Tag Archives: Stories on Stage

Catharsis FTW

Last night was incredible.  I got to watch what art is for.

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 7:52 AM
Subject: commuting

Hi Elena,

I attended Stories on Stage last night even though it was Friday night and it required a 30-minute drive and I was leaving daughters at home who I’d barely seen all day because I was on deadline for my magazine and  . . . and . . . and . . .

. . . I’m so glad I did. Your short story, Commuting, has hung with me in a wonderful, inspiring way. Weird to say, given that it made half the room cry, including the actress who read it, but that’s just proof that it got under other people’s skin as much as it did mine. I did not cry, but I had a few moments of feeling intensely sick to my stomach, and it had nothing to do with the bones crunching and viscera the narrator’s childhood cat involved herself with under the bed. It was the narrator’s despair and the nothingness that comes with signing on for something so hollowing, so undermining. You don’t have to have engaged in adultery to know that stripped-by-layers devastation.

Thank you for a beautiful, rich story. I’m headed off to the Squaw Valley writers conference next weekend (my first one, as a fiction newbie) and part of the reason I set aside all my busy-life crap last night to go listen to stories was because I wanted the inspiration, the spark in the ass before I go plunk myself in the middle of almost 100 sure-to-be-better writers than me. So thank you for that, too. Your book is on my fall reading list!

Seriously, I can die now.  And I even made a little money selling a few books!  Yo G, I be droppin’ Hamiltons like I be Aaron Burr.

Thank you so much to Bonnie Antonini for a fabulous reading, and Valerie Fioravanti + the Stories on Stage crew for putting it together!


Well, it’s a rental.

Today, the awesome comes in two flavors: local and international!

(1) Local: Tomorrow night, Friday July 29th, my story “Commuting” will be performed by actress Bonnie Antonini at Sacramento’s Stories on Stage!  The show starts at 7:30 PM at the Sacramento poetry center on 25th street (at R).  So exciting!  Also terrifying!  But mostly exciting!

(2) International: 13 rue Thérèse was nominated for the Guardian’s First Book Award.  Sweeeeeet!  I just received a copy of the paperback edition for the UK (coming out in September; apparently they do paperback six months later over there rather than a year later like over here) and it is gorgeous–complete with a fabulous blurb from Simon Schama front and center: “A flirty, dirty tease of a novel.”  Rowr.

Also: some great write-ups for my book from the Commonwealth: Australia’s MC Reviews, South Africa’s TO>NIGHT, and England’s The Spectator.

With all this worldwide fame, I have to wonder why I still live in a messy apartment filled with dilapidated furniture mostly pulled from dumpsters, and carpeted almost entirely in old cat puke stains.  (Fortunately the carpet is cat-puke-colored, so the stains are invisible.  But if you scan it with a black light, it’s like a fucking House of Horrors in here.  Forensics EVERYWHERE.)

Well, I must decamp, because I have cats meowing at me for dinner.  Off to go refuel their squirty stomachs so they can juice up the last few square inches of our living quarters that don’t glow like a freaking nuclear reactor when swept with my Stinkfinder.  (Yes, that is what my hand-held black light is called by its marketing team–poetic, is it not?)  As the husband likes to say about our dwelling: “Well, it’s a rental.”

July events. And fish paste.

Come to Books Inc. in Berkeley tomorrow for a Bastille Day event with me and mystery writer Cara Black!  There will be wine and cheese and much frenchiness.  Cara is trying to talk me into singing the Marseillaise.  Seriously, you can’t possibly miss me embarrassing myself to this degree.

Also cool: my story “Commuting” is going to be performed at Sacramento’s Stories on Stage on the 29th.  I am very stoked and somewhat terrified about this (imagine some other voice performing your voice!).  Do take a look at the lovely interview Sue Staats did of me for the Stories on Stage blog.  If you come and someone in the audience bursts into flames from brain overload, that would probably be me.

I had the most fabulous dream: I was playing a Disneyfied under-the-sea videogame in which I had to go up all the levels of the ocean in order to reach the surface and ascend to meet Poseidon on Olympus.  I did it as a merman and everything was cool.  Then I did it as Ariel, the little mermaid from the Disney movie, and on the way up through the sky to meet my maker, I was sucked into the turbine of a jet engine.  It.  Was.  Awesome.

Either my unconscious was making some kind of commentary about inequality of the sexes, or it just wanted to grind some fish paste.

Girl, take off those seashells and give that lobster something to sing about.