Friday, April 30, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Just received:

"Dear Marie,

Thank you for submitting "Woodcutter" to Strange Horizons, but we've decided not to accept it for publication.

We appreciate your interest in our magazine.


okay... NEXT!!

(By the way, it's a great online sci fi mag -

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Songs, Books and Exotic LA

The photo in the header is from last year's Festival of Books. This year we had to curtail our enjoyment to only one day because my older daughter and husband were performing in Aladdin each night last week through Saturday. (Daily rehearsals, four hour stretches, four months of preparation - as Genie proclaimed, it was indeed "a BIG musical!")

But not even the exhaustion of a grueling performance schedule and the after show party until past midnight Saturday could keep me away from my beloved Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. So Sunday morning found us slogging down the 10 freeway, gasping in delight as always as the skyline of Los Angeles greeted us with greys and pinks and slate blues like a bouquet of buildings gathered together by giant hands.

At the festival, I met Jane Smiley (Jane Smiley!!! Pulitzer Prize Winner! Academy of American Arts and Letters Indoctrinee!) and had her sign her latest book. We chatted with Susan Straight (again) whose work I adore because she writes about Riverside (near us) and she is a working, writing, divorced mom who somehow not only holds it all together, but also keeps winning an impressively mounting list of awards for her work. Jane Smiley chatted with my daughters; Susan Straight commented on how much they've grown. Because we go every single year.

Best of all was sitting in a panel of women writers talking about Voice in fiction, and watching J and B soaking it all in. They don't even know how much I am opening a world of possibility for them.

I had an incredible moment when the moderator asked how many people in the room were writers and I put up my hand. Confidently. Without hesitation. Because I am now, published and everything.

It surprised me that there were only a few of us scattered around the room. I thought that 50% or more of attendees would consider themselves writers. But to see that they were there as readers only, because they loved books and writing, and also to see that I am doing something that many, many people are not, and for me it is as natural as thought... well, that was a moment that showed me just how far my life has come.

It was the Fifteenth year of the Festival, and we have attended 14 of those fifteen. I've met many of my favorite writers and had umpteen books signed. And now, I feel like I belong on both sides of that panel table.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shenpa, Shenpa Everywhere, And Nary a Drop to Drink

I've amused myself during my evening work session by finding and playing Pema Chodron's Youtube clips on various aspects of her Buddhist practice. I'm working on writing a yoga class lesson plan meant to assist my friend's high blood pressure. I'm listening to Pema's gentle words because addiction has asked for my attention lately.

And, bottom line, I think Shenpa describes addiction pretty well.

Not me, by the way. Well, at least not with illegal substances. It's an old friend who is struggling with alcoholism and depression who I hope to help with some Buddhist tools.

But if you broaden addiction out to include food, or relationships, hmm, well then, maybe it does get a little too close to home for comfort.

I've also been thinking of Shenpa as I read The End of Overeating by David Kessler, M.D. You can't read his depictions of what hyperstimulating food does to the brain without thinking of substance abuse and even infatuation. All types of Shenpa - all scratching at the itches of life.


On a different note, I took a fun quiz at Yoga Journal to find out what yoga style is best for me. The answer is Kundalini - big surprise! I've been a yoga mutt so far, practicing a hybrid style at my favorite studio. My teacher training was based on Ashtanga; I'm apprenticing in an Iyengar class. But my favorite of all is Kundalini with its energy flow, chanting, and spirituality.

I popped over to a Kundalini site and picked out a spiritual name: Mere Piere. I just liked the look and sound of it. (Does anyone know what it means?)

Mere Piere, signing off, and wishing you a Shenpa-less time (or at least some kind self-learning).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday, Monday

Everyone's back to school and routines. Early morning wake-ups and oatmeal breakfasts. Lunches scrabbled together. Yoga for me, a spiritual/physical wake up. Now, in a cafe, steaming mug, crumbled scone, rain outside. A story to submit and a grant to write.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Is...

- a last minute rush to Target where the aisles are clogged with carts and there is not a single bag of pastel foil-wrapped candy to be found.

- a play of Calvary accompanied by choir and kettle drum in the darkened church where the acting is wildly uneven and you can't help but notice that Jesus has been working out in preparation for his big scenes. (Also you kind of hope that our real Lord and Savior had a bit more presence and eloquence at his command, and looked less like a sulking teen.)

- dying eggs and fingertips the color of flowers.

- bundling gifts for the neighbors into tissue and ribbon and dropping them on doorsteps under cover of night.

- staying up too late making a plate of carrots and guinea pig pellets for the bunny's arrival.

- staying up WAY too late taking care of all the Easter details to the backdrop of soft little snores.

- watching the dawn break over your front yard, hoping your bathrobe stays knotted round your middle, an egg carton clutched in your hands.

- being awakened by a double-pronged attack of cheerful chirping by two little girls intent on loot and chocolate.

- exciting and awesome and scrabbling for eggs against your sister.

- making brunch, using lots of boiled eggs of course.

-making lunch, more boiled eggs, deviled this time. And then another round of dishes.

- spending all day with your family, playing, eating, and eating again.

- phone calls over speaker phone, with many relatives speaking at once.

- a good time to wish you new beginnings and everlasting hope in your own endeavors!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Free Online Novel - Worth Much More than You'll Pay for It!!

An incredible novel is now available free online. This is the best self-published novel I've ever read - in fact, it's the best novel I've read so far this year.

It's fun and quirky, mysterious and suspenseful. If you love technology, San Francisco, mystery genre, the supernatural, or just darn good characters, you will love this quick-reading work!!

Check out Annabel Scheme at Robin Sloan's website!