Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Uncanny Reader....and One Uncannily Great Writer & Editor

Marjorie Sandor, my thesis advisor at Oregon State University, is one terrific writer & editor. She helped me crack through to the next layers of my own writing -- she has that gift of Tough Love imbued with gritty magic and attention to detail. She always talked about taking apart your sentences -- what's in-between (or beneath) the sentences? What exists word-wise and emotion-wise in those spaces we're sometimes afraid to explore? What can be cut or flipped on its head? She helped me reach into my spiritual guts, yank out the awful and beautiful stuff, and spin it all together into Story.

The Uncanny Reader, a new collection I can't wait to read, has been edited by Marjorie and published by St. Martin's Press. The publishing house states:

"From the deeply unsettling to the possibly supernatural, thirty-one border-crossing stories from around the world explore the uncanny in literature, and delve into our increasingly unstable sense of self, home, and planet."

The authors included here will knock your socks off -- and maybe make you want to keep the lights on at night.

Plus, if you just want a good ol' definition of "uncanny," then the book trailer is worth the price of admission alone. You can watch it by clicking here.

Finally, you can check out more of Marjorie's work here, including her own powerful and illuminating fiction:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sasquatch Musings of the Day.

From Sharma Shields' The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac, one of my new favorites:

Sentence of the Day:

"He considered rising and taking up the papers in the living room, but the idea of moving even one inch exhausted him, and so he merely tucked his chin down and fell asleep there, sitting up, as he did sometimes, his plate so clean before him that his last thought was that he could go swimming in it and how refreshing it would be to swim into the milk-white ceramic, like pushing through the supple, supportive fabric of the moon."

Passage of the Day (*regarding the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in 1980):

"A reporter on the news program began to list the names of people missing or killed by the lava flow. Eli went and sat beside Ginger's knees and listened. There was an octogenarian who refused to leave his lodge in the woods. He wanted to die right there where he'd always lived, and so he did.

Eli thought about the man and his lodge. He imagined the roar of the explosion, the interminable wait. Would the man just sit patiently in his chair, maybe shuffling an old deck of cards, or would he go and stand and face the mountain? Would he pace back and forth on his porch, only to begin to suffer regret as hot mud filled his shoes? Was he stubborn or silly or idealistic or noble or all of it or none?

What would I do? Eli wondered, safe and sound in his comfortable home, with his kindly daughter stirring lazily beside him on the couch. What would I do with that last hot, excruciating minute?"

Monday, March 09, 2015

How's Annie? (No, Really.)

My friend Charlie and I have been in regular touch lately as I've navigated watching Twin Peaks in "real time." You can check out my "TP25 Challenge" entry by clicking here. Emails and texts have been flickering back and forth, much like a faulty florescent bulb. One day he wrote, "May the Giant Be With You!" (on the day said tall-guy/possible alien is introduced) and the next day I requested no creamed corn on my plate, in honor of Mrs. Tremond and her magician-in-the-making grandson (played by David Lynch's son).

Tonight I'll be on Episode 14, where the titular question was answered: "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" With Twin Peaks returning in 2016, I'm hoping we'll come full circle to that final line & question in Twin Peaks' run (before the feature film prequel, of course): "How's Annie?" No, really. How is Annie? Will we discover the fate of former nun Annie Blackburn, Agent Dale Cooper's love interest? Lest I jump the gun -- or the borders of the sycamore tree circle with the scorched engine oil -- and give too much away about TP's cliffhanger, I thought I'd share this nerdy, fun, self-indulgent message exchange between Charlie and myself, with his permission. I planned on mentioning much of this in a blog entry anyway, and it feels more intimate, secret diary style, to share it in this back-and-forth between two diehard Peak Freaks.

A couple weeks ago, Trekkies mourned Leonard Nimoy's passing and bonded over their shared Star Trek universe -- and how their minds and hearts are forever affected and deepened by their favorite Vulcan. Twin Peaks is my Star Trek. I gave a shout-out to the universe in honor of all Trekkies the day Nimoy died. Now, here's that insider's look (spoiler alert!) into what some Peak Freaks are wondering about, 25 Years Later...

Charlie to me:

Tonight you'll have to sleep with the lights on after that BOB scene! Course maybe you did last night, too? Those Laura death scenes in the train car are pretty fucking horrific. I can't believe that was on network television back in the day. And I love the slow pans down the corridors leading up to it and BOB running...Gulp.

Sometimes Episode 8 is my favorite TP episode. I just love the beginning and the Giant and SeƱor Droolcup. And Ed's honeymoon story and Albert's reaction shots. Priceless. And the Hayward supper club! Too much good shit!


....I love that Donna's sister Harriet shows up twice and that sister Gersten shows up once (in Episode 8), and that there are no other references to them, ever. So strange. It's almost like they're ghosts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts re: 8. Tomorrow I get to watch Episode 12, which is probably my favorite. I have quite visceral memories of the day it first aired, and I just love, love, love the tension in the episode, how it cuts back-and-forth from Cooper & Co. rescuing Audrey to Donna and Maddy attempting to steal Laura's secret diary from Harold. So dear to me: Donna's story/confession of the boys at the lake, how she smokes that cigarette and how the ash falls....Audrey saying to Cooper, "You answered my prayers...." So much emotion rolled together.

Charlie to me:

Yes, I love Donna in that scene. "Let's go skinny-dipping!" She is so good. I'm even mesmerized by her movements, as though good girl Donna who so-desperately-wants-to-be-bad has finally found a way to merge the two (Laura, of course, being her direct inspiration) in not just a sultry way, but in a more fluid and natural one. There's a tiny glimmer of a hint that Donna may just be able to reconcile the light and the dark in a way that Laura could not. 'Course Laura had that whole incest thing to contend with...

It's sad that after these episodes and the Laura story arc is resolved, Donna has so little to do. Aside from, "You're My Daddy!" of course. Do you think Lara Flynn Boyle will come back?

And Donna's sister(s) (or lack thereof) is kind of funny. I wonder if Alicia Witt's Gersten will make an appearance in New Peaks? Lynch seems to love her and it would make her fourth project with him.


Happy Episode 12 Day! It's sunny and gorgeous here, almost 70 degrees. The crocuses are blooming, the cherry blossoms are staking claims. Portlandia has the most beautiful springs. The days creep toward lush longness.

I'm so glad you asked about my thoughts on Alicia Witt returning to Twin Peaks in 2016. Ever since news broke about season three, I've thought about having Gersten as one of the main characters -- her weird supporting role in one scene only thus far flipped onto its head and into the main storyline's spotlight. Also, I always wanted to spend more time with Ronette Pulaski -- I thoroughly enjoyed my moments with star Phoebe Augustine at the festival (she really took to Mom, and she was just so sweet with us whenever we chatted) and I'd love to see what Ronette's been up to -- I'd like to hear her speak (!) more. And hell, she's the one woman who survived the wrath of BOB (that we know of, anyway). Makes for interesting dramatic terrain if they choose to focus on Ronette a bit more "25 Years Later." In addition, I just have to say it: Sylvia and Johnny Horne's characters were woefully underused starting in season two; I mean, we didn't even get one scene with them while Audrey was trapped at One-Eyed Jack's; surely they were worried about her! I've always wondered what that mother and son have been up to, and maybe we'll find out. Geeky final side note: I'd always wanted to "meet" James Hurley's alcoholic, loose mother; the scenes where she's discussed are so powerful. Is she still drinking or has she dried out? Have James and his mother found some solace together?

Okay, *one* more geeky side wish -- I can't wait to meet Lucy and Andy's baby! I mean, this "kid" will be 25 years old, and I'm hoping that Lynch & Frost let us at least meet him in season three. It's gotta happen, right? Kimmy Robertson is just one of the darned nicest folks! She exuded humorous grace & a warm heart at the fest, and on the day of the picnic we had a lovely conversation about my writing and publishing -- I feel very grateful for that sweet exchange.

Hmm, do I think Lara Flynn Boyle will be back? Probably not. I mean, she didn't want to return for Fire Walk with Me -- not that we all can't or don't evolve and shift over time! Quite the opposite! But Boyle seems to be struggling with herself, and it's hard to ignore all the rumors of her on-set antics and diva-ish expectations (throughout the trajectory of her career). Moira Kelly did a fantastic job stepping into Lara Flynn's shoes for the prequel, and frankly, I think she'd knock it out of the ballpark as Donna in season three if they gave her the chance. Lara will always be Donna to me, in my core, but I'm open to Moira showing us where it's at when Twin Peaks returns. Please let there be oh-my-god-we're-sisters-fallout-and-fractured-healing between Donna and Audrey in 2016 -- if Audrey survived the bank explosion in season two's finale, of course.

[The next statement is a response to family ins-and-outs discussed throughout our exchanges, but this paragraph is Twin Peaks related and Charlie said I should print it.]

Thank you for your honest, raw, sad, and funny take on your family dynamics -- no wonder you love & connect with Twin Peaks. You're like me: your soul kind of *does* live in Twin Peaks, that magical, strange "town" inside ourselves. Admittedly, a small part of me did wonder if you hadn't replied about your father because you were embarrassed to tell me you hadn't come out to him. Most of the time, I'm all for coming out and letting your voice be heard -- it's my default, and a terrific one at that. But your poetic, quirkily dark description does help to make me see that it's hard to judge what others do, and why (or why not). I certainly am guilty of some pretty weird thoughts, family dynamics, and actions that others probably wonder about. Again, thank you.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Quote of the Day

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."

~ Alexander Graham Bell, Inventor of the Telephone