Background Noise, a new novel by Peter DeMarco

My old pal Peter DeMarco has published his first novel/novella, and it’s a really strong piece of work. My over-the-top blurb (you might think) has been ratified by the nomination of one of the chapters for a Pushcart Prize (the novella unfolds in not-quite-discrete stories or story fragments), and for my money, the annual Pushcart Prize anthology is one of the best ways anyone serious about reading good writing can get just oodles of it.

But back to Pete’s book, which you can find on Amazon here:

(You can read more about it by downloading this pdf flyer from the publisher, Pangea Books.) Continue reading

Great Reading Tonight at PEN/Faulkner, Hill Center

Saw Alan Cheuse and Alyson Foster reading tonight At the Hill Center, a terrific new (old) space for the arts on Capitol Hill. Foster is a “new” writer, and Cheuse is, of course, the voice of books on NPR. Foster read from a new novel she’s sold but hasn’t published (or finished) yet, GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT, and it was terrific. Wisely, she read from the beginning and I can’t wait to read this novel. She got an amazing introduction from Cheuse from this first in a series of local readings that PEN/Faulkner is hosting, which will feature writers who know each other and admire each other’s work.

alyson foster reading at the hill center 12-02-2012

Alyson Foster reading from GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT at the Hill Center on Capitol Hill.

Continue reading

Global Warming in My Neighborhood

I’m out in my yard today cleaning up the refuse from the trees (leaves) and I notice that my next door neighbor’s camellias are blooming. I don’t know a heck of a lot about camellias, but I don’t recall seeing them bloom in December before. But my general understanding is that they bloom in the spring. I remember Bob Edwards talking with Red Barber, years ago, about the camellias blooming at Barber’s place. But December? Not in Virginia.

And then I was in the garden, vacuuming up leaves where the tomato plants I hadn’t yanked up at the end of the season were, and found a bunch of them. We haven’t had a hard freeze yet, although I recall from my youth several long before December was done. One in particular when I was playing little league football and it was early November and the high that day was nine degrees F, and we were practicing after dark and it was cold. Or COLD.

And I remember the old days when we would burn the leaves after raking them and stand close to the fires because it was COLD. And so tomorrow it is supposed to be about 65 F.

So I guess I will be rolling with it, whipping up some tempura batter and making some fried green tomatoes.

NaNoWriMo Progress Report

Not much, really.

  • Nov. 1 — Totally blazed. Got off to a good start, if not a great, fantabulous one.
  • Nov. 2 — Totally blazed, and then lost it all.
  • Nov. 3 — Recovered/reconstituted the lost work on Nov. 2, add some decent stuff, but of course got behind.
  • Nov. 4 — Between yard work and Sandy-related cleanup, and getting my son where he needed to be, didn’t write a word.
  • Nov. 5 — It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do. So we shall see what happens.

Let’s see where this goes…

Just shoot me, please

Browser locked up. Lost 1400 or so words and all the edits I made to my NaNoWriMo novel today. Just shoot me.

If anyone can tell me what’s the deal with Safari and why it just keeps locking up on me—and how I can make it never happen again, I’ll give you an autographed copy of one of my novels.

Wish I had known that wordpress pages don’t save draft copy the same way as post pages.

Go ahead. Just shoot me.

NaNoWriMo 2

A couple of days ago, I was walking home from the grocery store. It was after school had let out, and it was Halloween. In front of me, on the sidewalk, around the corner from my house, a couple of kids were walking, a boy and a girl, and the girl was carrying a single red rose. Maybe early teens. I liked that image, the boy and girl walking together, the girl carrying a rose, the sky overcast, the rose the only real color on a gray day. About them? Nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy, except while they were together, it was clear they weren’t together. Continue reading

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo

For anyone who didn’t know, today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50.000 words during the month of November. My former professor and member of my personal pantheon of interesting minds, Roger Lathbury, did it a couple of years ago.

But what about this, then? To actually write 50,000 words in 30 days? Let’s break that down: it’s about 1700 words a day. Can I do it? Sure, I can write 1700 words a day.

In reality, I’ve probably written 5000 or more words in a day many times – but then likely spent the next several weeks marveling at where the heck that came from. Continue reading

Lights Out? (3)

Woke up to reports of more than 7 million people without power. Wow. I feel your pain, having been without power for days before.

The very fine novelist Bret Lott, with whom I roomed at Bread Loaf when we were fellows there, showed me pictures of his former house in Charleston, SC, after one of the big hurricanes in the early 1990s. If I recall correctly, he was without power for a couple of weeks. Plus there were trees down everywhere and it was pretty difficult to get out by car.

If you depend on electricity for hot water—well, let’s just all agree that cold showers aren’t all that much fun after the first few microseconds.

Mediabistro has a page up for how people can help victims/survivors (those affected in a not-nice way).

For those of us who do have power and no trees down or some other kind of damage, it’s easy to assume that, hey, all is back to normal. In Fairfax County, Va., where I live, there are still four or five schools closed due to powerlessness. So things are not back to normal.

And I guess it’s going to be a while before New York City has wrung out its socks and shaken all the water out of its ears.

According to Mediabistro:

In addition, the New York City Public Advocate’s Office is looking for volunteers to help with clean-up efforts.

So if you’re in New York and don’t have any place better to be, maybe you could slap on your boots and roll up your sleeves and give ’em a hand.

Maybe some Wall Street zillionaires will chip in a few bucks to help get things up and running—seriously, how else is your maid or nanny going to get to work? (I.e. your place.)