Whole World Is Desert, part 2

Just a quick one here, since I’m trying to finalize a chapbook manuscript and draft an outline for a flash novella.  Yesterday, Longform picked “The Whole World Is Desert” as its pick of the week, something I’m very grateful for!

I have another story (a flash, a micro! this time) coming out in Lost Balloon next week, and that should be the last of the stories for this year.

happy Friday the 13th!

 

Advertisements

Whole World Is Desert

Today, The Rumpus published “The Whole World Is Desert.”  This is the first story I wrote after I took a break from writing after I had my daughters.  It was started in the desert, at a writing retreat in Desert Hot Springs, in an funky old resort, in the heat, in between dips in the hot springs and coaching sessions with our workshop leader, Rachel Resnick.

The voice is what came to me first, a bored teenage girl complaining about a trip with her mother.  I knew I wanted to set it in the most incongruous place for this young girl.  I’d been obsessed with Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan, since the late 1990s – and finally traveled there in 2010.  And then I ran with the story, generating more than 35 pages and alternate scenes, until Beth Gilstrap helped me scale it down and pointed to the ending image.

This is but one of several stories which contain the same characters:  “Dress Rehearsal” (also published in The Rumpus), “E Ticket” (published in Little Fiction), “Tuberose” (published in Atticus Review), “No Problem, No Problem” (published in Jellyfish Review), and “How I’ve Been Without You” (published in Cheap Pop).

I created a Pinterest board for this story, using images that inspired the story.  Be glad that you did not sit through the original slide show of photos I took from Central Asia, during a very vodka-fueled party we had one Friday night to a packed house who thought that Uzbekistan was a mystery.

 

Surfers and Upcoming Publications

I have a flash up at Sick Lit Magazine, “How to Date a Surfer.” Surfing in 1970s LA, full of crochet bathing suits, Leif Garrett, and “Vals Go Home” graffiti.

I’ve been writing a lot about middle school and friendships.  Two of the flashes from these series are coming out this fall — “Butterfly” in Third Point Press and “Body Like Paper” in New South Journal.  I’m excited to see these two come out! “Butterfly” is based on my own experiences in middle school, and “Body Like Paper” on my daughter’s, at the same middle school.  So we’ve got the late 70s with charm necklaces and roach clips, and the present with Facetime and ballet.  Social dynamics the same.

 

Girls and Superheroes

I’m a little late, so it’s not exactly new news, but my story “The Girl Who Flies With the Superhero” was published in the Summer Issue of The Vignette Review.  I wrote this story as an exercise for a class with Kathy Fish, and it started off with my hearing the voice of a teenage girl dictating the first and last sentences to me.

“The Girl Who Flies With the Superhero” is meant as sort of the little sister of “The Girl” in “The Girl Who Waits for the Superhero.”  That story, the product of watching too many superhero movies and TV shows (which my younger daughter adores), was written when I was recovering from having my appendix out.  It was originally published in Atlas and Alice and was just reprinted in a local literary journal, S-Curves.

“E Ticket” at Little Fiction

My story “E Ticket” went live at Little Fiction this week.  And I’m totally excited that Longform picked it as its fiction pick of the week.

This story is part of a linked series of stories about Maddy and her daughter Summer, two of which have been published at Atticus Review and The Rumpus.  Lisa and Nancy (because every girl in the 80s was named Lisa or Nancy!), Maddy’s . . . “friends” in this story, also appear in other (as yet unpublished and in need of revision) stories as well.  As I wrote in my self-interview at the Alternating Current blog, I’m fascinated with teen friendship (and adult friendship too).  I’m also convinced that mean girls have a story too.  (And Maddy’s daughter is a mean girl, although not in any published story yet.)

My goal for this story was to write a story with a “continuous take” (as if I were filming it in one long shot), something I’d never done before, aside from flash.  And, of course, to imbue it with all the 80s and old Disneyland imagery I could, although I did have to tweak it a bit (for example, I restructured the atommobiles and the ride a bit so Maddy could get out of the atommobile at the climax).

Growing up in LA meant that we went to Disneyland at least once a year.  I remember one great trip, in junior high, where my sister and I went multiple times on Space Mountain because there were no lines — an anomaly.  Adventure Thru Inner Space, the Disneyland ride in this story, is close to my heart, this crazy ride where the riders are injected into a snowflake.  I loved it.  And it’s in sharp contrast with a lot of the rides now, which have movie tie-ins.  (Even the old Pirates of the Caribbean has been Johnny Depp-ized.)  Since it was sponsored by Monsanto until the end of the 1970s, after you got off, you had to walk through a hall of Monsanto’s science miracles.  I no longer know whether my memories of this are real, or are colored by all the research I did on Adventure Thru Inner Space (and Disneyland in the 80s), but I “remember” seeing polyester or nylon shirts and other products like pesticides in that hall!

Supposedly, if you go on the ride that’s there now — some Star Wars thing — you can see the Mighty Microscope during the ride.