Thursday, July 30, 2015

Podcast: Critique It's a Nightmare

Episode 21: It's a Nightmare: Dystopian (Feminist) Fantasy Critique

listen                 here  or


Leslie & Alyssa critique the opening pages from Nicole Quinn’s It’s a Nightmare.
They discuss the genre, the function of the comma, the importance of a name, and
suspension of disbelief.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Santa Ana winds

Photo by Eric Massey (@masseyfoto)
When my Papa moved into our house to die I imagined a sweet old man puttering around till one day he wouldn’t wake up, and we’d all cry. That’s not what happened, nor who arrived. He was a gale of hurricane force, that knocked me off course, tempered me, and left me refinished. 

My mother always blamed ill temper on the Santa Anas, downslope winds that originate inland and drive everyone crazy while racing southwest to the water of the California coastline.  Devil wind.  Santa Anas whoosh all of the smog away.  In their wake, everything is crisp, blue skies, a desert landscape climbing to snow capped mountains.  During Santa Anas there’s a notable rise in crime, freeway gun battles, Hollywood actors in rehab,100 mile winds, forest fires, sinus infections, and generally bad tempers all around. Some surgeons say that blood won’t clot predictably during the Santa Anas and they adjust their operating schedules accordingly.

When the wind blows off the desert hot and dry, or fresh off the mountains skin blistering cold, beware. This is what I know of my family and their moods. This is the East wind my father brought with him from the West.  He was a Santa Ana.

My Papa was kidnapped by Lewy Body dementia. Held hostage by its hallucinations, he held us all captive there too.  

Papa had caregivers around the clock.  A revolving cast of personalities that came and went, depending upon their capacity for aggressive insanity.  Papa sent one nurse to the E.R.  
While awake, he was visited by the ghosts of long gone friends and family, with whom he brokered forgiveness, and assigned blame, all while offering them breakfast.

At night this ninety-four year old retired rocket scientist, who could barely leave his wheelchair when awake, was a spy on a mission in his dreams. In those dreams turned nightmare we were all the enemy, unseen voices, ever on the attack. He bit, he punched, he protected himself. He crawled from under his bed as the wreckage of bombed buildings.  He balanced on the bedside table to wave in incoming aircraft.  We lived at the eye of his storm.

But Santa Ana winds are seasonal, inflaming everything as they whirl towards the Pacific Ocean to be absorbed and neutralized.  The devil wind always ends.  The crime rate returns to normal and more blood clots according to routine.  Papa’s gone now, and, as in the wake of the Santa Anas, the atmosphere is recharged, it’s clean. When the wind blows, sometimes the cradle rocks and the bough does break, and crocuses still poke their heads up out of the snow.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Harlem Book Fair

Mina and I will be exhibitors at The Harlem Book Fair, July 18
You can find us  on 135th st, between Lenox Ave and Adam Clayton Powell

In Writer's Row: Blue Barn Productions - R6