‘Vegas in a blizzard’

Another productive week. Got the first 30 pages of The Lazarus Kiss, my NaNo novel, edited and in good enough shape to submit to Bloody Words for an evaluation. Mailed that out along with an agent meet-up request. BW isn’t until June but deadline for evaluation is April 1. The process of doing this represents my commitment to the work itself. Now I have to do the rest of the edits to have another draft ready just in case the agent asks to see it.

dive into it
dive into it

I did an agent meet-up at BW some years ago. When I sat down the first thing that agent said was that she was cutting back on her author list – not very encouraging – but my pitch was good enough that she wanted to see more. That more was returned because she found what sex there was was too explicit. Such is life.

I have to work on my pitch for Lazarus. It hits so many genres its hard to decide which one to go with except I’ll tailor the pitch to high-light what crime happens in it – there is a serial killer so I guess it counts as a crime novel but crime is the setting, in a way. It’s more about heteronormative guys having their sexual identity called into question by a family curse. But that sure isn’t a good pitch line. I’ll have something solid by June.


I’ve been thinking about Dane’s workshop last week. We talked around why we write but didn’t get to why we perform – maybe perform is the wrong word, as one of the poets said ‘performance’ sounds like acting out, in which one over-emotes the work (something that never happens at slams.)

I, for one, like to feel that the writer on stage is invested in their work. Too flat and I’m not there for long. I can always tell when someone is reading simply because they have to get out there for their writing career – as opposed to some who reads because they love to read.

Got out to the recent The Beautiful & The Damned – missed the last two – can’t go wrong with Zelda’s meatloaf – DM Moore hosted & had fun batch of Marie-Antoinette trivia – spoken features were excellent too. I did miss the first few open-stagers as there were some chatter-boxes in the house who resented being told to keep it down – they left in a irritated huff at not being to talk louder than the performers they hadn’t come to hear.

First feature was Brandon Pitts who did an energetic set of pieces from his recent book ‘Pressure To Sing.’ His work is strongly rhythmic & rhymed without feeling forced or show-offish. He brought ‘late nights in Sodom and Gomorra’ to life on Zelda’s stage.

Nina Arsenault, the second feature, did a riveting set of poems from ‘Landscape with Yukon and Unnatural Beauty’ that were about her performances in the Yukon and Dawson City ‘Vegas in a blizzard.’ She presented the work in a non-melodramatic sense of self with observations that transcend being trans and took us to a tender human experiences. One piece started off telling us that even at 50 below the Yukon river doesn’t freeze, that water continues to flow constantly much like the flow of creativity that keeps a performer going regardless of the fears on the surface – powerful stuff. I hope these pieces see publication soon.

These were two writers/readers invested in work they loved who also loved to perform.

crows over cornfield
crows over cornfield

writing sample
writing sample

here’s ones of the pieces I read when I hit the open stage:


“My dad got these for my birthday while he was in Paris.” Jack pulled his jeans up to show us his runners and socks.

“You got those sneakers at K-Mart.”

“Not the sneaks, the socks.” He hiked his pant legs up a bit further. “What ya think?”

The socks were colorless with a grey line around the tops and bagged around his ankle.

“Made of silk.” Jack started to pull them up.

“Oh.” Dave wasn’t impressed.

“Can I feel them?” I asked, more interested in what was above the sock. Hair. I didn’t realize that since last summer Jack had developed hair on his legs. Lots of it.

“Uh, sure.”

I pushed his pant leg up to just over the calf, then ran my finger under the edge of the sock. I don’t remember what it felt like. Silky smooth I suppose but I do remember that hair on his shins.

“Wow.” I held his calf like an apple in the palm of my hand, pulled the sock up. It became transparent with Jack’s black hair underneath.

“Like nylons.” Dave snickered.

I suddenly had this image of Jack in silk stockings pulled up to his white bum. The hairs on his legs matted underneath, pushing through to escape. I felt something so unnameable, so wrong but at the same time so delicious.


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