Today on the New Rivers website you will find a nice, concise history of the Minnesota Voices–now Many Voices–Project, which since 1981 has brought to press the best new and emerging writers from the upper Midwest and, more recently, from around the nation. With this week’s announcement of the current winners, MVP titles total 130, and two of those books, I am most proud to be able to say, (#55 Right By My Side and #72 Heathens ) have my name on them.
Early in my career I wrote the short story that I titled, “Taking Miss Kezee to the Poll.” I submitted it to City Pages in Minneapolis, where it won their first annual fiction contest. Miss Kezee and company have had an interesting life over the past thirty years. She keeps turning up where you least expect her.
I‘m learning more than I ever cared to know about the inner workings of webhosts and WordPress and the interwebs. As it turns out, when you forward an existing domain to a new site, it takes it a full day or so for the address forwarding to make its way around the world and be updated by all the various servers that…do whatever the hell it is that they do to keep us all connected so intimately.
My trainer Derek and I have developed an understanding: We both know I’d rather not. We both know I’m liable to complain. We both know what I’m going to say. We both know it doesn’t make any difference to him; I’ll be doing it anyway. Ergo, we just skip straight to the exercise and get on with the session. This is why we hire trainers: It helps us to just get on with it.
In a refreshing break from complaining about slammed doors, I had in a lively discussion at the MFA program this summer about rhetorical devices, particularly the way that a phase can build and accumulate across a passage. As an example I used one of the most famous pieces of rhetoric in history, the speech Dr. Martin Luther King delivered on the mall in Washington 50 years ago this week.
In commiseration with my friend and fellow writer May, I remember my own first bout with kidney stones, where I had a major pain crisis. I had been warned by the urologist to take my meds on schedule and to “stay ahead of the pain.” Not being a big fan of medicine of any kind, I thought I’d take as little as possible. About 2:30 in the morning, I found out why it’s usually a good idea to listen to your doctor.
Here are the first two sentences of the novel:
“That Janet Williams hadn’t liked children all that much she blamed on the boy’s mother. Children annoyed her, frankly—all that incessant energy, the enthusiasm for obnoxious music and inedible food, their general and relentless neediness.”
Yes, I do hoard paint chips. Yes, I this is a picture of my horde. Yes, I will be picking up even more strips and chips and samples soon (since I need to repaint my master suite and maybe the downstairs bedroom as well.) Go ahead and hate. See if I care.