May 24, 2009

Pilcrow Musings

“I need Plot: people growing, banging into each other and into circumstances; stewpot citizens: growing and hurting and loving and making the best of various bad jobs.” –Sylvia Plath

I’m sitting in my pajamas, listening to Cat Power and thinking about the past week. The sun’s out and Chicago’s alive with drivers and bikers and people hung-over from Saturday night festivities.

Last Sunday the Pilcrow Festival began. I was nervous and needed hosiery to finish my fifties outfit, complete with a bright pink peacock pin on my black cardigan. David drove me to the Walgreens because we were running late and I didn’t have time to walk. That’s right. I don’t drive. I don’t care who knows. Driving scares the shit out of me. I’d much rather ride my bike or even take the train. Maybe that makes me old fashioned. Maybe I don’t quite fit in this hyper modern world.

We had hard cider at Matilda’s, sharing it because we’re so damn broke. We met a few people, introduced ourselves to the shockingly beautiful and entertaining Amy Guth. I bought her book, Three Fallen Women, and started reading it this morning. It made me cry.

Monday and Tuesday we didn’t attend Pilcrow events. Monday night was the season finale of How I Met Your Mother and we had a little party. David made a kick ass pasta dish. Tuesday I was exhausted. Work was kicking my butt and I still don’t know if I’m going to get laid off or not.

Wednesday, we went to The Book Cellar and heard some interesting readings by action/thriller authors. The bookstore is tucked away in this cute little nook of shops and restaurants at Lincoln and Western. David, ever my promoter and publicity extraordinaire, spoke to the manager and they’re going to carry my book. I think being part of the festival is doing some good things for me. We chatted with Amy, her husband, and a sci-fi author named Mark R. Brand.

Thursday, despite being wiped out by work, we went to a reading by the students and teachers at StoryStudio at 42 Degrees North Latitude. We got there late so we had to stand by the emergency exit door and I was afraid of leaning against it. There was one poet that really stood out to me. Marissa Spalding read two poems about her mother: "A story between sisters" and "Farming." We left immediately after the readings because I wasn’t feeling too well.

I woke up Friday morning sick and hacking up phlegm. I pushed through and went to work anyways. Around 1:30, I felt like I was being run over by a bull dozier, so I called David and he picked me up. I slept the rest of the day away.

Saturday morning, I over-medicated on decongestants, antihistamines, and Mucinex. We took the El to Belmont and we were almost the first people to arrive at Trader Todd’s. (Can anyone say, Over Eager, maybe?) We chatted with Leah Jones and Amy Guth while helping assemble name tags for the participants. The next few hours flew by. We spoke to other authors and writers, attended panels, and ate a couple of burgers. I re-medicated. We hung out with Mark a lot. David and Mark talked about book cover design. David really wants to do more of that since creating the book cover for CTFS.

I was pretty chill by the time the Young Adult panel started. Maybe it was the hard cider or the antihistamines or both. I immediately liked the other Y.A. authors on the panel, especially Stephanie Kuehnert and James Kennedy. (Look these authors up now!) I think I did pretty well despite normally being terrified of speaking in front of people. The other authors were very gracious, humorous, and down-to-earth. It was a very good, first experience for me on a literary panel.

I really wanted to go to the Literary Death Match at 7pm, but my medication was wearing off and I was starting to fade. So, David and I hopped back on the Red Line and went back to our apartment. We heated up some soup and watched 40 Year Old Virgin for the umpteenth time. I felt pretty good about the day. I felt like a real author.

May 22, 2009

Wandering and Writing

Once upon a time, there was a little, pale girl with Shirley Temple curls, who spent her days, wandering from one room to another in the tiny, five-room apartment. Everywhere she walked, there was not enough room for her. She wanted room for all her imaginary characters, adventures, and faraway lands. She hid her nose in books, finding the room she desired between the pages. But it still wasn't enough to read and dream, this little girl wanted to create her own worlds, with her own creatures. She wrote and wrote and wrote, filling countless pages with words and drawings. She fantasized of one day walking into a bookstore and finding the object of her dreams: a beautiful, shiny book with her name on it.

This fantasy has come true.

I’m thrilled to announce that Cast the First Stone will be available to purchase at an amazing, local bookstore. The Book Cellar, which is the official bookseller of the Pilcrow Lit Fest, will be selling the novel in the Young Adult section. The Book Cellar is located in at 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave. With a lovely wine and beer bar, they host wonderful readings and events. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing CTFS and live in the Chicago area, please stop by The Book Cellar and pick up a copy.

The journey continues...As always, please continue to check my blog and website often for musings, news and current events. Thanks again for your support.

May 18, 2009

Pilcrow Lit Fest Is Here!

Congrats to Amy Guth, Leah Jones, and the Pilcrow Lit Fest team for a successful kick-off to this week's festival. We chilled at Matilda's last night and chatted with some interesting literary folk.
Please check out all the amazing literary happenings around Chi-town at

May 5, 2009

Tsitsi Dangarembga

A couple of weeks ago, I went with a friend to a reading at the African Studies department on NU's campus. I knew nothing about the author and, with less than twenty people in attendance, I wasn’t expecting anything phenomenal. But when the introduction was given, I was surprised to be in the presence of someone so accomplished. I wondered why there weren’t more people there. The author, Tsitsi Dangarembga, was the first black woman in Zimbabwe to publish a novel in English. As a young adult, studied in England and then went on to study film in Germany. I listened attentively as she read from her two published novels and a third in the works. She had the grace of someone who has persevered against the odds to make a difference through her art. After hearing about her struggle to find a reputable publisher and actually get paid for her work, I bought Nervous Conditions. I’m about a third of the way through it and I’m thoroughly impressed.

Dangarembga is a feminist and a women’s rights activist in Zimbabwe, where they have little access to books. When a student asked her what she was reading, she said that a dictionary for her son cost $50 American. She can’t afford to buy books and the libraries are practically non-existent because of the destroyed economy. I felt ashamed. I'm so spoiled because I have access to thousands of books. I complain that I don't have enough time to read and absorb them all. I really felt that I, as an American that has access to thousands of books, should support this human rights activist who stays in her war-torn country (instead of running to America where she could get more funding and notoriety) and fights to bring literacy and self-respect to her people.

To read more about Tsitsi Dangarembga:

You can purchase her first novel on

May 1, 2009

Pilcrow Lit Fest and more!

Hello to my fabulous friends, starlit strangers, and literary lovers,

I'm head-over-heels in happiness. Amy Guth, brilliant author and founder of , has generously added me to the prolific list of participants in this year's festival. There are numerous, tantalizing events from Sunday, May 17th through Saturday, May 23rd. You'll find me:

Upstairs @ Trader Todd's3216 N Sheffield Ave Chicago, IL
Saturday, May 23, 2:00-2:45PM
The Young Adult Panel Moderator: Linda Jones
Panelists: Gwendolyn Glover, Jane Hertenstein, JessicaHopper, James Kennedy, Stephanie Kuehnert and Daniel Kraus

If you're in the area, I do hope you'll attend one of the events.

If you have purchased a copy of Cast the First Stone (Thank You!!!), please feel free to write a short review of it on the lulu website at , at the bottom of the page.

Also, please check out my little shop. The bags are very cool and we think the coffee mug came out pretty well also. David did the amazing artwork and set up the shop for me.

Thanks for all of your support and sending good thoughts my way. I hope to start doing more readings in the Chicago area, so check out my events page often. And, as always, I try to post something new on both of my blogs weekly. Now, go play in the rain or snuggle up with a good book while you watch it from the window.