Fiction: Metropolis Unwinds

It had been a long night of extrajudicial murder for Batman; riding out the adrenaline just barely got Bruce Wayne back to his lair under the river.

Man, for someone completely uninvested in the DCEU, I had a lot of thoughts about Batman v Superman, so I… wrote about it. This features Batman and The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, and my exasperated long-suffering fave, Perry White.

FreezeRay Poetry included my flash fiction piece, “Metropolis Unwinds,” in their Issue #11 this month. Read the full issue at FreezeRay and my piece in full

desk lunch – 2015-12-03

A very short desk lunch!

The Offing: Trans Issue 2015

The link above introduces the trans issue of The Offing, and the links below are some of the exceptional pieces published:

The girl in her nightdress the cold the girl
in her cold across the cliff
the cliff’s nightdress causing cold
the cold of the nightdress the girl walking
along the cliff the walk easing her cold across…
as its gusty               living/moved but its only by
forces          forces/laws/magic     chew/kiss
               living/result of a chain reaction     result of a chain
reaction/naught
A half-sunk ship offers its captain to the sea. The sea sneers at such gifts, but cannot resist. The lungs offer their resistance, but cannot last.
according to science we are all made of
strings. this is a theory that i often test
on myself. let’s see how many ties i can cut.
Just read them all, because they’re all strikingly beautiful.
Isn’t it nice that dim-witted humans in search of elaborate rationalizations for their vilest, most violently sociopathic selves can always find an evolutionary psychologist unintelligent enough to back their play? Forget that practitioners of this field of study have an unfortunate habit of analyzing a relative millisecond or two of modern human behavior as if it’d been slowly evolving over hundreds of thousands of years. No, just suspend your disbelief, and evolutionary psychology can explain every anecdotal observation that’s ever tumbled through your thrashing gray matter!
Heather Havrilesky of Ask Polly reviews a Tucker Max book and it is the most beautiful indictment of toxic masculinity, way better than the book itself deserves.

desk lunch – 2015-08-13

Brought to you this week by mainlining Girl Meets World (S2) and Another Period (EVERYTHING). I highly recommend Another Period for its beautiful and snide hilarity. GMW, on the other hand, feels like a present that was crafted, wrapped, and delivered directly into my lap and I love it too much to question it. I GUESS I’LL JUST HAVE TO ENJOY THIS THING IN A STRAIGHTFORWARD AND COMPLETELY EARNEST MANNER.


Listening to house music while driving with my father. He said, “I don’t understand this music. It’s like driving through Kansas.”

He’s right. The repetition, with slight variation.
*
In my room is a map of the United States where black dots mark the places I’ve been, black lines the roads I’ve taken. America, enmeshed in a net.

I’m a sucker for road trip narratives especially when they’re micro snapshots into very specific places and times. SOLD.

There’s no correct answer. Height is a construct. Reality is irrelevant.


Latest musical-related obsession: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s running joke re: Hamilton as their high school play.

Even Jonathan Groff is into it, because Jonathan Groff.


It’s fine, I was due for a good WRENCHING SOB torn from my chest on Monday.

Fiction: “Me and Bradley Cooper and the True Dimensions of a Love Triangle”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zingwong/I’m so happy Atlas and Alice picked up this short and absurd piece that’s disgustingly close to my heart.

A) ME AND BRADLEY COOPER (PRE-HANGOVER)

There’s a quality like sweetness. It’s made of soft lighting, smiles, laughing with you but not at you. It grows in small spaces. Alias set scenes with Will Tippin in a too-small-for-tv apartment, a space where Jennifer Garner could hide from her premise and fate.

Read the rest at Atlas and Alice.

Fiction: “For Me, Seek the Sun”

lcrw33_big– yesterday I couldn’t leave my bed till like. after 2pm. and that was a struggle. and I wasn’t asleep, I just. couldn’t be outside the bed
– also I’m gonna be tmi for a minute SORRY….

Read the rest in Lady Churchill‘s Rosebud Wristlet #33, guest edited by Michael J. DeLuca:

LCRW #33 approaches its theme of humanity’s relationship with the earth with a little humor, a touch of horror, and seventeen different kinds of understanding. Includes multiple award winner Sofia Samatar, Nebula and Shirley Jackson award nominee Carmen Maria Machado, and World Fantasy Award nominee Christopher Brown among others.

Available now as a zine and an ebook (epub/mobi/pdf).

desk lunch – 2015-06-04

Brought to you this week by the weather in the northeast, in June, when I wore leggings to work and needed a light jacket!!!!!!!! Also, I’ve had short fiction pieces accepted for future issues of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and Atlas and Alice. I don’t want to see the day when an acceptance doesn’t send me into a swoon at my desk.


The ripples carried the head further up the river. Gently it drifted, impeded here and there by the side of some stone, only to be pushed along again by the rush of the flow. It finally found a resting place on the shore where the water ran quiet into a brown muddy clay.

Terraform is a new short fiction series at Vice. Every story so far has been captivating and accompanied by incredible artwork. “A Song For You” stands out with its pacing and its patience. I mention patience because the language captured the protagonist: an AI with literally too much time in the world. I also recommend “The Judge” for its structure and humor.

It’s a complicated comfort, isn’t it? The endless distance, the hidden and isolated nature of the individual, but also the lights, far and small as they might be, where the voice in the back of the head resides along with the body. If there is anything spiritually nourishing in the world, it feels very far away, and yet it persists, trying for companionship through the darkness.

May’s entry for the advice-through-poetry column at The Toast haunted me with its descriptions on walking outside at night. Come for that and stay for the thoughtful reflection on Franz Wright’s “To Myself.”

That school secretary who threw out my book? She might as well have been telling me—and within a week of my husband’s losing his job—that my kind didn’t belong in her nice suburban school district. That my politics and my mouthiness and my checkered past would forever preclude me from finding a nice classroom somewhere to call my own.

Oh hey, it’s an essay on the friction between one’s artistic persona and their professional money-earning day-job persona. How interesting.

It doesn’t make sense to make blanket statements like “content on the web should be persistent” or “content on the web should be ephemeral”. Instead, we need to recognize that this “web” thing is conflating two very different forms of discourse, forms that used to be clearly and deliberately distinct.

The “web” is not a part of nature. It was not discovered; we don’t have to just accept it. The “web” is an infrastructural system that was built by people, and it was built very recently and very sloppily. It currently has the property that it forgets what must be remembered, and remembers what must be forgotten. It manages to screw up both the sacredness of the common record and the sacredness of private interaction.

These two short pieces discuss the central problem of the internet as the medium we know now. We’ve created the largest storehouse of knowledge known to the world so far, but the infrastructure of the web itself doesn’t prioritize one kind of knowledge over another: every bit of data, once it exists, is left out there exposed to the elements. “The elements” on the web have the same effect as they would on earth: neglect, avoidance, ignorance, all that leads to significant knowledge lost.

It’s a similar issue that came up a few weeks ago when talking about hypercomplex systems that collapse under their own weight because they can’t identify their own flaws. With the volume of information we see every day, how can we ever hope to identify the information we’re not seeing? How can we remember what we’ve already forgotten? Have we Fahrenheit 451‘d ourselves?


desk lunch – 2015-05-07

Brought to you this week by One Direction’s “Fireproof,” a very fine musical sedative that gets me to stop thinking/panicking for almost three whole minutes at a time!!!

This starts another argument between husband and wife, mild at first, but then it peppers and there is this thing that distance does where it subtracts warmth and context and history and each finds that they’re arguing with a stranger.

A phenomenal short story by Lesley Nneka Arimah, published in Granta and a winner of Commonwealth Writers’s short story regional prize. This was distractingly good, like I have to leave the house ten minutes ago but NO I DON’T NO I CAN’T I WILL FINISH THIS. So load it on Pocket or- just be late. It’ll be worth it.


REALLY PERSONAL OPINION: I’m over Avengers: Age of Ultron, the ~theatrical cut in theaters right now. I saw it opening night and I had fun! I had my friends, my bucket of soda, purse candy, and a long-term solid affection for the MCU that even casting Baskingshark Crumbsbucket as Doctor Strange couldn’t totally smother. Then the movie happened and, for various reasons, I found it disappointing and forgettable. Literally- apparently Chris Evans had 50 minutes of screentime and I can only account for maybe 12 of them. Forgettable. I’m over it.
 

LESS PERSONAL OPINION: While I’m over AOU, I’m not over discussing AOU because I’m fascinated by the conversations that surround every aspect of this movie. See, the conversations around last year’s The Winter Soldier centered on the themes of its story (contemporary “preventative” warfare; the surveillance state that makes it possible; every single thing about the dual figure of Steve Rogers/Captain America in the real/fictional American psyche). In conversations about AOU, story barely figures because the plot points were sloppy and forgettable. So far the best takeaway from AOU has been the way it made every writer I know leave their theater with a loud and firm I NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THIS. Here are two essays very much worth reading:

I’m not here to bury or praise Whedon, or the larger Marvel universe, or even Avengers: Age of Ultron;
I’m just a girl, standing in front of a movie universe, asking it to give her narrative and emotional consistency.

I went with the cheeky excerpt because to quote any one part of this first part is to end up quoting the rest. This piece uses the concept of “points of care” as a straightforward way to describe how you can lay out the stakes for any given character in a story. For the Avengers in AOU (the central Avengers with 3-5 appearances in the MCU each), those points were developed throughout Phases 1 and 2, and AOU the Phase 2 finale meant to cash in on that prior development. My main disappointment with AOU came from this fundamental difference between the movie promised and the one delivered. Marvel invested in characters over the course of years, and their big return to this reluctantly-formed team completely ignores that they’re wildly different characters from the characters who teamed up three years ago. This essay does a great job of articulating the storytelling failures that characterized the movie.

Once the movie came out, there were a metric ton of problems with how the character’s story arc was presented. And after everyone digested all that, the backlash started. A backlash that seemed centered on Joss Whedon as a person, and not on having a real discussion about the movie.

This io9 piece takes a look at Black Widow’s AOU context- not in-universe context, but an overview of our talk around her role. This reviews the buildup to Black Widow’s role in AOU/the MCU in general, the reception of her story in AOU once the movie came out, and the backlash/fallout directed at Joss Whedon when it turned out that his take on Black Widow was out of tune not just with Phase 2 but also with his own characterization in the first Avengers movie. Also, for this piece in particular: don’t read the comments.


To keep the diary was to defend against memory loss; the prospect of forgetting seemed to Manguso a fate worse than death. But her fixation on capturing every detail didn’t feel quite right either.

I think I’ve kept a journal almost my entire life, from the cute hot pink ones still buried somewhere in my parents’ house to the dark green moleskine in my bedside table right now. It’s difficult to keep a journal and this piece from Vela has stuck in my mind for just that reason. I’ve kept a journal for so long, I don’t know why I keep it, what I hope to get from it, or how it affects my writing. Questions that need evaluating, maybe in… my journal?!


That night, my wife and I began scouring real estate listings, and almost immediately warmed to Satchel-on-Hudson, a lovely village two hours north of the city…. Life out here is placid and wonderful, and has afforded me the time and space for things I could never do in the city, like jarring my own salsa and not living in New York.

If The Velociraptor From Jurassic Park Were Your Girlfriend

clever girlIf the velociraptor from Jurassic Park were your girlfriend, you would have the weirdest meet-cute.

You’re a handler on Muldoon’s staff. Handlers are classified as Essential Personnel so when the evacuation call comes, you stay. Your team splits up to put out fires around the island, but you’re the only one who returns to the visitors’ center. You see two raptors swarming with a T-Rex not far behind, so you hide. You enter the building and give yourself an hour in one of the ground floor utility closets while the animal battle in the lobby handles itself. The screeching of the raptors stops; the building is silent. You tell yourself that, thanks to the sheer size of animals you’re dealing with, their movements are easier to track than what you’re used to handling.

You almost believe that, but then you see her.

Read the rest at The Toast.