Thursday, February 24, 2011

March Madness

my pitch for Survivor Guilt, a YA manuscript for the

The 2011 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest

has advanced to the second round
not sure how many sent in their stuff, but 1,000 were selected and on March 22 I'll find out if my pitch is one of 500 selected for the quarter finals
here and scroll down:
Here is my pitch:
Survivor Guilt Query

After the high school principal finds his truck on the roof of the school, prankster James Tiller is sentenced to sixty-six hours of community service. Between punking people on Facebook and giving the check-out clerks at Wal-mart hell, his life is seemingly one big practical joke—until James’ mother is killed when a truck slams into their car. Life suddenly gets very serious. All at once he has to cope with his mother’s death and adjust to living with his father, who moves back into the house after the funeral. It is only through community service at LuLu’s Place, a homeless shelter, that James can come face-to-face with who he is and begin to sort out his feelings for his best friend Mindy Baxter and a fellow classmate, the high school quarterback. Told in first-person, James’ story is both humorous and poignant, full of piss and Monster Energy drinks and dirt under the fingernails. Readers will readily identify with James and his ambiguity—or is it ambivalence? Even he doesn’t know the difference.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Starry Night less than one week away

Here is a picture from the Starry Night website--is that a dog? Will I have a dog? Will I have a cute little terra cotta stove to keep me warm?

Will I get to go hiking and ride one of the available bikes down to the Happy Belly Deli?

Right now I'm planning on bring many books, might pare it down as we get closer, but today I added Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. Please if you've never read this book, order it and read it today. I've read it like 4 times and every time I cry.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I AM AWFUL--the new movie based on a book from James Frey's book factory

clip from a review posted at by  Andrew O'Hehir

"I am Number Four" -- and I am awful

A tasty young couple and some sneering black-clad aliens can't rescue James Frey's "Twilight" rip-off

Alex Pettyfer and Teresa Palmer in "I Am Number Four"
If you feel like a substandard knockoff "Twilight" movie is far better than no "Twilight" movie at all -- well, first of all, there is no mockery or judgment here. This is a safe space. You can share with us. The disease is much, much bigger than you are. We get it. Yes, I think a Higher Power could help you, but that choice is yours. You understand, or at least your rational mind does, that "I Am Number Four" is an ultra-expedited movie-type product adapted from the first volume of "Lorien Legacies," the utterly cynical young-adult alien franchise created by James Frey, he of the not-entirely-truthful memoir. The distance between this movie and anybody who actually cares -- about it or anything else, frankly -- is measured in light-years and filled with dark matter, like the distance between galaxies.

Here is a link to the rest of the review at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beyond Borders

Forget about unrest in the Middle East and people protesting in the squares--
what about Borders Bookstore Inc filing for bankruptcy?

I'm sure my friend Linda Buben at Women & Children First (THE feminist bookstore in Chicago) is going like Touche! under her breath.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Memory Art or the Art of Memory

First off: I'm a HUGE Antiques Roadshow fan. Last night I was watching an episode from Iowa and someone brought in what was called memory art. It could specifically be defined as folk art--because someone not famous made it. It was a plaster of paris tower embedded with a woman's junk drawer artifacts: her life. There were marbles, coins, hair pins, even a tooth. How much more was not represented--laundry lists, grocery store receipts, the number of hours spent staying up with a sick child? What about all the stuff she was unable to attach to wet plaster? It was really cool and worth something--but still not near enough of what the woman's life contained.
How much do dreams cost? A dream deferred.
Still, the idea got me thinking about memory and how a person can make memory visible, give it dimension, apply a texture.If you were to build a Memory Tower--what would it contain? What would you want your relatives or descendants to remember you by?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Easter Egg Hunt

My husband never reads my blog--so I'm going to make him work for this:

I love you!

It'll be 25 years this year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Day of the Rest of My Life

I know it's a cliche, but I'm really trying to be good. The start of the year is always a good time to get eating and exercise under control. Also I have the incentive of going to New Mexico in three weeks for an artist residency where the perk at Starry Night is the natural hot springs. Yes, I will be able to soak daily--so as to not look like a soaker with a spare tire, I've been focusing since like week 2 of the new year on exercise and portion control (like one bowl of popcorn and not the whole thing).

But there's a gremlin keeping me from attaining my goals. After spending all weekend cross country skiing to the tune of a 1,000 calories an hour and then working out with my personal trainer Jane McCormack who makes my muscles burn and then doing the stairs in my building wearing a backpack weighted down with a #10 can and eating salad and yoghurt, I've GAINED 2 pounds.

It just isn't fair. But I'm not stopping--though I've thrown that scale out into the snow.

Blizzard of 2011 (like there might be 2 or maybe more?)

this is for one of my followers--one of the three--who writes a blog called Prairie Pond Woods
Cindy Steffen and I have been friends since college, anyway this is for you:
Here I am standing on Lake Shore Drive Wednesday, February 2
I'm not really that puffy, it's the wind whipping through my windbreaker. See how red my face is--that's snow abrading my top layer of skin. Wind driven snow. 70 mph snow, which feels nothing like snow, but more like scouring powder. Saturday I went cross country skiing non-stop for like 3 and half hours out at a forest preserve. It was SOOOO great. All I could hear were birds in the trees and the sound of my skis gliding over the snow. To my left were woods shrouded in deep snow and to my right was the Des Plaines River, not quite frozen, but with patches of ice collecting snow. I didn't see any beavers or coyotes or geese. In the distance I heard a train whistle.
Then fifteen minutes later a snow machine came thru and that was that.