Thursday, August 31, 2006

Of Cats and Completion

Oh yeah, baby. The short story for the cozy noir contest over at Spinetingler is finished & winging it's way to the e-zine via the internet ether. Thank god. I'm so ready to move on to something else, it's not remotely amusing. Sadly, it's gonna have to wait a little while. I'm working the extreme part-time day job tomorrow, and don't think I'll feel much like writing after a 12-hour dealio. So for now, I'm just happy the story's done and sitting in their in-box. I think the Cheshire Cat is right...I must be mad!

Nom de Help!

Okay, kind of a dumb thing, but I'm wondering what to do about my name. No, no, I mean my writing name. See, my last name is a hyphenate & I'm thinking it's a little too complicated for the stuff I write. If I wrote self-help books, or feminista treatises, it would be great. Humor and/or mysteries? Not so very. So help a writer out. Which one do you like best...Angela Lynn, or A. L. Johnson? I've been told by another writer that Angela Lynn sounds like a romance writer (which I am not), but I dunno. What do ya'll think? I need to make this decision this like, um, yesterday. All thoughts and/or comments appreciated.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Of Quills & Edits

Lots to do today, so not much to say here. Survived the 12 hour work day, slept for ages & now it's time to get off-line and finish the schmacka - fracka edits. Very, very grateful that I'm living in the computer age & not the quill pen & ink well days. Quill pens always look so pretty in photos, but let me tell ya, they are a bitch to write with. I know this from my weird "let's use the old tools & methods to make art" phase in college. Believe me, I'm giving my little mac a grateful pat before I settle in to work. Once the edits are done, regular broadcasting will resume!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Some Slammin' Poetry

Okay, basically I got nothin' right now. Finishing up edits - other life stuff got in the way of completing them this weekend, gotta go work tomorrow (shock, gasp, horror!), blah, blah, blah. So the best I can do ya for is some links to some of the poetry I recorded at Arcosanti's Slab City Slam a few months ago. If you're looking for some poetry to open your head in a little different direction, you can check out Christa Bell performing "The Too Much", Eric Gray's "It's Nine O'Clock", Rowie Shebala's "The Sappy L-Word Poem" (one of my personal fav's), and Christopher Lane's "If This Poem". Oh, and some of the poems are, uh, PG-13, so if you don't wanna be blaring the occasional naughty word or sexual content in front of small children or co-workers, you've been forewarned. On the other hand, these are pretty good poems. Your call.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Time, time, tickin' in my head...

Such elaborate contraptions to capture the movement of that elusive thing called time. Philosophical stuff aside, it's time for me to quit goofing around and get the short story edited. And then finish up the edits I've promised others. So today I'm the white rabbit, racing down the rabbit hole, fretting about lost time and the consequences of being late. I really don't want the queen to chop off my head, so I'd best get moving...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

#1 Failure

Oh. My. God. I just googled "Failure." Wow. Here were the top 6 hits. Check out who showed up at #1. I shit you not:

Biography of President George W. Bush
Biography of the 43rd President of the United States.

Failure Magazine

Failure magazine is an online publication covering arts & entertainment, business, history, science & technology, sports and other aspects of the real world ...


A loose confederation of cartoonists who have one thing in common: an independent spirit. Contains message board and comics-related links.

Welcome to!

Official site of the gadfly of corporations, creator of the film Roger and Me and the television show The Awful Truth. Includes mailing list, message board, ...

Heart Failure Society of America
Represents the first organized effort by heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart function, ...

Failure to Launch Movie - Starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah ...
Failure to Launch Movie - Official site of the new movie Failure to Launch, a romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Spoetry in Motion

My friend Kim has a serious SPAM problem. You see, those crafty spammers have come up with a nifty new way to get past the filters. They include odd snippets of poetry and/or prose in their spam for viagra or whatever. How very...Dada. Here are a few examples that she sent me:

"Back at the three nomads who were emulating their leader, all with
their arms raised, as though sniffing their armpits. Its safe now.
Can we talk about this?"
Reminds me of that scary pic Anne had up a while back.

"sunny, holiday Liokukae. Which opened wider to reveal the group of
very ugly-looking individuals who were waiting outside. They were
dressed in an astounding variety of clothing - it looked like all the..."

"...of Liokukae will not be surprised at all when you arrive there. Questions? A big one. Has the communication been set up?
"Somebody liked Liokukae enough to make 2 different prose clips - tres bizarro. I googled Liokukae and discovered it's from a series of Sci-Fi books, so these 2 spammers are also plagiarists.

"A summons for you, oh lucky ones. Iron John will see you in the Veritorium. Come! We went-since we had little choice. For a change Goldy was not in a..." Hitting the male-coming-of-age classic.

" gait noble, my conscience pure. I put on my funky bejeweled spectacles and looked through the door. The ultrasound image was fuzzy. But clear enough to reveal figures..." I want those glasses. Oddly reminiscent of a certain religious leader's story, er, experience.

"...not be hurt-but only if you answer truthfully. You have seen this thing? They fled. We found it in their skyship. I touched it, unclean..." Bad Sci-Fi!

"...humor. I flipped through the list. Slim pickings among the ladies who ran the gamut from B1 to B4. Pipe-organ player, not very likely, harmonica, tuba-and a singer." Flat out bizarre - huh?!

"...beginning to lose his patience. Imp of Satan . . . work of the devil . . . I warned them, but they wouldnt listen . . . the grave, the grave!" Apocalyptic street preacher?!

"...sandwiches. The Admiral was slumped asleep in the armchair and snoring like a rocket exhaust. There were no answers here, so some questions were very much in order. Which gave me the sweet pleasure of waking..." Mmm, sandwiches.

"a minute. Eighty rounds a second, explosive and armor piercing.
Since when have you been an armament authority, Aida? I asked.
Since a long time back, -sweetie-pie. In my heyday I was required to..."
This manages to sound violent and oddly sexual at the same time. Guess that's not a big stretch - get it, stretch..ah, never mind. My little grey cells are in the gutter.

"...everyone is standing like they are frozen. Nothing moves-but nothing.
Then when I look back I see that the two metal things have vanished.
So I am beginning to feel like I am going around the mental bend."
This is my absolute favorite. Exactly how I felt after reading all this junk.

I think Kim's right. These people have done too much acid. On the other hand, she has admitted to becoming addicted to the weirdness. I understand that a 12-step program is in development to deal with this growing problem.

If you want to read more about this, er, spanomenon, here's a link to a site dedicated to this so-called "spoetry." Unfreakin' believable.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cleaning House, with Edits

Dude, she's smiling. Then again, if my kitchen was that organized...yeah, not likely. Ever.

I know there are some folks who are spring cleaners. I'm a fall cleaner. Okay, technically it's still summer, but when the temperature stays out of the 90's for more than a week and the sunflowers are blooming, summer's on its way out. Which means I start wondering if I can stand the thought of spending winter holed up in my house. By the end of August, the answer is usually no. So I start going through the piles of mail that "I might want to look at" and tossing shit - that grocery store coupon magazine that expired at the end of June, the alumni mag from my college, etc., etc. My husband's packrat nature and complete lack of interest in cleaning anything doesn't help much. So I'm tackling one thing at a time. Believe me, anything more would send me screaming through the streets.

So why the hell am I even talking about this? Probably because I need to edit the short story that I finished (still a "yay, me!") and I really need to wait at least another day. I'm still too damn in love with my fabulous prose to give it the heavy duty edit it needs to push it to the next level. And that's where all the cleaning crap comes in. I have some really good ideas when I'm doing something completely monotonous & potentially icky (I have a continuing phobia that I'll pick up a pile of papers & a giant spider will leap out and...I dunno, kick my ass and make me watch daytime television in Latvian...or something). So while it all percolates in my mush brain, I clean. Wow. The life of a writer is, like, so totally lame I can't even believe it. Still beats the hell out of a day job, though!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Yay, Me!!

I am so very, very excited. I've finally completed the first draft of my short story. Big deal you say? Yes, it is! You see, other than a few flash fiction pieces, this is the very first bit of fiction writing that I've finished! Feels a little dorky to admit, but it's true. First draft of the novel is 3/4 of the way complete, another possible short story (maybe a novel, who knows? I don't) has some good progress, but this short story has the dubious distinction of being the first to be completed. So Yay, me, indeed! Now I've got to edit the sucker & get it sent off. Then it'll not only be the first thing I've finished, but the first submission ever! I don't even care (much) if it gets accepted or how well it does in the contest. Today I'm just grateful for this "first."

I think this calls for a happy dance. Wish I could do it as well as these guys!

Response to OKGO on Treadmills

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dreaming and Stories

I've been writing a lot (for me, anyway) this week. And I hit a snag. I knew exactly what needed to happen, I just couldn't figure out the where or the how. Just before I went to sleep last night, I got a nibble. Unfortunately I was beyond tired - been getting by with 3 or 4 hours of sleep and lots of caffeine the past several days. So, I made a note in the text & went to bed. And I dreamed the scene in its entirety. Though it's morning now and the dream's a little foggy, I had to laugh at the last little exclamation point my dreaming mind sent. In the dream, I was looking at a newspaper. Normally I can't read in dreams - usually a sure sign/signal that says "hey! you're dreaming!" If I'm lucky I don't wake up and the dream shifts into lucidity. Regardless - yeah, yeah, I'm rambling here - the vital info was the headline on the dream newspaper!

In many ways, the dreaming mind is the last great frontier. We still know so little about it. Why do we dream? - is it just an info dump to clear the brain's hard drive of the daily junk, a way of assimilating the vast amount of information gathered, or something else? I dunno and the scientific community hasn't reached consensus, either. What is clear is that, across cultures and epochs, dreaming has been ascribed a level of respect and interest that has at times included the belief in divine origination. Even the oldest known recorded story (Gilgamesh) focuses on a dream & the interpretation of that dream. Whether or not the dream actually happened is irrelevant. The fact that it was included in this ur text shows the power and respect given to dreams.

Okay, so flash forward. Dreaming in the modern world? Big deal, right? Nope, we don't really think dreams are moments of divine intervention any more - or most folks don't. So what's going on here? Lots of writers, scientists, musicians & artists have gotten inspiration, problems solved, & occasionally whole ideas from their dreams. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein by a dream. Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde also came from a series of dreams. Stephen King has also cited dreams as inspiration for some of his story ideas. And there are tons of other examples ranging from sewing machines to physics that I won't go into. So, I say again, I got some info from a dream. Big deal. really is. My location problem been solved, and I've been reminded of something I've kinda neglected the past few years. And that's really, really awesome. Time to finish the story!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hope Rocks!

Hope Is Emo Chapter Four

She's back with another insightful - okay, at least funny - look inside her twisted little mind. After all the seriousity of yesterday's rant-o-rama, I was really happy to discover the new episode was up & running. Anyway, I've got a story to finish writing, so in the meantime, enjoy!

Eve vs. Adam: The Never-Ending Bullshit-o-rama

All right, Sandra, you asked for it. Sandra's post today is on the issue of male writers vs. female writers. What are the differences? Does one gender handle certain scenarios, topics, character- izations better than the other? Is it something writers should be aware of as they work? Here was my knee jerk response:

"I get kinda tired of the whole gender debate. Yes, men and women have different perspectives. Yes, it is partly a matter of bio-chemicals and yes, it is partly socialization. So what? Does it really matter in terms of creative process and output? I'm not dismissing the gender divide in term of business/sales/etc., but I really don't give a flying fuck about whether (in general) a man writes better action scenes or if (in general) a woman has a broader range. There are always exceptions to the perceived rules, and it just seems silly to get tied up in knots over who is better, or not, and why. Of all the things rushing through my head and my life, this one is pretty damn low on the totem pole. Whew! An unexpected mini-rant!"

And you know what? It is pretty damn ludicrous, and I am sick of it. What matters to me are the words on the page. Am I able to cruise down the highway of the story without hitting tons of speedbumps in the form of poor grammar, awkward phrases, cliches, and unbelievable characters or situations? Yes? Then it matters fuck-all to me if the words on the page were written by a man or a woman.

Here's the plain, uncomplicated truth: men and women are different. And that's okay. Wanna hear something else that's interesting? The hormones that affect the development of the human brain occur in differing amounts on an individual basis. So yes, it's entirely possible for one woman to have a brain that is more masculine in its construct than another woman. It works that way for men, too. So making facile generalizations based on what kind of hardware someone's sportin' isn't quite so damn simple, is it?

What really pisses me off is when men and/or women adhere so strongly to an ideology that the science goes out the window. I actually heard an intelligent, college educated, master's degree carrying woman tell her daughter that it was bullshit that male and female brains work differently. This conversation came about because the daughter was talking about what she learned in her biology class. My question is this - since when did "functions differently" become synonymous with "inferior functioning?" Good grief, people. Get a freakin' grip.

When you get into the business side of things, the issue gets trickier. Here the hardware you're sportin' often does make a difference. Sorry, but it's true. And (not that anyone cares but me) here's my take on it...Deal with it, get over it, find a way to work through it, 'cause screaming "no fair" isn't going to change a thing. Does this mean I think inequality shouldn't be pointed out as the bullshit it is? Uh, no. Does this mean I think women should shut up and take it? Again, no. What I'm saying is that pissing and moaning alone isn't going to accomplish jackshit, and I'd honestly rather use my time working on my writing. Bitching without having the action to follow it up is a waste of my time and energy. No thanks.


Rant over.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Great Southwest

What? You were expecting something serious? 1400+ words into the cozy noir short (the other one, according to Ms. Ginsu Tongue was too serious - the very famous Elizabeth K. evidently agreed) and I'm having too much fun to get side-tracked by other stuff. Except for giant jackrabbits. And cowboys. And cows. Thank god there wasn't anything shiny to distra...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

There's a Moon in the Sky...and it's Called the Moon

Yeah, yeah, bad B52's reference. Get over it. This is photo's a couple of months old, but I really like it. I think it's the satelite dish on top of our neighbor's house that does it. Just seems kinda silly and surreal. Not a great shot, but not too shabby considering the lack of a tripod.

Anyway, getting ready to go visit the fabulous Elizabeth K. and Ms. Ginsu Tongue in Phoenix. Thank god the summer is winding down - it might not even crack 100 there today. A little rest and recreation is in store for the rest of the weekend...providing I can actually keep my fingers off the keyboard. Not complaining, though. I like to take advantage of the writing push when it comes. So if I'm quiet on the blogs, it just means I'm clickety-clacking away.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Be Vewwy, Vewwy Qwiet - I'm Hunting Words

Looks like my new writer's confab is meeting a week earlier than I thought. So I'm going off-line today to finish the damn first draft. To avoid temptation, I'll be working on the ancient laptop that not only has no internet connection, but has no means to store and/or transfer data. I wasn't joking about the ancient part. Anyway, wish me luck as I sit at the kitchen table in the evil hard chair and get this sucker finished. If all else fails, I can always tackle cleaning the refridgerator!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I'm having one of those days, the kind where I can't stand a single thing I put on the page and end up deleting every word I write. So what do I do? Endlessly cruise the blogosphere, google weird shit, play computer solitaire, write a little, delete a little, repeat. Yuck. Today is definitely of the "I hate writing" variety. On the other hand, I'm about half-way through the short story I've been working on. Yes, I'm super slow, but in my defense I think it's turning out pretty good. Except for today. The writing is pretty much shit today. Maybe I should go for a walk. Or read a book. Or scrub the toilet. Sad when toilet scrubbing is more appealing than putting words on the page.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Big Summer Events - Pics

I can't believe it, but the summer's almost over. Most of the kids are either back in school or getting ready for it. Now that blogger's decided I CAN post pics, I thought I'd put up a few from some of Prescott's summer events.
Much as I'm not a rodeo fan, Bruce Colbert took some incredible photos of this year's Prescott Rodeo. Love it or loathe it, it's a pretty damn big deal for this mountain town.

Here's a photo of Lisa and Larson Notah from Klagetoh, AZ. Andrew swears they made the best Navajo tacos he's ever had!

Pre-rug auction inside the Smoki Museum.

A few pics of the Prescott Regulators and their Shady Ladies.

Yeah, yeah, this event happened 6 weeks ago, but here are a few more Flam Chen pics from this year's Tsunami. They are so awesome! Photos by Tina. She's got some great pics of Asha Gopal, Troupe Salamat & tons of other groups that performed this year. Worth checking out!

Some photos of Archedream's Blacklight Theater show from Tsunami on the Square - just got these from Bruce Colbert.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Words and Music

I really wanted to get the damn pics up from the Navajo rug auction & band, but blogger just isn't cooperating. Which means I'll just be blathering instead. Not all that different than usual, I guess.

I've been thinking about music and writing - probably because a friend asked for music suggestions along a theme/mood. I know writers have varying ideas about what works for them - some people only write to music w/o words, others prefer silence and some have specific bands/songs they listen to when they're working. Some like it really loud, others go for a quieter approach.

I tend to use songs that go with the mood or sense of place of the piece I'm working on, and I like to keep the volume fairly low. I also use (don't laugh, dammit!) 2 CD's by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson - "Awakened Mind" and "Creative Mind System 2.0." I call the Thompson CD's my "lingling" music because they sounds kinda sleepy/meditative. I don't know that his "brain science" approach does jack to "awaken" my "creative mind," but the tracks don't have words, and the long open sounds don't get in the way when my brain is in leap-frog mode. I've got them loaded into iTunes & just put them on loop for a couple hours of droning sound.

The novel I'm working on has pretty much been written to Lucinda Williams (all her albums, played consecutively) with occasional bouts of Ryan Adams, Fat Boy Slim or Digweed. I know, I know. What on earth do "alternative" country/Americana artists have to do with the dj rave/dance mixes? Umm. I dunno, but that's what's been working for me. Weird, but true.

Another strange one is that I work just fine with music with words - as long as I know the songs very, very well. I actually catch myself singing along as I'm writing. Odd to be singing "Concrete and Barbed Wire" (Lucinda Williams) while writing about a eating dinner at the park. Absolutely no connection to the scene, but that's what makes it work. The mood of the scene works with the tone of the album, so it makes creative sense (at least to me!). On the other hand, I can't listen to new music and write at the same time. It's just too distracting.

So there it is. I know everyone has their own way of working and choosing the music for their work. It's fascinating to me how writers pull from all the arts to create their process. Music, art, observation, intuition, empathy all come into play in the written word. I think that's pretty damn cool.