Saturday, May 28, 2011

Los Angeles Times Recommends Yoga Bitch!

Greetings from Rome, netlings! I'm extremely busy digesting about eight hundred pounds of pizza and pasta, veal scallopine and parmigiana reggiano, but I wanted to check in to post this exciting development: The LA Times has named my little Bitch in their recommended summer reading list! I'm pretty excited. If I weren't lying down, moaning in pain from eating enough to feed a Roman army, I would do a little happy dance. Instead, I'm going to do a little happy moan.

And then, gelato!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Good golly, I believe in miracles. Despite being tubercular of lung and syphilitic of mind, I have finished the first half of my new book just in time to hop on a plane and fly to Europe, where I will attend my dear friend Tiffany's wedding in Rome and visit publishers in Germany and the Netherlands to discuss the launch of Yoga Bitch in both countries. 

It is truly a miracle. Of course, I might return from Europe and find that my coming-of-age story took a sharp left turn during my illness, transfiguring itself into a glorious epic in which faeries and warlocks fight an evil elvin doctor over a few precious dewdroppers of magical magical codeine. But for now, it seems to be the story I set out to tell.

At present, my new book is structured in two halves, and I seem to have fought my way through the fog in my brain to actually finish the first half yesterday. I'm a big believer in deadlines, however arbitrary they might be, and so I told myself I would finish the first half of the book before I leave. My story is about to move to Europe for Part 2, and I liked the idea that I would go to Europe just as the story did.

Here's the thing: it's an unholy mess of a first draft. I shudder to think of anyone reading it before I have the chance to make it work. But buried in the swamp is a footpath that's finally becoming clear. (And it leads straight to that magical elixir! My precious. My precious sweet syrup!)

Ahem. But no, just the act of pressing forward with the story brought so many connections to light. Until I found the ending yesterday-- an ending I didn't anticipate, but recognized when it arrived-- I had been toying with the notion of fixing up Part 1 before moving on to Part 2. I was feeling sort of grossed-out by the uneven writing and hiccupy structure in that first section, and thought it might help the writing to come if I spruced it up a bit first.

But then I found that surprising ending, only by moving forward. It pulled together, quite on its own, the opening chapter of the book, several themes that had been shouting at me through the din, and the heart of the story-- a heart I lose track of sometimes in this first draft. And I think it did all that without looking like a stupid cutesy dumbass bow, too. I think. I hope. But the point is, that ending seemed to be a promise: keep moving forward, and you'll find your way. So I think that's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to Europe, and so is my story.

And there . . . we will get the good drugs. The faerie princess will find the magical ogre who holds the key to the liquor cabinet, and he will get her that dew-and-codeine on the rocks! It will be magical, nay Magickal! Wondrous and magickal!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Inbreeding, Plagues, and Glorious Messes of All Kinds

Here' s a bit of Morrison family humor: My parents are traveling around the UK and Europe and have made a detour in order to pay their respects at the grave of their common ancestor in Dorset. It seems I am the twisted progeny of an incestuous marriage. Sure, my parents' mutual relative died in the sixteenth century, but still. Inbreeding. Incest. My parents have gone all Angels & Insects on us.

Meanwhile, at home in Seattle, a plague has befallen us: the husband has the bubonic and I am flirting with it but keeping it at bay with loads of zinc and good theater: I always believe in doing more when I'm getting sick-- I have this theory that nothing beats a cold like the will to live. And what reasons for living have I enjoyed this week! Mike Daisey's The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at Seattle Rep, and last night Elizabeth Kenny's Sick at New City Theater. It's also Solo Performance Festival time at Theatre Off-Jackson, and I'm planning to catch Troy Mink and Matt Smith, two of the finest jewels in Seattle's crown, in the coming week. Plague, be gone! I will make offerings to the god of inbred children, that he may forgive me the sins of my forefathers!

I'm miraculously nearing the halfway point in the new book. It's a huge mess, of course (and I vowed that I would stop referring to it as such, but honestly, there's just no other way to describe it) but, BUT! this glorious mess is getting me somewhere, namely a finished draft that I can start to really work with. I am the sort of person who has to discover the same truths over and over again, and so even though I've had this epiphany about twelve million times now, it bears repeating: this first draft is the discovery draft. I'm just digging around in my head to see what's there. The story is revealing itself to me like a trip wire in the sand. And while this flawed metaphor of the trip wire might end with something exploding in my face, well, that's just the nature of this writing business.


Hello again.

So, I started writing the above well over a week ago, before the plague that felled my strong husband did a number on me. Since then, I've been in bed, coughing blood into handkerchiefs (not really, I just like the idea), and wondering when to call my cousin, a priest, for last rites (also not really, but isn't it a thrillingly tragic thought?). Tonight I'm supposed to be hosting a story slam called DIRTY LITTLE STORIES at the closing night party of the Solo Performance Festival, but instead I will be home, talking smutty to the codeine bottle in my barely-there Kathleen Turner voice. Es super sexy.

This past week has been dreadfully dull, all Mucinex and Nyquil and bad TV. But I've had two bright surprises. This, the very first review of Yoga Bitch, up on Kirkus Reviews. (Quoth Kirkus: "Brings the higher path down to earth with refreshing honesty.") And then today, the marvelous Lia Aprile of Shantitown posted this little bit of loveliness about yours truly, complete with a blurb about how she hasn't read my book but she knows it's gonna be good! I love this woman!

I was feeling a bit low-- I've never canceled a show in my life, not even when I was performing Yoga Bitch in London and had a stomach flu so fierce I couldn't keep food down for three days. I still got onstage. But without a voice? No dice. Luckily Keira McDonald will be there to step in for me, but I've still been feeling wretched with guilt. So when Lia sent me her post this afternoon, it put a stopper in my bottle of sucktasticness and made me feel a bit less plagued.

I've been reading Lia's blog for years, now, and I think it's one of the finest yoga blogs out there. Wise, funny, and most affectingly, honest. Lia doesn't shy away from exploring the underbelly of the yogic path or the glorious mess of trying to live a spiritual life; she puts it all out there, ego, self-indulgence, fear, ambition, laziness. And let me tell you something: I am far more familiar with those five limbs of the human experience than I may ever be with Yoga's eight. So when Lia gets to talking about transcendence and transformation, I pay attention, because I know where she's coming from. So this is my thank-you blurb to the lovely Lia Aprile. Really, check out her blog. Here's a wonderful piece she wrote for Elephant Journal, How to Tell if You're a Yoga A-Hole.

I'm on too much codeine right now to wrap this up tidily, so I'll just say this: even if my parents brought a plague upon the house of Morrison, even if I've failed in my duty to the SPF closing night party and left an audience in the dark, clamoring for the dirty filthy stories I will not be able to provide them, even if I'm a bit of an inbred mess, today was still an okay day. Because of compliments. Because I really love compliments.

With that, I die.
(Or nap.)