Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm Going to Disney World!

Yippee! The happiest place on Earth. Actually, I'm going to the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education - but it's in Disney World! I'm going through the program for the conference and there is a shit load of stuff to attend, all of which looks really interesting. I think there was something about teaching diversity through storytelling, which I already know I'm going to. There's also plenty of stuff related to Indian issues. There's also some cool people attending like John Carlos, Angela Davis and Danny Glover. I can't wait.

And this is also the beginning of a two-year institute at UMaine in which I'll participate in numerous discussions and workshops and eventually graduate with an impressive certificate that will look pretty spiffy on a resume.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I currently have seven stories out for submission. This is the most I've ever had out there. Man, until all seven stories come back rejected, I'm feeling pretty good.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Odd Thoughts That Take You Away From Writing

Yes, I'm writing. In fact I'm in the middle of revisions. But while I was being productive, Word made a curious mark in the document: the software's dictionary doesn't recognize cunt, while at the same time it will recognize motherfucker and cocksucker. If NBC can recognize the word cunt when it comes out of Jane Fonda's mouth, shouldn't Microsoft recognize it as well?

Thursday, February 21, 2008


While John McCain takes a stab at replacing Bob Dole as Viagra's spokesman, I've seem to have taken a blue pill myself - the blue pill of productivity! ...and erections (actually, I need a pill to keep it down*). Yes, I have been a submitting fool this week. I've finished about five different stories that had been in different phases of suspended animation for over a year, submitting three of them so far; and hopfully, I'll submit a couple more by the end of the weekend. I'm feeling pretty goddamn great right now.

And the thing that kicked me in the ass? I'll talk more about that in tomorrow's List of Things. TTFN (Tata For Now**)

*joke stolen from Larry Sanders.
** stolen from Tigger.

Monday, February 18, 2008

You Damn Kids, Get Off My Lawn!

So, I went to Border's during lunch. I had a 40% off coupon and an itch to use it. If you're interested, I bought Boyos by Richard Marinick, Gone, Baby, Gone on DVD (I know, a very Boston working class kind of day) and the latest issue of Poets & Writers (that's the pretentious MFA asshole shining through). But while I was shopping there were a bunch of high school students who were loud and obnoxious scanning the sci-fi and horror shelves. And as I was trying to ignore them, I realized that they were being loud and obnoxious about books, even going so far as to call a writer a "douche bag" because they didn't like his writing. These guys actually read, and more than just one or two books; they were discussing a ton of books. Well read high school students? In a group of about five? I read a lot in high school, but my other friends weren't as interested in books. How great is it that these kids were not only reading, but had found each other? I watched a sales clerk eye the group and I was thinking "No! Don't even think about confronting these guys. Do you really want to alienate what is possible the last five teenagers who read?" The clerk wisely decided to leave them alone and each one bought at least one book.

That's the type of obnoxious I can handle. It was the guy with the Lynard Skynard "Sweet Home Alabama" ring tone who decided a bookstore was the perfect place to talk about his daughter's current stay at the mental hospital. That's the guy to bother.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The List for 2/15 and other stuff

This has been a pretty productive week for me. I finished two flash fiction stories, one of which is available below; submitted a third one this morning and finalized the rough drafts of two 5000 word shorts stories. The shorts are out to my usual readers for feedback. And I'm about to re-examine another story that has been perculating on the hard drive for a few months now and should be ready to see the light of day again. With any luck, that story will be ready for the crit treatment by the middle of next week.

But what about work on the novel? Oh, shut up. Must you ruin everything?

And, since I'm trying to post these things once a week on Fridays, here is the list of stuff I've enjoyed over the past week:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine Flash: The Many Forms of Love

Today is Valentine's Day and to celebrate many of us around the blogosphere have written sweet, romantic flash fiction pieces to celebrate the syrupy, rather nauseating, Greeting Card Industry created holiday. OK, knowing most of these people, this things aren't going to give you any warm fuzzies. More like chilly blisters.

You can find a list of participants on Patti Abbott's blog. My story is below. Read it with someone you love.

The Many Forms of Love

By Stephen Allan

People express their love in different ways. One person can show off her dozen roses, while another can talk about a romantic cruise. Some get chocolates and others a nice dinner followed by a night of dancing. What I can show people are the cigarette burns. They pepper both forearms so I wear long sleeve shirts. I hide them because people won't understand. The other girls pity me because no flower delivery comes for me on Valentine's Day, but what they don't know is that I have a fresh bruise across my back. Tears are temporary, but love is forever.

I didn't understand what others were talking about when they talked about domestic violence. It seemed like such a harsh accusation, something that definitely didn't apply to me. But when he first hit my Lana, I couldn't handle it. She isn't like me. She's too sensitive for that type of love. I tried reasoning with him, but it ended with a smack to my jaw. I guess I deserved it for speaking out of turn, but Lana didn't deserve what she got.

Words aren't something that comes easy to him. Expressions are in the form of drunken yells and flying fists, not talking. When Lana got her first black eye, I asked him to stop. That was when he broke my arm. I wanted to protect her, but a woman in a cast isn't much of a defense.

The night it finally rose up was the night I heard Lana screaming from her bedroom for her father to stop. I didn't know what it was, but it burned within me. I felt it fill my body and I wanted to tear something apart. I wanted to yell, but I kept it in, which only intensified the heat.

To tell you the truth, I don't remember going downstairs to the kitchen. All I can recollect was grabbing the knife and rushing back up to Lana's room. I pushed open the door and saw him naked and on top of her. My Lana was struggling against him.
When I think back on it, I guess it was stupid of me not to think about the length of the knife. The thought of it going all the way through and cutting Lana still bothers me, but like I said, I wasn't thinking.

The first thrust didn't go too deep. I hit his rib cage. But it was enough for him to yell out in pain and turn around. He reached for the knife, but I slashed the blade across his open palm. He closed his hand and cradled it to his chest. I continued to strike, cutting across his arms and shoulders. Crimson streaks of blood began flowing from the fresh slits in his skin. I went for his gut next. There were no bones to stop the knife and I sunk it up to the hilt. He grabbed a handful of hair and tried to pull me away, but I dislodged the weapon from his jelly-like abdomen and hacked at the underside of his arms until he let me go. A clump of my hair remained in his fist. That started a frenzy of slashes. Afterwards, the police said he had lacerations on all extremities, his torso and his face. I don't remember what I hit, so I took their word for it.

What I do remember was the final cut. I stepped back from his bleeding body and looked at him. Any fight he had was gone. He was still alive, but slumped against the pink wallpaper of Lana's room. I turned to look at my daughter who watched from the hallway. She held a bed sheet up to cover her naked body. Her face was drenched in tears. I should have gone to her at that second and hugged her, but I didn't. I looked back at her father and knelt in front of him. There was a moment of calm as I stared into his pain filled eyes. Then I shoved the serrated blade into his throat.

When I looked at my Lana, she was just staring at the floor three feet in front of her; but I hope she knew that what I did, I did for love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2 1/2 Weeks Worth of Crap

Here is some stuff that I've been doing over the past couple of weeks.

The Jeannie Tate Show
**** Loved this movie. This is what Moulin Rouge! should have been. Julie Taymor is director with a definite vision.

** Worst Bond movie ever. So embarrassing.
Wainy Days: "The Pickup"

The final volume in probably the best independent comic ever.

This is one fan-fucking-tastic book. It was like a shot of adrenaline straight into the heart. Highly recommended for noir fiction fans.

** 1/2 A better movie than critics say it is.

*** 1/2 If you didn't know that these were real people, you'd think Christopher Guest had made this movie.
*** Watched this right after A View to a Kill. It's funny to see Roger Moore young and nimble in his first Bond compared to well-aged and stunt double dependent in his last outing.
Terrible meal. My dish tasted like I was eating bouillon cubes. I'll never eat there again.

*** 1/2

Hell on Earth... with really shitty pizza.
It's over. That's all anyone can say. It's over.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Duper Tuesday

So, Super Tuesday is done and gone, but the race isn't finished. Well, in all actuality, Super Tuesday isn't done since New Mexico is really damn close, but we have enough results to tell us...well, nothing really.

OK, McCain is the frontrunner, which means there are still some Republicans with common sense. Huckabee rose from the dead last night (Wow, Jesus. First Lazarus and now Huck) and Mitt seems to be stuck in the mud. The Arkansas Godboy and the Massachusettes Bush Draft Light are splitting the hardcore conservative vote, which is a gift for McCain. While those two idiots vie for that part of the Republicans, you know, the ones who think fags are evil and women have no say about their own bodies and think there are too many Pedros jumping over our border and getting jobs as dishwashers at the Olive Garden - and love George Bush because he's a Christian; McCain is riding the moderate vote to the Republican convention. Unless God Boy or Bush Draft Light drop out of the race, the conservatives will continue to split their vote. And it could be that McCain has a big enough lead that it wouldn't matter if the conservatives agree to either Mitt or Huck. I like McCain, but his biggest disadvantage is the stench of dead bird from that albatross named G.W. that hangs around his neck. He believes the war in Iraq can work, but how much of that is he actually thinks the war is winnable and how much is his faith in the troops? If I were in the military, I would vote for McCain in a heartbeat. And I think that any military personel who doesn't vote for him is voting against their best interests. McCain cares about the military men and women, not just the military industrial complex - his devotion is to the troops. Would McCain be a good candidate? He'd stand a better chance against the inevitable Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket in November than Mitt or Huck, that's for sure. But then again, McCain would have done much much better than Bush against Gore in 2000 - not that the establishment Republicans cared.

So, onto the Dems. Is there any doubt that whoever loses this two-person race is just going to be the vice presidential candidate? I think the only conceivable alteration would be if Obama won and thought he needed Bill Richardson to win the Hispanic vote. But that still leaves the question of who will win the Dem nomination. If they continue to split the votes in relation to the percentages now, there won't be a clear winner and the nom will left to the convention, actually giving the convention some reason to exist other than a drunken party for out-of-towners to pick up hookers or film Rob Lowe sex tapes. Or both. If I had to guess, I'd say Obama is going to get the nomination. Think about history, America is more comfortable giving black males power before giving it to women. Black males were given the right to vote about forty or fifty years before women could go to the polls - of course those black males faced some pretty horrid circumstances to get into the voting booth, but on paper they were a-ok. Voters aren't as comfortable with women in executive positions. How many state governors are female? Sure, they can be elected to the Senate, rarely, but it happens; but if the position is one of singular power, women face a huge obstacle of perception. Do I think Hillary would make a bad president? Compared to what? Bush? Jesus, my four-year-old would be a better president than Bush. Truthfully, there isn't a whole lot of difference between Hillary's and Obama's policy ideals - I think the only difference would be method of execution and the amount of resistance they would receive; Hillary being the more aggressive and having the tougher time. But at least there is some excitement here. As much as they beat each other up, and as much as Hillary lets Bill out of his cage, only to bring him back and claim she didn't send him on the attack, and as much as this love Hillary/hate Obama and vice versa attitudes continue; at least there is some passion in the fight. At least this isn't a foredrawn conclusion just waiting to run its course. Maybe this lasting fight will force people to pay attention. Well, probably not. In all actuality these contests only concern less than half of the population of the U.S. Sad to say the least.

Well, at least I'm enjoying it.

Monday, February 04, 2008


I'm more of a baseball fan anyway.