Friday, September 11, 2015

Where in the World is Becky Robison?

Now I just want to wear a big, broad-brimmed red hat.

The reason I haven't blogged for so long is that I was in Los Angeles for Labor Day weekend visiting Katie. I had a glorious time. We ate brunch every single day. Every. Single. Day. Eggs are the most versatile food, and perhaps the most delicious.

We also went to Ikea. We also lounged around her apartment or by the pool and read books. (I'm reading Jennifer Pashley's The Scamp at the moment. Once I finish, you know where the review will be.) I also managed to see Kenzie and Alex on my last night there, which was wonderful. Katie and I were probably busiest on Friday, which ended up being a very macabre day. First we went to the Museum of Death, which is something I've wanted to do for a while. I'm a big fan of serial killers, doomsday cults, the like. I guess I should say I'm a fan of reading about serial killers, doomsday cults, the like. Anyway, this place was a little intense, even for me. I'm pretty good at dealing with gore, but after spending two hours winding around low-ceilinged, claustrophobic hallways plastered with grisly crime scene photos of mangled corpses, I was relieved to get back out into the sunshine. I'd still recommend a trip if you like creepy things.

That night we went to a showing at the L.A. Shorts Fest, as Katie's friend's friend had a film in it. For whatever reason, the majority of the short films during that showing had to do with death. There was one about female serial killers, another about the Jewish shemira tradition of watching over a dead body until burial, another sort of funny murder mystery in a corporate office setting. The day definitely had an inadvertent theme.

I flew to and from L.A.--I don't trust my car to make it--and when I was waiting for my flight back, I decided to count how many flights I'd been on this year. NINETEEN. Nineteen separate flights. And I'll be on a plane again in just a few weeks when I head to Chicago for a visit (!!!). I believe I qualify as a jetsetter.

I didn't blog when I got back because I had to play catch-up. Not much work was getting done in L.A., that's for sure. This week I talked about police brutality against black Americans with my students, and as always, I was impressed by how thoughtful and respectful they were during their discussion. That's not sarcasm; they may write terrible papers, but I find that when I ask them to read and think about complex, uncomfortable, and tragic situations, they rise to the occasion. I only had one mildly off-putting comment from a frat boy, and the other students corrected him, not me. I was very proud.

Wednesday I spent literally all day editing ~50 pages of my novella for workshop--except for a brief trip to the climbing gym. Have I mentioned my novella? That's kind of weird. It's my blog, and I haven't mentioned what I'm writing? Here's the deal: I was tight-lipped about it for a while. I was afraid I would jinx it and not be able to finish it if I talked about it with anyone. But I finished a draft! A little over 100 pages. I wrote 2/3 of it while I was in France, initially at a manic pace. The idea was so forceful in my head that I scribbled down the first two chapters in a week. I wrote the final third while I was in Vegas, and I honestly think that's the weakest part of the draft. It didn't help that I was recovering from wisdom tooth surgery while working on chapter 7. Chapter 7 is a mess. But that's what revising is for.

I think I'm still going to be vague about it here. Those of you who need to look at it are already looking at it. Don't want to jinx the editing process. Let's just say that it's super annoying when people say "write what you know," but they may have a point. It's a lot easier.

What else is important for you to know? Oh yes--my dearest darlingest Olivia Clare's first book of poetry, The 26-Hour Day, is out now! You should buy it because poetry is good for you, and Olivia's poetry is so good for you that were it edible, it would be marketed as superfood. The only reason I haven't purchased it yet is that I will be doing so on October 2nd, when she has her book launch at The Writer's Block. She will hopefully sign it for me, and then one day, when she is ultra-famous, I will flip through its pages and sigh and say I knew her when...

I mean, I'm sure we'll also still be friends and that I can call her up after all the sighing and say hello. But still.

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