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A writer who grew up wearing flip-flops...

Hello, all!  Here's my (still) much neglected web site of all things Mel.  Life is still chaotic (with me joining the ranks of motherhood and feverishly working on my dissertation), and I realize I haven't been updating myself here the way I should.  I'll try to do better in 2012.
Thanks for visiting!
P.S.  Buy my book! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yet another round...
Horn tooting alert: I have a poem in the Summer issue of Goblin Fruit (  I also managed to miss my big debut in Strange Horizons (I thought my piece was going to be featured on July 18.  Turns out it was published on June 18.)  So now it's archived but you can still find it here:  I should add a trigger warning for this poem, since it deals with rape and its aftermath and has some strong language
8:26 am pdt

Monday, March 26, 2012

More horn-tooting
So this week I've emerged from my bitterness sauna and into my horn-tooting studio. (God, sometimes I really miss playing the trumpet...) Another of my scifaiku got published in inkscrawl, a short poetry journal that publishes a lot of wonderful stuff. So, hurrah for scifaiku! And regular haiku! And all the short poetry forms I can get my hands on while I slog through my never-ending dissertation! Seriously, writing small is a wonderful break from writing enormous sentences about Shakespeare and Falstaff and archives and dramatic personae. You don't even want to know...
8:30 am pst

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bitter as hell...
You know, I think there are people who expect me to be a bitter, awful person. This may be because I'm completely paranoid, or because at heart I *am* a bitter, awful person. Really. Like Dryden, I feel nothing but bile-filled rage toward the many hacks out there who are enjoying more success than me. Said hacks know who they are. Then I wonder to myself if I'm just a talentless hack, and that's why no one listens to or understands or cares about my work besides me. THAT'S why I get rejections left and right. THAT'S why many of my sentences make my innards wrench with pain when I read them a few days (hours/minutes/seconds) later. Hackitude. I have no excuse for that.

Then there's the bitterness. That could be contributing to my voice-shrieking-in-the-wilderness lack of appreciators. Or maybe it's a fun combination of human misery and unpleasantness...

But then again, I've had a modicum of success, too. I always have to admit that, because I know of plenty of strong writers who've had little-to-no success, and I'm sure they'd be pissed if they knew I was whining about my own bitterness. Bitterness, in fact, is quite the sauna of egotism--retreat and luxuriate in your own personal snit. Bitterness may be almost as good as writing. Maybe even better!

Aw, crumbcakes...probably should retract what's in this whole post and go lolligag in my bitterness sauna. No one's a hack. I love all writers and writing, even when it kicks me in the teeth. Everything is chocolate ice cream and mangoes.

No, that doesn't work, either. Back to bitterness...
6:30 pm pst

Monday, March 5, 2012

Two new bits of news
Time to toot my own horn again: this time it's for scifaiku, that speculative offshoot of haiku. I just got a scifaiku into Abyss & Apex, an excellent online journal I've been admiring from afar. Also, several scifaiku were accepted to Poetry Planet, an SF poetry podcast that I adore. So happy news all around. Hurrah!
9:37 am pst

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Writerly Valentine's Day!
And just to follow up on my long, embarrassing rant from yesterday, writers have been hating on each other since the dawn of civilization. Truly. The big climax in Aristophanes' The Frogs is a verbal slugfest between two poets mocking each others' favorite patterns of meter. Dryden's famous Essay of Dramatic Poesy is partly devoted to a lengthy call-out to some poets who (in Dryden's opinion) are pathetic hacks.  This leads me to believe that writers as an overall community just aren't cut out for loving each other.  There's always going to be a certain group that hates another, either for specific work, style, or (most likely) the accolades one group receives. 
My good friend Beth Goldner says the best compliment a writer can pay another is to be envious of her.  So here's to all you fellow writers out there: may we all do each other the great honor of being completely jealous!
11:20 am pst

Monday, February 13, 2012

I have a chip on my shoulder the size of South Dakota
This post from Mike Magnuson helped me see that. Of course, I saw one passage he'd written--about Facebook and his irritation at writers who tout themselves there--out of context and had a furious, knee-jerk reaction that nearly took out my dining room table. That was my bad--I'm trying to teach myself to skim, since I'm such a slow reader, but skimming doesn't always work. Especially when I see things that I expect to see, and I expect those things to piss me off.

Still, I think this guy has it wrong about writers peddling themselves on Facebook. This could be because I often toot my own horn on Facebook. This could also be because Facebook is about the only form of publicity I can muster. As a writer whose reputation is beyond microscopic, the problems of someone who has 5 novels published and who teaches graduate-level creative writing on a regular basis YET is still not well known just doesn't make me very sympathetic. Magnuson's story tells you all you need to know about writing in general--only a tiny percentage of authors become known, let alone famous. It's even harder to stay known. But reading about how I'm not only not one of those known authors, I'm also not one of the unknown ones who gets to teach and give lectures and go on book tours doesn't make me want to give up the only outlet I have for garnering a little bit of notice for myself.

I'll tell a story about the Bread Loaf writer's conference, slightly different from the one Magnuson tells. I went to Bread Loaf in 2006, not as a fellow or a scholar or even a work-study waiter. I got in off the wait list and paid my way. I met a lot of wonderful people at the conference. I learned a hell of a lot. But I also got treated like rabble by some of the go-getting participants in the levels above me, and in general got the sense that the only reason I was there was because my money was paying for everyone else's scholarship. This feeling could have come from the fact that I have a chip on my shoulder--likely part of it did--or maybe I was just a sleep-deprived, paranoid wreck at Bread Loaf, which I probably was, too. But others on the bottom rung with me felt the same way and had even more outrageous stories to tell of being brushed aside by the conference's "upper classes," as it were.

And yet, and yet: I got to go to Bread Loaf. I know many, many people don't even get that far. I have a solid list of publications, a chapbook in print, and I've even taught creative writing at the graduate level, albeit as an adjunct in a small, up-and-coming program. So what right do I have walking around with a South-Dakota-sized chip on my shoulder? Maybe none. Maybe the real moral to all this is not that we as writers should love one another, as Magnuson says, but we as writers should all take a minute and be grateful for the successes and perks that do come our way. Because writing is life for the vast majority of us. Writing is identity. Writing is meaning. And for the VAST majority of us who work our asses off and get precious little in return, writing is the biggest tease, the biggest heart-breaker, on earth.

Anyway, read Magnuson's post and decide for yourself:
"This Problem of Taste"
6:50 pm pst

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dissertating away...
Not much has been going on in the past month besides dissertating, kid-raising, and hanging out with the hubby. We all have a cough that never seems to go away. I had a strange infatuation with sushi for the past couple of weeks--I think that's on the wane.

In terms of writing news, I got another poem accepted to Star*Line! Pretty psyched about that. It even happens to be about the common cold. Ah, I love how all these topics converge. Now if only I could get my sushi haiku published...
7:41 pm pst

Monday, January 16, 2012

Had to add this link...
It's possibly the funniest thing I've seen in a long time:

Why having a toddler is like being at a frat party

In other news, I'm starting to read up on 2 Henry 1V, and lemme tell ya, it's so profoundly, utterly, incessantly dull. And for those of you out there who think Shakespeare's history plays are dull, at least they were at one point meant to entertain. These articles are just plain boring. Here's hoping I can get a) be more interesting in my dissertation so I don't put myself to sleep, and b) that I can trudge through all this reading before the next millennium.
12:08 pm pst

Friday, January 13, 2012

Long time no see!
Hey, all! I said I'd do better in 2009, and now I'm here to make good on my promise--in 2012!

Things that are different now...

--My son is 3 and a half years old. Right now, he loves dinosaurs! Go apatosaurus!
--I'm feverishly working on my dissertation, which takes up a lot of the time I have when I'm not hangin' with the hubby and son.
--I've been reborn as a speculative poet. I still write the non-genre stuff, but now I'm an official member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and have been published in great journals like Astropoetica, Mythic Delirium, and Star*Line. One of my poems is featured on the StarShipSofa Poetry Planet podcast, AND I just got a piece accepted at Strange Horizons. Yay! And that greatly esteemed poet who called me a spacehead? He was right on the money, and now I have the credentials to prove it. Aw yeah, spaceheads!

So that's it for now. Here's hoping next time won't be in another three years.
6:15 am pst

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The things I WILL miss...
Here is an incomplete list of things I suspect I'm going to miss when I'm no longer a pregnant person:
Being warm 80% of the time, even in winter; eating what I want, when I want, without images of diet consultants breathing down my neck and chastising me for that soft pretzel I ate at 10:00 at night; letting myself rest when I need to; having an excuse to do things I want to do, like clean my house, and get out of things I don't want to do, like hunt down and try to consume books on critical theory; simple foods that taste amazing, much more so than I remember; peace and quiet.
5:07 pm pst

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Coming soon: content...

Whence my freed Soul to her bright Sphere shall fly,
Through boundless Orbs, eternal Regions spy,
And like the Sun, be All one glorious Eye.
--Nahum Tate, King Lear

Jumping on the Internet bandwagon at last...