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