I saw Kelli Stevens Kane read at the Carnegie Library in Oakland this past Saturday. She's good y'all. There was one line in a poem I'm pretty sure was called "Claw" that I can't get out of my head.
Talking about what writing is: "The faces we could have left behind but didn't."
She also read some of her oral history of the Hill District, which was funny and touching. It was great to see a piece of her family legacy, especially since so much of her family was present at the reading.
I read Kevin Wilson's Tunneling to the Center of the Earth today. It's one of the best short story collections I've read in a while, and believe me, I've been reading a lot of short story collections. He blew my mind a little bit. I can already tell that I'm going to be recommending him all over my workshop. There's a little section at the back of my copy of the book that has a short essay by Wilson on his writing, an interview with him, and stories that helped inspire each story in the collection. I found myself compelled to write some of the quotes from the essay in my notebook:
"I started writing stories because I was lonely. I wish that there were more artistic and noble reasons that I put pen to paper, but the truth of the matter is that I wanted people to kiss me and I had the unfounded notion that if I wrote a good enough story, people would be compelled to make out with me. This was not a sound theory."
I think that's pretty much why we all start writing.
"I was eating nothing but candy bars and sleeping on the floor of my apartment. I bought novels and short story collections as if they were self-help books or how-to guides. If I wasn't reading, I was writing. If I wasn't writing, I was reading. If I wasn't doing either of those things, I was practicing kissing my reflection in the mirror. 'This,' I told myself, 'is what writers do.'"
This is basically my life right now, just add in the Carnegie Library, youtube, and HTMLGiant.
"I wrote a story about a person whose parents spontaneously combusted. It was not bad. It was kind of good. I felt like I might spontaneously combust."
And this is the moment I'm waiting for.