Excitement x3!

• Three cool things:

(1) 13 rue Thérèse featured in NY Times Paperback row!

(2) Interview with me up at Litquake’s website!

(3) Speaking of Litquake, come to the Zyzzyva release party tomorrow night at Tosca in San Francisco!  I will be reading along with Peter Orner and Rob Ehle.

• Three things that we realize, post-move, we should never buy again as we have entirely too many of them:

(1) whisks

(2) umbrellas

(3) motherf*****g books

I am guessing I will be able to tamp down on my whisk and umbrella purchasing habits…  Books, however, are another story…

Third Annual Sophomore Novel Angst Google Search Jubilee Extravaganza Celebration

Ahoy fine people.  Remember how in my new year’s post, I said I might have to move?  Well, I did!  And I got a two-week-long Death Flu on top of it!  And I don’t want to find out how this transition could possibly suck more, because I’m not sure I’ll survive it!  But, thankfully, I am in my new digs, and yesterday I even kept down some solids.  So, baby steps.  Meanwhile, it’s April!  Besides taxes and sinking the Titanic, do you know what that means?  That’s right!  It’s time for me to give out the awards for our Third Annual Sophomore Novel Angst Google Search Jubilee Extravaganza Celebration.  The following are all google searches that reached my blog.

I continue to be a reliable hit for skittles, weird sexual acts involving horses, and cheez doodles.  Once again, dear public, please do not feed cheez doodles to your infants.  This year I have also become a great web resource for everything toothpaste (probably because of this post) and kidney stones (definitely this post).  If you have reached this blog because you are about to pee a solid object, let me offer my condolences.  And no, as far as I know, 7-UP has no magical kidney stone-killing properties.  The only possible use you can get out of 7-UP at kidney-stone-passing-time is to use it to swallow a shitload of Percocet.

Meanwhile, the “You’re Darn Tootin'” Wisdom Awards go to the following searches:

  • life can be a bitch
  • heresy grows from idleness
  • authorial intent is a fallacy

• The “I love Bob Ross Too” Award goes to: little birds gotta have a place to put their foots.

• Salient Questions:

  • worst writers with novel angst? All of them.
  • why is sex so perverted? Look up the answer for “why is sex so damn fun?”  That answer basically applies to all questions that begin with “why is sex so.”.
  • how in the fuck am i going to pay for college?  If you go by the axiom that the answer to most questions is contained within the question itself, the answer is clearly prostitution.

• “Why, Thank You” Award: damn i love you so much.  “Why, Thank You” Honorable Mention: good luck with shitting.

• “Do They Offer Better Service than PPO boobs?” Award: HMO boobs.

• Best Foreign Language Feature: imagen de jesucristo en un sandwich 2012.

• Cutest and Most Apt Typo Ever: are guys inbarest when they get boners by a girl.

• “Elmer Fudd Apparently has a Citrus Fetish” Award: number of wemon fucked in lifetime.

• Paradox World-Exploding Google Search Award: not googleable.

• “Please Get Off Google and Consult a Medical Professional” Awards:

  • spay gone wrong tied off ureters
  • my husband wants to grow breasts
  • there seems to be an earthquake inside my head

• And finally, would the following searchers please, please contact me and explain what exactly you were looking for?

  • one hour away from being the crazy horse lady
  • magical submission pants
  • you will approve of this animal

+

=

NO.

Dear Las Vegas,

Thank you for being America’s thrumming heart.

, A Proud Citizen

The luxury of moral choices

So.  Like a lot of people, I have been watching the whole Greg Smith thing with great interest.  Like a lot of people, I am impressed that he made a moral decision so boldly and so publicly.  But.  But, of course, I cannot entirely ignore the disgruntled critics who say that it sure is easy to have an epiphany once you’ve padded your exit with a nice plush bank account of ill-gotten gains.  Does this somehow taint the morality of his decision?  Maybe.  Also, for me, it highlights the fact that moral choices are, to a certain extent, a luxury–and, more importantly, that our society’s incentive structure is totally fucked.

No matter what Smith does now, it cannot be denied that Goldman Sachs built his life, and to a certain extent gave him the ability to make the choice he did (moral stickiness ahoy!).  His column in the New York Times, which will bring him a lot of attention, lucre, and almost inevitably a book deal, could not have happened had he not had a career there.  Consider this: at the same time Smith was at Stanford, there was another kid there who was faced with the same choice: I can leverage this education to make a shitload of money on Wall Street.  But this kid looked at the lay of the world and said, nah, Wall Street is full of scumbags, I’m going to follow my passion and give my life to literature instead, even if my career prospects are laughably poor.  Where is this kid’s op-ed in the New York Times?

Not that said kid necessarily wants an op-ed in the NYT.  Said kid is impressed by the institutional weight of said paper but also frightened by and suspicious of it.  Said kid will probably spend a lifetime having distant and conflicted relationships with powerful institutions.  Said kid does not mind, even if sometimes said kid is like, where the fuck is my money for being awesome?  But.  Said kid acknowledges that even she had a certain amount of luxury to make the decisions that she did.  Said kid married young to a wonderful man with a steady, if not grand, salary.  If said kid had graduated from university and been out in the world struggling totally on her own without health insurance, eating instant ramen in her studio apartment every night, it is quite possible that at some point she would have said, fuck this noise, I am getting an MBA.

We live in a world where moral choices are a often luxury, and it would be so lovely if they could be an innate right.

Also.  Why did Greg Smith choose to have his poor soul sodomized for cash for twelve years when he could have joined the Peace Corps or some shit?  I will tell you.  Because our incentive structure is totally fucked.  Because a young, intelligent person with lots of options, unless they have the structural integrity of a fucking diamond or some kind of guiding passion welling from deep within, will choose the career path that will give them the most positive reinforcement.  The fact that making more money for rich people is the most lucrative and prestigious career available to said young person is bullshit.  Our priorities are fucked; our institutions are sick.  What do we do about it?

Beats the shit out of me.  I’m just in this life game to tell dirty stories and eat way too many bacon cheeseburgers.

Ooooooh yes. Thank you to whoever decided that an appropriate topping for a meat patty was... MORE MEAT. You have made the world a better place.

exciting developments, including a titanic breakfast

13 rue Thérèse is now out in paperback!  With a sexy quote from USA Today right on the cover–rowr.  In celebration, I am changing the link on the side of this page.  If you click on the cover of my book, it will now take you to the amazon page for the paperback rather than the hardback.

13 rue Thérèse also just launched in Poland!  Plus the Italian paperback came out and the cover looks totally different.  Check it out:

(Sorry I could not find a larger image!  My googlefu is weak.  Anyway, saucy, no?)

Short story-wise, I have one out now in The Farallon Review.  It’s got dogs!  And creepy bad things happen!  Do creepy bad things happen to the dogs?  Only one way to find out: get a copy of the journal…

In the Red-wise, I just passed the 200-page mark earlier this week.  I think that’s probably about two thirds of it.  So, this week, instead of Sophomore Novel Angst, I have a case of Sophomore Novel YAY, which is way more fun as syndromes go.  Sophomore Novel YAY manifests as an early morning trip to a diner to feast on something called The Volcano.  The Volcano is composed of: three giant buttermilk pancakes with syrup, two eggs sunny side up on top, and four slices of bacon.  Is this a great country or what?

Yes, I ate the whole thing, and no, I regret nothing.

SweetDeath®

YOU GUYS.

So, I was out having dinner with the husband.  I noticed a new color among the sweeteners on offer.  Amongst the usual pink, blue, and yellow, there was green.  I pulled out the green to get a better look at it.  It was called SweetLeaf®.  It was made from some rainforest plant called Stevia and promised it was all-natural.  I thought this was an interesting product, since maybe it didn’t have the icky aftertaste of your usual artificial sweetener.  So, I tore the packet open and poured a tiny amount into the palm of my hand to taste.  It was perfectly white and ground very fine, more like something you would snort than eat.  I licked the powder off my palm.

I don’t remember exactly what followed.  Everything went blurry, the world was obliterated, and my husband sat across the table shaking with laughter at my pain.  SweetLeaf® was so disgusting that I am pretty sure this is what Hate tastes like.  If you put that taste in the water supply, a nationwide bloody civil war would break out within a day over nothing in particular.  Seriously.  It was so disgusting that it was sublime.  I pretty sure that, amidst the excruciating white pain that blinded my entire soul, I saw the face of God.

I will never be the same.  I will never untaste this product.  Life itself has been destroyed for me.  Now it’s just Nazis raping babies to death with the severed penises of slaughtered endangered panda bears.  To a Justin Bieber soundtrack.  I mean it, all is dead to me now.  I’m pretty sure I can never love again.

If Cthulhu ate a bowl full of anuses and then pooped them into your mouth, it would taste just like that.  With a hint of anise.  Anise anus, that’s what this stuff should be called.  It made me reconsider my stance towards the very idea of rainforest.  Raze the whole fucking thing, is what I say now.

After my husband stopped laughing at me, I actually talked him into having a little taste of the stuff.  He licked some off his hand, and shrugged.  “I dunno,” he said, “it just tastes really sweet.”

So, be advised: depending on what your palate is like, SweetLeaf® tastes either like (a) sweetener or (b) Nazi panda baby rape.  Roll the dice and let me know how it works out.

I WILL RAPE YOUR MOUTH. Maybe.

The end of the beginning

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Thank you, Mr Churchill.  I think I just passed the mid-point of In the Red.  Phew.  I am at another stopping point where restructuring will have to take place.  This is pretty much the most inefficient way to write a book EVER.  It took me like a year for find a narrative voice–and there’s still no solid structure!  Basically I write in fragments until I get to a pausing place, then shuffle everything around to make it as cohesive as possible.  Then I keep generating the fragments until the whole thing is balanced all wrong and I can’t go any further, and I have to pause and reshuffle again before I can continue.  I feel like Sisyphus.  Hold me.

These days I spend a lot of time considering alternate careers.  Hey, speaking of alternate careers and Winston Churchill, I think I’m going to chuck this whole novelist thing and open a nautically-themed gay bar called The Traditions of the Royal Navy.  Who’s with me?  (Although apparently that quote was not actually uttered by Mr Churchill. Drat.)

In better news, I just went over the proofs of my story “Commuting” for Zyzzyva’s Spring issue.  It looks coooooooooool!  It will be out in April!  Brace yourself for the awesome.  There will be a sexy, sexy release party at Tosca’s in  San Francisco if you feel like coming by.  I’ll also have a couple of appearances around the March release of the paperback for 13 rue Thérèse.  Check out my events page if you’d like to swing by for any and all of these gatherings…  I’m sure you could get a bit of rum at Tosca’s!  You’re on your own for sodomy and the lash though, unless of course I get to open my bar.