I’m taking a break from bashing my skull against the wall for an important announcement. If you are in Missoula, you should come to the Big Bellydance Event Thursday night (May 28th) at the Crystal Theater. Julia has been working her ass off to make this happen, and I know it is going to be cool. My efforts to promote it via Facebook and stupid places like that have been pretty yawn-inducing, but what the hell. Hopefully a few people will come out and see something genuinely cool and unique. I’m even going to accompany Julia on my trusty doumbek (which I’ve been playing for all of about a week) during her sword dance. Yes, I said sword dance!
We spent last weekend in Oregon. We visited Julia’s brother Mike in Portland on Friday, did a little bit of shopping (Powell’s? Check. Oregon Leather? Check. Anthropologie? Check. Patagonia store? Check.), then headed to Eugene for a couple days to see our friends Angela and Mike Davis and their kids. It was a good time. We got to hear a lot of great rock n’ roll stories from their days on the road as manager and bass player (respectively) for the MC5, eat some of Angela’s great cooking, and otherwise get in some much needed r&r. Spent a day on the coast as well, which was phenomenal. Don’t have time for a lot of detailed travelogue stuff this time around, but here are a couple pretty pictures (I’ll follow up with more later, maybe).
The 406 Writers’ Workshop
I’m stressing because I talked myself into joining the 406 Writers Workshop. I’ve never done anything like this before, and haven’t taken any kind of “formal” writing instruction since high school, which was a hell of a long time ago. 2 sessions in and it’s obvious to me that the project I wanted to do is a form of fiction that is clearly the red headed stepchild I was nervous it might be viewed as. As in, “if it’s good and says something beyond what the reader is being bludgeoned with, then it is literary; if it isn’t, then it is genre.” I disagree with that so much that, frankly, I want to quit. That and the fact that I’ve kind of lost faith in my story idea, at least as it relates to this workshop, that it is making it very, very difficult to write. And it is due tomorrow. But I’m going to do it anyway, because the people all seem to be really cool. I don’t know, maybe I’m just intimidated because all the stories so far have been great, and I never really intended to write a short story in the first place and it’s pretty clear that that is what this is about. Oh well, if it bombs I’ll just drown my sorrows reading comic books over a gigantic pizza I will down solo, then use pages torn from this Denis Johnson book to sop up the aftermath.
I love what I love, though. I don’t know if this is what I always want to write fiction-wise, but it’s damn sure where I want to start. This little section, from The Great Pulp Heroes by Don Hutchinson, about the lady friend of Richard Wentworth, the millionaire secret identity of pulp hero The Spider (May ’33 – December ’43), illustrates the type of laugh-out-loud awesomeness I love about the pulps:
Despite Wentworth’s vigilance, lovely Nita was herself the subject of uncounted injuries, tortures, and emotional upheavals. In her efforts to aid the Spider in his battle against the ungodly, she was turned into a gibbering drug addict in “Slaves of the Crime Master,” threatened with rape by an orangutan in “The Red Death Rain,” had some of her brain cells suctioned out by The Scarlet Doctor, and in “Rule of the Monster Men” was transformed into a surgically altered cripple by that crazed practitioner, The Wreck. She was a spunky gal, though, and occasionally, when the Spider was either wounded, crippled, infected with rabies, blinded, dying, or sentenced to death row in Sing Sing, she’d don his old cape and fright mask and off a few bad guys on her own.
That just resounds with magnificence.
We’ll see how it goes. I’m one page into my story and one dude has already been knocked prone by a guy throwing a jukebox at him, so suck it, Philip Roth. Maybe if I end things here with a couple pictures I surreptiously snapped last weekend of a pretty girl who refuses to be photographed, I can get back to it with a clearer mind.
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. That’s the girl I married three years ago today. You can suck that, Dave Eggers.