Aug 29, 2009

So I wrote before about staying with Lee and Annaliese Moyer in Portland, both amazing artists and the sweetest people ever, and doing a mermaid shoot with Annaliese in the giant old-fashioned mermaid tank they keep in their carport because that's the kind of people they IS.

Here are some more proofs from that day:

I admit that blank tank tops, albeit SEQUINNED ONES, aren't the most mermaidly attire, and so on a future visit to Portland and chez Moyer I will have to change it up. As one artiste friend told, me "more pearls, less Danskin!" But I loves them -- and I love all of Annaliese's photos -- and think the last close-up one may be the author photo for the new book.

Also, lookit these interviews with yours truly at Book Chick City and Sassy Minx. These things take forever you know so you really ought to at least go blow them a kiss.

Ok I shall now go BACK TO WORK. Mwah!
So I have a week and a half left here in Pennsylvania before I head off to NYC for some days and then GERMANY till winter. After that I think I might settle in a cute little abode in a hicky town around here in central PA, like for example the town over the mountain in which my accordion teacher lives. I have not practiced that thing for months now and it is way too heavy to lug anywhere like for example Berlin HOWEVER come December I shall make up for lost time and practice with endless diligence and glamour and pure-of-heartedness. That is the plan.

In the meantime, I am working to finish MERMAID (the official title now, after SEA QUEEN was nixed) before I go. I was set to finish a month ago but then got edits/notes back from both my editors (from Crown in the US and Headline in the UK, both great, great editors) on the first half of the book, and some stuff affected the rest of the book, and so it's been a bit longer. It occurred to me I should write more about WRITING on this blog, maybe even talk word counts and other awful things, as that might shame me into being more diligent generally. Shame is really much more effective than anything else, even dough and glory, I've found.

Anyway, in addition to writing with varying levels of effectiveness I have of late also seen many many movies, I mean I even saw POST GRAD, which was actually quite alarming. I mean the girl, this 22 year old just graduating from college, really wants this publishing job and she doesn't get it and then she spends like the whole movie trying trying to get a job, any job, and then near the end she gets, FINALLY, her dream job, the one at the publishing house, and she works and works and then has this epiphany -- through her idiotic cradle robbing neighbor -- that relationships are way more important than careers, and so she QUITS the job and flies cross country to NYC to shack up with this dood who's been pining for her forever but that she had no interest in until that point. And she doesn't even call him first. I mean honestly, it's like the ending of Devil Wears Prada where after struggling through the whole movie and paying all her dues the girl quits her job to get back with her loser boyfriend.

Kids today!

I really liked ORPHAN tho (!!!) as well as THE PERFECT GETAWAY and DISTRICT 9. And I totally plan to like FINAL DESTINATION 3D and wear the glasses with much flair. I also liked Julie and Julia and even vaguely wanted to cook something after, tho I bravely resisted. The Time Travelers Wife and Ugly Truth nearly killed me however and just mentioning them right now is making me woozy. Oh but I liked Funny People.

I've also seen a couple plays at the MILLBROOK PLAYHOUSE, this cabaret theater in a barn in Mill Hall, PA, where you sit at picnic tables and bring food and drink and watch totally first rate theater. I went once with my parents and once with the boy with whom I be smitten, and both times we brought BBQ from this place across the street, but so many people show up with these huge spreads, I mean Tupperware full of casseroles and vegetables and dip and wine glasses and bottles, and I bet there are at least two Tupperware bins full of ambrosia at every performance. One of the plays, Shirley Valentine, was so fantastic I done started crying. Well, delicately weeping, in a garbo-y fashion, to be accurate.

I have more mermaid photos to post and I'm sure many MANY more fascinating things to discuss but I am toooo tired. Good night.

Aug 16, 2009

Please admire this most luxurious, glamorous, zaftig, Jean-Harlowesque feline named Elly, who died last night in typical dramatical style at Joi and Krysztof's house in Lawrence, Kansas. Here she is posing in Joi's Brooklyn garden a few years ago. I know. You expect Clark Gable to appear any second to whisk her away.

Aug 11, 2009

So look at this beautiful photo Annaliese took of Alys holding mah book whilst gorgeously decorated with Wendy's henna art:

And there is this one, too, tho clearly the book selection is OKAY but not QUITE as amazin:

How gorgeous is that girl and that henna and them photos?

In other riveting news, I must say that I just had the most wondrous and romantical weekend. This most beauteous guy that I like, PAT, who lives in Pittsburgh, drove here to State College on Saturday and we had lunch with my parents (who loved him) and then the two of us went to Shaver's Creek to visit the RAPTOR CENTER. We gazed upon hawks and owls and eagles and kestrels and then watched a bird show in which we learned many fascinating facts including that the feathers of these birds are prey are illegal to own and so all extras get shipped to a FEATHER BANK in Colorado where Native Americans with special privileges can go get them and use them for ceremonies. A feather bank!

I also fell madly in love with this barred owl:

He was in this big big cage like all the others birds but he was the only one sitting right at the ledge and looking out alluringly, like an Amsterdam lady of the night. When he shut his eyes (and when he winked at me!) his eyelids were fuzzy and yellow, which I must say was highly glamorous as well as enviable. And the feathers around his face looked like tiny fishbones and apparently stick right out at you in a totally weird way when he's all a flutter. I was starting to plot the many methods by which I could BREAK HIM OUT and take him home with me as my pet and best friend when I realized that might be a little too unfortunately HARRY POTTERESQUE. I also by the way fell in love with a feisty little kestrel named Persephone, who had a habit of flicking up her tail in a suspiciously burlesque manner.

Then Pat and I took a walk on this lovely trail through the woods, and then, just as a thunderstorm was brewing, took off to Pittsburgh, driving through a gorgeous rainfall and then straight into a spectacular sunset as if we was on two horses side by side. For dinner we stopped and glamorously had sundaes at McDonald's. I know.

On Sunday Pat took me to the most adorable restaurant, GYPSY CAFE, for lunch, and not only did I love the place but they were having a JOHN HUGHES BRUNCH, as they have timely themes every week, and so I had some Pretty in Pink penne pesto pasta. Plus they were playing the Psychadelic Furs and the Smiths and all manner of angst filled 80s song. The owner came over and told us about the white trash bbq Dr. Sketchy's she will be modelling in next week and my heart done filled with love for this Pennsylvania city which I believe is highly underrated.

After, we went to the NATIONAL AVIARY (by the way I am scheming and plotting for a new book that will involve falcons) and spent a few hours wandering through rainforests and wetlands with crazy birds swooping around everywhere and watching penguins and lories and other creatures being fed and listening to mini lectures and so on.

At one point there were all these kids in the sprawling wetlands room and I mean there were flamingos and pelicans and toucans and all kinds of crazy birds in there but when one kid spotted a tiny tiny tiny worm on the floor there was general chaos and all them moppets gathered like it was the most exciting event ever on this earth:

For a worm!

Anyway, then we went off to the waterfront and had drinks at some bar and then we went to the movies and saw FUNNY PEOPLE and split a bag of popcorn and it was just the loveliest day and then yesterday we spent most of the day working together, him drawing and me reading, and then he done drove me home last night through more rain and lightning and I mean really, it was so sweet and romantical, and this guy is surely some adorable and I might be a bit smitten, but now I must get back to work and finally finish this damn book.

The end.

Aug 7, 2009

Ok so I spent last weekend in a field in Eugene, Oregon, at FAERIEWORLDS. Like I said, I wrote about it here, how I'd heard about this huge fairy festival on the west coast, how I'd met my friend Signe who was going and we decided to go together (tho she ended up not being able to attend), how I talked to the guy behind the festival and was convinced to just do it up, get a booth and do advertising and the whole nine, and how I felt like well if there is a place where thousands of wing wearers gather, maybe I should bring them my damn book! I mean maybe a few of them could really, REALLY relate to Lil, I thought, the main character in Godmother who's stuck in NYC but actually a full-on fairy with wings.

I have to say tho that I totally initially underestimated what a big project it is, to set up a booth in a 10 by 10 plot of land with not one thing in it. I mean I thought when I first rented my booth that I was renting a BOOTH, like I would show up and set down some books and be open for bidness, but then I realized I would have to get a tent and rent a table and decorate the whole thing and by the time all was said and done if I sold every book I brought I would like maybe cover what it cost to buy the tent and fill and decorate it, but I definitely wouldn't cover what it cost to be at the festival in the first place and would certainly not MAKE any moolah. But that wasn't my aim, anyway. Still. It was some expensive, being there!

But I never go to festivals. And I never vend things. And I never camp. And I never celebrate fairies and such, so it was lots and lots of firsts for me and that is never a bad thing, in my humble opinione.

So anyway, after our wondrous tour of wateralls with Mr Lee Moyer and friends, Barb and I drive down to Eugene Thursday afternoon and show up at the site at like 7. The festival wouldn't open to the public until the next day at 2pm, but I was VERY SUSPICIOUS of our abilities to set up both this big white festival tent -- it was EZ UP supposedly, but sadly, I have been known to buy a bookshelf from IKEA and NOT BE ABLE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO SET IT UP -- as well as the camping tent that Circle23 generously loaned to us (and Lee and Annaliese loaned us the sleeping bags and other accoutrements for inside). I figured if we had any problems tho, the antler boys would come to our rescue.

I had only perused a few photos from Faerieworlds and had seen one of a boy walking by with antlers, and was sort of kidding about the antlers.... But as it turns out I think possibly every single dood on that field was be-antlered or be-horned in some manner. Tho only a handful of the truly dedicated seemed to also wear hooves.

Anyway, as I wisely predicted, Barb and I opened both tents and then stared down at them weeping, unable to figure them out even slightly. And was it the antler boys who gallantly came to our rescue? NO. It was the girls from Boston in the next booth who saw our tears and leapt up and in a whoosh of superheroic girl powerness assembled our tents within seconds. In fact the whole weekend for me seemed a whole lot about girl heroics and bonding as our neighbors on the one side helped us in innumerable ways and then, to the other, there was a lovely flame-haired woman who ended up needing our help to close her booth the first night because her man had passed out drunk.


So here are the girls who kept Barb and me from having inelegant breakdowns right there on that grass field:

The middle girl, Sarah, was selling tutus she'd made by hand and so look at our view when we turned to our right:

It was like staring at spun sugar! How can you not love a tutu? I ended up buying about 50000 from her at a cut rate to give to all the little girls I know (including the book-writing, Tessa-and-Mary-drawing Zoe) plus some adults. I even bought one for the exceedingly fashionable Miss Boo Berry:

And here, by the way, was my booth:

So anyway, I was ALSO SAVED last weekend by the wondrous and generous Ms Mia Nutick and Mr Ryan Nutick, whom I finally got to meet after knowing for 50000 years online and who whisked me away from the festival on Sunday evening and gave me a ride back to Portland, after Barb up and abandoned me to go have adventures in SEATTLE on Sunday morning. The nerve! After some other plans fell through I emailed Mia just days before the festival and she said it would be no problem for them to take me and I just about fainted with relief cause if there is one place I don't want to be stranded it's on a grass field in Oregon during a heat wave. I'm just saying.

SO here they are, my other saviors to whom I am forever grateful, standing under some elegantly draped fabric in my lovely booth. Plus not only did they whisk me out of there but they kindly let me in on one of the best things at the festival: ICE COLD MINT TEA at one of the food booths in the back.

Without said tea, I might have died.

They also kindly took my phone to their hotel room the first night and charged it, after the power our booth was supposed to have didn't work. This allowed me to continue to post obnoxious photos and updates to Facebook which of course is always very important.

I also, as I mentioned, met up with the lovely Wendy Rover and Her husband Vargus Pike, tho I sadly did not have no time to get me no henna gorgeousness and plus I suspect it would have melted right off of my poor poor pale skin anyways. Between this festival and my 4th of July in Gettysburg, where I got burnt so badly after an hour in the sun (I had forgotten to put on sunscreen!) that my chest blistered... my shoulders and chest are now about 5000 shades of pink and red and look a bit like an abstract art project.

Anyway, so the festival itself was three days long and led me to some important conclusions about myself. These are just the more.... negative things:


Oh my god I almost fainted writing that list, from pure horror.

But what I did like?

Were all the lovely people all elaborately dressed up and participating in this -- really, when it comes down to it -- completely splendid, gorgeous fantasy. And every kind of person: tons of babies and little kids running around with wings on their backs and flowers twisted through their hair, old ladies decked out like queens, all those men in fake fur pants and antlers and skirts... I can't possibly do justice to the wild array of characters and costumes surrounding us, or the hours Barb and I spent in that booth just watching people go by, or watching them dance in front of the main stage, which we were right next to... Tons of people dancing to fiddle-y kind of fairy music... Even if you yourself aint all that into twirling on grass fields, you just have to love the kind of gorgeous abandon and freedom all them people are feeling and participating in. Really, really lovely. And I swear there were a few moments when the sun was setting and sorta melting over the field and everything seemed all quiet and it was just wings everywhere, and hula hoops, and dancing, and creatures from myth emerging from every corner, and a thousand people sort of caught in their own moments of bliss, and at those moments I was like WELL MY GOODNESS LOOK AT THIS and it just about took my breath away.

I also really like MOTEL 6, which come Saturday saved us from the camping and the porta potties and the two-hour lines for showers. Thank you, Motel 6!

And I did, actually, sell a lot of books and talk to a lot lot lot of people about it, and really, it is strange how people are with books I think. I mean some people get starstruck just knowing you WROTE A BOOK, even if they have no idea what it is, and children just can't even believe you did something so magical, and some people are just downright suspicious wondering what you trying to pull. And some people are like "oh a book!" and come up like you have a table of sweets set out for them, and some people see a book and immediately glaze over -- that is, until they see the pirate shack two booths down and break into a dead run.

I am awfully glad I went, though. But at the end I gave my festival tent and all the decor inside it to Ms. Wendy for her magical henna workings, as she will put it to much, MUCH better use than I in the future.

The end.
If you are here reading this, then you should obviously go become a fan of Godmother on Facebook. I mean really.

Aug 6, 2009

So I think I might possibly be slightly momentarily obsessed with the movie (500) Days of Summer, which I thought was just lovely and sad and painful and funny and sweet and goofy, like all these things at once, sort of slight but in this perfect perfect soft way. I saw it with Eric and Shax just before I headed to Oregon, and then saw it again in NYC with my mama. I didn't want to see it again but she was visiting my sister and it was at the right time and I knew she'd like it... and then I loved it even more the second time and was able to sit back and admire (and was surprised by, when I was able to see its workings better) how smartly and ingeniously it was made. There's this bit I love especially, when the Joseph Gordon-Levitt (he's SO good in this, and was so amazing in Mysterious Skin, which I was obsessed with when it came out and might be one of my favorite movies ever, and in which he plays an entirely different kind of character) character attends a party at the Zooey Deschanel character's place and the screen splits and we see the night play out the way it really happened and the way he wanted it to happen, and it's all set to Regina Spektor's song "Hero," and it's like the most mundane, painful experience told in this completely original, beautiful way. And normally I have little patience for cutesy, gimmicky kinds of things, which this should have been, but the emotions underlying it were so delicate and raw and it just all worked for me and now I have the soundtrack and am all about that song. And that bit ends in this remarkable way, too, with the cityscape shifting to a drawing that slowly gets erased. Byooootful!
So I'm back in Pennsylvania now after a couple quick visits to NYC and a long lovely week in Oregon, where I met up with my friend Barb and stayed first with the wondrous Lee and Annaliese Moyer, who took photos of us in mermaid tanks and showed us many many waterfalls and plied us with Voodoo Doughnuts, and then with the astonishing Lana Guerra and Jesse Reno, who took us to fantastical Portland places with blueberry lime margaritas and rose lemonade and artwork everywhere everywhere and helped us prepare for FAERIEWORLDS, which was last weekend on a big grassy field in Eugene, Oregon. I will write about that later but my blog post for Powell's about the festival is here. In Portland we also spent a day with Roger aka Circle23, who took photos of us in a botanical garden and then took us to meet his girlfriend Carolee, a gorgeous librarian who magically repairs ancient, crumbling books in a mysterious library workshop. Wednesday night was my reading at Powell's and drinks after at GILT where all the above were present as well as, among others, the charming Renee Bosler, whom I finally got to meet after years of admiring her gorgeous artwork, and the byoooteous Kimberly Warner-Cohen, whom I saw read from her book Sex, Blood and Rock 'n' Roll in NYC, and her very funny husband. Also, I got to drink a fancy cocktail called GLITTER PANTS and afterwards meet a satanist with horns in his head.

Anyway, we had many adventures and it is rather overwhelming to have been surrounded by such talented people, at least when attempting to write BLOG POSTS about it, so here is some GLAMOROUS HIGHLIGHTS:

1. So Annaliese Moyer is this fantastic photographer who has acquired an amazing old magician's tank that sits outside of her and Lee's magical Portland house and that she occasionally fills with water in order to take mermaid photos extraordinaire. OF COURSE I was very happy to participate and slathered on a ton of makeup and shimmied into one of her mermaid tails and spent at least an hour or two mastering the art of holding still and keeping my eyes open underwater while she elegantly glided about dressed like a jewel thief and taking photos. Here is one result and there are more on their way, which I can't wait to see! Barb got in the tank too for a bit and there are several shots of us together, as well as a few of me and Annaliese, who jumped in at the end. By which time my eyes were bright bright red and stinging but one must always suffer a bit for beauty, ain't it the truth. Look! And look at the stunning horse photos she does as well.

Ain't that something?

And here are Barb and me pre immersion:

2. So Roger/Circle23, who is an experimental phoptographer responsible for, among many other things, this photo of Lana that I love love love

(isn't it so beautiful and disturbing? doesn't she look so peaceful?) and many other beautiful photos involving suspension and wire corsets and the like (he also has this set of photos printed on canvas that he showed us where these women seem to be struggling out of nylon and out of the canvas itself... totally strange and beautiful and frightening..) took Barb and me to a botanical garden on Wednesday and took a ton of sweet photos like these

and it was very fun despite the GHASTLY HEAT and treacherous pathways that he gallantly and sweetly un-spiderwebbed for us with his tripod lance before we stepped through like delicate flowers.

Oh and here is a picture of Lana, Jesse, me and Roger hanging out at the Pied Cow:

3. Oh I have to mention how at Powell's the lovely 11-year-old Zoe, daughter of the henna genius Ms. Wendy Rover, whom I would meet at Faerieworlds, and her huge-hearted husband Vargas, whom Zoe dragged to Powell's, presented me with two drawings she had done of Mary Finn and Tessa Riley of my first book Rain Village. Now how sweet is this:

I MEAN REALLY. Plus Zoe is currently writing HER FIRST BOOK.

Speaking of brilliant girls, Barb and I spent Thursday with Lee as well as his houseguest Mike and his visiting niece (actually I think she is Annaliese's niece) Alys, who is 16 and funny and smart as a whip, I mean smart smart smart... At one point I caught Alys reading Godmother whilst also eating a Captain Crunch Voodoo Doughnut outside of one of the waterfalls Lee took us to. I wish all people could read my book in such rarefied circustances. Look:

And here by the way is our tour guide Lee looking especially messianic whilst returning from one of the falls, which is thundering and glowing to his left, out of the photo:

And Lee with Barb, I think at Crown Point:

Oh and me with Barb waiting for Mike, Lee and Alys to return from an especially treacherous path to some stunning fall that we were too lazy to see. I know. But thank goodness for digital cameras.

4. ALSO, I just have to say that being in Lee and Annaliese's house, where you're surrounded by art, including these gorgeous huge paintings that Lee made for Annaliese when he was wooing her (hey no one's ever painted me squat!), and then Jesse and Lana's house, which is like an explosion, I mean Jesse's amazing paintings everywhere everywhere, hung up and stacked up and spread across the floor, and Lana's dolls and clothes and wigs bursting from every corner, in every every color... It is some amazing.

But I have been writing this for too long now so more later and I leave you with this fearsome photo of Lana's cat BOO BERRY

The end.