Thursday, January 26, 2012


It’s recently come to my attention that I love Chloe Sevigny. And not the actress famous for her portrayal of a transgendered man in Boys Don’t Cry, oh no. (In fact, I haven’t seen it. But it’s on the to-do list of things to watch after I climb out from under the rock that is graduate school.)

I’m talking about parody artist Drew Droege, and his flawless life and fashion updates in the (uncanny) likeness of Chloe Sevigny. Here is one of my favorites of such videos.

I learned something today: not to hog the disco snow. You can learn a lot from YouTube.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Slice of Beauty

I was raised Protestant. But, there are two things that cause me to cross myself in the same light as a devout Catholic: the mention of Borders, bookstore extraordinaire, and the mention of Mr. Sisters, an ephemerally exotic—and exotically ephemeral—gay nightclub between the university and downtown.

(Allow me to stop and mention here that the gay bars in Orlando are all in the general vicinity of downtown, with the exception of a leather bar off Edgewater. Meanwhile, there’s a straight bar directly across the street from the university. And, probably three more that line the pavements of the main thoroughfare that connects UCF with City Beautiful.)

These were my haunts, my loves. My brand loyalty is through the roof. And once I find a roofing company that I like, I’m sure this won’t be so disconcerting. But it was back when Borders was operational that I found this exceptional novel, Little Bee.

Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, was sitting on the shelf of the top sellers list. I was, at the time, picking out top sellers for an independent study course. (My course director said to me, “choose the books you want to read and send me the list and I’ll approve it.” I nearly fainted. I thought, This is what graduate school is supposed to be like. This is academic heaven. I have arrived.) I stared at the cover. I flipped it over to the back and saw nothing in terms of plot description. I thought, what the hell. I brought the book up to the register. The girl, about 19 and built like a highly proteined concrete wall looked down at me and said, “Have you read this yet?”

And I looked up into her acne pocked face, at her dark brown eyes, and said, “No I haven’t. I was thinking about getting it for school, but I don’t know what it’s about.”

And she said, “I just finished it. I’m not going to tell you what it’s about. It’s really good. You won’t regret buying this book.”

I had felt uncertain, up until that point. But with the fervor and the finality that she suggested I purchase Little Bee, I relented. Maybe I was afraid that if I didn’t, she would backhand me across the counter and send me flying. Maybe underneath it all I felt like she was a fellow reader suggesting a book that had changed her life and would change mine too. Maybe I was too lazy or too embarrassed to take the book back to the shelf. But one way or another, I bought it, and after reading it, I can safely say the same.

I’m not going to tell you what this book is about.
It’s definitely awesome.
You won’t regret buying this book.

R.I.P. Borders and Mr. Sisters.

You will be missed.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

About SOPA

Dear Government,

Don’t you have something more important you should be doing...?


It Probably Had a Bump on the Model

There’s this great little second hand store on Dale Mabry back in Tampa called “New to You,” and I feel like that pretty much sums up my history with nonfiction. There’s this professor at UCF who insists that nonfiction is this great new genre—this avant garde literary frontier—and maybe she’s right. Maybe it’s sort of like the Reality TV version of cable, where we can’t help but pick up a memoir the way we flip the television stations to MTV, or Bravo, or Fox, or (etc., etc.)

Or maybe it’s just always been there and I’m just now picking it up, the way just the other day I tried espresso for the first time and that night (sometime between 2 and 3 in the morning) I cleaned and rearranged my entire room (I had been meaning to get around to it, but a delicious cup—emphasis on delicious here; I had no idea it would be so tasty—but a delicious cup later, I was all of a sudden Superman). I’ve known about espresso for a long time, but I never got around to trying it until I went to dinner with Lorri Lores, this magnificent magical realism writer, and her husband offered me some after dessert. Maybe nonfiction is just new to me.

But one way or another, someone recommended I read It Looked Different on the Model, a collection of linked essays, by Laurie Notaro. And over the winter break, I did! Get a load of this:

It was a lovely evening, a gathering of grad students and their spouses, significant others, and partners (you have to say all three). The sun was letting go of the brightest part of the day and people were chatting and having conversation when I looked up and saw a young woman several feet away ease the strap of her top down—like she was in a dirty dressing room at Ross—pull her arm through it, and then bring her boob out. Uncovered. Exposed. Unabashed. Then it flopped like a fish and hung loosely, like it had a hook through it, while she had a conversation with two other people. There it remained, exposed to the elements and accessible to anyone who needed to wipe their hands.
I don’t know where the baby was. It wasn’t on her, that’s for sure. I don’t know if the baby ever came in for a landing or what. The baby was not in the general vicinity when the incident began. Maybe the baby had a GPS device implanted and this was all prep work, but I think it would have been more considerate if she had a visual of the baby before I had a visual of her. And the boob sat there, and sat there, and sat there. It actually behaved very quietly for the ten minutes it was left to roam free in my field of vision before I could talk to someone else and face a different direction.

That was Laurie experiencing a super awkward moment at a party in Oregon. She’s hilarious. A real lighthearted read.

But, that’s sort of the thing—I thought perhaps it was a little bit too lighthearted. The entire book is funny moment after funny moment after funny moment. So much so that I think they started to lose their punch.

Maybe it’s because I gravitate towards the stand up shows of Margaret Cho, or because I devoured Kathy Griffin’s memoir Official Book Club Selection because it was equally personal and catty, but I felt like Notaro’s book didn’t have the meat of a strong piece. (My thesis director would insist that what’s she’s lacking in is conflict.) It’s kind of like watching a reality TV show—you know you’re in for a scandalous ride, but you’re not really leaving with anything of value once the show is over. That’s how I would describe Notaro’s latest essay collection out of a long line of essay collections. It’s only fairly awesome.

But, of course, maybe that’s the formula. She is, after all, a best selling author. Flip side though, Snooki does make thousands per episode she does of Jersey Shore.

Does that make her Emmy worthy?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where Did I Go?

I’ve been in cahoots.

This is me, cahooting. “No literary paparazzi! No!” 

Okay, not really. I’ve just been really busy, per usual. Here’s the skinny:

Reading. Grading. Sleeping. Planning for AWP*. Eating. Planning for PCA**. Applying for undergrad degrees in Architecture. Grading. Applying for positions as a Technical Writer. Reading. Applying as a barback. Packing my lunch***. Taking pictures for the newspaper****. Cleaning. Sleeping. Drinking chai. Grading. Sleeping. Driving. Hanging out with colleagues. Staring at my toes. Hanging out with family. Freaking out about the future.

Ok, a chunky skinny. A more to love skinny.

But, I’m back, chronicling books à la awesome factor. I may be on the fence about my future in creative writing, but once a reader, always a reader, am I right?


* Association of Writers and Writing Programs

** Popular Culture Association

*** Blueberries and a sandwich and salted almonds

**** I am now in the Orlando Sentinel and I secretly wish that they would hire me and turn me into a paid photographer.