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Showing posts from March, 2010

History Through Cartoons: A Plea

I'm not sure if someone's written this book, but I'll buy it if it exists (or I'll attempt it myself if anyone wants to offer me a nice advance).  I want a history book written through the lens of cartoons.  I mean, cartoons have represented--probably more than most news stories, history books, sociologists' attempts to re-write history books, and political memoirs--an incredibly honest glimpse into political and social history.

A chapter that I wrote for Musical Chairs, but did not include, reflected on one of my favorites from childhood, The Smurfs.  I had done a little research, to check dates, etc... and was amused to find evidence of the Reagan War on Drugs in the 80s reflected in an episode in which Poet Smurf gets the entire town high (inadvertantly, of course) and it's up to Poppa Smurf to conduct a town-wide intervention.

Going back further in time, there's the horribly-offensive but potently-honest portrayals of racism in old Betty Boop cartoons.  A…

ATTM Book of the Week: Flashing My Shorts

I've had the privlege to trade flash fiction work with ATTM author Sal Buttaci over the course of a few months (until I couldn't keep up with Sal anymore; a man who writes a piece of short fiction each week!).  Here's the rundown on his book, including my review:

Publisher's Description:
Flashing My Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci is a collection of 164 flash-fiction stories that runs the gamut from humor to horror with everything in between. These quick but thought-out writes have become quite popular today. They tend to accommodate readers on the go who lack the luxury of sitting down for long periods of reading. Like patrons at a smorgasbord, they can taste a little of this fine dish and a little of that and not go hungry. The stories Buttaci flashes in his book can, on one page, make readers laugh, and on the next, cry.
My Thoughts:
Buttaci has a delicate touch with his pen and he's fantastic at telling stories, stories with wide range and the commonality of insight, …

Going Home

It's been too long, I said, when Mom picked my tired, sick self up from the Columbus airport on Friday.  I was home.  Although I was tired, stuffy and weary throughout most of the visit, it was refreshing and wonderful to be around my family and friends again.  The thing about Columbus is that nothing changes (it seems): Mom made lasagna (that, as always, was the best she'd ever made), Barnes & Noble employed much of the same crew, had the same regular customers in the cafe, the freeways were predictably empty, and my allergies flaired in the Ohio Valley's elements.

My sister, mother and me have the most natural, off-beat humor around each other, and on this visit we defaulted immediately to a certain ping-pong humor, playing off each other's jokes and laughing nonstop as we cruised the city, running miscellaneous errands.  We were stopped in a grocery store parking lot the first night, behind an old truck filled to the brim with broken furniture and other trash.  …

Guest Author

I have decided, now that I have a job and a subsequent paycheck to earn, that I must sustain regular postings.  One quite fantastic way I plan to do this is by participating in a blog tour, courtesy of ATTM Press authors, some of whom I've read.  First up, I'm happy to say, is a wonderful book that I read and reviewed (as you'll see below) a few months ago.  Steve Lindahl is a fabulously talented writer, and a good friend of mine.   Check him out!

Motherless Soul is the story of Emily Vinson, a woman whose entire life was impacted by the loss of her mother when she was 2 years old. At 82 Emily contacts a hypnotist hoping to draw out hidden memories and to discover as much as possible about the short time she spent with the woman who gave her life. Glen Wiley, the hypnotist, teaches her more about herself than she had expected. He helps her bring out memories of many past lives, including an experience that took place on a smoke filled battlefield. All of Emily's lives h…


It began with me practicing my reading in front of the bathroom mirror.  Once confident that I wouldn't go over my time limitations, my husband and I went out for coffee; but, when we got outside, we found that our cars had both been egged.  This was an interesting occurrence, one that I didn't realize at the time would prove an ominous start to our day.
After some detective work, we concluded that the eggs had to have been thrown from above, and there is a direct line from the balcony above our apartment to where they landed.  The neighbors who occupy this balcony are menacing people, who like certain parking spots and, due to the fact that neither is currently employed, have a lot of time on their hands to start little wars with neighbors--us included, apparently.  After vowing our revenge, we drove for coffee and returned to clean the house for our soon-arriving guest.

Around 3PM, we picked up a friend and fellow author with ATTM Press, whom we had invited to the event to he…

The Oddity of a Second-Person Narrative

You write a story in second person, and you think you will have your audience experiencing all that you desire, bending to your every whim, tripping old folks on the subway, eating aged Gouda and drinking three martinis without ever feeling a buzz.  You direct your character to enter a house, which you don't explain is that of his ex-wife, and you don't tell him that she will soon chase him around with a meat cleaver and demand child support because otherwise, why would he have entered the house in the first place?

Your reader is pissed that you are making him do such horrific things.  The Gouda was bad, his stomach hurts, he has a fresh cleaver wound two inches above his navel, and now an outrageous sum of overdue child support is being taken from his Starbucks paycheck.

You tell your reader that it's too tempting to not give his customer 2% milk in her "skinny" latte because it's already steamed, and she'll never know the difference, right? But she do…

Teacher Woman: Notes on the Internet

I'm employed!  I have what in teacher lingo equates to a highly-fulfilling, part-time job without benefits: I'm an adjunct.  And, although I would never disclose details about the classroom, I have to say it's a job that I already love because I am in a position to teach others how important and rewarding the craft of writing, not to mention the prerequisite for excellent writing: a love for reading, truly is to future successes.

It's apparent, already, that the value of writing skills is more important than ever before, especially for young people, who will be doing more internet communication (written communication!!!) than any previous generation.

I've read many articles about the perils of high internet usage, many of these articles by writers who have a sort of Chicken Little worry that the instant gratification of online publishing might be a hinderance to the quality of written art.  To me, however, this is silly.  What the internet will provide, and has al…