Litquake Panel on Writing Communities

The world is on fire, cataclysmic events developing by the day and by the hour. As I am working on a novel, I feel that to do my job well, I have to turn off all the news for long chunks of time. My novel is set in the year 1990, and current news are not helpful when I’m trying to finish my draft. Yet I don’t want to hide my head in the sand and miss an opportunity to contribute today and now, whenever my particular intersection of skills can be of use.

I know many writers are trying to balance these impossible contradictions and demands on our time. Finding time to build community has never felt more important. For writers in San Francisco, come to this Litquake event for info about awesome local writers communities. I’ll be representing the San Francisco Writers Workshop — a free community workshop that meets at Noisebridge Hackerspace at 272 Capp Street on Tuesday nights 7-9 pm.

Pre-order tickets on Eventbrite.

Show Her a Flower, a Bird, a Shadow

Peg Alford Pursell is one of the writers whose work I’ve been following for some years, having met her when she moved to the Bay Area and became a regular, for a time, at the San Francisco Writers Workshop. It’s a particular pleasure to hold in my hands a book that I feel I already know intimately, from having seen some of the stories in drafts, from knowing the author’s aesthetic and using that as a jumping off point into the reading. my-book-cover-in-this-size-2_2_0

But what if the book proves to be too familiar, too well-known, its movements too predictable? Will the writer still surprise, like a partner after many years of marriage? The risk is high, and the reward — oh the reward. Being allowed into the inner world of another human being, being encouraged to examine the corridors of her heart, laid out in all of their complexity, the dizzying sensation of falling into the words as into a looking glass.

Show Her a Flower, a Bird, a Shadow delivers all that. I’m about halfway through. Looking at its cover, I thought of describing it as baroque for a kind of exuberance in the detail of the bird and the petals. Such a perfect cover to this book, where the sparseness of language coexists with sudden proliferation, of streamlined sentences opening unexpectedly into luxurious, and soaring, flourishes.