Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lipstick and Bourbon

I had two assignments at the great Lipstick and Bourbon film noir night at the GP library. Take a few pictures and sell a few copies of Die a Little. I failed at both chores. I sat in such proud attention at hearing/seeing my daughter hold a room in the palm of her hand, I didn't take a single picture. And the four autographed books sat under my chair. Thanks to Bryon Quertermous for fulfilling his task to make sure the media aspects went off. Blame it on the continuing stomach flu that dogs me, but really I have no excuse. The attendance was great. Over 125 film noir lovers. A good time was had by all. If anyone would like a signed book, let me know. I have four as I said.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sick, sick, sick

And missed going to the movies with Tribe and Mrs. Tribe, going to lunch with my friend Mary and going to the movies with Anca et all. The one thing I didn't miss was my writer's group where I threw up all over their bathroom. Their dog, Moby, who is not a people person, did the very kind thing of cuddling up beside me all night-intuiting perhaps how wretched I felt.
Megan "The Song is You" Abbott arrives tomorrow to give her noir talk at the Grosse Pointe Woods Public Library. More than 80 people have signed up to come. I only twisted about a third of their arms. If you're near, come on out.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Racism 101

Does it really count as an apology when you hire damage contol PR people to advise you on what moves to make? Does it really count when you say I shouldn't have said that over and over on TV shows. (You shouldn't have even "thought" that is the bigger thing--but do all of us have such thoughts?) No matter how much we claim not to be a racist, is it just under our skin percolating and waiting till a moment like Richards had to bring it out.
If I were being attached by black men, would my cries be racist ones or the same ones I would use if attacked by white men? Even if I didn't yell some racial epithet, would I draw attention to their color with what I said? In other words, instead of saying,
"Get away from me, you pigs" would I insert black in there somewhere.
I hope I never find out on both counts.
Will this ever be healed?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hole in the Wall in Hardluck Stories

Check out my new story through the link to the right. I love the illustrations on this zine. Can't wait to read the other stories.
This story started as a flash fiction piece on Flashing in the Gutters. Thanks to Tribe for giving me this new way to develop ideas for longer pieces. Hope I learn how to include links in the body of the text at some pointe.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Okay we laughed-all four of us and almost everyone in the theater laughed. But more often, we squirmed with discomfort. And when it was done, we mostly felt wrong for having laughed. Is the laugh quotient the only thing that counts in a movie like this? What about the fact that every laugh was at someone's expense and often people who were offering the supposed Eastern European companionship, succor and a platform.
Is the fact that he's spreads the jokes around supposed to make it better? Does being Jewish innoculate him from charges of anti-Semitism? It didn't for us. The scene in the B & B was one of the hardest to watch. Even if he's satirizing East-European attitudes towards Jews, it comes off as nasty.
There was not one witty line in the movie. There was not one salient observation.
The only character that comes off well was the African-American hooker, who is also made fun of because of her weight.
I stopped watching his show because it make me squirm. I should have known the movie would too.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


It's been my pleasure to read a manuscript by Bryon Quertermous, an interview by Tribe and a story by Steve Allen this week. All three were very fine. So many great writers out there. I notice this in my writing groups too. There must be more people writing now than ever before. Although perhaps less reading. Standing in line at Borders last night, the average person was not buying books.
The last small journal, that no one's ever heard of, I sent a story to wrote back they get several hundred submissions a week. A week! And publish only 6-8 a a year. Amazing.
Saw Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell and we were disappointed. The part cried out for an actor with more style, more going on beyond the mask--perhaps Bill Murray in his younger days. I did think Maggie G. and Hoffman were great. Dustin would have been perfect in the part 25 years ago. It did have a bit of the graduate feel to it.
Read Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne. What an odd but engaging book.
What are you reading? I have the Richard Powers book that won the National Book Award sitting on the TBR pile and the The Keep by Jennifer Egan and the bio about James Tiptree. Has anyone read these?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Prime Suspect

This had to be the greatest P.S. ever. Helen Mirren can do no wrong in the part. Who cares if the "crime" part of it works? She is giving us a character to remember for eternity. She is at the same time: tragic, strong, vulnerable, difficult, caring, interesting, intelligent, wrong-headed, and endlessly real. She has sacrificed everything for her career, if any of what she sacrificed was ever in her grasp. Hard to imagine Jane in any other setting.
Has their ever been a better year for an actress than Elizabeth I, The Queen, and the final Prime Suspect?

The Old Ice Down the Back Stunt

If anyone is out there, please check out my story on Demolition. See side bar for link. Thanks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ellroy on Court TV

Beginning tonight, Court TV will have a series of well-known writers (Connelly, Scottoline) tell a story that interests them on Court TV. Ellroy goes first with his mother's death, of course. I wonder if much of it is from the doc. from several years ago.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reviews and not much else

We saw The Queen yesterday and I have to say that Helen Mirren is the best actress working today. Michael Sheen was brilliant as Tony Blair as well. The movie itself was interesting, more like a documentary than a real movie though. It shook off some of the Masterpiece Theater dust, but not all of it. So far only Kate Winslett in Little Children gave nearly as good of a performance.
Finished Sharp Objects and I have to say I would have pitched it save for my need to see the whole thing play out. It had to have been the most unpleasant book I've ever read written by a woman and fictional. Usually the protagonist's normalcy rescues the reader, but not here.
Does unrelenting horror make a good book? In this case, a bit of a rest now and then would have helped.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sharp Objects

I'm reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and it looks to be excellent, but the reader has just found out (early on but spoiler alert) that the protagonist was a cutter as a child. I find it some- what difficult to read about this. Maybe it's because I did it once. In ninth grade, I carved my boyfriend's initials in my leg. By the time the scabs went away, he had too. Never did it again, wasn't tempted even. But it's there somewhere.
Is there something you can't bear to read about in novels? What fills you with terror that might not frighten other readers?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Medical Tests

There's a phrase to send people like me into a frenzy. And every year when I have my annual physical and the accompanying tests, I stay away from my house until I decide any bad test results would have come in. This means lots of movies, dinners out, shopping. If I'm home alone, I turn off the phones.
This dilemma sent us to Marie Antoinette yesterday. It was tedious at spots, but compared to listening for the phone, it was heaven. Kirsten Dunst was terrific. The sweets were enough to make me swoon.
I figure if I don't hear anything by Monday, I'm out of the woods. And Sunday is a piece of cake. So two more days of it. Ann Arbor tomorrow. Can I shop for give hours? We'll see.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Weapon of Choice

The trouble with writing crime short stories is that although I can come up with endless characters and situations I have trouble coming up with weapons and a good description of the crime--forensics stuff. Usually I can write around it, but in a story I'm working on now, I need to choose a weapon for someone to use in a lab. At first, I thought of a dart gun. Makes sense they would have tranquuilizer guns around with lab animals. But it seems to make the whole scene humorous. So now I'm using a knife. Does any ordinary Joe know knife skills well enough to kill? A gun enters the scene later, so I can't use that. I guess I need to buy some books on weaponry and forensics. Or stick to off-scene murders. Or go back to tragic stories of Alzheimers's patients and lost loves.