A Poem I wrote in 1992


When the dark night broke out against the land

They called us wicked.

When the fire came, and tore on through the day

They called it justice.

When we died, and our skin popped and roasted on the spit

We cursed them all.

And still we remain

We crawl

We doom

And yes we are



23 February 2007

Scrotums Being Cut Out
I have been thinking about writing in terms of the process of the thing, the way the idea crawls out of the authors head and manages to take on a life of its own independently. This image has been stuck in my head for days - that of Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters of the Third Kind sculpting his mashed potatoes - changing them from a big white blob into a mountain. I feel like that when I write - I am a massive reviser and polisher. Sometimes it bogs me down.

And on and on and on...

Speaking of scrotums, everyone should immediately go out and buy a copy of Susan Patron's Newbury Award Winning book, The Higher Power of Lucky, whether you have kids or not. It's catching flak from certain school librarian-types and uptight/confused community members for using the word scrotum in the text. Maybe the publisher should release a version with scrotum replaced by Hoo-Ha. What is wrong with these people?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet."

You said it Will...

20 February 2007

Hair, Love Songs, and the Number 42
Not even through the first chapter of the Lilith novel and it is already turning into a love song to my beloved New Orleans post-Katrina. I am in love with that city, no doubt about it. I am, in fact, in love with the entire state of Louisiana. I was born and raised here - I have lived in every part and explored most of it extensively. What is it about this place? I love the literature, the art, the music. I am fascinated by how we natives look at Her - we are fiercely loyal bunch, in spite of the fact that everyone is aware of how many problems there are to fix.

Was having a discussion about that very topic the other day on the way home from a trip to Baton Rouge - what it is about this place that spawns so many artists. We speculated that it is the poverty, or perhaps the unique mixture of cultures found here, or just the history in general, hardships and prejudices, various booms and busts. Suffering inspires art, no doubt about that. And we have had more than our share of suffering over the years.

Recently the powers that be have been pushing very hard to update us, to try and attract more technology-driven industries here. Good idea, we need that for sure, but I wonder what the face of Louisiana would look like with a Silicon Valley shine to it. Of course, if nothing's done about the coast, we'll all be underwater in 50 years anyway and it'll all be a memory. Recorded in the art...

Very cool interview/photo essay with Neil Gaiman by Susan Henderson over at LitPark this morning. It's all about Neil's HAIR. I laughed, but strangely enough, I couldn't look away. Interspersed with cool quotes from Fragile Things.

Speaking of Louisiana Art, etc. I caught up on my Anne Rice news last night. I had sort of lost touch/interest in her since she moved from New Orleans to California. I vaguely recalled she had published a new book on the life of Christ, but I hadn't even bothered to look at it. At one time I was a huge fan of hers - she was at the height of her popularity when I was in college going through my obligatory vampire interest stage. Seems in the interim she has regained her faith in God and has returned to the Mother Church. Interesting. I am curious about how that happened. I lost my faith long ago but I like to read accounts of both sides of the great debate. Am currently reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. A few years ago I followed C.S. Lewis' journey back to faith. I may go and buy the book simply to read her notes on the subject. It is THE great question which in one form or another shapes every life on this planet. Where do we come from, where are we going. We all want to know. At the moment I am leaning towards Dawkins' view that we are evolutionarily hardwired for it. We want an explanation for things, and in the absence of something obvious, we make it up. It is part of our DNA.

In any case, human nature fascinates me, and a great part of Lilith's character stems from her relationship to her father Yahweh, so I have a dual interest in exploring the subject.

07 February 2007

Just Do It
I, like most writers I imagine, am extremely critical of my own work. Most of the time I read through what I've written and I just hate it, for one reason or another. I bog myself down in endless drafts, re-writes, and agonizing thoughts of it just not being good enough. This is a big problem for me- to the point that it literally paralyzes my pen. The other night I was sitting, staring at the pages I have written so far on my novel, and suddenly this thought popped into my head - who gives a damn? I mean, really, who cares if this sucks huge purple oranges? I write because I love to, because I am compelled to. I write because it is what I am meant to do. If that means I never make a dime from it, and no one ever reads what I have created beyond myself and my few friends, then so what?

From that astonishing revelation I have determined to go at this project with a new tact- I just sit down and write. A thousand words a day, perhaps, whatever falls into my brain. I write, and I write, and I write. I write until this book is finished. THEN, and only then, will I go back and start the drafting process, the rewrites, and the tweaking. At least at that point I will have an opus to be magnum.

06 February 2007

A Woman's Right to Choose - Rebuttal to Letter in Lafayette Daily Advertiser

So-called “Right to Life” activists condemn Roe v. Wade and decry what they call the massive killing of babies in the years since its ruling, but can we not remember the thousands of women every year who died as a result of botched abortions in this country before 1973? There are graves littering every state containing the bodies of women who were butchered in motel rooms or died horrifying deaths at their own hands because they were terrified of the consequences of bringing a baby into the world. Were their lives not of worth?

In Leslie Alexander’s guest column of February 4, 2007, she speaks of girls giving birth at the prom or in a hotel room, leaving the babies to die in garbage dumps. How is this an argument against abortion? These girls are the very ones who should be given a chance to end their pregnancies in a clean, safe environment.

It is easy to sit back and pass judgment on someone else from our comfortable middle-class living rooms. It is easy to point a finger at the girl who was impregnated by her own father, and say, “You need parental consent for an abortion,” or, even worse, “You should carry that child and give birth to it.” It is easy to look at a poor working mother, making a minimum wage (which in this country isn’t even enough to feed one person, much less a family), and tell her she has to carry and find a way to feed yet another child she can’t afford. Pro-Lifers advocate adoption as an option – but how many of you are willing to adopt one of these kids, who otherwise will languish their entire childhoods in orphanages or foster homes? Our social services system is overtaxed now with cases of abuse and neglect of unwanted children.

Ms. Alexander also speaks of embryonic stem cell research as a way we are wiping out “entire generations” of children, and claims there have been no successful experiments using these cells. Of course, it should be obvious that scientists who advocate their use are only doing so for evil, sadistic purposes! How absurd! A quick Google search brings up hundreds of stories of success with embryonic stem cells helping to find cures for everything from cancer and diabetes to Parkinson’s and paralysis. It should also be noted that these cells are not obtained through abortion, but through the use of in vitro fertilized eggs which have been given approval by the donors for use in scientific research. They are not a baby – they are groups of a couple hundred cells that were created in a Petri dish.

If Pro-Life groups really want to reduce the number of abortions every year, they should focus on pregnancy prevention instead of taking away a woman’s right to choose. Instead of taking upon ourselves the right to judge another for a deeply personal decision, we should provide all women with comprehensive sex education and easily accessible birth control. Ending reproductive freedom rights is not the answer.

05 February 2007

Here's a shout-out to Neil Gaiman who has a current campaign going to google-bomb radio show host Penn Jillette . I love Neil's blog - I read it nearly every day. Very cool as he not only writes about the process of writing as-seen-through-the-eyes-of-someone-who-is-successful-at-it, but he frequently posts interesting and varied links to tidbits on subjects ranging from art to music, travel, gp silliness and just being a parent. He also answers lots of his fans' questions, from the reasonable to the slightly kooky. Seems like a real decent guy (not to mention a fabulously imaginitive author).

I am fired up politically right now. My local excuse for a newspaper published a "guest column" today on the subject of abortion. Now, granted, it was on the OPINION page, and as a true believer in free speech I have to adhere to the view that this woman has a right to scream from whichever rooftop she desires every idiotic belief she wants to espouse. However, this particular newspaper is largely biased in the Republican/Right-Wing/South Louisiana vein, and so it is very, very rare for them to print opinions which differ from those held by the main body of their subscription and advertising customers. I know how the economics of a successful business work, but man, whatever happened to the media's job of being the voice of all the people?

I suppose the idea of unbiased media coverage is more or less a fantasy in this day and age, when journalism for the most part has been reduced to sound bites and publicity stunts, but I know there are some journalists and news outlets who have, and who do, try to present both sides of every issue. In the spirit of that little dream which refuses to die, I plan to fire off a letter to this newspaper in the (vain, I know) hope that it will be published as a rebuttal to the insane (not to mention outright wrong) information this woman tried to pass off as fact in her "column". It's time that those of us in Louisiana who are educated and informed about the issues make ourselves heard.

I'll post my rebuttal column here when it's ready.

03 February 2007

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