Let me show you how to keep the dice rolling…

Hello again, dear readers,

So, in my own special brand of randomness, I was inspired to write this blog because the significant other mentioned the level of pleasant surprise exhibited by his friends at the ability of his mild-mannered, well-spoken, well-read, highly-educated, literarily-inclined, big-ten-graduate EIC girlfriend, to spit from memory the lyrics to Busta Rhymes’ raps (and while we’re at it, DMX and Eminem lyrics, too) verbatim. It’s like I’m a Clark Kent/Hyde changeling…and maybe I am, since I pick up on song lyrics the way I wish I understood French — Comment dit-on…ridiculous? I can belt out a song I like the second time I hear it (albeit, terribly off key, so don’t get your hopes up to see me on TV vying for votes). I love a killer beat and that covers a wide range of music (which shockingly includes some country songs—but take that secret with you to your grave…to your GRAVE I say!).

I know what you’re thinking, because it was what I thought…why do people think the two are mutually exclusive? Or better yet, why can’t I like Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Ambrose Bierce, Stephen King, and also like Busta, Eminem, DMX, and Jay Z? In my opinion—which is all I have—it’s because we fail to recognize alternative form of creative outlets for what they are. Some rap is terrible, sure (and you know who you are and should be ashamed of yourselves), but some rap is epic (what Busta can freestyle do on a single breath of air is like witnessing the modern incantation of those people who recited epic poetry…I would compare it to witnessing with awe the first person who recited Paradise Lost from memory…but that is still way too epic…maybe if he did a 10 minute song :)). Most rappers/singers are as passionate about spreading their message as any writer, maybe even more so, as they are dedicated to the daily hustle and the grind of getting their work out there. They get up and go for it every day, they never give up and they never let someone else tell them they can’t do it.

I needed that little realization. I like knowing that something can survive in the face of objection/rejection…and I guess, since I blogged it, that mayhaps, you would like knowing it too. I suddenly feel like Lloyd, from Dumb and Dumber – “So, you’re saying there’s a chance!” It is a fun little thrill to see that I can still surprise people with my own special brand of uniqueness—since realizing that you are only one in a pool of 2400 applicants who ALL “love to write, think that part of the country is beautiful, has mad love for the faculty, want to teach, willing to volunteer” can make one feel pretty run of the mill. But at the time I worried that putting “I can work miracles in a kitchen, while singing any of the three thousand songs on my iPod, while dancing to the music, while carrying on a conversation with the significant other, while concocting a 30-page fiction story in my mind, while working on three 8-10 page research papers and day-dreaming in French” would make me seem unprepared for the rigors of the terminal degree. Ha-ha, hope you’re having as good a day as I am though, dear reader.

So, this blog has a soundtrack, rather than a recommended book list, because I’m still stressing over MFA programs…and you know me, if you want that stuff, go to the AEIC’s blog:

1. Hot Tottie – Usher feat. Jay Z
2. Love You Like a Love Song – Selena Gomez
3. Carry Out – Timbaland and Justin Timberlake
4. Under Pressure – Dr. Dre and Jay Z
5. Girls on the Dance floor – Far East Movement
6. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 feat. Christina
7. Gimme The Light – Sean Paul
8. Turn Me On – Kevin Lyttle

Nothing like some Sean Paul to get you off your fanny and on your feet dancing; no worries, I almost broke my ankle too the first time I tried the “heel-toe” step at 3:15, it comes more naturally after you practice 🙂 And before you send me messages about how it objectifies the female body, these last two are Jamaican reggae music and it is a culture that celebrates the female form…yes, celebrates. The round voluptuous curves of a woman’s body are seen as highly sexual objects, but make no doubt, the women are in charge of these sexual objects they wield. They learn to love those bodies in an entirely different way and choose to flaunt it at Carnival in a way that liberates them sexually, while freeing them emotionally because they embrace these curves. I’ve been to Carnival once…it was freakin’ AWESOME!!!!!!

…aah, an oldie but goodie just started, Ain’t no Sunshine by Bill Withers. We miss you, sir, but we are forever grateful for the music. EDIT. Just found out the man is still alive (thanks Kristen), the egg is mostly gone from my face now, but still love you sir! So, until we meet again, rock out when you get the chance because it releases mega endorphins…which make you a happier person!

I remain, as always, your intrepid (and still fearless) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine
*I’ve attached the two videos that you most likely have not seen/heard below.

Standing on Quicksand…which is very tricky.

Tom Petty sings that waiting is the hardest part and oh, man, was he singing about MFA programs. I think he was…he just didn’t know it. There are two women living in my apartment right now, the AEIC and me (and yes, it looks wrong, but it is the AEIC and ME and not I, which would be incorrect, because you wouldn’t say “I and the AEIC,” but you would say “me and the AEIC,” so back to what I was saying), who are so attuned to the faint vibrations of a phone that we could hear the phone ring in the apartment across the hall. AND there are two computers constantly refreshed in the hopes of an elusive email and we have kept a weathered eye (I used it, indeed, I can be as cliché as I want on my blog) on social media that showcases the happy/soul-crushing news (another one :)) of someone else taking your spot away from you at various dream schools.

In fact, so great is the sense of impending loss that I worry about the fallout from the Great MFA Battle of 2012. How does one recover from the trauma that is the rejection of your work, your precious? How do you look your computer in the eye and conjure up characters that live on the page if you feel that they look back at you from the screen in dejected silence? It is all so very bleak, un-delightfully bleak, utterly bleak, to the nth degree. So to cheer myself up I decided to look at some of my favorite authors and many never made it to the MFA level. Is it something I want…hell yes, I would probably explode into a quivering mass of persimmon colored mush that giggled uncontrollably for the next three years if I got in, but in the absence of that can I continue to be inspired? Can the casualties of this battle pick our broken, bloodied dreams up from this field of poppies and shamble home to mend…and then do we do it again next year?

I’m ashamed to say that my talent, while a large and majestic lion, lives in the confidence of a cub (a sad, doubting Thomas of a cub) and right now it feels as if I’ve put it in a corner for an extended timeout. But no more! I needed to vent, and so I have, and now comes the time to forget about licking wounds and use the pain to write. (I think I just lied to myself…I’m still all cub-like and terrified. Like the puppy that can’t stop shaking even though you’re being nice to it and holding it just right…how does anyone survive this wait?) I understand why some writers dug their graves with alcohol, and others with guns (the cub-like nature makes both these options impossible, but still, I have begun to feel the gnawing in my bones); the waiting kills. The doubt, the need for validation, the waiting for good news/the almost certainty of bad news, the fear of both, the wanting something so bad that you can almost touch it/feel it/taste it. It is almost enough to drive one into the abyss.

I think I just need a good dinner. I’m over-thinking it. I need more faith.

If you’re in the same boat with me, I hope you know I commiserate with you, dear reader. But rejection isn’t personal, we can’t all get in somewhere as the physics of that wouldn’t work and we should just keep telling ourselves that. Maybe we are just too awesome and have to go through this horrible, horrible, process in order to tap into the true writer at our core…we go in with our baby fat on and come out lean and mean (emphasis on mean) and ready to show those people why they should have picked us. That despite not getting into their precious program that we are intellectually on fire, creatively gravid, and destined to write the novel that redefines the genre (whichever one it is we choose). All it takes to go from bitter persimmon to unctuous food of the gods is a little time. So say it with me fellow waiting game participant — what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (or maims you for life, but that’s not the message I’m trying to get across…is it?).

Enjoy a little Tom Petty with me 🙂 until then,

I remain, as always, your intrepid (and still fearless) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine

Even more goodness…?

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking…Twice in one night!!!! This is the equivalent of getting the girl of your dreams to go to the prom AND making it to second base all before you splurge for dinner. But, after I posted I realized that I had more I wanted to say, as usual, my everlasting mouth saves the day. So, here at WIRZ we’re interviewing and sourcing interviews for the summer horror issue and whilst I am not willing to sell my soul – I would be open to trading the AEIC’s soul however – for an interview with Stephen King. The loves I has for him knows no bounds and I would just about freak if we snagged an email interview with him. So, if you know him…tell him it would be the easiest way to make my 2012 and even though I am not terminally ill (I guess if I wanted to be technical, we are all terminally ill) it would probably still earn him some major good karma. Shameless plug for his new book is completely fine by us, but since we are no GRANTA…yet …I’ll not hold out much hope.

One day Sir King, we will bond over our love of the macabre, the pleasure of a live baseball game and perhaps the dislike of bad writers (those with affinity for adverbs and allergic to he said, she said, dialogue tags) and I will try to be normal and not gush about how as an 8 year old reading Misery I felt as if time stood still until I read it from cover to cover in one afternoon…followed in short order by Pet Sematary, Christine, It, Cujo and The Shining until I hit the beast that was The Stand (Which I LOVED). But enough love. It’s enough to say I’m a fan.

The spring 2012 issue is a tribute to the spirit of adventure and features interviews with Ron Wallace, Daniel Alarcon, Patrick Somerville and Lydia Fitzpatrick. As usual it will be chock full of poetry (which came as a pleasant surprise) and some fun prose. The Summer issue is gearing up to be a work of art and I was momentarily so excited that I had to pop back on here to share it. Horror doesn’t get the love it deserve in Creative Writing circles as it’s labeled genre and cast aside, but I’m always and forever a fan because horror writers seem to remember the one primary thing about storytelling and that is that it has to have STORY! I’m willing to follow you anywhere, all I ask is that you take me somewhere when I sign up to follow you. Make the story primary and then all other things serve to enrich your work…but don’t kill me with character development with no story…again, that’s like getting to second base and then not being willing to pay for dinner.

Not that it ever happens to me. I don’t date and the only rounding of bases I witness happens at the Brewers games I go to…the better half would probably disagree, but doesn’t get to vote so that’s all I’m about to say about that dear reader.

Have a better night and I’ll blog at you soon-ish. I promise.

I remain, as always, your intrepid (fearlessly intrepid really) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine

MFA madness…or just general madness?

Welcome back dear readers, hopefully you are happily beyond the “Must-Have-New-Years-Resolution-Weight-Loss” period of the year and firmly into the “I-just-want-to-be-happier” mindset. I know mine lasted all of twenty minutes before I decided that resolutions are tools of the devil designed to make us regret lasting another year. Instead, I am firmly entrenched in a waiting period of a vastly different variety – to have my hopes and dreams mercilessly crushed by graduate school admissions. I am aware that there are many of us on this vicious cycle of the pseudo-suicidal endeavor for greatness/acceptance/mediocrity. I wish you (us) all the best of luck with your apps…but, I’m sure you understand I’d rather be sympathetic from my ideal program, rather than envious from rejection-ville. So, while I wait for the chips to fall where they will, it occurred to me that there is no better way to pass the time not writing AND writing at the same time, than to blog.

The new Spring issue is in the works…March 21st /22nd is the planned release date, but depending on how things shake out we could be a bit earlier, or later. The issue is shaping up to be a beautiful print issue with an adventurous theme to it, thanks primarily to the cover artist, Claire Menegatti. Her work is beautiful – but then again, would you expect anything less from us? The answer of course is Hell No, EIC! Nothing but EPICness! It’s a curious time for us, since I am simultaneously laying out the Spring 2012 AND Summer 2012 issues …which does not bode well for my sanity considering the other things percolating in this five month stretch. But, c’est la vie, please continue to send us your best work – those awesome poems, fantastic stories, and killer artwork out to us – we promise to continue to read them. But, alas, all I can handle at the moment is a brief post since my stress level is IQ restrictive.

Keep writing and keep submitting!

I remain, as always, your intrepid (and fearlessly insane) leader,
The Editor-in-Chief, Women in REDzine