As you may have noticed, I’ve been away from this blog for a while. In fact, I spent a lot of the winter and fall away in general—I was lucky enough to spend some time at Ucross in Wyoming, where I got a lot of writing done, and also bought this snazzy cowboy hat:
One of the things writing residencies made clear to me was how much more work I get done when I’m at least semi-unplugged, so I’ve been aiming for more novel, less blog, which means that I have a lot more novel chapters now, but also that I’m way behind on checking in with thoughts and news. I’ve just updated my events calendar, so it’s current through April of this year—check back in a few weeks for some summer and fall events.
Last November, I was honored to be selected by National Book Award Winner Robert Stone as one of this year’s National Book Foundation 5 under 35. You can check out some video from the ceremony here. Part of the fun of getting to head to New York for National Book week is that the 5 under 35 authors got to go to the National Book Awards, which was pretty amazing. Fellow 5 under 35er Melinda Moustakis has a full report here. (She also has a really really beautiful short story collection called Bear Down, Bear North. Read it.) By far the highlight of the National Book Awards ceremony was getting to hear Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech live—I’m way late on this, but if by chance you haven’t heard it yet, go listen now.
Speaking of poetry, at the suggestion of Elliott Holt and a crowd of other writers who’ve decided to join in this year, I’m doing a poetry project for 2012– choosing a poem every month, and reading that poem every day of that month. January’s poem was Evie Shockley’s Re Re-birth of a Nation, February’s was Revolutionary Letter #1, by Diane Di Prima, and this month’s is Variation on the Word Sleep, by Margaret Atwood. I haven’t planned out the whole year yet, but I believe April’s poem will be Nikky Finney’s Left.
Earlier this month, I was thrilled to be invited to celebrate Ralph Ellison’s birthday at the Library of Congress. Circe and Betty Davis helped me prepare my portion of the presentation.
Jabari Asim and I read and discussed selections of Ellison, talked about his influence on our writing, and read samples of our own work. Ellison is a tough act to follow, but it was a really lovely event, and it was amazing to get to see some of the documents in the library’s Ellison collection, including some of Ellison’s novel notes.
I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in my own long novel writing process, so between that and travel, it may be another long while before I get around to updating the blog, but thanks for sticking around, patient readers. Goodnight from Kenosha!