IT’S HERE.

Dear Rosie chapbook

I am so thrilled that Dear Rosie AKA Ro-Ho-Zee AKA Rosarita Refried Beans is finally in the world as a physical object. It’s a story I wrote (first published in Unshod Quills) in the form of a letter from an 8th grade girl, written while listening to David Bowie. Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs provided incredible illustrations and wrote the whole thing out by hand so it looks like a real letter.

Dear Rosie excerpt

It’s almost alarming how much it looks like an actual artifact from my 8th grade life, like something I would be scanning and adding to Teenage ’80s Berkeley (if and when I ever get back to that).

Wanna check it out for yourself? Grab a copy via alice blue books for five bucks!

very scientific diagram

If you fall into the purple sliver above, then you will probably appreciate this short piece of mine that appeared earlier this week on The Toast (!!!): The Wheeled Assassins: An Infinite Jest-Themed Roller Derby Roster.

Infinite Jest was one of those books I’d kinda sorta felt like I should probably read some day. But for a long time that didn’t translate into actually picking it up. I mean, it’s huge. And I wasn’t sure it’d be my thing at all. Then I read Elissa Bassist’s “Baker’s Dozen Of My Feelings” about the book, and thought you know what? It’s go time.

Happily, it didn’t take long until I was completely enthralled. And for some reason, when the character of Madame Psychosis was introduced I thought that’d make a great roller derby name. I pictured her skating into the arena, face covered with a veil … and of course her number would be 60 +/-.

Things escalated from there.

Completing the roster was like an amazingly fun word game. The most challenging part was finding just the right number to go with each skater name.

I know the audience for this piece is a very select and small group … surely even tinier than my primitive Venn diagram would suggest. But I’m thrilled that it’s out there for those few wonderful freaks who will appreciate it to enjoy!

My story All Monsters Welcome appears in the fall issue of Spartan.

I based my costume on a vague memory of this ridiculous ‘50s movie I once saw. There was all this anticipation about some horrible creature terrorizing the town. Then when it finally appeared onscreen it looked like something a rug shop had puked up. My costume looks a bit better than that, if I do say so myself. I went to Nielsen Brothers and spent $75 on marked-down orange shag. I flirted with the stockboy and he threw in a couple of burgundy remnants, which I used for horns and demonic pointy eyes.

Even a monster could show some leg, I figured, so the outfit ends jaggedly above my knees, showing silver stockings and my favorite high-heeled boots. I don’t think Ted will remember those. He’s only seen me in them once or twice, and they came off quickly.

This is the same piece I read at Lit Fix in September.

Jenny Hayes reading at Lit Fix. Photo by Mia Lipman

What a fun night!

Lit Fix 7 readers. Photo by Mia Lipman

Pictured above: fellow readers Susan Rich, Kelli Agodon Russell, and Jim Ruland, hostess and organizer extraordinaire Mia Lipman, and me, right after the event. Not pictured: Jon Frum, who provided the evening’s excellent musical interludes. Pretty sure he’d already snuck back to the bar.

On Thursday, Sept. 18th I’ll be one of the readers for Lit Fix #7 at the Rendezvous.

Lit Fix

I’ve been to a few Lit Fix events and they are always a good time, so I’m excited to be a part of this one. It looks like a great lineup, with Susan Rich, Jim Ruland, Kelli Russell Agodon, Jay Ponteri, and me, plus music by my pal (and long-ago coworker) Jon Frum. I have no idea what anyone else is gonna bust out, but I’ll be reading a short story that takes place at a monster costume party. More details on the full shebang is here!

P.S. I recommend the Rendezvous Old Fashioned.

Rendezvous Old Fashioned

On Tuesday, May 20th I’ll be reading at the Unchaste Readers Series in Portland!

Unchaste Readers Series

The lineup for 5/20 is pretty darn exciting, with Nina Rockwell, Emily Newberry, Moe Bowstern, Dena Rash Guzman, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Margaret Elysia Garcia, and Ariel Gore (and of course, hosted by the wonderful Jenny Forrester). I’ve read with some of these writers before (you can see a pic of me, Jenny, Margaret, and some of our other comrades here) and have taken classes with Ariel Gore many a time. Looking forward to meeting those I don’t know yet, and taking in the whole evening.

All of the former and upcoming Unchaste Readers were also invited to answer some interview questions, and mine’s up now. More are still being added so if you don’t see it right there, scroll down a bit. And read the rest while you’re at it! They’re great.

Now, to figure out what to read … so many possibilities. Cannot wait!

First of all, can I just say that if you noticed it looks a little different around here, that’s because I clicked the button to update all the themes I had installed on WordPress and … the free theme I was using had COMPLETELY changed its look. In a bad way. I mean it got JANKY. I guess that’s the risk you run when using a free theme, but jeez! Anyway, this new one will have to do for the time being, but maybe I’ll get inspired to work up something fancier and more personal one of these days.

In much more pleasant news: the story I read at the Lit Crawl has found an online home! Please check out “Like I Was Waiting”in the latest issue of Eclectica Magazine.

In the morning we drank some coffee and D drove us into the city past the golfball-looking Expo thing and on into downtown. We didn’t know what to do and we went into a vintage store in the basement of some building but it was lame and overpriced and then D said someone told him there was better stuff a few blocks away so we walked over and looked at expensive shoes and went into a t-shirt shop and passed by some stripper clubs and there were hotels around and D said this is where we should have stayed as if I should have known. I kept thinking you’re the one who’s been here before even if it was when you were like fourteen with your parents but I didn’t say anything. He said let’s go and we got back in the car and drove across some other bridge that I didn’t recognize from anywhere and the new area seemed cool like quiet but still cool and there was a place that looked good for lunch but D wasn’t hungry. So I went to get a candy bar because I heard that they’re all different like English or something or maybe just Canadian and I got a Coffee Crisp which was really good and also a Mr. Big to bring back as a souvenir but then D ended up eating it and he said it was just okay.

I’d also like to direct your attention to a new project I’ve started: Teenage ’80s Berkeley, a place where I’ve been scanning and posting of various artifacts from, yes, my teenage years in Berkeley in the 1980s. I really have a lot of potential material, and it’s definitely going rather slowly and sporadically, but if you do the tumblr thing I hope you’ll follow, or just check in once in a while. You’ll be rewarded by things like these. (Click the pics to go to the posts and read more.)

Shades of Alligator
Big Fun
Miss Dish

And in pre-teenage matters, here’s a pic of me at the Salon of Shame back in November, reading a story I wrote in 6th grade in front of a giant projected picture of my 6th grade self. Which is really kinda awesome.

Jenny Hayes at Salon of Shame

Finally, I’d like to say that despite having already been sick twice since the new year, I feel excited about 2014.

The Lit Crawl reading was so much fun! All the Jennys kicked butt and the place (Sam’s Tavern) was packed.

Me reading at Seattle Lit Crawl. Photo by Jenny Forrester

Me reading at Seattle Lit Crawl. Photo by Jenny Forrester

The whole evening was a lot of fun. And now? I’m getting ready to do a reading of an altogether different variety: a story I wrote way back in 6th grade called “Dracula Is Alive And Well In Berkeley.”

Dracula Is Alive And Well In Berkeley

Apparently Dracula liked to boogie in discos and … well, I won’t spoil the surprise! All will be revealed next Tues., Nov. 12th at the Salon of Shame. (Which is already sold out, though they say if you show up at 7 and get on the waitlist you’ll almost certainly get in.)

Completely unrelated to this was the costume theme my friends and I ended up with for our annual trip to Halloween bingo at the Greenwood Senior Center: heavy metal vampires.

Heavy metal bingo-playing vampire

Heavy metal bingo-playing vampire

You know, to be honest I think it’s kind of a good look for me.

This summer I was named one of the finalists in the Lit Pop contest sponsored by Matrix Magazine and Pop Montreal. What a thrill! And sure, it would’ve been even more of a thrill to win the whole shebang, but making the shortlist is still pretty awesome.

And while I didn’t get to go read at Montreal Pop, I will be reading here in town at the Seattle Lit Crawl.

LC2013seattlebanner

I went to this event last year and had so much fun; it’s exciting to be a part of it this time around. Here are the details:

Three Jennys Walk into a Bar…
Sam’s Tavern, 1024 E Pike St.
Jenny Forrester (co-editor of The People’s Apocalypse and 2011 Hugo House New Works winner), Jenny Hayes (Unshod Quills, The Northville Review), and Jennifer D. Munro (The Erotica Writer’s Husband & Other Stories) read tales of lust, loneliness, and the American West. Seattle Writergrrls’ Jenny Neill hosts.

There are a ton of amazing readings happening in the 7 and 8 PM slots too, plus an after-party at 9. So even though my daughter thinks the name sounds too much like “lip crawl” and seems creepy, like a disembodied lip crawling through the streets of Seattle … wait, where was I? Oh yeah. COME TO LIT CRAWL.

It’s about time for some new news, no? Luckily I have something to tell you. My story “Words in Black Marker” recently went live in Printer’s Devil Journal, Vol. 3 No. 1 (Spring 2012).

Printer's Devil Review

You can download a PDF of the whole shebang, or just my piece–here’s a wee snippet:

Someone enters the kitchen, and for a wild split second I think it could be him. But it’s just three girls, all looking fashionably disheveled in a way that clearly took effort. One of them brushes past me to get to the refrigerator. I notice a word on her hand, written in black marker.

“FEISTY.” I read it out loud. “You’re feisty?” She shrugs, reaching into the fridge.

“I’m tasty,” one of the other girls says. She shows me her hand, with TASTY scrawled across it.

I look at the third girl. “What about you?”

She sighs and holds her hand up. OBLONG.

“Oblong?”

“Fuck if I know,” she says. “Stupid Rob.”

The other massive event in my recent writing life was going to the Sirenland Writers Workshop in March. I applied back in October on a crazy whim — not really thinking I’d actually end up going. But when I learned (on Christmas!) that I had a spot, I decided it would be crazy not to seize the chance to spend a week in Positano, Italy devoted to writing.

Positano

Positano was beautiful. The hotel was luxurious. The attendees were a more charming, soulful, and talented bunch than I could have imagined. And the workshop itself was fantastic. Ten of us met with Karen Russell each morning (two other groups worked with Jim Shepard and Dani Shapiro) and had what I can only describe as a fantastic time. Each of us came away inspired, invigorated, and ready to get to work and dig deeper into our stories. Rather than attempt to convey more about how magical it was, I’ll direct you to a few blog posts from my fellow Sirenlander, the talented and charming Ian Williams. The first two are even hand written (and drawn!) — one from a couple days in, one as the week came to a close. And then a month later, he described the process of coming back down to earth.

Aside from all that amazingness, I got to eat pizza in Naples on the way there, and got a dive bar tour of Paris on the way out. Basically, it was wonderful.

And now I’m happily back at home, keeping the good writing juju going, hitting a few yard sales, and appreciating Seattle. Last week was Syttende Mai, which if you don’t live in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and aren’t Norwegian, you probably don’t know is Norway’s Constitution Day (May 17). Ballard has what’s supposedly the largest Syttende Mai parade in the world aside from Oslo (so bigger and probably crazier than everywhere else in Norway).

IMG_5513

I took my daughter to the parade and she scrambled to collect candy as we took it all in. Kids on unicycles reenacting Pac Man. High school marching bands playing “Crazy Train,” “Walk This Way” and “Gangnam Style.” The Greater Icelandic Club of Seattle (which was something like three dudes). Elderly Scandinavians in sweaters and long skirts. Frisbee-throwing robots. Grizzled clowns carrying cups of beer. Lecherous pirates firing cannons. Viking hats on everyone, including someone in a gorilla costume. A man wearing a giant clam. A large orange octopus riding a truck. Drill teams and beauty queens. ’50s cars and Nordic Fjord Horses and motorcycle cops riding in coordinated circles.

IMG_5516

It was a good time. And a nice reminder that where I live is pretty awesome, in its own peculiar way.