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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

  1. Blog Tour!

    April 12, 2014 by Carley

    Cheap Trick at Landshark StadiumimgresWoah!  Apparently, I’m on a blog tour!  I’ve always dreamed about being part of one of these, and now thanks to my good friend and fellow poet, Nicole Callahan, I am!  Special thanks to Iris Jamahl Dunkle for hosting the tour, and to Zoe Ryder White, who is next up.

    So maybe you’re old fashioned like me and when you hear the word tour, you think of a hedonistic, multi-city journey on a tour bus with a bunch of unruly musicians, desperate groupies, and a lotta drugs.  If that’s the case, the above pictures are for you!

    For those of you who already know how the whole blog tour thing works, I’ll just add that it’s a cosmic, interspace journey across the exciting landscapes of the interwebs into the minds of writers, artists, and their blogs.  Yay!  Who says we can’t have as much fun as a rock band in 1990!??&$#

    So everyone on the tour answers the following questions:

    What am I working on?

    Well, I write in a couple of genres; poetry, essays, and fiction.  I just finished my first novel, Live at Roseland, which is about a young woman who thinks she can change her life by running away in a band.  It’s set mostly in 1990 at the height of the indie music scene and is an artist’s tale–a story about leaving a small town and moving to New York city, and trying to figure out how to be an adult.  Much of the book is set on the road and on tour with the band, which explains my obsession with tours, groupies, and debauched musicians.  I’ve also been working on a revisions for a new poetry manuscript, My Pretty, which is among other things an investigation of mythological hags and witches, motherhood, divorce, and aging.  Lastly, I’m starting a new reading series at a bar I love in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, Dynaco, with fellow poet and bartender, Ryan Folan.  It’s called Studio Dynaco and will feature in-progress work in all genres.

    How does my work differ from others of its genre?

    Hmmm…this is a tough one.  My joke sometimes about my work in all genres is that I’m too experimental for the mainstream and too mainstream for the experimental.  I do think my work has a kind of in-between quality that can make it hard to pin down or classify.  I often write about uncomfortable subjects (girlhood, aging, hags, drugs, hard living) in a pretty straightforward, albeit, lyrical way.  Not sure if this makes me different from most of my favorite writers, but I don’t think my work is particularly comfortable or pretty.

    Why do I write what I do?

    I’m interested in all things subterranean.  I like underworlds, small town weirdos, painters, punks, queer kids, and adults who hold onto a particular scene or style for too long.  I love musicians and poets, parents who don’t know how to do everything, corporate resisters, and anyone on the margins or who makes a mess from the middle.  So, I guess I write to get underneath the surface, to chronicle underworlds, and to figure out what I think about a given subject or time period or feeling.

    How does your writing process work?

    It depends on the genre.  For poems I tend to write about my daily experiences, though I try to put them in conversation with what I’m reading or images I see around me.  For many of the poems in My Pretty, I became interested in some of the witches and hags in fairy tales and how they related to certain uncomfortable moments in my own experiences of mothering.  For novels, I work scene by scene, not knowing too much in advance about where I’m headed plot-wise until about half-way into the project.  For essays and blog posts, I write to figure out a text or an event in my life.  I have a blog/essay piece coming out in Brainchild magazine later this month about nit picking and co-parenting, which was very much my attempt to deal with the lice infestation in my daughter’s kindergarten class and the huge industry around lice removal these days.

  2. Going Too Far Together

    October 28, 2012 by Carley

    So how do you get a hundred twelve and thirteen year-old girls to write together on a Friday afternoon at 1:30?  Well, you start by going to The Hewitt School, which already has in place a writing-based curriculum and a commitment to hosting writers of all kinds (thank you amazing Hewitt English teachers! and thank you to my friend and colleague, Maureen Burgess Chalfen, who is the Dean of Teaching and Learning in Humanities and the Chair of English Department at Hewitt and has worked so hard to bring writing-to-learn strategies from Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking to her school!).

    And then, I guess, you try to ask them a question they can’t resist answering.  More on that in a second.

    First, I want to say that I had a great time on Friday talking with Hewitt students about The Stalker Chronicles.  I shared some stalker-related images, I read two different scenes from the book, we wrote together and shared some of that writing, and we had a lively Q and A.  Hewitt students are excited, informed, and so supportive of one another!  I was impressed by how hard they worked and also how much fun we had together.  But it’s true, my favorite part of my two-hour visit was well, the writing.

    SPOILER ALERT!  After I read a scene from The Stalker Chronicles–the one in which my protagonist Cammie Bliss goes through her crush’s garbage–I asked students to “tell the story of a time when you or a character went too far.”  We freewrote (trying not to censor and or do much editing) for about ten minutes and then we each bracketed off a sentence or two to share with the larger group.  Check out the pictures above of students sitting on the floor of the gym and using their chairs as writing desks!

    The students wrote great pieces (both fictional and autobiographical) about girls who are curious, who want to take leaps, and who follow boys, friends, and teachers because they have questions they can’t get answered.  They wrote about girls who are brave, who are freaked out, and who’s bodies move through spaces and landscapes that don’t always fit.

    Thanks for writing with me Hewitt!



  3. Groupies!

    October 19, 2012 by Carley

    This new book I’m working on has got me thinking about groupies–their special tricks, how they used to look in the late 80s, their devotion, their role in rock and roll literature, and how they are a kind of expert stalker.  In some sense their over-the-top behavior is socially sanctioned, or at least expected.  I think the craziest groupie behavior I’ve read about has been in Motley Crue: The Dirt (forgive me Crue fans and Germans I cannot get my keyboard to make an umlaut and I kind of don’t care enough to do a help search on that shit).  My friend, Dave Smith, aka, Smoota, a rock god in his own right, told me to read this because it’s real and raw.  And it is–not surprisingly these guys are terrible pigs and the stuff women do for and with them sometimes breaks my tender feminist heart.  But I keep reading, you know, for the research.  Everyone (except of course for their billions of fans) hates these guys and they hate each other, and yet there are so many groupies doing just about anything with them in hot tubs, closets, and cars.

    The interweb tells me that a groupie is “a person who seeks sexual and/or emotional intimacy with a celebrity or other authority figure.”  Okay, that sounds about right.  I think it’s easy to overlook the emotional intimacy part and to focus on the sex.  I guess, because the sex part is, well, sexier.  I should probably say something here about Penny Lane, the groupie in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous who helped us see the more complicated, emotional role that groupies can play in the lives of bands.  I think she (Kate Hudson) even has a little monologue about this, but I haven’t seen the movie in a while and I’m a little scared to watch it because people keep saying, “Oh it’s like Almost Famous,” when I tell them about my book.  “No, it’s totally different!” I shout at them in my head, where things are always very emphatic or lately, I just say, “Yeah, it’s Almost Famous but for women.”  See, I’m ready to go to pitch meeting.

    I wasted a good hour of writing time yesterday looking at images of groupies online, and so now I will share them with you so that you can waste some of your precious time.  I’m especially partial to the one of Cynthia Plaster Caster staring lovingly (maniacally?) at one of her penis casts.  Check out the devotion of those Kiss groupies (the one in the middle is not actually naked) and also the sly looks of those 60s girls.



  4. This Week in Images

    August 31, 2012 by Carley

    Some images from this week and some animals who may or may not be stalking you:

    Two shirtless homeless men wrestling over change outside the Washington Square Park entrance.  The crowd’s confusion about whether or not it’s sport or fight.

    The first-year student who Malka and I see barefoot in the Starbucks of our residence hall.  Later, I watch her run–still shoeless–into traffic to talk to a boy.  The car stops, she waves, and then tries to convince the boy to come into Starbucks with her.

    Glass breaking, metal against metal, the beeping back-up noise that garbage trucks make.  NYU, what exactly are you hauling out of the library in the middle of the night?

    The look on some of the faces of the parents on Move-In Day.  “You’re gonna take care of my kid, right?  No, really, you will, right?”

    The rip-ripping sound of the Velcro on the leg brace I’m wearing at night to try to mend my heel.  I wore leg braces when I was a kid, and I’m surprised and not-surprised to find that Velcro is still pretty much the main technology for affixing straightening devices to one’s legs.

    Malka looks out the living room window yesterday and says to me, “Look mom, look at all of the princess castles.”

    We walk by the Disney princess toy section in Barnes and Noble, which of course, I always try to ignore.  Malka stops in front of a toy carriage (I guess it belongs to Cinderella) and says, “Oh my god, it’s the most special wagon in the world.”  I can do nothing, but agree.

    Drumming, piano playing, smooth jazz, Dixieland, folk, and all-manner of hooting, wooting, and call and response.

    Matt and I standing on the corner of Thompson and 3rd Street.  I say, “Where do you eat around here?”  He says, “I have no idea.”

    Re-reading the first forty pages on my novel-in-progress and trying to find the thread.