Friday, December 30, 2011

fri / STOKED to be ab done w/ my lil book

these two bunnies played a show last nite at plush.  it was stellar.  afterwards joe & i came back here & had a backyard fire in the chiminea where i read the almost finished book from start to finish.  i learned a lot of things by doing so, so all the thanks in the world to lolo for his ears.  thanks to mija mara for also helping me out with thorough notes.  i have some interior peace today that everything is going to be just fine.  

tonite is puttanesca nite at MMs.  nice!



What stood in our yard were like demons
outside of time. One had a rock in his mouth,
another a tree branch
And “each man became what he was”



We gave our meat to the meat plant
& the garden, town, village


Lifted from the mind


*


From above we saw:
A ruined shape
We turned to [colorless]


The sea was like the sky                        a long, long chain that tethered everything




At last, at last


To hunger and terror
Salami and buckwheat


We’ll stand between death and its shining ideals
We’ll fatten from hunger and light the whole earth
With our comrades’ debris


We’ll be grim set on living


We’ll bury the headquarters schools and the baths



And the water main





Oh strange person
Oh person in a vacuum
We with our canons and spaceships were children


Man is simply frightening



(Instead of fields) the forest rises again

Thursday, December 29, 2011

THURS / it sounds like winter / winter / winter // take care of your

peacock says bon iver sounds like snow, 'i can barely listen it sounds like snow, like winter, it's painful/beautiful.


king of the everglades, population 1, i write poetry for myself, i write poetry for myself.


me & the las woke happy.  back settled in tucson & life is good.  got a jan 1 book deadline.  work!

grits & eggs breakfast of champs.  run to gym.  go, go!

it's official the neighbors are gone.  miss you gio!--but that would be it.  there's a silence now to rubio.  i watch jose my gaybor walk to the mailbox.  no high-pitched voice next door, nothing breaking, just silence.  i can write.

kaia and joe are playing the early set tonight at plush.   it's gonna be nice, i'll be there, happy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

sat / dolly christmas montage / me? i'll bounce right back. lord it's like a hard candy christmas.



been writing all day over in my little cottage on the smaller pond.  and reading 2666:  christmas eve superb.  came down to mama & daddy's house for a snack, back down in a min to dress & get ready to go to granny's for veg soup & spend the nite, then xmas celebrations & hopefully dad will give me some pool tips.  tomorrow nite i somehow gotta watch the packers bounce back & stomp the stank bears while also driving to tifton to have xmas festivities with my grlbear, ladybear LL. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

mon / fresh week / continues to be cold/wet desert holiday season / the new Trickhouse is out

Noah Saterstrom has put out a new issue of Trickhouse:  TRICKHOUSE vol 14

Tenny Nathanson has work in it:


*

I love how Yeats in “Meru” has several wildly irregular lines mixed in with the regular ones. The opening’s metrical unruliness gives a sense of the cultural-historical phase (Yeats’s “unwinding of the gyre”) that is the poem’s subject:

*

every moment sitting in the ten kalpas
every moment
sitting just right now

sun-face Buddha
moon-face Buddha

where is Mazu (Basso) (Great Master Ma)

“ever since Ma kicked me in the chest I have not stopped laughing”

(An Lushan rebellion)

*

I hope that's not where we're going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies

---

yesterday was not a good packer day.  joe-lo took this pic of sunday ritual.  look how sad i look.  abe & i were blue.  [understatement.]  


Sunday, December 18, 2011

SAT / grading / christmas shopping / big mexi-dinner with lolo / DESSA was on NPR today





in the interview, Dessa speaks of her literary/philosophy background.  i have her book Doomtree (MN hip hop collective) put out--Spiral Bound (thanks Nick)--& i love it.  Minneapolis hip hop is rad.  esp Dessa & POS...see below.  POS started music as a lover of hardcore punk...his other project, building better bombs, is a definite nod to that genre.  i dig how he articulates process.  how he is an artist, & he's humble while being straight about who he is & what he does.



great POS song:



Friday, December 16, 2011

FRI / ADV PO ROCKED CASA LIBRE LAST NITE / magical nite / im a proud mother hen / GRADING / RECOVERY FRI

love to my adv po class at pima nw.  they rocked the house...so much heart, such devotion to writing--i got all emotional & overwhelmed by such po love.  relish it.  it dont happen enuf.  joe lo novelli played the astral slide whilst we mixed & mingled--thanks lolo.  thanks to kristen nelson for allowing us to use casa libre.  bout 50 folks showed up & adv po melted faces.  looking forward to spring with these guys.  bring it.

---- i was googling travis nichols the poet cause i like his naked book cover for iowa & i wanted more details & instead i found travis nichols the bklyn comic-strip badass & think thanks google, for hooking me up.  i mean, look at this dude's dance after he received his first book in the mail.  wow.  i know what im doing next time i open my new book box. ----

im kinda in love with this guy...travis nichols.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TOMORROW! MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOLKS!

PIMA NW

ADVANCED POETRY
READING
AT
CASA LIBRE

DECEMBER 15TH, 2011
7PM

Readings by Andrew Becerra, Elizabeth Brown, Clarissa Bueno, Steven Cates, Kaia Chesney, Ian Hudick, Eric Jackson, and Rachel Mindell.

wed / last day being on campus / EXCITED EXCITED


THIS BOO WANTS A BARBIE!  
I WANT A PONY!



CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER ROUCH & THE BIO THAT I (ALONG WITH KAIA CHESNEY) WROTE FOR HER:
 
http://la.blocagency.com/talent/dance/mandy-coulton

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

tues / imitation / ARTIFICE / this shit ain't rocket science the scene changes with beats / my obsession with 50 Ways to...





more stuff im thinking about by way of writing head space.  kid cudi it took years but i get it now.

mon / last day of full classes at pima / went to the loft for melancholia

now that school is about over i can get back to the writer's life.  i decided to throw myself in it tonite.

i got a vanilla porter & a bag of popcorn.  sat in the back row & automatic wrote for five or so minutes eye-squinting til the dark hurt my eyes.

genet / women or killed themselves for love or the earth

the rich sculpt trees call 
a bird loose in dreams, still-shot
scythes on the hillside, the backwards black 
horse, a marriage from the hands loves
everyone affluent to vines grasp it's
lyric fascination these oaks grew
what if five seconds?  bad taste
Ophelia head-on
collision he sharpens she 
head forward entrusted cue
strings, it happens first then we backtrack

Justine they're always arch
a white limo the ugly winter 
grass wedding attire already filthy
unhappy nothing lasts.  the red one
you can see that, me, i
hate marriage come with
me against appropriate becomes
a drama for the back nine
this to the stars happy?  happy?
a noose, head-cocked you've
no business here



i'm never one to impress my opinion, however, i will say i did like & did not like this film.  only a film w/ such affluence can have apocalyptic measures on such a lush lawn.  had the family been middle class the narrative wouldve been raw tragedy so one couldn't concentrate on the inevitable death.  empathy would've shot you down.  von trier wanted this plasticity.  i get bored by the sun dial in the yard & all the plush rhetoric & malaise that everything becomes a symbol of white privilege/intellect/culture focused on self-indulgence/heavy narcissism, etc.

this is where my head is at in terms of books i need/thought processes in order to write this thing i now want to write:  zizek's violence, for some reason carlyle's sartor resartus, the practice of sati, burton's the anatomy of melancholy (only for lang.), ontology via aquinas (esp on essence & being), taylor from the bev hills housewives, the idea of deliberately touching the electric fence, suicide/alcoholism, francis 'two gun' crowley's on death: 'you sons of bitches.  give my love to mother.'

Sunday, December 11, 2011

sun / PACKERS 46 - THUG RAIDERS 16 (13-0 BABY) / recovery sunday

grading journals.  getting ready for the last week of school.  excited about that.  am/have been pretty tired, psychically tired.  tired, tired.  i always said i'd never be one of those people, those perpetually 'tired' people.  we'll see.  

went out last nite & determined not to go out again for a long time.  just too much mentally/emotionally.  thinking on throwin it in a bag again.  will weigh options.  we'll see.

----

i like these poems from fence.  

Under the Influence of Ideals
The extra fine ingredients sift down on you
or stir at your feet and cover your shoes
with the dust of it. The back of your hands,
dusted. Some fine glass particles stick.
The long bath only removes the thin layer
that can be removed. Everything else
is taken in and kept. You stand up
when you can to the curled lip,
some dogface raking back the curtain
to expose the starving. Who isn’t on edge?
Always the look that says don’t. And then,
the strategic repetition of the threat.
Death in the performance foreground,
some long-past allegory in back.
“Zero” plays on low while you look back
over your shoulder in a three-way mirror;
look up—there’s the glass chandelier
that substitutes for a people on the edge
of their seats. The natural birthright
position. Every last scene lasts for no more
than a second; some ceramic panther
stands in for the extinct. Is it today yet?
On stage, in a moment of everyday realism,
an accordion folds and unfolds while
we pretend we forget we said we ’d be kind.
-mary jo bang
 The Horse Declares
Conversation between me and my horse—the horse declares you enter into the world of time. How long have you known me? I thought. Reading lions of france for the lords of finance. Toast qua toast, whole taken for parts. The haystack—it figures. Me and my horse, we are delicately bound to one another by the resistant air. I came, I saw, I want to go home.
-norma cole

Saturday, December 10, 2011

sat / curling my hair to go out / thinking on my most favorite paragraph ever written / i want to share with you

from Jim Harrison's Dalva, pg. 13

Dear Son!  I am being honest but not honest enough.  Once up in Minnesota I saw a three-legged bobcat, a not quite whole bobcat with one leg lost to a trap.  There is the saw about cutting the horse's leg off to get him in a box.  The year it happened to me the moon was never quite full.  Is the story always how we tried to continue our lives as if we had once lived in Eden?  Eden is the childhood still in the garden, or at least the part of it we try to keep there.  Maybe childhood is a myth of survival for us.  I was a child until fifteen, but most others are far more truncated.

---

Next most fav paragraph is as follows...[& also deals with animal traps/amputation.  Maybe in a past life something like this happened to me.]

Baldwin, from "Sonny's Blues"

So we drove along, between the green of the park and the stony, lifeless elegance of hotels and apartment buildings, toward the vivid, killing streets of our childhood.  These streets hadn't changed, though housing projects jutted up out of them now like rocks in the middle of a boiling sea.  Most most the houses in which we had grown up had vanished, as had the stores from which we had stolen, the basements in which we had first tried sex, the rooftops from which we had hurled tin cans and bricks.  But houses exactly like the houses of our past yet dominated the landscape, boys exactly like the boys we once had been found themselves smothering in these houses, came down into the streets for light and air and found themselves encircled by disaster.  Some escaped the trap, most didn't.  Those who got out always left something of themselves behind, as some animals amputate a leg and leave it in the trap.  It might be said, perhaps, that I had escaped, after all, I was a school teacher; or that Sonny had, he hadn't lived in Harlem for years.  Yet, as the cab moved uptown through streets which seemed, with a rush, to darken with dark people, and as I covertly studied Sonny's face, it came to me that what we were both seeking through our separate cab windows was that part of ourselves which had been left behind.  It's always at the hour of trouble and confrontation that the missing member aches.

sat / slept best sleep in forever / just put my u of a grades in / pics from the week

G Bear goes to Christmas Disneyland
Backyard fire chiminea
Joe Lo & Soulgee
My bed - there's a string of elephants on the far side that one of my favorite students this semester gifted me.
Jimmy Choos in the mail from Rouch for my 30th.  LOOOOOVE.






Thursday, December 8, 2011

wed/thurs / my sweetheart he's a rambler

it's 2am & i'm coffee-wired but done with the majority of my grading for the U class.  relief!  today i was a work horse.  i did step out for a brief minuto to see kaia chesney's show at solar culture.  below is eric, clarissa, & kaia, all students/amazing folks that comprise some of adv po!  angels.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

tues / when i hit the brick new whip

nose to grindstone week.  grading.  joe lo came over to help last nite with journals, thank goodness.  i have like 90 of those to grade.  i took up 23 essays yesterday from U kids that i have to get done by fri morn.  then i take up final exams.  fun.  next week 50 something research essays.

it's cold in tucson.  all my plants are inside or either snugged up in old sheets.  bitter cold last nite.  righteously bitter.  i got takeout soup post-gym from el minuto.

i just got back from steve salmoni's intro to poetry class at nw.  recruiting for adv po--hoping to make numbers!  what a great class!

here's a poem i reread in the sauna last nite at the gym that i had read years ago & dog-eared & refound again:

sawako nakayasu's nothing fictional but the accuracy or arrangement   (she    
(Quale, 2006)

finds an urgent need to get away from
people who look familiar:  familiar gait,
familiar smile, familiar expression of
disappointment when losing the lottery.
After finding such a place, where the be-
havior of people is sufficiently unfamil-
iar, slightly disengaged, somewhat off of
her normal expectations, how much long-
er this can last before the need to move,
again and again, each time hopefully less
urgently, more slowly, in peace, with the
space in her heart to even carry along a
few regrets.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

IRON AND WINE sun eve (church) / all dead white boys say God is good. white tongues hang out. God is good.




38 PACKERS - 35 GIANTS

abe:  this time / rodgers:  sniff them / smellin salts brett was / always nose quaffin afore / kick offff
st:  YEAH!
st:  Ballet!
as:  yeeeeee jord dee
st:  haahee i just yelled at / people fer 4 mins bout / how that were ballet
as:  driiiiiiiiiiiiiverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
st:  Bing!
as:  Holy effin helllllll
st:  Callin Jesus
as:  Yank him by the beaard
as:  no drops / no drops / no drops
st:  YES!!
as:  awwwesome
st:  rough on my heart / but all ends well / thank you God
as:  weee smoked em! my  / rosary is all embery!

football sunday / packers in progression: get it! / max sympathy in nairobi / me & possum in tubac / last day before i take up essays at the U / ew




one:  buy cowboy hat.
two: tubac flowery, cold.
three: smores by a fire, luminaire fest.
four: always lite candles for loved ones.

---

renegade poetics, max sympathy:


---

Saturday, December 3, 2011

sat / almost a ROADTRIP W/ POSSUM / LO comes to town today / pics from the other nite


Thanks, Grannny, for the pool skills.  I need another lesson though!

Friday, December 2, 2011

fri / it's rainy, cold, & just gross in tucson / couch weather / book weather / movie weather

THANKS SO MUCH TO POET KRISTI MAXWELL FOR ROCKING ADV PO LAST NITE!  Kristi's new book Re- was just released from Ahsahta Press.  After she left, the class was like she's so smart!  And she is.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

wed / UNCLE / ANGEL / MONTANA / NEED FRESH AIR

the first couple mins & then around 8 mins JH again.  makes me miss him.



---

i got to thinking about this 'no reservations' clip when having a toast with Ms DD now that she's back in town from med school residency tryouts in cali.  Nick, who is now bartending at Scott & Co used to be my fav barback at Congress, is from montana.  he rebuilds old custom harleys & stuff.  after bear hugs or either before, i did agree to jump on the back of his motorcycle for a roadtrip to montana end of may.  this is one trip i definitely hope to keep.  i adore nick.  and his philos. of keeping the overhead low, one i could never quite manage myself among others.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

mon / thanks so much verse daily! / mine is the day's poem up at verse daily.org / twice in one week: wow!

another one of my poems from Black Warrior Review is up at versedaily.org.  can't believe it--how cool!

[20] is a poem from Dirt City Lions, a chapbook that will drop AWP 2012.

thank you for your support, verse daily.  mirth to you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

sun / love this book / California by Jennifer Denrow

i had so much fun hanging with the girls yesterday.  Jen gave me this book of hers & i'm in love with it & her.  


(from Thermos mag)

California


Forget your life.

Okay I have.

Lay something down that is unlike you:

Sold boat, Italian song.

I’m losing my head over this:

this is what the doll said when you pulled its head
from its body;

all the girls laughed.

I’ll move to California. I should
go alone. I’ll go

with the knowledge of fake
snow. I’ll ask my father to bring me.

~

When I went to the backyard,

I said to myself,

this doesn’t look like California

and nothing in my life does

and my husband says he’ll have to deal with this forever.

I want to go so bad I clench my fist
hard in the air, I push my finger into
his chin and cry: it feels like this, I say.
I need it this bad.

~

I realize now that I’m a woman.

I go to the store.

I buy California style pizza and beer. I drop my ID when the woman asks to see it.

No one in the store looks like they could be from California.

A baby eats some keys.

I buy a magazine with people from California in it; they are all very beautiful.

I come out of the store and the sky

is filled with many white clouds

that could be stand-ins for California clouds.

I don’t even have a tan.

I know this is the only time I’ll leave the house today.

~

Instead of going to California I make my husband a ham and cheese sandwich to take to
work. He doesn’t like the way I place the cheese on the bread.
When he leaves for work I sit in a quiet house.

I told him I couldn’t have this life.

This wasn’t me living here.

I was living in California.

He said cruel things that he knew would scare me.

He brought the ring from the cabinet and tried to put it on my finger.

I said no.

I said I can’t be married right now.

He said this happens every year.

He may be right.

sun / put it in your calendar! / ADV PO does Casa Libre / stoked!!

PIMA NW

ADVANCED POETRY
READING
AT
CASA LIBRE

DECEMBER 15TH, 2011
7PM

Readings by Andrew Becerra, Elizabeth Brown, Clarissa Bueno, Steven Cates, Kaia Chesney, Ian Hudick, Eric Jackson, Rachel Mindell, and Brandan Pittman.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

sat / Bohemia/Casa Libre celebration w/ Jennifer Denrow, Selah Saterstrom, Kristi Maxwell, & musician Leila Lopez

Last nite at Plush was a full out Tucson gathering of writers. we sorta threw it in the ditch, if you know what i mean. i pay for me funs today & look here again, more funs to get ready for. below is where i'll be.

---

Bohemia Day of Giving
a fundraiser for Casa Libre

Saturday, November 26
Event at Bohemia
Sales 10a.m.-8p.m./Reception 5-8 p.m.
Beer, Sangria, and Snacks

Bohemia, a funky and eclectic emporium that offers gifts, goods, furniture, and art created by artists in Tucson, AZ, is hosting a day of giving to benefit Casa Libre. A percentage of all sales made at Bohemia on Saturday November 26, will be donated to Casa Libre. Bohemia offers a unique shopping experience with over 200 different local and regional artists and crafts people for unique, locally made holiday gifts. A reception at Bohemia will feature the music of Leila Lopez and the poetry of Kristi Maxwell, Selah Saterstrom, and Jennifer Denrow. Please come on out to support local artists, shop for your holiday gifts, and enjoy refreshments, music, and poetry.

This event will be held at Bohemia:
2920 E. Broadway
Tucson, AZ 85716
520.882.0800
For directions and more information about Bohemia please visit: http://www.bohemiatucson.com

Friday, November 25, 2011

from Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful

HOW POEMS ARE MADE / A DISCREDITED VIEW

Letting go
In order to hold one
I gradually understand
How poems are made.
There is a place the fear must go.
There is a place the choice must go.
There is a place the loss must go.
The leftover love.
The love that spills out
Of the too full cup
And runs and hides
Its too full self
In shame.

I gradually comprehend
How poems are made.
To the upbeat flight of memories.
The flagged beats of the running
Heart.

I understand how poems are made.
They are the tears
That season the smile.
The stiff-neck laughter
That crowds the throat.
The leftover love.
I know how poems are made.

There is a place the loss must go.
There is a place the gain must go.
The leftover love.

Alice Walker

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thurs / Happy Thanksgiving Day ya'll

major marg. celebrating being done with wednesday. i was 'observed' at the U. it was actually fun, a great class. and so i took myself out. but was home early, am always thankful for sleep, two lalas, health, family, friends, & so much more. miss my family today.




here's a manic pilgrim turkey spreading cheer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

tues / just when i think the end of the semester cringe is gonna put me under / good news

Hey ya'll. Mine is today's poem up at Verse Daily. versedaily.org.

They chose a poem from my new chap, Dirt City Lions, forthcoming Horse Less Press round AWP time in Chicago, end of February.

A lot is misspelled in their rendering of poem, so I'm just gonna repost the poem here for all those being directed to my "website"--cause though I love slang, I too am not totally inarticulate. The lines are too long to format to blogspot, that's the weird line breaks, you know...bygones.

Thanks so much to versedaily.org. Yay for Tuesday.


[7]


The beach gives onlookers, men with poles. I am just trying to jog
this beach, if I yelled you fucking voyeur it would not be got. I liken myself
to Faulkner’s going on about nature while being sharp with the two
characters of this working—you know, & God always God, let’s call him
Higher Power the way the Al-Anon book says. In the past you were shot at,
mid-hand dealt as if shuffle inward yet leave it alone. I
drink a Mich Ultra, that’s what in the fridge. And slow to the gunny,
the time spent I drug myself by belly, slept when the sun came up, my hands
back again. A picture of you, ain’t it funny, in the bar forever, my good tap
tap, fingers & feet now I’ve no speedrack, five hundred bottles a night, two in
each hand & this is Heaven. But your hands in my hair, a periodic
newness for remembrance which like a shrug duly evokes the winter
surely coming. I have my graces from which I carry the sun to violence
all my mistakes, born into thick hands, cruelty & choose so.
If I curl my hair I’m taking on the town, the real of the town,
everyone with their beer whiskey hands all sad behind their beer whiskey
hands, you cannot run it down—pliĆ© & shade from any ray that looks you
step right because right cannot tell the difference between a marsh &
a swamp: we kill both. I thought go home again & it was murky,
the sea unfledged, myself in the backyard watching closely
the cats don’t jump the fence & get out there on the road.

[was written summer 2010, on amelia island]

Monday, November 21, 2011

mon / trouper / went raging temper, baldwin, not butler, freakout, david foster wallace / sauna / chinese food / bloody hell

I met Ida Stewart in Athens a couple weeks ago. She sent me her first collection, Gloss, which arrived in the mail today. Excited to read!



Ginseng

Wild sarsaparilla is the fool’s sang.
Follow jack-in-the-pulpit, goldenseal,
cohoshes black and blue. To find true heal-all,
fall head-over, get brave, get fangled up
in bobcat mouths or caves, and wrangle twang
and drawl from fiddleheads into a single
clear-cut note. Then forage through the leaf-
like chiming, sundried light. Hear me, stranger?
Feel it pull you underground, elide
you—forest-body, heart, and mind—to root,
moving through the dirt, a shape like a person.
You are wherewithal and you are wild.
—jack-in-the-pulpit, goldenseal,
cohoshes black and blue—
You are real and dream and dissolute.
I mean you are a tangle and a song.

---
Ms LOVELY Kaia Chesney: click below!

Without You

Sunday, November 20, 2011

football sun / geez / Packers off their game but stay undefeated: 35 PACK - 26 BUCS


the PACK scared us two PACKER POETS (yrs truly & abraham smith smith smithy) today. but, here's to 10 - 0, it's so good bein a Packer.

st: yes hell!

as: kuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

as: i can put my friggin rosary away now

st: i should put this nail file down my fingers are close to bleedin

st: our ball. sing pack!

as: eff eff eff eff eff eff eff

st: i'm pure fraught

st: yes my god

as: waiit they tackle him but here we gooooo again

st: this is a lot to handle on the lords day

as: ho hum another snoozer of a game / heehee / yayayayayayyy / rainin here but the rain / tastes like sugarr!

oh my i am addicted to southern women personality in designing women / makes me miss home





smart, smart, smart. the nite that the lights went out in Ga.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

sat / SICK day / missing steven salmoni's POG reading though...sad face / repercussions of throwing it in the ditch, a sign of the times

as in what below the surface pulls you, never explain. come sit next to me. this best place to feel the wind, change your ways.



i like this interview: (from Omnidamn's blog)

Alissa Nutting is the current fiction editor of Witness and author of the short story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls. At present, she is guest editing The Grey Issue of Fairy Tale Review, a theme issue focusing on Lost Boys & Girls. This fall, she will be an assistant professor of creative writing at John Carroll University.

Juliana Paslay is a features writer and bookstore liaison for Omnidawn. She is currently seeking her Creative Writing MFA at California College of the Arts.



Juliana Paslay: Your short story collection, Unclean Jobs For Women and Girls, is very unified in its theme of women hiding themselves within roles but opens to many variations. How did the collection evolve? Did an individual story come first or the overall theme?

Alissa Nutting: It began with a voice that emerged in several stories where the roles and situations were radically different. Soon, it was very clear to me that the book would be a dress-up party of sorts, with that voice taking on a variety of different jobs and duties, each one being a different chapter.

JP: Your stories have this beautiful tension between humor and sadness. How do you balance that in your writing? Do have an inclination towards one side or the other?

AN: All humor is born out of sadness…when the sad egg cracks, humor is the palatable part of the muck that drizzles out. To me, humor is the only honest way to write about sad things. Straight drama only looks at half of the picture. It ignores whatever might be laughing in the corner during the situation, whether that’s another person, the character itself, or something more sinister, like fate or apathy. There is always something ironic, or unwieldy, or physically disgusting, or paradoxical about a tragedy. I think it’s important to include the whole picture when writing fiction.

JP: Has winning the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction changed your approach to publishing? Has it increased your opportunities?

AN: I’ve been so very fortunate with the book and its reception; I truly feel grateful for that. But no matter what happens in my career, I think that publishing will always be something that’s hard for me to not feel all-glass and delicate about. Putting yourself out there is hard. It’s undoubtedly the most difficult thing I have to do in my life—giving my work over to others to judge. I try to think about it as a testament to my devotion for writing, in an S&M sort of way. Writing is the master that I take pain for. Lots and lots of pain as part of an expression of my love. It has always been like that. Writing has always had a collar on me. I cannot tell it no.

JP: The women of your stories have “unclean jobs” ranging from “Porn Star” to “Alcoholic”. What inspired you to use titles and labels in this way?

AN: My general disgust and hatred of titles and labels, actually. These stories hopefully subvert those labels, because readers get to see the characters in a different light than others (usually the same “others” who would apply these titles or labels) see them. For example, I love the general title “Teenager” and then the depiction of the character’s warped, complicated social life that is anything but general. I also wanted to use titles and labels in conjunction with jobs to drive home the point of how, as a woman, living up to different aspects of societal roles and standards can be a job in itself. At the grocery store I’ll often glance over the magazines during checkout; the ones targeted to women mainly are instructional. As if I should be reading them and taking notes.

JP: What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

AN: I’m mainly finishing up my novel draft, but I have a lot of projects going. I like this though. That’s the chorus that gets me out of bed each morning, and keeps me up at night way later than I should stay up…all of my projects’ needy, wailing mouths, all begging for my attention. Every piece of writing that I start immediately feels like something submerged that I have to pull out from below the water and save.

Friday, November 18, 2011

songs before bedtime





thurs / poet Mara Vahratian rocked ADV PO nite / i made a casserole

i love these old pics of me & my mija Mara V. these were 07 & we were werkin it, as you can see below. thanks to Mara for coming to class tonite & staying to wskp. was such a magical nite.

Mara Vahratian's Soaptrees is out at Dancing Girl Press.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wed / good day / minot, joyce, & danah boyd's facebook privacy: huge debate, HUGE. / Benetton is at it again: get it!

i pretty much love Benetton advertising. Benetton canned controversial photog Toscani in the late 00s due to the outrage of the "We on Death Row" campaign, which spotlighted American prisoners on death row (Benetton is an Italian clothing company, yes...) & made, perhaps, its audience identify even empathize with these prisoners. American outrage: yes. am I a bit horrified by these ads: yes.

Toscani did brilliant work for Benetton in the 80s, 90s, & 00s: mostly positive messages supporting equality throughout the world--yes, sometimes embodying borderline shock tactics. i think the David Kirby AIDS (Theresa Frere) campaign is just pure brilliance. how significant the change post-Kirby ad was to the world highlighting the controversy surrounding AIDS at this specific time (early 90s) in America: who knows. brought a lot of attention & humanized AIDS; the remarkable parallel of Kirby to Christ is mind-blowing. bless, Benetton, you Italian clothing company.

i teach visual analysis & rhetoric in WRT 101--i always teach a whole class session just on Benetton's advertising campaigns, specifically the Isabelle Caro "No Anorexia" campaign, the "We on Death Row" one, & the AIDS campaign, esp the David Kirby photos which shocks the hell out of my students. we all have mixed feelings about Benetton. i think this is fabulous. we're thinking critically. that's superb.

well, Benetton is at it again. world leaders are making out. Obama is kissing Chavez & China's prez. North Korea is kissin on South Korea. Israel & Palestine...in a lip-lock...wtf? the ad of the Pope making out w/ Egyptian Imam is already pulled--even though today was its first public day. i'm not surprised. Benetton, Italian clothing company took such a hit after "We on Death Row" that i'm shocked they're back it--ruffling feathers & acting out politically when their aim should be to sell clothes, right? i say WORK IT, Benetton. your ethics could be debatable, but thank goodness you get people thinking. the message with their new campaing: UNHATE. get it, B!






Tuesday, November 15, 2011

tues / i'm so anti-academy it's ridiculous / but i love students & teaching / i'm thinking on gender roles / obsession with red light districts & how working girls are portrayed in film, etc



if you know me you know i love the film the best little whorehouse in texas starring dolly parton & burt reynolds. i watched it as a kid on one of those slide discs at granny's house with all my other cousins. we loved it. i particularly loved it.

i live in the barrio viejo, which is part of gay alley, tucson's old red light district in territorial times. i'm obsessed.



recently i've watched louie malle's pretty baby which is so great. susan sarandon is just superb.

i'm still thinking of writing my book of soiled doves. think i'm going to do it. need the voices though.

Monday, November 14, 2011

mon fun day / carver, tan, rodriguez / takeout tortilla soup / PACKERS: off to the races

we're 9-0. Game score vs the VIKINGS: 45-7. it's so good to be a PACKER.

grita the squirrel is a good couch football buddy.

me: 4 is a damn beast to be around right now you know it. Bless his xtian wife's heart.

abe smith: he's in the garage throwin horseshoes with pals in his heated airconditioned horseshoe pit.

me: heehee. yep.

me: one fer the books.

as: rewritin the bible with rodgers as gabriel awwwwwwmennnnn

Saturday, November 12, 2011

sat / just getting home from a roadtrip

i dragged myself off the bathroom floor & went to the Canyon! i took my book & went for a drive! lovely, yes?




while i was taking this pic of myself, a huge ass charter of asian tourists disembarked & each filed past me giving me the international sign for work it (or hell yeah!): thumbs up, thumbs up, thumbs up, & on & on. it was a top moment.


navajo nation land across 64 to Cameron is just so beautiful to me.



i love leaving & coming back. big sweater, windows down, lucero on blast, hello my grit ass dirt city! tucson! im feeling much better.