for him the next time we came. For what purpose? Hey remember me? I'm that bitchy buzzkill mom who complained about the dessert trays. Good to see you too!

As we left I turned to Chris and said, "Damn, this sure ain't Applebees."

We don't get to Applebees very often, but once, years ago, we were at one when a waiter accidentally spilled part of a meal on a customer. She was furious. The manager came over and gave her all kinds of free food cards, but nothing calmed her. She screamed, I DIDN'T COME ALL THE WAY FROM JERSEY TO GET AU JUS DOWN MY BUTT CRACK!

I don't know what she came all the way from New Jersey to Virginia for, but I definitely believed her when she said it wasn't for au jus in her butt crack. That incident was at least ten years ago, and still to this day every time Chris and I drive by an Applebees one of us affirms that we didn't drive all the way from Reston to get au jus down our butt cracks.

I think those days are past.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Your Ear Presents Lea Graham and Reb Livingston

DC Arts Center
2438 18th Street NW
Washington, District of Columbia

Please join the In Your Ear Reading Series for a reading by Lea Graham and Reb Livingston at 3PM on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

Lea Graham’s first book, Hough & Helix & Where & Here & You, You, You is just out from No Tell Books. She is also the author of the chapbook, Calendar Girls (above ground press, 2006). Her poems, collaborations, reviews and articles have been published in journals and anthologies such as American Letters & Commentary, The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor, Notre Dame Review and The Capilano Review. Her translations are forthcoming in The Alteration of Silence: Recent Chilean Poetry through the University of New Orleans Press. She is Assistant Professor of English at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and a native of Northwest Arkansas.

Reb Livingston is the author of God Damsel (No Tell Books, 2010) and Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut Books, 2007). She's the co-editor of The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel anthology series, the publisher of No Tell Books and the editor of the soon-to-be-closed-for-business No Tell Motel. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son.

Admission is $5.00.

Monday, September 12, 2011

tonight's unpacking tally

We are one step closer to completely unpacking and organizing our home. We're getting very close. Despite working for months at our old home on weeding out what we no longer needed or wanted, we still brought some of unnecessary psychic baggage to the new home.

Here's tonight's tally:

* various plaques and goofy trophy-like awards from Chris' past jobs--many refer to Chris as "The Head" which I'm supposed to believe is a recognition of his intelligence
* my high school graduation honor tassles
* audio recordings of my college talk radio show, "Enlightenments," taped on VCR tapes
* cassette tape of my interview with Troy Slaten from Parker Lewis Can't Lose
* 2 pairs of shoes
* moldy, drunken college pictures
* my bingo chips and dabbers
* CMU student handbook (1990)

* 5 pairs of shoes
* various corporate coffee mugs
* framed flower collages from Pier One
* 1 Pirates bobble head

Give to Gideon
* the other Pirates bobble head
* a sand dollar that reads "I love you" and plays the Star Spangled (A gift from me to Chris that I purchased at the Gay Dolphin (Myrtle Beach) sometime in the 90's)

* a bound collection of every FLASH News (tech support newsletter) I ever wrote when I worked in AOL's documentation department
* a three page instructional essay on how to use DEBUG to fix a comm port shift that I used as my writing sample to get that awesome documentation job
* 6 month performance review of my documentation job (I was reliable, focused, good at managing my time, worked well with others, willing to take on additional responsibilities, but needed to work on my proofreading and technical writing skills)

Headed to the shredder
* Bedside Guide contributor agreement contracts

Dumped into a plastic bin to be put into our crawlspace and likely not opened for another 20 years
* White House agenda and folder from 1993 from the only time they ever bothered inviting me
* a photo of me hugging Steve the bodyguard from the Jerry Springer Show fame
* CMU freshman pic book (1990)
* a Student Union issue that includes an incredibly inane quote from me regarding my reaction to River Phoenix's death (apparently my sister and I were both "really bummed out" which was amplified because somebody we knew was stabbed on a school bus a couple days before--I must already be senile because I now can't recall anyone stabbed on a school bus)
* my "Bass Master" hat given to me by my father after a particularly successful father/daughter fishing trip in the 80's

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It occurred to me that I feel extremely alienated from the "writing community" at-large and I'm not so sure if this a newer development or something I've felt for a long time. There's always been this lingering sense of certain people only being interested in what I can do for them, or others taking advantage and not appreciating (or respecting) what I do or something like that. In reality that is probably a minority. Most writers have been rather gracious and generous, but that minority sometimes sticks in my heart. It's always had more power than it should. I've spent a long time trying to figure out the ways how I fuel that power. This BlazeVox business is maddening. In many ways it has nothing to do with me. I never published with them, I don't know the editor personally--yet some of the comments just bring up all kinds of painful feelings, especially when they're directed at poetry publishers in general. So I am still part of the community, else I wouldn't care, right? Or is this pain coming from being the outsider? Most probably wouldn't consider me an outsider. Eh, who doesn't feel like an outsider, right?

I think it's more than all that, much more, but I can't really place my finger on what all that is. Many of my close friends are writers and I'm not alienated from them personally. I can think of several writers who I feel alienated from for a variety of reasons and I keep going back and forth wondering if that plays anything into it. Maybe it does. Maybe it's that heart damage from the minority that isn't healing properly. A year ago (or maybe it was two?, whenever it was when I started this new blog) I was doing daily energy/healing meditations, letting stuff go--I lost a bit of weight in the process, like I was storing up my anger in my ass and hips. I think I'm going to go back to doing that. I think the ass and heart share the same chakra. Yeah, I read that somewhere. My pilates trainer noticed I lost a bunch of weight and asked what I was doing. I told her about the energy exercises and she looked at me like I said I lost it by slaughtering hobos or something totally insane. It made me feel really uncomfortable and I started noticing that I was always really uncomfortable in the loud, cold, hard pilates studio. The constant mindless chitchat, the regular pressure to push oneself even if it didn't feel right. I didn't belong there, but I went because I got "results." A couple weeks later I quit (even though I still had 3 or 4 paid lessons) and returned to yoga. Yoga was so different than I remembered. What used to seem difficult wasn't so much. I probably had pilates to thank for that.

Yesterday I dreamed that I found a doorway in Chris' office into an apartment. There was another door that I hoped connected my own office to the apartment. I had forgotten that our new house had an apartment and I was so excited to realize I had all this additional space. My new house was truly huge and limitless. The previous owner's furniture and other items were still there, so I was deciding what to keep and what to pitch. Then two writers came into our home, one I know in waking life and the second was someone I knew in the dream, but couldn't remember his name. They brought cherry beer (something I'd recently considered buying in a grocery store in a dream the week before). Then tens of young, 20-something writers came into the house. It was like one of those flash mobs, but it was more like a flash party. I said I wasn't uninviting them because I never invited them in the first place, but they could only stay for 30 minutes because I had plans for the evening. At first I was OK with the unscheduled party but then I noticed that the writers were scrawling all over my walls. I yelled that I just paid thousands of dollars on painting. I screamed for them all to leave, threatened them with bodily harm, threw a vase and a lit candle and tried to call the police (I accidentally called the fire department instead). Finally everyone left and my new dream neighbors came into my house to make sure I was OK. They assumed the flash mob members were strangers. I explained that they were writers and I knew 10-15 of them but none of them were invited. My dream neighbors told me not to worry, that they were my community now.

I'm not sure how to interpret this dream. Was it showing that I'm rejecting "new writing" or an actual writing community? But if so, how is it OK to scrawl all over my walls? They were disrespecting me and my home. In waking life I would totally freak if people did that to my home. How am I supposed to work with that? Who are these new dream neighbors? They certainly weren't writers. What is this community embracing me now? Why were these young writers such despicable, disrespectful thugs? Why does interacting with writers have to be so overwhelming?

Monday, September 5, 2011

If you miss my old "cackling jackal" days, here's a post in that spirit about publishing over at No Tells.

School starts for Gideon tomorrow. 1st grade. I'm preparing a very serious happy dance. It's been an intense, wacky summer and I'm ready to go back to breathing.

I have plans and intentions about what I'm going to do with my time and they involve writing and doing a lot of stuff for myself.