Writing Related

Furious Feminists Fight Fascism Open Mic and Fundraiser-Santa Fe NM May 20

Laughing Coyote Productions Presents:

FEROCIOUS FEMINISTS FIGHT FASCISM!

OPEN MIC and FUNDRAISER

Performances include The Problem with Lady Viagra (Deborah Stehr) and The Pussy Has the Power (Kristin Barendsen)mic_me Kristin open mic

Saturday, May 20, 6:00 to 8pm

Iconik Coffee Roasters, 1600 Lena St,

Santa Fe, New Mexico

webpage: Bit.ly/FerociousFFF

Writers, musicians, performance artists, and our fans — come out for an inspiring night of creativity and resistance! Sign up at 5:45 p.m. and keep your piece to 7 minutes max.

Politically oriented work encouraged (but not required). Performers of all genders welcome. Parents, note that there will be some adult language and themes.

Suggested donation $5, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Iconik’s delicious pastries and self-serve coffee will be available for purchase. All proceeds will be donated to Adelante, serving homeless families in Santa Fe.

Join in the fight for human rights, women, people of color, our earth and animals, LGBTQ people, the arts, peace, the Constitution, freedom of speech, democracy, and sanity!

unnamed (8)                      Iconik image                        Venue donated by Iconik Coffee Roasters, Santa Fe

Sponsored and hosted by Kristin Barendsen and Deborah Stehr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: feminism, political humor and satire, sexism, Trump Presidency, Uncategorized, women's humor, Writing Related | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump in Twitter War with Alphabet: Day 61 of Trumpapocalypse

Trump in Twitter War with Alphabet:   Day 61 of Trumpapocalypse

Yesterday the Albuquerque Sun reported that the Alphabet is outraged at Trump’s unilateral misappropriation of letters.

In an interview earlier today, spokes-letters A and T said, “We hate how Trump is abusing the English language and turning words against us by making consistently flagrant spelling errors. For example, when

B-A-D is spelled G-R-E-A-T

 and

 S-T-U-P-I-D is spelled S-M-A-R-T

 and

F-A-S-C-I-S-M  is spelled D-E-M-O-C-R-A-C-Y

and

 L-Y-I-N-G  S-A-C-K OF S-H-I-T is spelled P-R-E-S-I-D-E-N-T of the U.S.,

it makes words totally useless!  It makes letters irrelevant!

If we can replace A with G, W with O, and F with O, and U with D, and L with an explanation point (AWFUL=GOOD!); or, replace G with T, use the existing R, and replace E with U, and A with M, and T with P (GREAT=TRUMP); then WHY SPEAK AT ALL?”

At this point A began to cry and T had to stop the interview.

Because I was concerned about this alphabet abuse, I contacted Trump for comment.

He tweeted, “The Allphabet is rigged and should be stopped. I’m suing the allphabet in fact, for saying things it shouldn’t say about me. That’s wrong, that’s just wrong.”

I tweeted back, “Don’t you mean Great?”

That’s how I found out about Trump’s proposed War on Language.

(F-r-e-e P-r-e-s-s  is spelled B-A-D.  Or doubleplusungood for those nostalgic for 1984).

In his proposed War on Language, Trump plans to put gillions (S-O-M-E) of words and megabazillions of letters (A F-E-W) out of work. Yes, that’s right. He’s going to deport the alphabet.

Several vowels in Trump’s Cabinet told me that he plans to replace the entire alphabet with only 8 letters that will include two words.  Great and Trump. “Other words will be strongly discouraged,” said the spokesperson for the War on Words. “Exclamation points will be encouraged.”

I was appalled. That’s the only two words we will have to say anything!

Can you imagine greeting someone on the street?

“Great!” says person A. (Since no one will have names. Maybe we’ll have numbers instead. In that case I claim #27. Until numbers are vanquished too.)

“Great,” says person B.  (Theoretically since B has been banished.)

And questions will sound like this, “Trump?”

“Great,” will be the response.

Think of all the conversations we won’t be able to have including, “Impeach the son of a bitch!” “I just lost my job again,” and “Where can I buy a gun for a murder/ suicide?” And no one will be able to spell assassin. (Well that won’t have really changed).

Fortunately, TrumpGreat forgot to include the spellings of minorities, like Muslims and Mexicans, so the paperwork will be impossible to understand:

Name: Great, Trump        Occupation: Trump  Trump

Place of Birth: Trump Grate (oh sorry) Great.  Nationality: Trump Gate. (How many misspellings of Great are there? “Mistakes” could be subversive!)

Other people in family in U.S.: Trump Trump  Great Great

Current Address:  Great Trump, Trump Trump

But maybe this will slow down deportations because you can’t run a bureaucracy with just two words, no matter how Great they are.

When trying to read a deportation order, officials won’t even be able to say WTF?

They’d have to say, “What the Trump?”

With only two words, no one could ask questions:

“Oh Great Trump.  We’re supposed to deport the President?”

Maybe there is a silver lining.

Letters Unite Against Trump

The alphabet has decided to resist. Mostly by using big words like mellifluous. Curmudgeon. Ineligibility.  Verisimilitudinous. Monosyllabic. Patriarchal nonsensicalness. Befindlichkeit. (Okay I cheated. That’s German. But Trump wouldn’t understand any of them and finally the erudite can take over the world because he won’t know what the hell we’re talking about).

Until he makes his two word GREAT-TRUMP decree and deports all but 18 letters.

“N” will then fight for reinstatement so we can at least say un-great. (Because we will have enough letters for that.)

The famous vowel “O” will also holed up in a dictionary somewhere fighting for its existence, so we can at least say “no-great”, or the more sophisticated, “not-great” and also string together this multisyllabic word “noTrump.”

Maybe that will help us hold out until 2018: midterms which are 666 days away today. (I shit you not). Can Dems agree on something by then? Like you can’t spell democracy with the GOP no matter how many semantics you spin?

In the meantime, staying in line with the idea that any letter can stand for any other letter, I started spelling T-R-U-M-P as D-u-m-p.

And it rhymes!

Buckle up people: here comes the worst inauguration of our lifetimes. Do you have enough alcohol in the house? We’re all going to auger in.*

Laughing Coyote Reporting

angry-cat

It’s only 1392 days until the next Presidential election; how do you plan to save your country?

  • auger in is a verb meaning “to crash,” as in airplane.
Categories: English language, fake news, political humor and satire, Trump Presidency, Writing Related | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poem wins Third Place in Green River Writing Contest 2015 (Kentucky) then refuses to speak anymore to poems that didn’t place

News just in:

 

Poem wins Third Place in Green River Writing Contest 2015 (Kentucky) then refuses to speak anymore to poems that didn’t place

“I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life,” said Poet Lariat de Empanada du Banero la Santa Fe des USA.

The poem, entitled “Tactile Alchemy,” was not available for comment. However this reporter was able to get an interview with her creator.

Interview with Laughing Coyote

Reporter: You’d think a poem about language would be more willing to talk, at least to the newspaper.

“You’d think,” said the poet, Laughing Coyote. “I didn’t raise her to be that way.”

The 21-line, free verse poem, that placed third in the “Show Me Your Metaphors” contest (which was not a porn contest) evidently refused to shake hands with those works that did not place in the 2015 online contest. In fact, Tactile was last seen in a group of Runner-Up Poems, sucking up to the First Place Poems, by donating her award money towards a group (or Chapbook) plane ticket in business class, and planning to fly to the offices of The New Yorker for a very important meeting.

“She didn’t even say good-bye. I didn’t even know she knew about planes,” said Laughing Coyote.

Apparently Tactile Alchemy’s behavior was a shock to everyone, not just the losing poems.

“No, no,” said Laughing Coyote, “there was no indication at all that Ms. Tactile Alchemy–we think it’s a she, but with all this trans-formational poetry going on, who can tell–would be mean to the poems that didn’t place.”

Determining the sex of a free verse poem can be especially difficult.

 

Poet LC explains, “It’s very complicated. It’s usually not worth the trouble. You just say ‘it’ a lot so you can get through the poetry reading, the analysis afterward, and then hopefully there’s a lot of vodka at the celebration party afterward and no one will remember who said what about whom. I mean this obsession with knowing the gender of everything. Next, you academics and reporters will want to know who my poem prefers to have sex with. How would I know? I’m just the writer. And what happens when a lyric poem and free-verse one have children? Should poems of different types really be allowed to mingle? I mean, bless your hearts, but there’s a lot of stupid questions you reporters ask.

After a long drink of water, Laughing Coyote adds,

“And then there is always the inter-species concern, the domino effect, the slippery slope. I mean can you believe, after the last poetry reading we did, someone came up and asked what would happen if a wanton free-verse, heavily metaphorical poem like mine had relations with a goat? When I said I didn’t think goats could read and probably would just eat the poem without noticing, the man looked appalled and threw the bound and signed Malpais Review in my face.”

Reporter: Is it typical of such a small poem, with a relatively narrow focus, to adopt such behavior after a bit of success?

 

“No, there was no indication of that kind of ego early on,” said LC.  “She was the first poem of mine to ever get published, way back in the 90’s in a journal in Georgia. At that time, she just appeared to be really happy that she’d gotten between pages of a book that someone else had printed and then she performed really well at the Publication Party. She took it all in stride. Like a pro. Still talked to her 400 brother and sisters, even the poems that pretty much died as soon as they hit the air, or should have–crippled unsightly creepy things that never should have inhabited the curve of a vowel or the pillar of a consonant. But she touched them all, visiting them in the dark dungeon of my various notebooks.  Tactile Alchemy. And she got along with all the other poems in The Eclectic too.

“Are there warning signs that a poem may be going bad? I mean not, bad per se, but kinda going all Lindsay Lohan. . . ?”

“My poem is not an addict, nor a child actor.”

“I just meant, you know, like Garth Brooks, or J-Lo? I mean all that ego, going all Kanye, you know? Wanting to go to The New Yorker in her own jet.”

Laughing Coyote responded, “Um, it turned out to be a Groupon for all 30 placing poems and prose on Greyhound to a bar in Louisville named The New Yorker.

Not to be deterred this reporter asks a follow up question, “But is there a way the public can be protected through some kind of, I don’t know, algorithm or statistics? Some way to predict that a poem may be going a bit postal?”

“For poems gone bad? Well, I don’t know.  It seems hard to predict. I mean a poem that starts out:

With you 

My words don’t

Fall down

Between us

Unused

“You don’t really expect a lot of problems. Especially not the snobbery. I mean s/he had plenty of poems that were friends! Real friends. I mean listen to this stanza:

 

Resting on fingertips

You smooth them into my skin

Alphabet lotion

Human silk

Tactile alchemy

Laughing Coyote adds, “Does that sound like a poem that’s about to let Third Place go to its head? I mean, she’s all soft lotion-like metaphors, not a more rigid, “Give me some press and an award of ten bucks and I’m going all Elitist on your sorry ass! GET ME A PRIVATE JET! I’M GOING TO THE NEW YORKER!” I mean, seriously, when I was writing her, I never would have imagined this behavior. Where is she getting this classist stuff? I certainly didn’t put it there. I mean. . .I’m about 1.5 minutes from being a complete redneck. Born in Oklahoma, my great-grandpa had a still during the Great Depression. (Of course, who didn’t have their own still in the Great Depression?)

There’s no indication of ego here here:

You rub my syllables

My insights

Back into me

A massage of spent words

Revived

As you add your whispers

To my unfinished breath

Wrapping me

In your composition

I am corporeal language

Tingling like a sweet, sandy sunburn.

Laughing Coyote says, “I mean listen to that hiss of metaphor, the semantic steam, and the human element. Touch. Relationship. Peace. Leaves it just at the right moment too. So very satisfying. It’s a poem that knows when it’s over.”

“Do you feel betrayed by your poem?”

“Oh, yes, but doesn’t every poet? They want what they want. They could care less what you think is good for them. Even in the beginning you start out in one place and then end up some place entirely different. It’s like being blackout drunk without the blackout or the drinking. And then you wake up with a symbolic hangover and say ‘Shit, did I write that?’”

“Wouldn’t some poems say that they write themselves, just using the body of the poet?”

“That sounds like something they might say. But they usually just sort of seethe it in your general direction, and don’t say ‘fuck off’ the minute they win a prize.”

 

“Aren’t you really a comedy writer?”

“Uh, that’s just a rumor,” says Laughing Coyote. “What do you mean by that?” What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well maybe you aren’t a real poet.”

“A real poet. What the fuck is a real poet?”

“I didn’t mean-”

“I write poems. They sit in notebooks and flash drives. They get published. They win things sometimes. It’s not like I’m some carpenter who uses words occasionally.”

“But most comics don’t write poetry.”

“Well, I’m not that funny, so I have to have a day job.”

“And so your day job is poetry?”

“Well you can’t be funny all the time. What do you do with the other 23 hours and forty-five minutes of the day?  Well I think that’s pretty obvious. You write a lot of poetry. What else can you do that requires so much effort with so little payoff except maybe have a child, teach for public schools, or maybe run for office with Sarah Palin at your side?”

“I see.”

“So are you blaming me and my blogging background for Tactile Alchemy’s bad behavior? If I was a Real Poet, this wouldn’t have happened? No one else’s poems turn into Egoistic Maniacs who refuses to rub stanzas with poems and prose that didn’t place.”

“It’s just that most comics don’t seem to write poetry.”

“Are you arguing that only Poets should write Poetry? Christ, have you ever seen some of that highbrow inbred stuff? Makes you think twice about ever using a vowel again. Do you think that has something to do with it? I should have sent Tactile Alchemy to finishing school before I farmed her out to a contest in Kentucky?”

This reporter shrugs.

Laughing Coyote asks, “Do you think I embarrass her? That I, her mother, the poet, am too low brow for something as silky and symbolic as her?”

“Do you ever think your poems get angry at you for using them to be funny?”

“My poetry isn’t funny! Or, well, sometimes, maybe. When the Refrigerator Fell on my Foot, now that was an excursion into hilarity. Yoni Talk (yoni is some half Sanskrit word for vagina because in English we can’t have sex without sounding clinical) is a poem with some amusing bits where a woman has a conversation with her vajayjay. Oh and I started a poem called The Vagina Whisperer, but had to turn it into stand-up since she was shouting.”

“Do you think maybe your poems don’t feel like a priority? Maybe they are misbehaving to get more attention?”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t go there. If the twentieth century ever proved anything it was that psychoanalyzing poems and poets is a bunch of nonsense. We’ll probably never know. But now my Tactile Alchemy has hit the road. Maybe she’ll become a star.

Laughing Coyote looks off into the distance.  “I’m going to miss her.  Maybe she’ll come back one day to visit when she’s done hobnobbing with all the right words.

Third Place ain’t bad. I mean hey, how many poems pay for themselves? I mean fuckin’ A, she’s an earner isn’t she? But really just want her to be happy. That’s what any decent poet wants, right? For her poems to be happy. Even if their mother is also occasionally funny on purpose.”

Photo0289chasing-your-tail (1)

Thus, concludes our interview with Laughing Coyote, Poet Lariat de Empanada du Banero la Santa Fe des USA

Written by Sam An Tic, Poetry R’ Us Correspondent

______________________________

Tactile Alchemy

With you

My words don’t

Fall down

Between us

Unused

 

Resting on fingertips

You smooth them into my skin

Alphabet lotion

Human silk

Tactile alchemy

 

You rub my syllables

My insights

Back into me

 

A massage of spent words

Revived

As you add your whispers

To my unfinished breath

Wrapping me

In your composition

I am corporeal language

Tingling like a sweet, sandy sunburn.

________________________________________________

And yes, the poem is real and did win third place in the Green River Writer’s Contest. We couldn’t make this shit up.

imagesCAQ9YDJW

 

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Video of Why the F…K Am I Writing a Novel?

Just in time for NanoWrimo! Find out what writing a novel is actually like! Before you try it yourself! Consider it a public service announcement.

To see Laughing Coyote reading the story live in front of an audience in Santa Fe (that wasn’t paid to be there) click  here

Or you can go to Facebook under Laughing Coyote Productions.

Better living through Blogging!

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From 13,000 to 1500: Adventures in Saying Less

From 13,000 to 1500: Adventures in Saying Less

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money

 

Okay, so I decided to make money writing. There is this contest. (I won’t say which one because I don’t want my other writer friends to know about it because they write in this genre way better than I do, but I need the money more than they do and that gives me the right to be completely selfish.)

So, the only thing I had to do to win it, other than win it, was to cut down a 13,000 word story to 1500 words, or three pages.

Day 1: Oh this is going to be so cool. So doable. This is neat. I am so becoming a real writer now. Oh wow, that’s way too long. So is that. Where are all these words coming from? They are like roaches. How did I get so many? Surely someone should have told me I’m a hoarder before now. …. Oh my god I’ll have to get rid of that and that and that. Christ there won’t be a story anymore. It will be a memorial to the story that was there before I had to cut it into a ridiculous 1500 words. Doesn’t being brief demand that we strip all experiential meaning from what we write and who we are? (Note: the author doesn’t differentiate between the two…which can cause psychological disorders and she has all of them). Christ, it will end up being Cliff Notes. . . here’s what the story would be, if we had the rest of the words, which we, as a writer needing money, cannot apparently afford. Let’s hope we can still win the Pulitzer without any modifiers.

This story will be like an interpretive walk of some battleground, like Gettysburg. While hiking along there will be brief indicators of what happened here (well at this bend in the river, we lost the entire backstory, and over there behind the fallen log, we lost all the turtle metaphors). After reading bits of prose on signs, readers can imagine the rest! Better yet they can write the whole story themselves!

Day 2: It’s currently 9 pages. It needs to be three. Jesus. . . I wonder if Slim Fast will work on words. Or Fen-Phen: kills women but works wonders for word count. Why do I have all these words if I can’t use them? Oh sorry, that’s probably beyond the scope of this pos-

Day 3:  I cut a 9 page story down to three words!

Day 4: My editor tells me it’s unprintable.

Day 5:  8 pages. Has anyone ever died in an editing accident?

(My informant, a local writing teacher, says “Yes, around 100 people.”  She refers to it as a dangerous sport. I knew it! Where’s my body armour?)

woman died in front of computer

 

 

 

 

Day 6:  Oh my god it’s true! I’m codependent with words I think I have to have!!!! Oh my god, I need you; I want you; you are my life; what would I do if I couldn’t have you…why oh why did God press the delete button? Oh I don’t want to live…hey that sentence looks fantastic. That is the best paragraph ever, minus those six obviously superfluous sentences. No one uses those words anymore anyway. I love my life! Yeah I don’t need YOU GUYS AT ALL!  LMAO!  Look at me I’m so brief!

Day 7: Apparently 7 single spaced pages is not really brief.  Apparently just because there is only half-as-much vocabulary as there was, does not make me a hero. Or a writer.

When I explain to the universe that living in half a house is not really that desirable, I’m told that most authors live in small pup tents.

Day 8:  What do you mean that being successful means accepting limitations?

Day 9: Page count: 5.  Words: 2942.

Day 10:  I think I’m going to have to stop having experiences so I will write less and be able to fit into 3 minute open mics and flash fiction word counts.  This is what life imitates art really means. Like a good woman I should bless my semantic girdle and thank god I’m just giving birth to half a baby!

Think of the weight I won’t have to loose.

Day 11: Hey this half of a baby is kinda cute. Charming in her own way. Definitely half as fussy as her corset-infused mother. Yea patriarchy! I’m sure word counts have something to do with the patriarchal oppression of women. If you’d let me have some words back, I could use them to prove it!

Day 12:  A friend of mine, well former friend, just informed me that I don’t need to have less experiences since all my work is fiction due to having no life due to being a writer and not working like real adults and since I hate discomfort, I rarely leave the house. Apparently out of the house is where experiences happen. She suggested cutting down on the imagination instead.

Wow. Author Deborah Stehr wins The Awesome Writing Prize with 1/3 the imagination of other authors.

I’ll fucking take that.

Photo0290

Day 13:  Well knock me sideways into next Tuesday, it’s 1500 words and the sky hasn’t fallen and since I got rid of my 2/3 of my imagination, I can’t fantasize about the inevitable apocalypse of having to submit a skeleton-who-has-anorexia- story, instead of the full sized model. See I told you it was all about controlling the female body.

Day 14: I submitted my submission via Submittable.

My point exactly.

Day 15-30: I’d better fucking win, that’s all I have to say. No I’m not a good sport. I’m a  writer! Let good manners be for people who can make a living doing what they love. Without my bitterness, I’d never find the balls to compete in this contest or get up in the morning just to be ornery and spit on things. If I’m not punching something, including myself, I don’t feel right. If there is no brawl, I’ll invent one. A writer’s life is fueled by a desperate angry dream! Whoohoo! No I am not drinking too much vodka.

Day 31-40: I fought my way to these 1500 words. God I hope they are the right ones! I hope  the real story isn’t in the discard pile next to the writing career I could have had if I’d just stood my ground and said, no this is the story I want to tell. Am I looking at the career I could have had if I hadn’t believed in the limitations that someone else set for me?

Day 41-62: Is there some dual life I could have? One life I spent with the longer stories, and the other, succumbing to limitations and editors. Why can’t I be omniscient narrator of my own multiple lives, then choose the one I like the most? Agony!

Why can’t my life be more like editing?

Day 63: I win the contest and a lot of money. In my acceptance speech  I say:

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“Oh I totally believe in the power of editing. I’ve always felt it was necessary to have self-discipline and not love too much. I think limitations have much to teach us about ourselves. All those trashed words? Piece of cake. . . . .

money

money

money

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yours Truly,

The Laughing Coyote

imagesCAQ9YDJW

 

 

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Laughing Coyote well on her way to becoming Poet Lariat de Empanda de Bano do New Mexico

Breaking News  (well not exactly ‘breaking,’ more like it’s been sitting here in my TO Do list for six months I know that Spring was, well, last Spring.)

Laughing Coyote is well on her way to becoming Poet Lariat de Empanda de Bano do New Mexico, a very prestigious position, similar to being Miss America in every respect except the aspects that are the same.

Laughing Coyote has been published in Spring 2015 edition of  The Malpais Review, a print publication out of Placitas, New Mexico.

Yes this is real. When not chasing her tail, or inventing new ways to experience old problems, Laughing Coyote writes poetry like any sensible quasi-human in animal form–or was that quasi-animal in human form?–or human animal in quasi form? Check out Laughing Coyote’s alter ego in a poem featuring her best friend, deserts, cottonwoods and just enough death and love to make things interesting.

Come to LGBT MALPAIS REVIEW POETRY READING!!!!!!

Come to OUTSPOKEN PRESENTS LGBT Anthology in Albuquerque, THIS SUNDAY OCTOBER 25, at THE SOURCE, 1111 Carlisle, Albuquerque NM from 3 to 5pm.  Hear many poets!  You will be relieved to know LC’s poem is only 3 minutes long, freeing you up to hear the many “non-Empanada de Bano,” poets, of which there are many. 🙂  They are,  well many of them anyway, are certified poets, not “certifiable,” like Laughing Coyote. Don’t tell anyone but Laughing Coyote has been writing poetry illegally for years.  Shhhh!

For those of you who like to plan ahead and not just mindlessly go to a poetry reading completely unprepared, here are some teasers.

No the poem is not funny, or not intentionally so, kind of the opposite of this blog: where often enough, what is intended as funny is just heartbreakingly sad. . . so if you need laughter, you need to bring your own this time. 🙂   (If you really need a supply of unused laughter, contact LC here, at the bottom of this blog where the “contact/comment” tab is buried under the tags. LC keeps supplies of laughter with her at all times, in case an open-mic goes seriously wrong and people start killing themselves in the audience.)

Laughing Coyote’s poem “Nevada Blue,” is on page 178 of The Malpais Review and there is nothing quite like hearing LC read her own work.  Plus. the issue features many local popular poets, both well known, sort-of-known, known by a few, and completely unknown and at least one not yet born…these editors are GOOD, let me tell you.  (The next issue may feature a poem that HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN YET, which is just UNHEARD OF in publishing circles.)  Anyway this issue includes a mini-LGBT Anthology as well, more proof that gay folks can write and spell and rhyme just like the rest of the planet. Since I am gay every other day,  (and asexual on Sundays like the good Lord wants) I can make these kinds of statements.

The Malpais Review (and Malpais means ‘badlands’ in the spirit of desert lands) is available for purchase in the following places and also online.

The Malpais Review is available at these bookstores: The Range Cafe Store in Bernalillo, NM; Arte de Placitas Gallery in Placitas, NM; Op Cit Bookstores in Santa Fe, NM; Moby Dickens in Taos, NM; and Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles, CA; Treasure House Books (2012 S. Plaza NW) in Old Town, Albuquerque, NM; Op Cit Bookstore in Santa Fe (500 Montezuma, Sambusco Center); Gulf of Maine Bookstore in Brunswick, ME (132 Maine St.) and Anthology Books in Portland, OR. Also, by clicking the issue links on this page, The Malpais Review may be purchased through Amazon.

Support your local publications!

order online http://www.malpaisreview.com

Stay tuned for announcements about publication releases in  Santa Fe where you can here the poets LIVE. No you don’t need the Internet to see us!!!

(This is if all goes well in Albuquerque. The last time Laughing Coyote read at a poetry reading a riot broke out and arrests were made). Photo0289

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Comic Makes Career Ending Spelling Error

Buoyed by the general concern about global warming on humor based life forms, reporter A.C. has been assigned to the internet, to blog about breaking news that should be funny, but probably isn’t, trying to answer the question: is a warmer earth making comics less able to deliver the proper laugh-ratio? 

A.C. files this report:

 

News just in. It has been reported that Laughing Coyote, the emerging humor writer, has just endured a career ending humiliation at the hands of herself.  Apparently she mispelled, misspellt, mispalled?, mislaepelled, crap, MISSPELLED the word ridiculous in the subtitle of her blog.  And left it there for a month or two, and like the Undone Zipper incident of early September 2014, NO ONE TOLD HER.  

Apparently the REDICULOUS spelling of RIDICULOUS caused Laughing Coyote to die of irony.

Laughing Coyote is not the first, nor probably the last, to croak from an erroneous stroke of lack of genius, or, it appears, the ability to spell simple words, or learn how to edit, or at the very least, learn how to see.

It has been suggested that all future comics wear glasses with a built in Moron Alarm that would buzz and shake the brain in an epileptic fit of cerebral Autocorrect, until the terrible error was attended to like the poor helpless infant it no doubt was. Even people, especially those tuned into the ridiculous should realize that words, like babies, can’t reach out from the screen to the keyboard, and change an E to an I, or at least press DELETE. The motherfucking writer needs to do that.

Then it was suggested (by people who don’t believe in personal responsibility): Why the hell didn’t she use AUTOCORRECT? I mean that’s what it’s there for, to save innocent words from the mistakes of their parents!

 

This would probably be the time where Laughing Coyote’s family and true fans, not to mention sponsors WOULD NOT SAY that Laughing Coyote was having a running fued…I mean feud…with the autocorrect on her new iPhone because she hated what it was doing to her content, let alone her relationships. After several episodes of “I’ll pick you up for dinner,” turning into “I’ll provide you with free sex,” or “I want to hover on your girlfriend,” or “where’s my flucking heroin?”, Laughing Coyote dubbed the this technology alternatively as “Auto-Mistake,” or when more pissed off, “Auto-Fuck-Up,” and threatened to “turn off the little shit forever,”….then stopped talking when other people on the train began to show signs of fear because she was shouting at her small cute Smart Phone.

This would definitely be a story that proponents of Laughing Coyote’s continued existence would say if they just stopped not saying it. Instead they sent a text to this reporter, saying, “Know comet.”

Evidently they knew about Laughing Coyote’s streak of rugged, individualistic self-determination.

 

However, those folks who are glad that Laughing Coyote is dead—because what writer deserves to live after that kind of public display—ridiculous!—claim that the WordPress blog site was taking revenge on her for her one-sided objectification, and possibly sexism, towards technology…called techno-vaginalism.

Her foolish idea that people should know how to spell, proofread, edit, lock their own doors in cars, read maps, and text without suggestions, has been proven wrong. She died from being wrong. Doing things for yourself is wrong. Take note readers.

In Defense of Laughing Coyote

Well meaning proponents tried to defend her major error in the second header on her website by saying, “Well their was know working splellcheck in that softwear, so how can she be held responsible?”

(After this statement, gravediggers claimed that Laughing Coyote rolled over and groaned inside her death mask of irony even though she was Expedia… expired. Dead.)

These same “curators” of LC’s legacy add that they find it remarkable that no one said anything. “I mean really,” said the LCP spokesperson I talked to yesterday. “People just let her hang there with her zipper unzipped, food on her face, vittles in her teeth, ass hanging out in the wind, egg on her nose–you get the picture.”  He continued, “Since we can’t conclude that her readership is too stupid to know the correct spelling of ridiculous because that would be too re- uh…farfetched, we must conclude that it was malicious.”

“You mean intentional?” asked this reporter.

“Yes,”

“You mean she was murdered. By Autocorrect.”

He nodded. “The inventors of Autocorrect. Who else would be that cruel, to let an error just sit there, in plain view of the public. It has to be a conspiracy.”

I said, “But people make spelling errors all the time. Even editors. Even spellers!”

Then the Deputy LCP spokesperson chimed in, “Or it could have been the makers of Auto-Completion.  We think they anticipated that Laughing Coyote was about to do a riveting piece about the terrible unintended consequences of Auto-Completion. She had collected thousands of stories of people whose lives had been ruined by Autocorrect, everything from the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004; to the decision to let Sarah Palin run for Vice-President in 2008; to  news affiliates letting Donald Trump ever appear on TV with the sound on, to the declaration of war on Iraq. NWMD was apparently texted as WMD.”

“Thanks to Auto-Fuck up,” wrote Laughing Coyote in a never published blog post that the LCP spokesman let me read, “thousands of marriages have been ruined, parties failed to be attended and friendships ended because someone accidentally wrote “Fuck you,” instead of “I love you.”  Tennis matches have been missed and long-standing partnerships frayed because 4pm became “for Pam,” and who the fuck is Pam? No one knows.”

Laughing Coyote went on to say, “Does the world really need an automatic mistake maker? Really?”

Then she added, “And Auto-completion? I think it’s proof that psychics don’t exist. I would never in my life say or think what this Auto-Not-Oracle thinks I’m about to say. Plus it doesn’t speak Spanish. Half the world speaks Spanish. What am I going to do with a Non-Spanish speaking Incompetent Fortune Teller on my iPhone that makes me sound like a pervy, monolingual 8 year old? Really? What is the point of that? I’m being completely misrepresented in my messaging.”

The LCP Cheif spokes person added, “Laughing Coyote thought that Auto-Completion was a government conspiracy taking over the public’s mind and interfering with free speech. She argued that it uses people’s inherent laziness and readiness to embrace any automated anything just because it exists. She wrote and I’m quoting here, ‘We should worry less about Congress and the NSA taking away our freedom to say what we want and what we mean; we should be more concerned about our own sexting! I mean texting! Dam it!'”

This reporter’s response was: “Well that’s not the least bit insane, is it?”

The LCP spokespeople just blinked at me.

Poor Laughing Coyote, I thought. Sometimes it’s really better not to have anyone on your side.

 

Fortunately, Laughing Coyote left a suicide note. In it she wrote, “I take full responsibility for my redi-ridiculous mistake, some of which can be chalked up to my Oklahoma accent in which I often mistake “e-sounds” and short “i” vowel sounds because they are pritty interchangeable where I grew up, and getting a Ph.D. and being a writer hasn’t autocorrected it. I mean corrected it. However that is not an excuse. I am a bit shocked no one else noticed, but that could be because no one really reads my blog (and who could blame them with this kind of crap on it!), or maybe no one really cares about how to spell ridiculous! I do think there needs to be more regulation of blogs. Comics should not be allowed to just run around with their proverbial dicks sticking out of their pants with no regulation. Therefore, out of shame and respect for other humor writers and the profession itself, I’m going to fall on my iPhone, press delete and die because apparently I can’t live up to my own standards, but I also can’t trust Auto-Completion to say what I want it to. What is a Word-User to do?”

So it appears that Laughing Coyote ultimately did not take the easy way out.  She blamed herself instead of some conspiracy or a malfunctioning Spell-Check. She took responsibility for her own spelling. I think that’s pretty spectacular, don’t you?

A few weeks later, loyal followers of Laughing Coyote Productions (and there are some that she didn’t pay off) paid local Santa Fe psychic, Luna Tooney, to contact the deceased Laughing Coyote to ask if she would mind being resurrected.

Provisionally LC said, “Yeah, if you don’t make a big deal out of it. Being the apex of a religion would really take a lot of energy and since I’m a Certified Level 4 Sloth, it would be a bit much. It’s rather crowded down here in Dead World. Takes forever to get airlifted to another dimension due to cutbacks, that, and you’ll love this, are due to Auto-Correct. Some dead idiot said ‘yes’ when he meant ‘yesterday’  and now there’s a back log, and while I’m waiting to be more dead, I might as well come back and try to be useful.”

At that point the LCP Interim Manager said, “We think we have a great role for you. One that will help millions and put you back on the fast track to about five minutes of success before you finish dying.”

“What would that be?” asked Laughing Coyote?

“You can be the Corrector of Auto-Correct. (We call it CAC..yes it does sounds like a furball.) Your ability to see through errors with integrity and not blame them on mistake prevention technology (MPT) proves your suitability for this. You can still try to be funny in your spare time.”

Thus LC was resurrected, but she’ll deny the whole thing if you ask her since being a goddess is so tiresome. That incidentally is her full name now-Laughing Coyote Goddess-but since that’s overkill for an Auto-Correct Corrector, she just asks that the Goddess be dropped. This is not difficult for most people seeing that most world religions are not excited about having to stretch holiness to include human figures who have boobs.

This is LCP Reporter, Auta Correta, Reporting

 

 

 

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WHY THE F@#K AM I WRITING A NOVEL: PART 2

Blog 13  Why The F@#k Am I Writing a Novel?

Part 2: Does My Novel Need to Die?

Subtitle of the Subtitle: What to do when your Novel Starts Talking to You

Subtitle of the subtitle of the subtitle: When is it time to go to NA? Novel’s Anonymous?

Subtitle of the subtitle of the subtitle of the subtitle: yes future blogs will be shorter…I got lost in exploring a theme…that perhaps is interesting to others…perhaps not, took a risk,…maybe I’m just psychotic from trying to finish the shitty first draft

Subtitle of the subtitle…etc…HOW TO JUST SAY NO TO WRITING A NOVEL

_____________________________________________________________

As you know from my last elegant post (Why the Fuck Am I Writing a Novel Part 1), I have been writing a novel for a very long time.

To quote myself,

I’m beginning to think that finishing it [my novel] is not important.

My novel is alive. I think it is more alive than I am, mostly. Certainly she holds my more talented, truthful, playful, conscious, emotional and humorous self. She’s the reason I’m alive. Indubitably she is the vehicle for my being to express and come to terms with life in its many facets, and she is the gloves I don to experience it, doing most of my touching of others through words of many kinds. Raw experience I find mostly difficult in one way or the other, but the soft caress of hands covered by words, softens and makes palatable this human life I have inherited from the cosmos that is my Mother.

I think the way it carries me along in life is very important and that its very existence allows me to exist. I am not alone in this sentiment. The Maya believe that language creates and holds existence. At the heart of their cosmos (in my over-simplified understanding) is basically a tree with layers and levels made of stories. The world is the spiritual realm speaking to us and humans talking back in return, call and response, call and response.”

Despite this I still wake up in the morning screaming, “Oh my god I’m writing a novel!”

And the Mayan tree of life with its big black Jaguar sitting in the top responds, “Congratulations!”

Scribes were holy people in many cultures. When you were finished being a scribe, you were finished being alive—like the U.S. Supreme Court, it was not a job you retired from.

So why the fuck am I writing a novel?

Or more precisely, why exactly am I trying to finish it? Despite everything I just said, I notice that I want to complete it. Which brings up other questions:  Why do I think I can write one to begin with? Why would I want to? It’s a lot of drama. Time alone. Figuring out hair brained plots and then realizing: this isn’t fucking believable, although life itself isn’t fucking believable, but somehow that element doesn’t work on the page. In a novel, it has to seem believable, even if it isn’t. What a strange set of rules. In life we live in the unfathomable all the time without batting an eyelid.

The compulsion speaks, however, is ruling my life. The obsessive thoughts: I’m going to finish it; I’m going to finish it; get out of my way; I’m going to finish it…..says the maniacal voice inside. That’s what writer’s do. If you don’t finish you are finished!

WRITER FRIEND TRIES TO SAVE THE DAY

Another writer friend made a suggestion, even though he hasn’t read any chapters for ten years or longer. That’s because I hardly ever let anyone see the damn thing anymore because “it’s in process,” and hearing feedback on chapters that are not connected to an ending, is useless now and I know it. No writing groups, no editors, comments not welcome unless I blog part of it, or give it to someone to read, or read it at an open-mic.  It’s just me and the novel, Her and me, alone in the world, most of the time. It’s like I know this stage is just about working on it step by step. No glory. It’s not anything anyone else can do for me. Also obsessive. Also compulsive. The isolation. Why?

HOW A NOVEL IS LIKE BEING AROUND YOUR MOTHER

I was that way with my mother too. I didn’t want to share her death with anyone after it happened. Well I wanted to share her death process with other people for a long time, once I realized what was happening, but events conspired differently. I did not get what I wanted or needed and she didn’t either. Why, given my family dynamic, did I ever hope it would be different?

The family and beings and people that I had hoped would be there for both of us in her waning days, did not appear. They did not appear. The people we needed to have, for her sake and mine, were not there. It was our fault and it wasn’t. Neither of us were great shakes at being social and having friends.

We weathered it alone.

Now she’s gone and I’m alone.

I refused to go to grief counseling. I refused to do a funeral (I’m not callous; she abdicated the town she lived in for thirty years and I was afraid to do one there).  I refused to make an announcement or write an obit. Most of the time I wouldn’t talk about it at all. In my defense, I was in shock the subsequent year despite the fact that I had paved the way for her to die in peace, which she did, as far as I could tell.

“We were alone,” says that part of myself, during the most important parts of anything…what could I possible say to the rest of you now? What could I possibly say? Talk about it? Are you insane? What can be said?

Our relationship was ours.

No one else deserves to know. If I want you to know I’ll tell you, but it won’t be a conversation. I am not someone who wants a response. Not when it concerns my mother. I have given that up for sure.

IF I WAS A PSYCHOLOGIST

If I was a psychologist—Oh shit looky there, I am one!—I’d say to myself “wow you are having the same relationship with your novel, perhaps, as you did with your mother-”

And I would say, “THIS IS WHY I DON’T TALK TO MYSELF! I END UP SAYING THIS KIND OF SHIT!”

Okay, fine Dr. Self. What I am saying is that writing my novel, like my mother’s death, is not a group experience with a lot of supportive connections.

Sometimes that’s a bad thing, not having the connections you need to finish a project or get a project published, and I’m beginning to suspect that’s what I’m afraid of…if I finish my novel what if I’m still bad at connecting to the people who would like it and help me publish it?

What if I write a novel and I’m still me at the end of it?

Fuck me.

What if everything really does come down to social connections and politics and, as you might have guessed, my talents don’t lie (or is it lay? LOL) in that particular area?

When they were handing out social graces I was under the bed with my cat reading a novel about a cat who went to Mars on a spaceship. In my defense, I was a child at the time.

Maybe it’s very hard to finish the novel because of my lack of deftness in making the right connections with the right people and maintaining them for longer than it takes me to say “Wednesday.”

The shy little girl who doesn’t know what to say to people still exists and since she’s really a charming, smart, funny little creature—my mom loved her dearly—I’m not going to tell her to leave. She’s the source of my writing, really, the childlike imagination and the desire to trip down the path of the fairy story and see what happens. She’s the writer, really, and telling her to leave would be sacrilege. I would never ever do that.

My shy, little inside girl holds the Novel in her small hands…and that will be true no matter what happens to it or the other things I write. It’s important to protect her, under a more caustic adult person, who does more sensible things like write a humor blog and pretends I’m a Coyote with a doctorate. The doctorate is not pretend. No one could make that shit up.

Back to the Story about the Novel

Anyway the writer friend said, “What is your guiding image or structure for your masterpiece?” He didn’t say ‘masterpiece,’ but I wished he would have because I would have loved the sarcasm.

“Structure?” I screamed. “Image?” I howled. Who fucking needs this crap! All I want to do is finish it…finish it…finish it, finishit, finishit, finishit…it echoed through all the conversations we ever had, past present and future.

“Okay,” he said, “I see you need to gallop furiously towards the end.”

I should be grateful he visited me at all. Visiting me is a little like having a sleep over with a hermit who bites. You come into the sacred cave and there’s no place for company to sit, and the hermit won’t listen to anything the visitor says unless it’s something she came up with. It’s also true that the hermit knows she’s become an image, over time, for the visitor to play with, and so at least half of every conversation they have is the Visitor toying, and playing with his Image of Her, and not the real Coyote-Hermit-Woman (getting all the metaphors at once creates a  confusing goulash of possible meanings). In his defense, he would, and did, point out that there is no reality, only image, which was fortunate for him. It’s always good to have some completely imaginary justification propping up one’s brute existence.

Laughing Coyote argued for reality, which was completely hilarious. The woman with a Ph.D. in phenomenology, which argues that there is only perception, takes the side of Reality. However she would argue, having the other part of her degree in existentialism, that life is about taking a stand and picking a perception and sticking with it. That’s what co-creation of reality means. Committing to a perspective no matter how stupid it is, which guides action without the person becoming a narrow minded zealot.

She won the argument largely because she used fewer words than the Visitor. She could make her point by saying: this is this, while he had to tell three tales full of metaphor, metaphysics, history, culture to make his argument that what we imagine to be is already real. I told him the only way I got a truck is by going and getting it after I’d imagined it.

We were both kind of right.

I say I won the argument because I’m the one writing this history. When he writes his, he can be right.

WHY THE FUCK AM I TRYING TO FINISH A NOVEL?

Anyway back to waking up screaming, “OH MY GOD I’M WRITING A NOVEL!”

What for?

Three-quarters of the way through this mother-fucker I realize, the novel is dead and I’m sort of hanging on for dear life, like a rider out of the saddle on a galloping black horse…if I can just get to the end if I can just get to the end then I will know what to do. It will have finished and I will know what it is and what to do with it. I will know what to do with the fact that the main confrontation between two of the characters rings false and that I think I’ve discovered that I suck at writing real characters and I might not care enough about it to learn how. After all I’m going to die soon, being a human being. Maybe I’d better go with disseminating something I’m already good at: not writing believable characters, more like caricatures and using my vocabulary to be playful. Do I really need to do the thing I thought I wanted to do? Needed to do?

THE DANGERS OF ADDICTION

Maybe I am powerless over my Novel. Maybe I really need to let go. Maybe I need NA: Novels Anonymous.

One for me and one for my novel. Two different support groups. Maybe my Novel needs to let go of me, as much I possibly do of it? Are we in some kind of sick co-dependent relationship?

Is there anyone out there who is a doctor of literature who could diagnose and treat me?

I’m scared. I’m totally scared now. What if these new thoughts are true? What if I’m wasting my time?

But I think I may have reached the end of what I thought it was. Does it now die? Do I throw it away? Do I restructure it in a way that can better support me? What does that mean? I’m on Novel Life Support? Who is the doctor and who is the patient? Or is the Novel on Life-Support and is draining energy out of my being that could better be used elsewhere?

Maybe I just wrote this thing so I could discover what I was good at and what I wanted to write and what I don’t.

STALKING AVALON: THE NOVEL

The Novel rising out of the mists of Avalon. (The novel is called: Stalking Avalon, which, if you’ve read Carlos Castaneda, and know what stalking means, might explain why it’s such a bitch to finish. Avalon is a mythical place in the British Isles. If the Maya are right, and words generate being, the title of the book might be preventing its incarnation. I’m “stalking” an imaginary place, which doubles the trickery involved.

For Castaneda, “stalking” means you do things that look completely ridiculous and unrelated in order to outwit your opponent. (In other words, you can’t let your Novel know you are working on it.) You can’t look like you are hunting. At best you look like a fool who is “not-hunting,” doing exactly what won’t work in order to get the task accomplished, which pretty much sounds like my existential strategic resume. Is it working? Am I actually really accomplishing a lot by my circuitous and often ridiculous way of not-writing, writing, and finishing by not-finishing? And how will I tell if I’m done if I have fooled myself as well, which is sometimes necessary to keep it all a secret?

Maybe I can get my Writer Friend to spy on me and let me know when I’m finished.

POWER IN NAMING

So perhaps I should rename the damn thing: Book That Gets Finished and Published and Makes Great Money.

[My accountant told me to add the last part].

PEOPLE DIE ON MY BIRTHDAY

Let me make my point another way.

People have a habit of dying on my birthday. My grandma died on my birthday when I was fifteen, my mother recently died the day before my birthday (but I still noticed) and this year, our dog died on my birthday (not really my dog, my roommate’s dog, but I knew the dog for four years and loved her).

What the hell? Why does shit die on my birthday?

It’s close to my birthday, which is why I’m saying it.

It could be the old form dies and a new one begins.

Perhaps my Novel should die this year. I could just go ahead and say it did, on my birthday, so I can commemorate it’s not-existing, not that it ever really did. Maybe I should let it die now and not wait for it to die from lack of recognition, being published or lack of being a good novel, after I finish it.

One thing Laughing Coyote knows for sure: Novels, like most stories, are not what they appear to be.

LETTING GO OF A NOVEL CAN BE HEALTHY

Perhaps letting go of my novel can be like letting go of my mom. That Novel has carried me around and maybe I just don’t need Her to do that anymore.

Let me illustrate:

The past 15 years Stalking Avalon has become the raison d’etre for everything.

Who are you?

I’m writing a novel.

Why aren’t you tenured in psychology?

I’m writing a novel.

Why are you a financial disaster waiting for FEMA to get its shit together and pull you out of the Superdome?

I’m writing a novel.

Why aren’t you in a relationship.

I’m writing a novel.

Why don’t you clean your fucking house?

A, in my defense, my house is not that dirty. B) I’m writing a novel.

Why don’t you call me back?

I’m writing a novel

Why do you have adrenal fatigue and cervical vertigo?

The stress of writing a novel when the world does not give a shit because our society could care less about the economic plight of artists and poet-writers.

Why don’t you work full time?

I do. I work part-time full-time like most Americans, but initially it was because….oh you know the reason.

So tell me Laughing Coyote: are you happy or unhappy?

I’m writing a novel. (See it’s my automatic default response to everything. Did you take your vitamins? I’m writing a novel. Good thing I’m not married with kids. Honey what happened to our son? I’m writing a novel)

No seriously Laughing Coyote, are you happy or unhappy? (Apparently now I’m being interviewed by someone. It is interesting what happens in StoryBlog-World).

So are you a happy person or an unhappy person?

What part of the day? Which day?

No, in general.

There is no ‘in general,’ there is only now. (See Friend Who Visited Me When No one Else Dared, I did listen to one thing HE said.)

If you had to characterized yourself in general?

Me or Laughing Coyote?

Whoever…(the person interviewing me is getting exasperated and just wanting to move on)

Oh definitely unhappy. For sure. In general. But that’s only as good as saying that something that doesn’t really exist usually has the following characteristics.

(This is why people have trouble getting to know me. I talk like this most of the time. However, if you are my friend, you do know me, and have survived and perhaps even like my Coyote like, trickster presence. Bluebird, Bear, Shaman Mentor, Monkey Girl, Mary Ingalls (inside joke) and the Writer-Friend/Visitor (who is in dire need of a nickname, in the meantime I will just refer to him as Coleosuarus, which is a bastardized and misspelled name of a New Mexican state Dinosaur…or maybe I should call him Dino…I think that just might work…). Dino is a writer too and he actually finishes things!

So says the interviewer of People who aren’t famous or all that talented but should be Magazine

Why are you, or whoever you think you are, unhappy?

Me: You want me to say it’s because I’m writing a novel. I’ll go you one better, I’d say it’s because I’m a writer.

Correspondent: No, I don’t believe that. I’ve read your work on your blog, heard you at open mic, and seen you when you are writing. I don’t think it’s that.

Me: Okay, I’d say I’m unhappy because I don’t have enough time to write and finish my novel. It’s going to take forever and it’s already taken forever, so I think forever and forever make at least one infinity….

Correspondent: so you are unhappy because you are writing a novel?

Me: What?

Correspondent: you are unhappy because you are writing a novel.

Me: Does sound kind of logical doesn’t it.

Correspondent: What if you didn’t write a novel?

Would I be happy if I didn’t write a novel? Maybe the insistence on doing something is what is actually derailing me. Surely I would have been done by now if I was ever going to be done with it, so what is really going on here?

The other voice says—not the interviewer, the one in my head that talks all the time—but what about finding out what happens?

What happens? Where?

In the novel? What happens? Aren’t you curious?

Yeah, I’d say 15 years’ worth of curious.

And says the Novel…

oh I get it now…the Novel is actually talking to me

The Novel then says this: Aren’t you curious about what might happen to you if you finish me? Maybe I will change your life, if you complete me.

Wow…..

That’s it for now,

The Laughing Coyote

P.S. stay tuned for more developments in the exciting world of would-be novelists! Will she give the novel up? Will she revise? Will she continue along the path she carved out knowing that currently she is mucking through the middle part of the Amazingly Shitty First Draft, which is where most novelists run into a very Road Runner like Instant Hole (which is really more like Instant Swamp) and are never seen again?

Wow this is at least as exciting as the Super Bowl!

next up: Trying to find my Like Button

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WHY THE F….! AM I WRITING A NOVEL? Part One

I have been writing a novel.

Then one day I said to myself,

“WHY THE FUCK AM I WRITING A NOVEL?” I think I actually may have been shouting which is why everyone on the train started, slowly and carefully, to back away and the rate of eye contact dropped to zero.

Who decides these things?

Really, should we citizens be allowed to just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to write a novel.’?” You know like the statement, “I’m going to walk the dog,” or “I’m going to have ham for breakfast,” or “I’m going to set fire to my spouse.”

It’s a little known fact that the statement, I’m going to write a novel,  is an indicator of a stroke, and the person should be rushed to the emergency room, or the nearest mental hospital if brain ischemia won’t really make a difference in your relationship anyway.

Writing a novel is a bit like getting a Ph.D.—you better really want it because by the time you get it, you will not give a shit. Oh this old thing? Why did I think I wanted that? It’s like putting a great rabbit coat down on “layaway,” and then anticipating you are going to want to wear that ridiculous out-of-fashion garment once you finally make the last payment ten years from now. (Or you could wear it to graduation like I did and then give to a homeless person if you want to insult their sense of style).

I realize the word layaway reveals my age, where I was born, where I shopped, and may provide information on economic status, ethnicity and nationality. You could find that out on Facebook too, but this is more fun. Actually you can’t find that out about me on Facebook because I lie day and night on Facebook. I lie in wait to post things that aren’t true like:

I’m in a healthy relationship

I love eating gluten free

And

I’m about to finish my novel.

 

HOW WRITING A NOVEL IS RELATED TO DEATH

It’s a little known fact that novels, ninety percent of them anyway, are not meant to be finished. Perhaps we writers are too Darwinian. If a human is finished, it means she or he is dead, so you see the hazards of finishing some work.

I completed my novel and now it is dead.

This relates to things like aborted fetuses, or miscarried babies, so obviously the “finished” writer is galloping towards a period of grief and meaninglessness, and is full of questions like: what is the meaning of life if we are just here and then, we die? And most books do. They sit around in the author’s house wishing they were in a bookstore, online or otherwise. Or they languish in the bowels of someone’s poorly designed website—have you ever tried to read several pages of pink font on a white background?—hidden from view amongst the plethora of things people think is important to say.

Is that really fair to the novel? To bring it fully into existence just so it can pine about the glories of what it could have been if it had been written by someone famous, or alternatively, written by someone who could write? What we do to our children is disgusting.

Yes, you say to your drooling novel, that only has one leg and is missing a pancreas (because you wouldn’t pay a good editor) and part of an eye, and the left front cerebral cortex only works on alternate Wednesdays, you are my creation! Life is beautiful!

Note: if your novel is making gurgling choking sounds as it tries form some clear words—probably something to the tune of Jesus Christ put me down now!—it’s not a good sign.

Literature is one of those areas of life where you don’t get locked away for saying, “I killed my child.” Maybe it’s because we writer-people understand how you might accidentally finish something off without knowing beforehand what it truly means, and therefore can claim ignorance, or at least lack of pre-meditation. Accidental death in other words. But I didn’t mean to!

But maybe we should jail most people who finish novels. After all suicide is still fairly illegal and assisted suicide is completely so.

FINISHING A NOVEL IS JUST THE EASY WAY OUT

Furthermore, from a philosophical stand point, isn’t the point of life the path? So if you want to live and you want your novel to have hope that it can live, you just keep writing.

Anything else is death. The ultimate all-too-achievable goal, so-I-should-get-some-kind-of-Pulitzer for KEEPING HOPE ALIVE and NEVER FINISHING MY NOVEL.

The blog article will read, “SHE WAS SUCH A GREAT WRITER AND CARED SO DEEPLY FOR HER WORK THAT SHE NEVER COMPLETED ANYTHING!!!! Here are some excerpts from stuff she never finished! Admire the possibilities! Imagine just how good it could have been!” (sounds of orgasms)

What would that award be named? I can see the headline now: Dr. Laughing Coyote has just received The Abeyance Award for Literature, in some circles known as The Purgatory Prize.

DEATH SHOULD NOT BE A GOAL

It’s too easy. It happens to everyone I know, despite their best intentions. Novels should not be forced to croak before their time. Maybe that’s why editing can go on endlessly: it’s a kind of life-support.

Death at the right time can be convenient. But “coming full circle writing a book?” that’s just a euphemism for giving up too soon! I’m an American and I”m afraid of death and know that no one wants to die!

Okay, okay, as a psychologist, I do realize death is a rather handy thing because if you, or your novel, are sick of living, why continue? Anyone who has sampled a few months with a chronic illness knows why suicide should not be illegal, which is a hilarious concept anyway. How exactly do you arrest someone who has killed themselves? How do you punish them? Do you take charge of their body and put it in a box and dig a hole and trap it into the ground with a bunch of witnesses standing around, and then put a large stone over the top so they can’t get out if they happen to wake up and decide they are no longer dead or suicidal?

Take that dead person!

THE GOAL OF THE NOVEL IS TO KEEP WRITING IT

So isn’t the point of writing a novel to just keep writing it? What’s this big dead with ‘finishing?’ I mean you are just going to kill the little motherfucker anyway later and then you’ll have to find something else to do with the long lonely days full of meaningless work, trivial discussions with other humans, better conversations with your pets, moments of deciding whether to trade in your current imaginary girlfriend for a newer model, and trying to figure out your fucking iPhone before they upgrade it in the next 12 minutes.  Why not keep your novel around for periods of insomnia, post break-up existential paralysis, things to do while standing around in the unemployment office, or waiting for a bus that never comes because you live in New Mexico and there is only one bus in the state, and it only comes once a year, so you better make damn sure you know you really want to go to wherever that is because you will be there for the next long excruciating 945 days of the year. Yes I know the year is 365 days. It just feels like more in the neighborhood of 900 to 1000.

Really we should have years that are a 1000 days. When we were done, we’d feel like we’d really accomplished something. Not this awkward 365 and ¼  crap. It doesn’t even round off right. (Wow I redeemed my entire life in that last 6 hours, shew that was close!) That’s why we have to invent a magic day, called February 29, every four years and hope to hell nothing important happens on that day (or if you are nervous about not remembering your anniversary, you could give yourself an automatic out, where only remembering what day you got married every four years would be an accomplishment, not grounds for divorce. Plan ahead is what I say.)

So what was I saying? Oh yes, trying to finish a novel is planned suicide. No wonder all of us aspiring novelists say (usually on February 29th),

“I’m going to write a novel.”

Not, “I’m going to write a novel and finish it!”

That’s tantamount to waking up one day and saying, “One day I’m going to wake up dead.”

WHAT PEOPLE SAY TO ME ABOUT THIS ISSUE

Here is where my psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, editors,  friends (who are mainly volunteers—if your friend is wearing a name tag it’s a dead give away), and complete strangers, who know everything about me because they read my blog…never mind that it’s FICTION! I mean I think I’m a coyote with a doctorate for Christ’s sake, read the fine print.

Anyway here is where other people tell me: you are over-identifying with your novel. You are not your writing.

But Coyote knows better. Having spent years chasing that tale, i have a foolhardy wisdom.

The well intentioned (and probably largely successful and fulfilled) friend-person adds, “The novel is not alive, therefore it can’t die.”

Well, she’s obviously never been to a critique group or seen a fireplace.

“You will die,” says my friend   (Okay good my interlocutor isn’t a total moron) “but your novel will live on. It’s an inanimate object and will not die.”

And this brings me to my next point, other than my human helper has been to biology class and learned something, and that is how infuriating it is that people die, but their things don’t immediately collapse into oblivion along with them. That a Tupperware dish can outlive my mother, for example, is insulting. I look at this plastic thing, which happens to be green with a white lid, that my mother used and think, “You are still here but my mother is dead. What the fuck?”

Okay, so either we should stop dying (which is not a good idea) or we should engineer our shit so when we go, it evaporates. Why should I have this great looking, cut glass, expensive-as-all get-out, eight-inch, tall, pink and white candy dish, and not my mother? How is that fair? It’s the universe’s consolation prize: Oh, okay, well you can’t have your mother, but here’s this cut glass vase and a bunch of her terry cloth towels instead. Do they not understand I can’t have the same argument I had with my mother over and over with a set of yellow terry cloth towels? (I could however probably prevent said towels from voting for Romney).

And if I get mad and storm out in a huff, the graceful painting of the Indian woman near a tee-pee out in the plains does not get that funny compressed look on her face? And if I ignore the Navajo rug, it doesn’t tell me stories about poor abandoned and mistreated children?

Also I would look incredibly stupid buying flowers and groceries for my mother’s tiny rocking chair she had as a child, and arguing with insurance companies and doctors and social workers about the quality of medical care for her twelve-inch ceramic Christmas tree, that had also been her mother’s, and I can’t tell the rings on my fingers, the gold one cut into rosette patterns, the solid silver band I wear outside my grandma’s wedding ring so it won’t fall off my finger, and the solid gold ring with a diamond inset that looks like the Zia tribe’s sacred sign that New Mexico adopted for its state flag, that I have always loved her the most, even when I couldn’t stand her?

And try as hard as I might, I cannot stand in front of my mother’s silver and get it to laugh.

I hate things. I really do.

But words are different. Words are alive because they require the alchemy of consciousness to read them and there is an entire relationship inside the cadre of their structure. They produce reactions, association, open doorways, cut them off, create life, kill things, and like certain seeds in the desert they can lie inert for years until a new interaction with the moisture of the human eye and tongue makes them bloom.

My novel is alive. I think it is more alive than I am, mostly. Certainly she holds my more talented, truthful, playful, conscious, emotional and humorous self. She’s the reason I’m alive. Indubitably she is the vehicle for  my being to express and come to terms with life in its many facets, and she is the gloves I don to experience it, doing most of my touching of others through words of many kinds. Raw experience I find mostly difficult in one way or the other, but the soft caress of hands covered by words, softens and makes palatable this human life I have inherited from the cosmos that is my Mother.

The only thing comparable is having a cat. Capaccino is excellent as well.

Semantically yours,

The Laughing Coyote
chasing-your-tail (1)

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If I Was A Novel This Is What My Editor Would Say

     If I was a novel, this is what my editor would say:

Is this the shitty first draft?

Unrealistic character development.

No one says this shit.

Oh come on, is that really believable?

You can’t keep saying the same stuff all the time.

Who just keeps having the same problems over and over with no resolution?

          If I was a book, my editor would say

Is there a plot?

You have a serious problem with point of view.

I’m sorry you just aren’t believable.

No one turns into a lesbian for that reason.

What do you mean you don’t know what happens next?

          If I was a book, my copy editor would say:

Learn to indent for god’s sake. You can’t just be one long paragraph.

People need a segway once in a while Debbie.

Enough adverbs already!

          If I was a story, my writing critique group would say:

No seriously your main character can’t be drunk the whole time and have people like her.

What do you mean there are no other characters?

You know you need to have at least one or two likeable characteristics or people won’t stay involved.

Look, something, anything, needs to happen.

You should let other people talk sometimes.

No one is going to believe you got away with that.

          This is what my development editor would say if I was a novel:

Yes having a plan might help.

Pick a genre. Any genre.

Okay, now you need to decide if this is science fiction or memoir.

No there is no such thing as a fictionalized life.

Um yes, memorialized fiction could be a confusing epitaph on someone’s headstone.

Yes we could say “what a great story that would have been,” instead.

(Note to other people who want to be novels: two much eye rolling means that your editor is really tired of you.)

          This is what my ex would say if I was my memoir:

You need consistency or people won’t believe you are real.

Why did you think that scene was particularly wonderful?

Scenes 2 through 46 are a total waste of time. Yes I know that leaves chapters 1 and 47.

No I’m sorry, it’s not any funnier written down.

I’m so disappointed you don’t die at the end.

          This is what a good friend would say about me if I was a book:

No you don’t look fat.

If they don’t understand, they are stupid.

Oh people don’t know what they like.

Have you considered assisted suicide?

           If I was a detective novel, my critique group would say:

Too much backstory.

          Upon reading me for the first time, the woman I’m dating would say:

Too little backstory.

          If I was the highlights of my life posted on FaceBook, the reviewer would say:

Oh my god. Tell, don’t show. Tell!

         If I was a novel, my publisher would say:

Shitty cover art.

Probably less is more.

Leave your book jacket alone.

I don’t see a target audience.

Have you thought of letting your cats ghost write?

Self-publishing is over-rated.

Who was your fucking editor?

If I was my published novel, my title would be:

Content Not Suitable For Humans.

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