Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Moment Today.

I had a strange and interesting moment today which involved you, dear reader. Today I presented my first ever conference paper. If you don’t know, or have never cared to know, a conference is just what you think it is: a bunch of people with similar interests/professions get together to talk shop. Engineers have conferences and so do after-market car accessory retailers and so do English majors. We super-fancy English academic types just happen to have a fuckload of conferences and they all have themes and esoteric panel names like, “The Locus of Language” or “Liminality of Race and Gender”.

Anyway, today was my first time presenting a paper. Which doesn’t actually mean that I presented a paper. Rather it means that I gave a presentation about a paper that I have written. It is all very confusing.

But that’s not what I want to tell you about.

What I want to tell you about is this: after my paper got accepted (Oh, I should mention here, I never actually sent in my paper, I sent in an ‘abstract’ which is a summary of my paper) I was asked to send a bio. Well I just sent my standard bio. I have a ‘standard bio’ because it is common that when I send out a short story I also have to send a bio. This is my standard bio:

I am a graduate student in creative writing at CSU Northridge. My work has been published in Prick of the Spindle, Blood Lotus, The Blueprint Review, Cease Cows, The Northridge Review, and The American Drivel Review. I’m a recipient of The Northridge Review Fiction Award, The Oliver W. Evans Writing Prize, and San Diego Playwrights’ Project Award. I co-wrote the film Strange Angel and I blog at

Thank you for your time.


So I just sent that along without a second thought.

Well when I went to my panel today I had the happy opportunity to talk to the panel moderator before we started. He’s a professor at CSUN but I’d never met him - though I recognized his name - and he mentioned that he’d checked out my blog (THIS VERY BLOG!) and I instantly turned to stone and got a cold white chill down my stone spine and thought, “Oh shit, when was the last time I bitched about panel moderators?! What did I accuse them of?!”

Well luckily I think it has been awhile since I posted anything like that. But if my life were a (very very very long and very very very boring) movie, then this would be the part that Guy Ritchie would have to direct because it would need to happen very very very fast:

SCENE: INT. DAY. A SMALL COLLEGE CONFERENCE ROOM (it is at least on par with any conference room in any Best Western anywhere in the Midwest).

THE PROFESSOR who is eminently human and personable, approaches THE WRITER who is short and bald and bespectacled and who just seems kinda shifty.  

PROFESSOR: Hi, I’m The Professor and I read your blog.

WRITER: Oh … (Immediately and without hesitation, THE WRITER drops his backpack, flips over the table, starts a fire, throws a smoke grenade, flees backward out of the room, boards an international flight, buys a new identity, begins a new life as a Greek goat herder, ponders the purple-blue Aegean Sea at sunset as he smokes a hand-rolled cigarette and writes in his goat-hide journal, he dies alone.)


So that’s basically what happened today.

Or, at least, that’s what it felt like.

More accurately what happened was that a bunch of fireworks went off in my brain and one of them burst open and said: I need to update my ‘About’ page! Another said: My writing portfolio page is totally out-of-date! Another said: Was I half-drunk when I wrote that last post?

But - as fireworks are want to do - all of that faded pretty quickly. Between you and me, I take some small pride in this blog and I’m willing to stand behind the things I write here. It would be a waste of everybody’s time if I were only writing intensely polite things. Several months ago - while I was job-hunting - my mother very sensibly suggested that I should take this blog down for a little while, in case any prospective employers were to Google my name. That was very good and reasonable advice, but I had no interest in taking it. (God bless my mother though, she really is the best.) That thought flickered in my brain today when THE PROFESSOR mentioned this blog. But I’m not going to sweat it. This place exists so that I can always be writing. I don’t have to depend on getting published or even on the production of good and well-thought-out writing. For me this place is half therapy and half writing exercise and half mental gym and I’m always completely bumfuzzled to discover that anyone reads it at all. So thanks for that!

Otherwise, I just wanted to tell you that a funny thing happened today and that it involved you, dear reader.


Oh! If you care, the presentation I gave today was on a paper I posted on here a month or two ago. It was the one about The Hunger Games and Feminism and Capitalism. Just click back a couple of pages and wait for the boring to start, that’s how you’ll know you found it!


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