Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So I wrote a book ...

This actually happened. And, as of two days ago, you can buy one of your very own. Holy crap, you guys. Holy crap. I'm kind of insanely proud of this.

cover design copyright 2012 by
Danielle Rose Fisher

The book has been several years in the making - I first wrote about putting together a book of short stories in June last year, but most of the pieces in the collection predate that intention. One piece even dates back to high school ("The Name of the Father," if you're curious), a handful to college, and the rest to the years between college and now. Only one piece is younger than my intention to put the book together in the first place - I went through about ten drafts with a placeholder page declaring:

I am the missing piece in this compilation! I plan to be something more lighthearted and prose-shaped but I have no idea what I am! It’s all very confusing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Here and Now

I've got this book I wrote. And what I'm doing with it, it wouldn't have worked 100 years ago. Hell, it wouldn't have worked 10 years ago. Self-publication, vanity publication, was a sticky and expensive process at best, and there wasn't necessarily much respect accorded to any of it. I've talked about this before. Yes, there are Eragon-shaped exceptions, but for the most part, it hasn't been the most dignified way to get your work out there.

And then the kindle showed up. And the nook. And the other 5000 e-readers. And the landscape is changing drastically. E.L. James drastically. [editor's note: no, I have no intention to be E. L. James. I'm a much better proofreader than that.]

So I've got this book I wrote. It's a book of short pieces - some full-out short stories, some poetry, some flash fiction (a page or less) - and I'm very proud of it. But it's a book I don't think I'd be able to sell to the middlemen of publishing - agents and publishing houses. It's too strange a shape for that. And that's fine. I've got this book I wrote and I'm digitally self-publishing, and I'm so glad I live now, here, in this time and place. This is the time for self-publication.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Okay, Kiddo

Yesterday Saba, my grandfather, passed away. He went quietly after a long illness. His children and wife were with him.

I am sad.

All day, that's really all I've been able to say. I am sad. Three small words, a simple sentiment, not truly describing, but hinting at the shape of it. I am sad. Saba is gone now and I am sad.

I am sad.

friendBrian, though, replied in perhaps the best way imaginable:
"I'm sorry. Tell me some of the awesome stuff he did."
And I started to list them. And I'm still sad. But Saba was a truly wonderful person. Here is some of the awesome stuff he did.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hamlet's Sterile Promontory

Do you hear, let them be well used; for
they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
time - Hamlet

Review of The Shakespeare Forum's Hamlet, at Theater for the New City, June 21-July 1. It would be disingenuous of me not to say, at the outset, that not only am I acquainted with most of the members of this production, but that I call many of them friends. However, I am in earnest when I say I think that only slightly influences my objectivity.

Tyler Moss and Pat Dwyer
 as Hamlet and Ghost

A young man stands center stage and looks calmly out at us. He smiles and says nothing. He is quietly satisfied with himself, with us, with the world. His friend approaches, a folded letter in his hand. As Hamlet silently reads the letter, we see his mother and his uncle, behind him and in another space, reading the same letter. The young man falls to the floor, a wretch in silent agony and shock. His world has ended. The play has begun.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Inspector Zelda: The Return of Mouse in the House!

Inspector Zelda wrinkled her detective brow and rolled onto her side. Why was she awake? She frowned slightly and winked one eye open to stare at the digital clock across the room. 3:30 am. Her frown deepened. Inspector Zelda hated early awakenings and the majority of her consciousness was urging her to slip back down that soft pillowy slope into blissful sleep, but the wrinkle in her detective brow plucked at that notion - something had awakened her, and she should pay attention.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Perfect Memories: Pachebel in London

I was a teenager, which meant my skills at preserving or treasuring moments were getting better, but still not fully developed. It was warm, but not too warm, in that way that London summers are so much better than Virginia summers. Warm, but not drowning air. We'd been walking around all day, museums and blue plaques and such. Used bookstores. An ice cream cone with flake. The sun was at mid-afternoon slant and not too obtrusive. Mom and I had wended our way through Covent Garden - stopping at Lush for Mom, at Pollock's Toy Shop for me - and we were strolling the second level, when we heard the strings start. We leaned over the railing and looked down into the courtyard below. There were little cafe tables set here and there, each occupied. And there, just under the bridge of the second level, was a string quartet, playing Pachebel's Canon in D. I don' think I knew the name of the piece at the time. Without a word or look of decision, we stayed there, pressed against the metal rail, watching from above, as the melody repeated and repeated, growing in complication, caressed by the quartet. When they finished, we stepped back and continued walking.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stories I really should have realized weren't true

Mrs. Takashima told our first grade class that once she had cut off her pinkie finger. On purpose. She didn't like the look of it, didn't think it served much purpose, and so she had it cut off.

Mrs. Takashima was a tiny little woman who reminds me a lot now in my memory of my great-grandmother Nana. Mrs. Takashima had short black hair, a straight spine, a large share in spunk, and a menagerie of pets in our classroom - a fishtank, a hermit crab terrarium, sea horses (briefly), crayfish (which looked like evil pocket-sized lobsters and scared the crap out of me), and an incubator full of hatching chicks.

She told our class all sorts of stories, some of them from her own life, and I should perhaps mention that I was an incredibly gullible child. Which marked me well as a non-liar for the rest of my life, but it also meant my blinders for other people making things up were pretty broad. It's possible the entire class knew this story wasn't true. I not only believed it on its face, I kept using it as a rationale for things for years afterward.

You see, she told us that she had the finger cut off, and then realized that she needed her pinkie finger for all sorts of things - she used it to balance her hand when writing, it helped her hold a glass (she kept dropping things when the finger was gone, you see). Basically, she realized after a while that she maybe shouldn't have had the finger cut off after all.

So she had it reattached. And now she's fine, and very happy to have her pinkie fingers.

I just ...

I was a very stupid kid.

(Don't get me started on the stories my childhood friend Anna used to tell me about her pet skunk or the secret passage behind the couch in her den, and the reasons we could never go down the passage whenever I came to visit.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An Actor's Rejection: I'm Okay, and You're Okay

This weekend The Shakespeare Forum (discussed here) had auditions for their first mainstage production - Hamlet. It should be a pretty cool process, as they intend to have open rehearsals, which I am very much looking forward to attending.

I love the play Hamlet. But I wouldn't say offhand there's a role in the play I'm right for (except perhaps Rosencrantz or Guildenstern), or even angling for. I auditioned anyway, because it's good practice, and the Forum people are people I love.

A lot of the Forum people auditioned. Some got called back; a lot did not. I was one of the ones who did not.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Worst Poem I Ever Wrote

First allow me to apologize preface: Many years ago, my sister's office was having a contest at its Halloween party - write a poem incorporating the words ghostly, spooky, creepy, and (I assume) pumpkin. I, being hilarious, composed the following monstrosity.

It's awful. And I can't get through reading it aloud without cracking up.

Bang crash
What was that ghostly noise in the dark
Creak scream
It sure is spooky when the power’s out
Bump thwack
What was that creepy laugh
Jingle crank
I miss my pumpkin patch

I miss my pumpkin patch
Oh how I miss the green tendrils and vines that wound their way around my ankles because they were evil and wanted to kill me.
Oh how I miss the plump orange gourds that goaded me into insanity with their watching eyes that I carved into them with my rusty butcher knife.
Oh how I miss the guts of the pumpkins that I discarded at random throughout the patch after carving them with my rusty butcher knife, and that I later fell asleep in on a drunken binge and have yet to wipe the seeds off my cheek.
Oh how I miss the ghostly creepy spooky scarecrow who stood watch over my pumpkin patch but later scared me to death when I was drunk. I am now dead and swimming through a pool of molten lava for my sins, one of which involves throwing pumpkin guts on consecrated ground. That is why I miss my pumpkin patch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Did I Do With My December?

Well ... I finally set up my website! Yes indeedy, I finally managed to cross off that niggling entry on my To Do list that had been camped out there for ... longer than I'd care to admit. Part of the reason for the delay was that I assumed I'd have to get a fancy-pants web designer to set it all up for me, which would cost a fistful of dollars. I'd even made contact with a web designer with that in mind - he told me he was swamped but that he'd get back to me in two weeks.

He then proceeded to disappear off the face of the earth.

You know. As people do.