Today’s lotto drawing is apparently up to $640 Million. This is funny because we as a society get really excited about $500 Million but not $200 Million — chump change, really. But I really do enjoy the collective excitement. The crackle in the air when it gets discussed. I like being a “new” lotto ticket buyer. I like thinking about all the people just like me who have their little tickets tucked safely away in their purses or pockets or paperback who have allowed themselves just a few moments to dream.

I read a quote by one gentleman who described it as cheap entertainment — a license to daydream for a few days. As a writer, I daydream quite a bit (it’s one of my best skills), but I don’t daydream much for myself anymore. So I thought I’d join in. If the lotto ticket in my little red purse is the winner, here’s what I’d do:

  1. Procure and imbibe a large amount of champagne (Krug)
  2. Re-hire the house cleaners
  3. Get a lawyer and a financial advisor
  4. Pick a pen name so that I could keep writing
  5. Buy house with big windows, maybe a water view and an office for both of us. And that elusive “one more room” that everyone needs.
  6. Buy Adam a Lambo or a new Vette
  7. Buy self a restored Lotus Esprit Turbo or Alpha Brera
  8. Travel to Germany at least twice a year
  9. Spend more time in LA and Napa/Sonoma
  10. Buy spare house in Montana
  11. Invest
  12. Be a philanthropist — try to get on some boards. I haven’t been on a board since college. I want to be on a board.
  13. Overhaul wardrobe, buy more shoes
  14. Get one of those walk in glamour closets with a club chair or some such nonsense.

There isn’t much more I would change. Of course I would make sure our families were secured for the future, etc. But in our own lives, there’s really not much more that I would change with more money. If I could I’d throw the whole wad to get rid of Pop’s lung cancer, but it doesn’t work that way. I really couldn’t be much happier.



Because from time to time I think I may want to use exercise excerpts in my real life writing, I’ve made my exercises private going forward. I’m still aiming to write at least one per day while working on shorter stories and my longer concepts. I love the idea of public accountability, but it seems untenable these days with electronic publishing and short story rights. I’ll chalk this up to yet another lesson learned about the ‘business of writing.’

Fighting hate with hate…


I’ve been thinking a bit about the news lately — especially hate crimes: the Trayvon Martin murder and the NOM bullshit. I’ve been listening to a lot of what’s being said by various people and watching responses via social media. And what I begin to wonder is again about our rhetoric.

I don’t think we can fight hate with hate and violence with violence. Calling someone a hairy-nippled cuntbag sure feels great, but it doesn’t actually do anything to solve the issues of intolerance and racism. There is indeed a time for anger, but I think we do well to try to temper that as we try to have a healing dialogue as a nation.

Wishful thinking.

Two kinds of rejection

In February, I joined a record number of people in applying for Clarion West, a prestigious six week intensive workshop for promising writers in the Speculative Fiction genre. I knew my odds were slim and while most applicants spent most of March biting their nails, I was distracted by Pop’s diagnosis and the accompanying personal world shift. I *almost* hoped I wouldn’t get in because maybe I wouldn’t be able to go with everything that was going on. But then I really did want to get in because it would be an incomparable experience, a new community, an intensive opportunity to share critiques — to learn to be a better reader and writer.

I received my rejection letter this week. I archived it away and felt a sense of completion, regret, relief. But then curiosity got the better of me. And I started to look at the twitters. A few people wrote blog posts about their rejections. Some even posted rejection letters. In the middle, some said:

We realize this is a disappointment, but hope you will apply to Clarion West in the future as our readers ranked your work highly.

Then, like mine, it said:

We wish you the best with your writing, and hope you have a productive summer. Thank you again for your interest in Clarion West.

And all of a sudden, I felt terrible. I received no middle paragraph. No encouragement to try again. No high ranking from readers. So how bad was I? Is there another letter that states, “Please never apply again, you ignorant hack” putting me squarely in the mediocre tier, or am I that hack? Oh god, I’m the hack! What am I doing? Just why do I think that I have any talent at all?

Then I think, snap the fuck out of it. This is the biz, these are the breaks. Show them or don’t. If you’re going to whine, go crawling back into finance and put up with moronic, chauvinistic yes-men for another 20 years while watching your soul die.

On second thought, let’s just keep those rejection letters coming.


Back here in Montana, my grandfather has been taking stock of things. Though we still don’t have an *official* diagnosis — that will happen Monday — we’ve vacillated between insisting everything will be fine to envisioning the worst possible scenarios.

He has been reflecting a lot. We get hilarious tales of life in the army — how they hid the burned creamed corn from the angry sergeant who’d been looking forward to eating it to how he and his brawny friends harassed the owner of the neighborhood’s first compact car by picking it up and wedging it between trees and dumpsters. He’s supposed to gain weight so we talk a lot about food. And then there was this conversation:

“What exactly is homophobia? Does it mean that you hurt people who are gay?”

Continue reading