Monday, August 31, 2009

Contest Winner

A big balloon drop for the winner of the Barry Lyga Boy Toy Contest, Ms. Alex Millard 
and her Pink Socks! 

All of the entries were great fun to read and I really appreciate the courage it took to share your stories. Over the course of this contest it was amazing how many conversations I had with grown folks who turned red remembering awkward, unrequited loves of yesteryear and then paled when asked to write about it.  I guess for my next contest 
I will stick with trivia questions or something! 

Thanks again to everybody who participated! 

Stay tuned for more giveaways...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Chronic

by Bob Dylan
(2 Scoops)
Who knows if Bob Dylan was born a rambling man, but after years of the drugged out hippie freewheeling lifestyle he has certainly become one. Following the logic or chronology in this book is more effort than it rewards.  The only thing thing I appreciated about this book was that it served as a fairly good decoder ring for the movie I'm Not There (which I would rate as just under 2 scoops). Sure there are some amusing anecdotes and a handful of interesting facts in this book, but overall it was not a great read. What continues to astonish me about Dylan fanatics is their insistence on trying to understand a man who has set out to be un-understandable.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Life in Course Description

The Old Weird America: Music as Democratic Speech—
from the Commonplace Song to Bob Dylan

Greil Marcus

“Poor boy, long way from home” . . . “The cuckoo, she’s a pretty bird, she warbles, as she flies/ And she never, hollers cuckoo, til the fourth day, of July” . . . “Sun gonna shine in my back door, someday/ Wind gonna rise up, blow my blues away”—those lyric fragments and thousands like them are part of a pool of floating lines and verses—the raw material of the commonplace, commonly held American song. They took shape in the years after the Civil War; in the first part of the 20th century they reached a kind of critical mass, and thousands of voices emerged, speaking this new, common language.

Throughout American history people excluded from or ignored by the story the country teaches itself have seized on music as means of both affirming and questioning individual and cultural existence. Music has been used to make symbolic statements about the nature of the singer, the country, and life itself. These are big words for ordinary, anonymous songs like “The Cuckoo Bird” or “John Henry”—but it is in songs that seem to have emerged out of nowhere, and in songs that are self-consciously made to reclaim that nowhere, where much of the American story resides.

This course examines commonplace, authorless songs as elemental, founding documents of American identity. These songs can be heard as a form of speech that, with a deep foundation, is always in flux—especially in the work of Bob Dylan across the last fifty years. In that work, a single performer can be seen to have taken the whole of this tradition and translated it into a language of his own—a language that, today, with other artists, such as Todd Haynes with his film I’m Not There, a movie filled by Dylan-like figures, composites, and specters, is itself becoming a form of the commonplace.

Thursday, August 20, 2009



Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Publishing Glossary

Literary Agent Nathan Bransford maintains an amazing blog for aspiring writers. His posts are informative, fun, and kind. Yesterday he posted an excellent Glossary of Book Publishing terms, well worth checking out if you are interested in the business of writing. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wishful Drinking- Script

Wishful Drinking
by Carrie Fisher
(3 Scoops)
So, I didn't read the Memoir, but I did read the script of the one woman show derived from it. This Fall Carrie Fisher will be performing her show at the Roundabout Theatre Company and I will most likely be responsible for leading audiences through a Pre Show Theatre Talk. I was never a huge Star Wars fan, even though I am the right demographic, and I am woefully inept at remembering stars names or the projects on which they've worked, so I am quite nervous about having to give a lecture to audiences that will most likely be much older and Hollywood-savvier than I.  I guess I should make a "use the force joke" here, but that is too lame even for me. 

The script was funny and actually made me laugh out loud a couple of times. And there were even some poignant and profound moments. But overall, it lacked a... a something. It didn't have a strong narrative thrust. It didn't have a powerful climax.  It seemed to pander, what with the audience participation and all. It was funny but not pure comedy. It was poignant without really taking me anywhere raw, new or scary. It was what it was.

I'm sure if I saw the show I would have a stronger reaction, but positive or negative is hard to say. Right now I feel like I will keep the one or two sentences that I underlined and forget everything else.  I wonder how well that will go over in my lecture...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Love is the Higher Law

Love is the Higher Law
by David Levithan
(5 Scoops)

I cried from page one. Not always because of what was on the page, but for what it evoked. My own memories. The feelings flooding back. Fear. Loss. Love. Need. Every moment flooding back- reminding me of the strange space my mind and body occupied.  Chapter 1 was breathtaking. Stunning. Perfect. And then, wondrously,  Chapter 2 got me to laugh. It was just as powerful as Chapter 1, but in a different voice. A new truth. Equally right and real.  Then Chapter 3 brought me back to the tension. The voice of feeling frozen. But needing to move. 

Throughout Love is The Higher Law David Levithan does an amazing job of creating the truth of that moment and the following days and years, yet it never overwhelms. It is honest but not oppressive. He remembers, amidst the confusion, pain, emptiness, doubt, anger, and sorrow, to point out the good, the kindness, the calm, the helpfulness, the love and desire to protect. 

The book doesn't come out until August 25th but I need you to order it now. Buy it. Read it. (Especially if you're scared of it.) Share it with everyone you know. If you were here it will help you clarify- even if you think you need no helping. And if you were not here it will educate you, not just about a moment in time but about people in all moments in time. 

No matter where you were in September of 2001, this book will inspire you to love those you love just a little bit clearer and to appreciate beauty where you can find it, like in one of the many glorious sentences that pepper this book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Hello dear readers,

In the past I have linked to many cool contests, but never actually hosted my own. Well that is about to change...

Welcome to my 1st Official Contest!
It's your turn to tell me a lil' sumpin' sumpin' about yourself.

Author Barry Lyga has graciously volunteered an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of his wonderful book BOY TOY for my contest winner. Boy Toy explores the ramifications of a relationship between a 7th grade boy and his teacher. 

Now we all know that such relationships are wrong. And damaging. 
And just plain icky. 

But who hasn't had the hots for someone they weren't supposed to? 

I certainly have. 

Mr. Cushing. My 11th grade English teacher. He was Hollywood hot with a subversive charm. We read The Handmaid's Tale, A Clockwork Orange, and Demian to name a few. He understood my sarcasm, my angst, and my apathy. Never once did he tell me I was squandering my potential; he just let me be me. I loved him for that. And he was so damn sexy that I even managed to stay awake in his class, most days. I learned a lot from that man and I credit that to my crush. If only he had taught Economics, instead of that ogre Father Glass...

It was a harmless crush. It never crossed that line. And I'm sure you've had one of those yourself. So, here is your task: TELL US ALL A LIL' SUMPIN' SUMPIN' ABOUT YOUR MOST ILLICIT CRUSH. That time you were hot for teacher, or for that den leader, or that cute rabbi whose pants were too tight, or your best friend's mom, or the local Lolita, or that cousin that wrote poetry and windsurfed into your heart. 

Of course, only write about an UNREQUITED LOVE. No tales that would force me to call the authorities or throw up in my mouth. 

The best crush story wins the prize. Best being completely arbitrary, I know. But think salacious, honest, funny or tender, and well crafted. I'm open to a variety of forms; haiku, short essay, rhyming couplets, rambling. 

I can't wait to read all your entries- post them below by August 28th! 

A winner will be announced on August 31st. Best of luck!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reading Like A Writer

Reading Like A Writer: 
A Guide For People Who Love Books 
and For Those Who Want To Write Them
by Francine Prose
(4 Scoops)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

No Homo?

A flawed premise, I do believe, but an interesting take on homophobia and hip hop nonetheless.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


by Michael Northrop
(4 Scoops)

Sunday, August 2, 2009