Looking tough

One of my favorite movies is “Dazed and Confused” by Richard Linklater. So many reasons, but I love watching even five random minutes of it. I remember keggers like they had by the moon tower. (Well, parts of keggers.) My high school boyfriend looked and acted kinda like Sasha Jenson, who is pictured wearing overalls on the right in this photo. Sasha Jenson’s extra cool, too, because he was in the original “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” movie, which is not as good at the long-running TV series, but it still counts for something.

When I watch even five minutes of that film, it makes me feel cooler than I actually am.

This scene below seems to be haunting me these days.

Cut to: Pink with an old couple leaving the game.


How’s your Dad doing?


Er, he’s doing great.


This arm ready to throw about two thousand yards next fall?


I don’t know we’ll see.


We’re depending on you boys and let me tell you what. You’re looking good. Thirteen starters coming back. Twenty-two lettermen looking tough.


Er yeah. Well you folks take care.


Okay good to see you Randy.

Richard Linklater can teach master classes at the department of Interdisciplinary Aesthetics. Hope everyone out there is looking tough.

And while I’m coming out…more on Buffy

I think that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was/is one of the best and most worthy fictions ever created. For a million reasons, not the least of which, from the final episode:

“From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Who can stand up, will stand up. Every one of you, and girls we’ve never known, and generations to come…they will have strength they never dreamed of, and more than that, they will have each other. Slayers. Every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?”

This kind of thing has long been my mission statement as a writer. I realized that back in the late 80s, after college, when I was figuring out what my life was all about. What I “figured out” then has evolved dramatically since, but even back in my clueless early 20s, I knew that my mission had, among other things, something to do with helping women and children stand up.

I have a cardboard cutout of Buffy in my new faculty office. I stared in her eyes while taking thirty quick breaths to pump me up before I went in to meet with a really cool small press, literary warrior-editor to pitch my novel yesterday. It helped, I think.

Coming out

So until now, this blog has been about a very tightly defined (by me) literary exercise: writing brief essays based on getting inside a photo or image that inspires me or opens up my thinking in some way.

Doing this exercise has meant that I have posted only when I have some semi-polished Thing to Say or other. (My definition and determination of “semi-polished” varies by the day, as you can see by reading my pretty sparse archives.) I wanted no blabby blog, full of overshares, because those types of blogs annoy the expletives out of me. I wanted instead a venue for practicing writing nonfiction. A showcase for the handful of people who might be reading.

But the self-imposed form has become too precious (which went against the whole point of having a blog, and the THEME or IDEA of this blog) and so I’m breaking it open. OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE STILL CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR but they are blurrier and maybe you will see more of them. Coming atcha. You betcha. Coming out, maybe, in a way…

This week I have been attending the Antioch Writers Workshop, and my ideas about writing (creative) nonfiction have been cracked open. I’m heady with all the various shapes that creative nonfiction writing does and might take. Joyce Dyer‘s morning class has been great for that, as well as a memoir workshop with Nahid Rachlin.

I usually write fiction. I have written several novels, and some short stories. I’ve written a couple essays, and some of my short work has been published. But overall I would not consider myself a writer of nonfiction, except… I write nonfiction. I wrote what is essentially a personal essay (about something very personal, not for the blog) for the memoir workshop. It’s not memoir-y enough, I guess, but it is a start. And it turns out to be fun, and doesn’t have to be narcissistic. (I knew that from reading some great creative nonfiction, but it’s great to see and experience it firsthand.) For me, this kind of personal writing is excavation that I didn’t really think I would want to do, as:If I have the time, why don’t I work on my novel, except that as I grow older and (I hope) wiser, I realize again and again, in a deeper and deeper way, how connected all these things are. Words are words, they tell the truth, or they don’t, in various ways. There is truth in fiction and fiction in truth. Life informs fiction, fiction informs life, life informs life, etc. that is if a person (a writer or reader) is really awake.

So I’m putting my last name on the blog. I am owning this space. THIS IS MY SPACE. The little liberal, post-hippie town where I live used to have a “WE LIVE HERE!” parade, to tell the world that it wasn’t just a quaint little town to visit, or something… the freaks letting their freak flags fly, mummers, unicyclists, war protestors, etc. united to parade through town, so now, in the same spirit, this is my I WRITE HERE parade.

Having a little coming out party, for the five of you who are out there reading this.

p.s. The image at the top of this post is from an auction of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” props on eBay after the series was over. I assume it was needlepoint that Buffy was supposed to have created as a kid. Moments like these make me glad I’m a (virtual and concrete) packrat. I wish I’d been able to win the item, but I stole the image, which is almost like being there.