Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a taste of the frozen moment: LAG

[the book is THE FROZEN MOMENT. the publication date is DECEMBER 17th. here's a little TASTE of one of the stories...]

LAG, by Michael Sage Ricci

Here’s the final word, darlings:

6:15 AM at any major airport is distinctly unglamorous.

I mean really, it’s way too early to be herded through security checkpoints, mad cows in a pen awaiting approval. Now that the world lives in constant fear, security is paramount and I had to sacrifice my beauty sleep to catch my flight on time. Protection has a cost, darlings. Like most economies, the low man on the totem pole is the one that pays the price.

[Michael Sage Ricci writes and tattoos in Portland Oregon. He also teaches with Tom Spanbauer’s Dangerous Writers and has been published in Portland Queer, Death MagazineWhite Crane Journal, RadicalFaeireDigest, Ellipses, and Under A Silver Sky, an anthology of Northwest Poets. He has just finished his first novel: The Resurrection of AquaBoy.]

Sage will be reading along with contributors Tom Spanbauer, Margaret Malone, Charles Dye, Liz Prato, J. W. Griffith and Brad Rosen on December 17th at The Woods. The facebook event is here. Books will be available at the event. You can also order books through Publication Studio here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

a moment in the day: spoons

I'm doing dishes, my hands all warm in soapy water. Fish two spoons out of the bottom of a pan, and before I think about it, I'm playing them. Both spoons spooned into each other and clicking a mad clack into the palm of my right hand.

The things we do without thinking. The things we do all the time. Odd that no matter where I am in my life, if I fish two spoons out of a pan, I have to play them.

a taste of the frozen moment: EMOTICON

[the book is THE FROZEN MOMENT. the publication date is DECEMBER 17th. here's a little TASTE of one of the stories...]

EMOTICON by Andrew Printer

Once inside his apartment, once inside any stranger’s home, these things happen fast. There’s no time to pause or be quick on my feet with clever excuses. Men who misrepresent themselves rarely linger. On the contrary, they hurry me in and then quickly out of my clothes, leaving me no time to un-promise anything. Today was no exception. Before I had time to say a word he had lifted my shirt up over my head and both his and my summer-colored shorts had dropped to the floor.

[one of the illustrations of EMOTICON] 

[andrew will be reading his piece at the san diego release party on december 16th at double break. more info is here. andrew and fellow contributors judy reeves, nicole vollrath and tori malcangio will read from the anthology on sunday, january 21, at the ink spot in san diego. you can check out andrew's art and film works here. the book can be ordered here. facebook page and info for the first reading event, to coincide with the december 17th launch of the book, is here.]

Friday, November 25, 2011

a taste of the frozen moment: MILWAUKEE

[the book is THE FROZEN MOMENT. the publication date is DECEMBER 17th. here's a little TASTE of one of the stories...]

MILWAUKEE by Charles Dye

It doesn’t matter that I’m a boy standing next to his father’s deathbed. Doesn’t matter that I’m a week from my fourteenth birthday. Or that I’m wearing jeans with an Ocean Pacific t-shirt and a coat that’s not warm enough for Wisconsin winter. What seems important is the string of green blips on the heart monitor, and the idea that the black margins are squeezing the life out of him. To the grown man looking back on it a lifetime later, what really matters is that my father’s body is close enough to touch but my father isn’t close enough to reach.

Charles will be reading along with contributors Tom Spanbauer, Margaret Malone, Michael Sage Ricci, Liz Prato, J. W. Griffith and Brad Rosen on December 17th at The Woods. The facebook event is here. Books will be available at the event. You can also order books through Publication Studio here.

[Charles Dye is a professional copywriter and digital media strategist, award-winning journalist, and a Dangerous Writer since 2004. Prior to settling in Portland, he fought wildfires and coached high school and NCAA football. His writing has appeared indie fiction anthologies Artscape and The Class that Fell in Love with the Man.]

Sunday, November 20, 2011

a moment in the day: the chatty printer

I'm printing my whole novel for my own reading for the first time. As I print in the back room, Stephen is out in the studio on his own laptop, which he just recently hooked up to be able to print wirelessly* to this printer through some voo-doo magic I don't understand. 

One of the first times the printer runs out of paper and I need to fill it, I realize I should let Stephen know I'm going to be printing for a while so he doesn't try to print something, too. When I step down the hall into the studio, Stephen is looking at me with a smile on his face, a pinch-mouthed and mirthful smile like maybe Nicholas has done something cute and he's about to tell me about it.

He says, "Quit sending me out-of-paper alerts."

Apparently when the printer communicates to my laptop that it's out of paper, it communicates to Stephen's laptop too. Like that thing they say about twins knowing each others' thoughts.

The next time the printer runs out of paper, Stephen calls from the studio, "You're out of paper," and I laugh.

The next time the printer runs out of paper, I call, "Out of paper," and Stephen laughs. His laugh comes soft down the hallway and straight to that place in the middle of me that feels like joy.

Knowing our history, how we fell in love first through words on a computer screen, I shouldn't be surprised. Any kind of communication, even printer-to-computer, can be a way for two people to touch.

*Blogger flagged the word "wirelessly" as being spelled wrong. It offered four words in its place. The last was my favorite:


printing it all

After having completed my second draft of the novel, which, because of the constant rewriting in between, is more like a fifth draft, after having had the manuscript read by some important readers, I'm ready for the part in the process where I print it out and read the whole book through - to look at big picture, to look at everything from a different perspective. I'll read it on paper, not at my computer. I'll read it in my head, not out loud, which is my usual way. I change the font to Verdana, not Times New Roman. Anything to aid in my attempt to make this look at my book fresh.

For a while, the printer runs through its gyrations, kicking out the lines of paragraphs in its particular rhythm, spitting out pages. I gather the pages in piles. I look down at one page as it sloops from the mouth of the printer, and my eyes land on a one-word paragraph in the middle of things.


Immediately, my brain knows the line that comes after. And the line that comes after.


Doesn't bode well for seeing this thing fresh...


A friend of mine has started writing a beautiful blog, something very personal and brave. He's written about his childhood, his fatherhood, his sorrows and joys, his transition female-to-male. Alone with my computer, I read and feel close to him, as we do when something is written with personal openness and elegance.

Yesterday, we got on an elevator together, he with his cart of books, me with mine. I wanted to say, thank you for what you put out there. I wanted to say, how brave and lovely. Instead, I said, "Ooh, can I see your new tattoo?"

In my own blog, in my novel and the essays I write, I'm not afraid to go very deep, to talk about the fool I so often feel I am, to confess about the baby blanket I held onto for too long. [Way too long.] In person, where words are spoken, not read, is this as close as I can get to someone? To peer down at the words written on his skin?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

a moment in the day: the Remainders girl

With Cal, hanging holiday lights at the City of Books. Cal's on the ladder, jingle of the knot of keys latched to his belt loop, and I'm down below keeping the strand untangled. Turn, and to the left of me, hauling stacks of books onto a table, is that young brunette from the Remainders team. She's in profile, and lo and behold: a pregnant belly.

Though I've always loved children, though they've always loved me, I've never really wanted to have children. I was always more child than mother. Blanket in arms for most of my childhood, forever wanting to hold onto something soft to make me comfortable. Sometimes I wonder if it's all those blanket years that make me so full of wanting, now. Wanting that next publication, wanting that next comment on my last silly status update, wanting to fill myself up with cheese. Wanting, sometimes, with nothing on the other end of the sentence - just wanting.

I don't remember how old I was when I stopped carrying the blanket around all the time. Backy Dacky was its name, and it was pink, white and blue knit zigzag stripes that faded with all the holding, faded and got full of holes. As I got older, I used to cut tiny strands from the loose ends of the holes and knot them around necklaces to hang, hidden, under my shirts. I'm not even going to tell you about the time I tried to hide Backy Dacky at the bottom of my carry-on bag to take it with me on my trip to Europe, and I'm not going to tell you how old I was.


Looking at the pregnant Remainders girl - I don't even remember her name - I'm struck by how similar that belly seems to my blanket of long ago. That holding. How lovely, to walk around the bookstore, to go about your workday, with all that joy, all that fear, all that miracle held inside.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


[just because i liked the theme of yesterday's post...]

Step one: grab the garland and scissors and tissue paper and go down to Powells' Green Room early [8:10] in hopes that you can get all four window displays bedecked in the pre-customer quiet before your carts of books come and you have three hours of shelving to take care of.

Step two: pull out first window display case and lay down first length of tissue paper under display books.

Step three: open first skein [yes, i'm calling it a skein] of garland.

Step four: try to get the strand started without it getting tangled up.

Step five: oh, you've got to be kidding me.

Step six: pull it all off the cardboard carefully and try to extract the starting end of garland from the mess it came in.

Step seven, eight, nine, twelve, twenty-four: try to disentangle big knot of red sparkly madness.

Step twenty-five [8:30]: over the loudspeaker: "Attention Powell's employee Gigi, your carts are in in-coming. Gigi, your carts are here."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Step one: put lunch in rectangular tupperware container.

Step two: find that the plastic top that is shaped just like the container is just a hair too big for that particular container.

Step three: stretch up into the cabinet where you can almost reach the piles of containers and tops and pull out another lid that looks just like the first one.

Step four: it doesn't fit.

Step five: start grabbing down every damn top in the cabinet.

Step six: try even the tiny round ones and the big square ones because you're annoyed and like the universe to know.

Step seven: none of them fit.

Step eight: pull out the rectangular tupperware container that looks exactly like the first tupperware container and dump all the contents of your lunch in there and shove the top on extra hard and stuff all the rest of the plastic pieces back into the cabinet.

Step nine: make a huffing sound.

Step ten: wash the original container and put it back in the cabinet even though nothing fits the damn thing.

Step eleven: get hit on the head with falling tupperware container.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

a moment in the night: lovejoy skateboarder

It's 12:30 at night, which is also 12:30 in the morning, and I'm just up from a dream to walk Nicholas in the dry icy cold, because after his 8:00 walk and after the movie, it was pouring and he was asleep under the covers, and we thought we might get away with it. I had fallen asleep right after the movie. Stephen had read a while, then turned the light off not long before Nicholas nosed his way up from the covers and stood by my pillow, staring me down in my sleep.

Being blinked out of sleep by the bathroom wishes of a dog is enough to make your walk across the street feel surreal. It's not raining now, but the sky is deep and starless, and streetlamp light shining down on puddles of shiny yellow leaves all across the sidewalk makes everything look like the detail of a painting Stephen might paint. The way he always says he likes to paint trees that don't look like trees but like beautiful paintings of trees.

Skishing by, down Lovejoy, half gold, half silhouette, is a skateboarder in a pair of those long shorts that come down over your knees, a cap backwards on his head.

Strange how you can so love the place you live and the life you have here and still pine so hard for that other home.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a moment in the day: water clock

I step into the bedroom, reach to the clock and turn down the sound of electric water until the room is silent. Usually just turning down the water makes Stephen come awake, but he's still a long, lean lump under the covers. I shake his shoulder a little and he lifts his head.

"I turned the water off and you didn't wake up," I say.

"Wwww gblg mfff?" he says.

"Good morning," I say. "Would you like coffee or tea? Or me?"

"Coffee, gblg mfff?" he says.

"Would you marry me?" I say.

His eyes blink. He looks like maybe a burglar crawled through the window and proposed to him. "Marry what say?" he says. Then another blink. Then he's awake. "Oh," he says. "Happy anniversary."

On the original day, when Stephen was the one proposing to me and I was the one in the bed, the big moment was bookended by an old dog peeing on the floor and an old cat puking on the carpet. This morning, warm under the covers against Stephen's body a young dog sleeps.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

holiday catalog day

Two days to cram in the week's work at Powell's before Mom and Dad arrive and I take the rest of the week off. This two days happens to include the launch of the Holiday Catalog, which means approximately 55 staff favorite titles chosen to be displayed and sold at thirty percent off. Looking at it here in the glow of my computer screen, that just looks like some innocuous number, 55, but it's a huge endeavor. In the Green Room, it means reducing by half our display of author events books, moving into that open space half of our bestsellers and filling three cases with the Holiday Catalog books. In the Orange Room, this year, it meant completely reconfiguring the layout of about a third of the room, moving tables and spinner racks, taking books from this table and loading them into this display case, and vice versa. [I didn't have to move furniture - my hands were always on the books.]

This year, too, the morning was compounded by another huge display promotion switching out, and it was my job to take care of both. And to assist in the changing of signage posted and hanging in various places where the Holiday Catalog was going. I had help from some excellent coworkers, and still I worked pretty nonstop from seven in the morning to six-thirty last night to get all the books out, the signs up and four window displays put in place.

Holiday Catalog launch is always equal parts stress and exhilaration for me. No, maybe more exhilaration. There's something about running up and down the back stairs, pushing cart after cart down those corridors. Something about the pass of hundreds of books across my hands.

When I got home last night, Stephen had cheese waiting. We got in bed and put our feet up and watched Shirley Temple shorts.

Today: going in an hour early, maybe staying an hour or two late. Dealing with all the carts of books I abandoned at the end of yesterday. Overstock that needs to be put away, books that need to be relabeled for different sections. Posters advertising the Holiday Catalog need to go up. A hundred plus shelf talkers need to be notated with shelf locations and distributed. The books I order need to be tended to.

Then straight from work to an art opening and then home. And then home. Stephen and me and Nicholas and more cheese and a glass of wine. And then Mom and Dad.

so young

found poetry from facebook posts with grammar errors: missing period...

"i don't remember the year we were so young."