Tuesday, July 1, 2014

some things i can't say

My brother told me to stop posting anything remotely personal online. So did my dad. Much as I dislike being told what to do, it's probably smart. So, here I am, with nothing to say, because the things I want to say are about things that could come back and bite me. And I am prone to being bitten.

If I haven't said it outright (and I believe this passes the father/brother rule because it is pretty easy to find out with basic knowledge of the internet), I moved to Austin, which I wanted to do for quite awhile. Somebody once said to me that Austin loves me. And it did. We had a lovely vacation romance. But Austin doesn't seem to like me that much on a permanent basis. Maybe you should go home, it says. I don't have a home, I say. Well, where did you come from? California, right?  I don't like Californians that much. You come here and make the price of real estate go up. I say, well, I'm not buying anything and your rents are too high. And everyone here drives really scary and tailgates and stops short and yells at you when you make mistakes. And Austin says, they're my roads. Deal with it. Go back to your 12 lane freeways and signs that are pretty easy to follow. Don't expect me to change for you. And I say, I just want you to be like you were before. And Austin says, more gently, I didn't promise you anything. And I say, no, you really didn't. I guess I just hoped this time would work out. And Austin says, I'm sorry. And I'm also sorry about what I'm doing to your hair. I say, it's ok. I knew humidity wouldn't do good things for it. Austin says Seattle and Portland look like good places for me. Or Alaska. The men way outnumber the women there.

It's not that bad. Or even bad at all, really. I just live kind of far from where the good stuff is and there's some other stuff. And I joined this writing group that I was excited about and it didn't work out. And everyone here is very young and very attractive and very cool, and I might have missed my window by about 15 years. They drink a lot of fresh juice here, too. Juice is very popular. Delicious, too. Juice and beer is what they drink here. Not together. I sort of like beer now, when it's very, very cold. I knew it would be hot here and it is. And that is why I enjoy cold beverages.

I have been doing Weight Watchers because, well, for the same reasons anyone does Weight Watchers. To try to stop being fat. Not working so great. I think I will give in and drink juice. And get a different haircut, maybe with a stripe of dark red in it. Maybe drinking the juice will make me very thin and I will be able to wear anything and look good doing it.

I know it's only been two months. There are things I cannot say. But I'm glad Austin and I had this little talk. I think we can work it out.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

shameful bragging and giant beanbags

My book was officially released on Tuesday!!! It was mostly a great day. People seem to like it. I have been, and honestly still am, pretty terrified that nobody will buy it, read it, like it ... But I've heard some nice things so far. Here are some of those nice things:

4/25: Atticus Review: Interview with Mark Cronin.
6/16: Two Birds One Stoned: Interview with Jess Stoner and readings.
6/19: Midnight Breakfast: Excerpt from book with commentary by Rebecca Rubenstein.
6/20: The Rumpus: Mention in "This Week in Short Fiction" column by Jill Schepmann.


6/24: Largehearted Boy: Book Notes column with author playlist.
TBA: Grab the Lapels: Interview with Melanie Page

More to come!

Also had a wonderful book launch at Malvern Books in Austin. More readings TBA, including one at Book People in Austin. The awesome folks at Curbside Splendor have worked tirelessly to get the book into as many people's hands as possible, and are lining up reviews and readings and things faster than I can respond.

In keeping with the general bragginess of this post (ugh - sorry), I am super excited to FINALLY have made Wigleaf's Top 50 (very) short fictions of last year, which came out on 5/31/14. My story One Week and a Day, published online at Tin House on 7/19/2013 is in the top 50, and another story, What Morning Is, published in Matchbook in August of 2013 was on the longlist. I was just as excited that stories that ran in Corium were also recognized, with one in the Top 50 and four on the Longlist.

In some non-braggy news, my move to Austin has been somewhat bumpy. Moving costs a LOT. But I am glad to be here. Though I have no furniture and will not be able to afford any for a long time. I have longing dreams of owning this beanbag one day. It is only $2,500. I am going to be very nice to people so they will contribute to my (as yet imaginary) beanbag fund. Isn't it fabulous????! (I am envious of the lady, but she will need to get out of my beanbag when the time comes.)

I think that is pretty much it, braggy and non-. Check out the book, if you get a chance. My friend Ravi told me there were three copies in the Barnes and Noble in Rochester, NY, which made me nervous and happy. Mostly happy.

I like having good news. I will try to have some again soon. Meanwhile, I will continue to have a giant crush on the giant furry beanbag. I'll let you know if the affection is reciprocated. At $2,500, I can say with pretty much absolute certainty that it will not. A girl can dream.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

i am here

I might have mentioned a time or 50 that I have a book coming out. It's been coming for awhile and it will be here on June 10, and I'm going to just say that I'm proud of this work. I am not a prolific writer. It has almost everything, and I hope people read it. You can order it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or Powell's, or at a lot of places where you can order books online, or directly from the publisher, where it is on sale, at present. There will also be a good number of copies available on the shelves of Barnes and Noble stores across the country, as well as in other stores, especially those that promote independent literature/small presses!! Maybe you could go in and check it out, read some, read it all sitting on the floor, or buy one if you feel like it. And if you do feel like it, and you feel like also getting a personal note of thanks, detailing how pretty/handsome/kind/generous/brilliant/etc. you are, or you want a handmade bookmark (I warn you, I am not crafty) or something along those lines, drop me a comment or send me an email at lbecker@coriummagazine.com.

Also, I moved! Not in the sense of walking from the sofa to the refrigerator, but in the sense of now I live elsewhere. It is a very large state where sometimes people wear awesome boots. It is a wonderful city and, three weeks in, I'm calling it as an excellent decision and patting myself on the back. Metaphorically. I have a wonky rotator cuff and very little flexibility due to that exercise program of sofa to refrigerator. As I no longer own a sofa, I am hoping to exert myself in other, more healthy ways.

What's kind of cool is that my book, which is a novella and short fiction, is called If I Would Leave Myself Behind, which is the name of a story published a few years back, when I was thinking of moving here. And now I'm here. And I didn't leave myself behind, but I'm starting at a better place. And here is a kind review published by Atticus Review, the journal in which the story first appeared.

One last thing. I am very tired, so everything is kind of out of order and maybe doesn't make sense. Everything is not perfect. Expecting perfect is  a loud, booming order for a gigantic helping of disappointment. I do expect more from this place and myself. So far, so good. I'll start making a bookmark or two, just in case.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

not from concentrate

I'm sick with a bad cold and lost my voice just long enough to have to back out of a reading, but I would have backed out anyway, because I am at that point in a bad cold where everything kind of hurts and there's all this stuff in your head that wasn't there yesterday and you wonder how it got there. Seriously, like, a quart of extra fluid in my head. Where does that come from?

Things have been very bad and very good. And that's all I can really say before I distract you with something shiny. Oooooh. Shiny. Pretty. Maybe I'll tell you another time.

Oh, hey, advanced reading copies of my book are out! People who write reviews have them in their hands! They are thinking, I don't know what to say. That is what I want people to say. I want people to be quiet for a little while and maybe just listen to their insides, what things might mean to them. For the record, if they did say anything, I would like for it to be nice. Glowing is acceptable, as well. There are mistakes in this version, but I think we caught them all, and I was able to sneak another story in(!!), so I think maybe we're close to having the final version done. It's weird to hold a book with my name on it. In a totally good and foreign way. No, it's just good. I worked hard. It's some old stuff with some new stuff, molded partly into a novella, which is so cool because my editor did that with mostly old stuff, so it feels new again. And then there's a section that's just stories.

Here's something you want to know. The hives. They seem to be chronic and tenacious. Sometimes they go away for awhile. A friend had this condition for awhile and then it just went away. But it took a long time. I enjoy having mysterious health ailments. No, I really don't. But one would think I did if one took a good hard look. Don't do that. All I'm really saying is I'm itchy and snotty, which is grosser and less interesting that my usual TMI, but it's where I am this evening.

Oh, my head is filled with other stuff, too. Changes ahead. If you know the changes, please don't say, as anyone could read this blog and I'm not quite ready for anyone to know about my changes. I remember days of not having to worry about things like that, and of not having holes and scabs and welts on my body. It could be worse. It could pretty much always be worse.

I went to Trader Joe's earlier. For some juice and other supplies. (Ooh, I have popsicles! I forgot.) And the dorky cute checker wasn't there. He wasn't there last time, either. How am I supposed to have a harmless crush if people don't make themselves available? Come back, tall, unruly dark-haired dorky checker. We will talk about whatever weird hobby you're into now, and I'll give an inward sigh. Oh, dreamy weird checker guy, I at least hope you got a better job involving knives or bees or something.

What I was going to tell you about Trader Joe's was, I got this fresh-squeezed orange juice. It is fantastic. My lips are kind of dry and cracked and the juice fills them in. It hurts some, but I like the feel of fresh orange juice filling crevices in my mouth, like it wants to stay awhile. I still taste it on my lips. Maybe better than in my head. Fresh-squeezed orange juice can be my new crush. Attainable, but more special from far away. Making me feel better when I'm sick. Better than a crush or a boyfriend because it will always be there, on the shelf at Trader Joe's, right where it should be. And that is why I love fresh-squeezed orange. juice. The end.

Friday, February 14, 2014

hi, it's late

I went to bed about 2 and a half hours ago. Then I woke up. And I'm pretty much up. I'm sure I'll fall asleep approximately 15 minutes before the alarm goes off, and I will be bummed and groggy, but I'm up now, so I thought I'd say hey. I won't say Happy Valentine's Day, because, jeez, what a ridiculous holiday. I think some pagans made it up and Hallmark jumped all over it. And See's candy and Zale's jewelry and people who grow roses and make other snacks and grow other flora and manufacture crappy heart jewelry, so people can tell the people they love that they love them that one day a year. I once told this boyfriend I'd rather get daisies on a Wednesday than roses on Valentine's Day. He gave me daisies the next Wednesday and about ten packs of Bazooka bubble gum on Valentine's Day, because I was pretty into Bazooka bubble gum at the time. He was a nice guy. Things didn't work out (clearly), but I remember him fondly (also clearly).

Speaking of boys, I got over that vet crush pretty quickly. Because he made an appointment for Noah to get his teeth cleaned without me saying that he should do that. Because getting a cat's teeth cleaned costs a lot more than getting a person's teeth cleaned. Like, it can cost up to $1000 depending on extractions. And he would have to go under general anesthesia and stuff. And I tried to reach the vet to get him to tell me why he made the appointment and to explain the procedure a little more. And I finally got a brief email from him telling me a vet tech would call me. So, I cancelled. The appointment and the crush. My cat is about 17 years old and he has brought me a lot of joy. His teeth are not in great shape, but he is not uncomfortable, and I don't want to have him undergo surgery from which he might not wake, and make him lose teeth that he uses to enjoy his food. In fact, I started feeding him a little more because it makes him happy. But then I cut back because he used to be diabetic and he gained a lot of weight pretty quickly, and I don't really want to expedite his demise. He's just really hungry, and I wanted to give him some joy. So, we're good. He sleeps on me and it's pretty darn cute. Except sometimes he makes me really warm and I have to take him off of me.

I've had some health problems lately. Nothing too serious, but I've had some doctors' appointments, and this cuts into my working and watching competitive cooking shows time. The strange thing is, I'm kind of not that into the competitive cooking shows thing or TV in general, or, unfortunately, writing all that much. What am I into, you ask? If you did, in fact, ask, or had any curiosity, I am into sleeping and reading Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. It is more than 1000 pages. With footnotes. And I have wanted to read it for a long time, but it just hasn't worked out. It is a commitment. I'm not that into some of it, but I am enjoying a lot of it. I am on page 187.

I am working on working up some motivation to work on my novel. Or one one them. I have about half of one (not the 1000 page kind of one) done, but it's very rough, not only the writing, but some of the content. I also have about 1/100th of another done, which I think could be pretty good, but I am not really feeling it right now. But I think maybe feeling it is beside the point? Maybe if I work on it, I will feel it. Like I am feeling Infinite Jest. As I am awake at the moment (and for the foreseeable moments), I might take a look at one or both of these books and work on one or both of these books. There aren't any rules. People think there are, but, with all due respect, those are rules for them. I don't write every day. And I don't read books about writing books. I ask some people about how they do it, but I mostly just write when I want to. I am not a person who gets up every morning and writes for two hours. That would be cool, but I am not that person. Like I am not a person who pays retail or eats mushrooms.

Because of the vague health stuff, my friend, Tony, inspired/cajoled/guilted me into starting this super-healthy diet. Like, all organic, no gluten, no sugar, no fast food, etc. And, though it's a little extreme and I've loosened the restrictions a bit, I like it. Especially this green chia kombucha. Chia is not just a seed used for growing unusual pets on terra cotta. It is super healthy and delicious. The drink is somewhat viscous and vinegary (it's raw with probiotics and stuff), and the chia seeds are chewy. It's sort of like a food-like drink. I know it sounds gross, but I'm kind of obsessed with it. I wish I had one now. I wish you had one now.

Hey, I might be feeling semi-motivated to write something. Even if it's just a little something, it's probably good to get my head back in it. So, I'll catch you later.

And don't forget to love people every day. Or at least have crushes. I'm still a big fan of both.