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Here's the list of books that won a lambda literary award last night. Whoohoo [ profile] charliegrrrl!!!! Yayy!

And I'm excited that The Beautifully Worthless by Ali Leibegott (Suspect Thoughts) won Lesbian Debut Fiction -- Suspect Thoughts is publishing such innovative work. And how gorgeous that a book by June Jordan won in lesbian poetry, and I'm really interested in the two winners in lesbian fiction: Babyji by Abha Dawesar (Anchor Books) and Wild Dogs by Helen Humphreys (W. W. Norton). I keep hearing that Helen Humphreys is really good, and I'd like to read them both.

Read more... )
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For those interested, I just posted the details of my clothing experience at the lammies in [ profile] fatshionista. (Finding clothing that fits, looks good and is affordable is an ongoing saga for me, and for most fat women.)
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Oooo! Oooo! OOOOO!!! I just checked the list of winners from Sunday's Tony awards!!!! Alison's friend Rachel won for best book in a musical!!!!!!!! And Dan Fogler won for his great dancing, spelling, snotty, defensive, lovely fat boy!!!!!! Yayyyyyyyy!!!!


Jun. 7th, 2005 11:35 am
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I lost! I cried and cried. I took it hard.

I kept crying (off and on) for days. I was deeply consoled by magnificent friends, spectacularly generous and attentive strangers, ordinary human kindness, and -- wowsa -- talented entertainers and great Broadway plays. Also, I got many, many compliments on my outfits.

My friends Judy Frank (Crybaby Butch) and Alison Smith (Name All the Animals) won -- yay! and so did Greg and Ian of Suspect Thoughts Press. I came home with more great stories than I know what to do with (or have time to write), and hope to tell more, but for now:

  • Somebody introduce me to Lea Delaria, please! We'd like each other. I'm sure of it. She was a GREAT emcee, and she only realized at 2 pm that afternoon that the ceremony was on Thursday instead of Saturday...

  • Jessica Lange is brilliant as the mother in The Glass Menagerie. Her skin changed color with the emotions of the play -- I was seriously feeling it with her. I hadn't ever seen this play, but there was a line at the end that I remembered so wrenchingly and clearly from reading it in high school, after the brother leaves his desperate family, when his fragile sister, Laura, who he loves and doesn't save, is still kneeling on the stage in candlelight, and he, as the long distant narrator, says, "I tried to leave you, Laura, but it turns out that I was more loyal than I intended." Breaks your heart!

  • The Spelling Bee, a musical with songs by the brilliant William Finn and a wonderful, funny book by my friend Alison's friend Rachel Sheinkin was so so so so so good! Fat people, fairies, nerds and weirdos of all description should absolutely see it. And all these desperate, funny, strange kids who really, really, really want to win a spelling bee made me sob throughout. Oh, my good, the fat boy with the collapsed nasal passage who has to spell out the words with his foot! He was up for a Tony, and I hope he won! It was cathartic! It was perfect! My friends who treated me to both of these plays (and much else) absolutely transformed the ways I dealt with how much having my book lose turned out to hurt.

If I won, I wanted to thank middle-aged lesbians, home economists, men who like dresses, and fat girls (some of various categories by name). Then, I wanted to say this:

I'd like to thank all of the writers in the room and in my life for all of the gorgeous, persistent, foolish, profound work. I know it's not easy, but these books, these stories, give regular shocks of much needed life to a numb but still aching world.

I didn't get to say it to them, but I'll say it to you. Thanks, gang.

Here's the official account of the ceremony. A lot went on! )
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I've been packing for the trip tomorrow. I sewed on a button and made sure that I have a subway map.

Here are some things that are giving me trouble:

  • I can't find my reading and computer glasses. I've lost them before within the past year. I misplace them all the time, but this time I've really searched and retraced my steps, and then doubled back again. I can't find them. I still hope to, somehow, though.

  • I thought I'd lost my debit and credit cards earlier this week, then found them in my wallet. After I'd already cancelled them both. I don't have them for my trip.

  • I heard today that I need more expensive dental work from a specialist.

  • Pain in my joints.

  • Aging, loss, money, mind, decay and mortality, in general and in specific.

Here are some things that are giving me joy:

  • A picture that my love took from upstairs of my parents and another dear friend playing 42 dominoes on a small square table with a slick red surface, perfect for shuffling. The garden up there, especially chives and parsley and early swiss chard.

  • Having seen an old fashioned, very serious, kindly, ethical clown in white slowly walk a tightrope upside down carrying a lit candlestick in its holder at the Cirque du Soleil in the company of my mother. And watching my father study maps and eighteenth century shoes and marbles and drink his first glass of wine in years in Montreal.

  • One friend poured himself into cleaning my living room when it had overwhelmed me. Another friend always listens to my problems, teases me, and does so much to keep my head on my shoulders and pleasure in my life. Together, they brought roses and a strawberry tart to dinner when my parents were here.

  • That my book is being honored with other strong work. That I'll be with friends who are travelling to celebrate that with me, bringing me fishnets, theater tickets, their risky, smart, rigorous work, and their radiant selves. And other friends will be there from nearer distances, with their own work being honored, or, many of them, having been honored in the past.

  • That there are so many reasons to keep doing new work, so many possibilities, reasons to jump in again.

  • That my dear friend Sally -- her own lingered and labored over, much needed and much loved novel not published yet -- who can't come to New York for the award ceremonies, gave me a talisman today for the trip: a ring that a boy gave her when he moved away. She's had it for forty years.


May. 26th, 2005 01:19 pm
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A twenty year old photo of me is now up on my website, along with the short story, Drink.

My brother Don, who is a landscape painter took it with his polaroid in his studio in Waltham in the early eighties when he was working on some drawings of me. The setting was so dusty and prosaic and family and every day, and it looks so elegant.

It's six days to the Benjamin Franklin award ceremony, and exactly one week to the Lambda Literary awards.
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Everyone who read was very good. Love that. Jonathan Harper, the editor from Lambda Book Report who had organized the event, was sweet and gracious and had clearly worked both effectively and very hard.

  • Sarah Schulman told me that my friend Alison had given my book to her, put it right into her hands when they were both at a writers colony. That is such a concrete, electric kind of gift for me. Sarah, who was sitting behind me, touched my shoulders when I finished reading, told me it was good. This was a small, beautiful thing, and a comfort.

  • I think that Mark Wunderlich does amazing stuff in his poetry with assumptions about rural life, human beings' animal natures, passion and power, and he does it with this incredible technical control.

  • Colm Toibin, whose most recent book I had been reading with such pleasure on the train, read a scene in which Henry James and a gondolier go out into the water in Venice to try to submerge a dead friend's clothes, a woman, as a kind of burial at sea. The big skirts do not sink easily. One piece, in particular, goes under then rises stubbornly until the gondolier holds it under with his oar. There was so much about grief in this.

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I haven't been posting about my trip to New York and all because I've been so busy and because so much great stuff happened that I wanted to get it together to write about it in a way that would do it all justice. But time's passing, and things are too wild, so I'm going to do it scattershot, starting with:

One of the other readers of at the Lambda finalist reading was Morty Diamond, editor of FROM THE INSIDE OUT: Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond from Manic D Press. I first heard about Morty from [ profile] charlottecooper because of his website, My Year In Pink, documenting a performance art project of a year of wearing pink from head to toe. We had a lovely conversation, and I just noticed that he posted about it the next day, with emphasis on my "very good looking beard" (thanks, Morty), and solidarity with all those who don't fit the norms.

It was great meeting [ profile] daharyn, there through the urging of [ profile] misia!, too. More on the reading, which was rich and varied and moving, later.

It was also lovely to have dinner with [ profile] eleanor on Friday.

The fat girl flea was intense and primal -- so so so so many clothes. Mountains of clothes, heaped high, high, high on tables, many of them in the 3x-4x section by yours truly (among many others -- there were more than 40 volunteers.) So so so so many people shopping. We generated a lot of heat, and one of my favorite moments of the flea was when Leah, who was central to organizing the Bluestockings reading for Venus of Chalk last year, stood up to her full height, raised her mighty, ringing voice, waved a stack of brown paper towels over her head and called out, "If anyone needs a schvitz rag, someone will be coming around the room to offer one to you." Everyone heard it, but it took the very small, warm smile on Bertha's face where she was helping me pick out my dress for the Lambda Literary awards from amongst her gorgeous, sassy Size Queen fashions -- I so love that the dress that I'm wearing to honor the character of Carline was made by a fat lesbian who clearly sews with deep passion -- that is so right for the book -- it wasn't until I saw Bertha's smile that I realized what a beautiful, gracious, body loving gesture that announcement and those sweat rags were. I heard women talking appreciatively about it on the elevator, too, just before someone offered to buy the shirt I was wearing...

And [ profile] beatgoddess looked stunning at the Northampton Pride march on Sunday, leopard-print bra to match leopard-print hat and all. There was an article about the book-signing that Judy Frank and I, among others, did at the Pride&Joy booth -- very fun doing that with Judy -- much more fun than alone.

This Week

Apr. 25th, 2005 12:28 pm
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Thursday: Lambda Finalist reading, lgbt center, Manhattan, 7-9.

With a bunch of other interesting writers, including Colm Toibin. I've just started The Master, his widely praised and honored novel about Henry James.

Friday: Adventures in the big city. I get to meet [ profile] eleanor!

Saturday: I'm helping set up for the Fat Girl Flea Market. I'll be there early, then coming home.

Sunday: Signing copies of Venus of Chalk from 2:30 to 3 at the rally for the Northampton Pride march. I'll be at the Pride&Joy table, and they'll have copies for sale.

I know that [ profile] ericaceous, [ profile] originalenid, [ profile] always_in_drag, and [ profile] misstoodles will be at the flea. So will [ profile] bounce_n_jiggle, [ profile] beccawrites and [ profile] hhholiday, very likely wildly busy. I bet [ profile] queentushy will be there -- and [ profile] plasticsturgeon?

Anybody I miss? I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone. I hope some folks can make it to the reading on Thursday. And, although, interestingly enough, [ profile] beatgoddess and [ profile] somechicksings are, I think the only local folks who read my lj -- give a shout out if that's not true! -- I'm excited about the possibility of seeing a bunch of old friends who I haven't seen in ages at the Northampton rally. Of course, [ profile] bearsir, who is off to frolic at art camp -- congrats! -- is local, too.


Apr. 18th, 2005 10:39 am
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Lea Delaria is emcee for the Lambda awards. That sounds very fun.

They're also giving special awards to Samuel Delany (who is great), Eve Ensler, Blanche Wiesen Cook and Richard Canning.

I'm excited. I need shoes. The less expensive $25 tickets to the event (as opposed to the $150 reception) go on sale May 1.

Or come to the Lambda finalist readings, which are free. I'm doing the one coming right up on April 28th. (There's a poster to download now here, if you're in NYC and want to help spread the word.)

And I get to stay and help set up for the fat girl flea market, which means I get to spend a little time with some really smart, energetic, engaged folks doing a bunch of wonderful work with a commitment to include a lot of joy in everything they do. I love that.
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When I'm in New York soon for events around the Lambda awards, I get to see the following:

A Diane Arbus show and a Max Ernst show at the Met


Leonard Nimoy's nude photographs of women from Big Big Burlesque -- fat activists! And he's being quoted all over the mainstream media taking issue with some of the fat hating on "Fat Actress." Wish I could do that thing where you hold up your hand with parted fingers, like a real trekkie.

And, if I'm lucky, the Fat Girl Flea on April 30.


Apr. 1st, 2005 03:30 pm
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I just finished Skels by Maggie Dubris. It's another one of the books, like mine, nominated for the Lambda Literary Award in lesbian fiction (I want to read them all), and it's so good.

It opens with Orlie, the narrator, sprawled on the hood of her cousin's car, eating Cap'n Crunch and staring at a rickety little house where the laws of gravity don't apply. The laws of gravity -- of giving serious matters serious attention, and of hanging onto the planet in the commonly prescribed manner -- both do and do not apply throughout this breathtaking, lyrical, gorgeously ambitious humdinger of a book. It reminded me of Catch-22 and the work of Williams S. Burroughs in the strange turns of its meditations on work as an ambulance driver in New York City and the lives and deaths of the people the ambulance is summoned to attend to. The phyiscal facts of each emergency is very explicit -- the surroundings, the wounds, what errands or eating or betting the medics had been doing before finally getting a call. Everything starts out strange and keeps getting stranger as writers and musicians and their creations from earlier times take new forms in the book, and riddles, mysteries and chaos pull the story down the street and make it crawl under fences. I liked it a lot, especially something about the spirit of it that I'm finding hard to put into words -- in the midst of much urban urgency, a kind of old fashioned faith in the power of art and a tenderness for the wildness in people, and in the worth and unbelievably strange and powerful stories of each life. Plus, big, big pleasure in the sounds of language, and very open, straight-up faith in poetry, a hologram submarine billboard and a strangely obsessive cop hunting an elusive albino, and all.

It's published by Soft Skull, which seems to be putting out such interesting stuff.
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I'm going to be part of a reading of Lambda Literary Award finalists, which will be held at 7 pm at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 West 13th Street in Manhattan. The readings will be short and sweet, which is actually a form I love a lot -- it works with the poet in me. Here's a list of the other readers (in the order that we're going to be reading):

K. Warnock - Best Lesbian Erotica
Aaron Krach - Half-Life
Will Fabro - Fresh Men
Alexis De Veaux - Warrior Poet
Morty Diamond - From the Inside Out
Amy King - Antidotes for an Alibi
Mark Wunderlich - Voluntary Servitude
Andrea Barnet - All Night Party
Susan Stinson - Venus of Chalk
Colm Toibin - The Master

I know that Alexis De Veaux and her biography of Audre Lorde is bound to be interesting, and the same for All Night Party, which is a history of the wild women of Greenwich Village in the early part of the century, including the ever popular Edna St. Vincent Millay. I've read Voluntary Servitude, a book of fierce and haunting poems by Mark Wunderlich, many of them inhabited by animals in rural settings, very tender and ferocious with snakes filling the trees, bees being smoked, calves being born, and a dangerously original eroticism -- I thought it was brilliant, and I'm looking forward to meeting the poet. If I can get it together, I'd like to read The Master by Colm Toibin before I go, too -- it's a novel about Henry James at a moment of failure for him, and one of the reviewers at Powells wrote:

Toibin's depiction of James is a nuanced, emotional portrait of an almost unknowable figure — the artist in a life more imagined than lived. Toibin's pacing and prose are exquisite; his novel is a graceful, thoughtful meditation on writing and philosophy, as well as an astute exercise in psychology. Its resonance has continued all year long.

This interests me because I love good novels about anything, but also because it feels relevant to what I'm trying to do with Jonathan Edwards in the new novel.

This reading is just two days before the Fat Girl Flea Market, at the very same spot. Needless to say, it would thrill me if any of my friends from NYC showed up.
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OOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm so excited!!!

They've just posted the list on the Lambda Literary Award site, and Venus of Chalk is a FINALIST!!! in the lesbian fiction category!!!!!

This is just so fabulous!! YAY!!

Crybaby Butch by Judy Frank and Dish It Up Baby by Kristie Helms are nominated under Lesbian Debut Fiction!!

Up All Night, which Stacy Bias co-edited, is nominated under Erotica, too!!!

And Name All The Animals by Alison Smith!!!!!! Oh, I'm going to have a good time at the awards dinner. It's June 2 in New York City -- that's when the winners are announced!!!

Thanks everybody who suggested the book!!

Here's the list of finalists!

Wanting It

Dec. 23rd, 2004 11:20 am
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All three of the novels that Firebrand published this year have been nominated for Lambda Literary Awards.

That's Dish It Up, Baby
Crybaby Butch
(which I read not long ago and got all stirred up about. It's got a lot of toughness and beauty and went deep into butch identity and power and sex and reading and mourning. It's lingering with me.)
and mine, Venus of Chalk.

So, first the novel was suggested to be nominated -- by many of you -- thanks again. And now it's on the list of nominated books. Then they choose five finalists, and then there is a winner, announced in June in New York City at a big dinner awards ceremony. I'm picturing a whole table of [ profile] fatshionistas, rocking the queer literary world. Somebody would teach me how to measure correctly, and I would finally get a strapless bra for the occasion. (A fat girl can dream, can't she?)

You know, I've judged literary awards and prizes. I know that there are lots of variables (including the judges' moods, health and sheer reading fatigue) that influence these choices, and that, even under ideal conditions, they can be pretty arbitrary. Sometimes I think the choices are great and sometimes I've thought that they were biased, bland or insensitive. There's no money that comes with this. But my beloved books have never been among the finalists, and it would make me very deliciously happy if this one were. It would be even more fun to be on these lists with friends. So, knocking on wood, fingers crossed, and don't forget to get your black-eyed peas now to eat for prosperity on New Year's Day. (I've just learned that collard greens are for health and cornbread is for happiness, too.)
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Minna Bromberg in a river is a sight to see! She's that beautiful, and she's a smart, inventive, fun, original, folk-based musician. A singing sociologist! About to study to be a rabbi!

The first time I met Minna was at a fat feminist conference -- in Connecticut, I think -- many years ago. Everybody got very excited about her songs -- a lot of them about sailing, ships, and the water, (she's been an activist around cleaning up polluted waters) all of them emotionally complex and interesting -- and then she let folks sit in a circle with her and her guitar for hours while she played just about any song anybody asked for -- pretty amazing. We haven't spent a bunch of time together, but it's been lovely everytime we have, and she included something I said to her while we were sitting on the steps outside City Hall in one of her songs -- I mean, is that cool or what?

And even though it's been years since we've spoken, she's just offered to let me stay with her in June during BookExpoAmerica, the big gathering for the publishing industry in Chicago. That, and the fact that my friends are helping me raise money means that I get to go. (Click the "support this artist's work" button here if you'd like to contribute.

That's a big deal in a lot of ways. I get to go to the Lambda Literary Award dinner -- I've never been. There may be a reading, and I've never read in Chicago. And there are just tons of good things about showing up and participating in the life of the publishing industry, whether they invite me to the party, or not. I keep getting amazed about how much the far-flung community of smart, tough-minded, variously brilliant fat girls, writers and artists, radical economists and various other delicious weirdos is offering in support of getting this work out into the world.


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May 2009



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