Thursday, February 20, 2003

I spent most of last week in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I gave a poetry reading, as well as a panel presentation on negotiating the erotics of the creative writing classroom, at the Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association Conference. It was wonderful to get out of town for awhile, stuff myself full of decadent food at nice restaurants, hang out with other writers and prove what an Ineffable Gork I am by religiously attending all of the Buffy panels. It was a great time, despite the fact that I hideously procrastinated writing my paper for the panel presentation until the last possible minute, thus reducing myself to a miserable and panic-stricken clump of wretched self-loathing for the entirety of all last week until I finally printed off the final version of the paper at 2:00 a.m. the night before the 8:00 a.m. panel presentation in the Service Center of the conference hotel. Why, oh why, do I do these things to myself, and what the fuck was I thinking?!?!

I really enjoyed Albuquerque, though. The Sandia Mountains, in particular, were beautiful . . . I always forget how much I miss mountains until I find myself around them again, and then I become instantaneously flooded with intense longing. When my mother came to America for the very first time to join my father after they eloped in Japan, she came to Albuquerque, where my father was a graduate student at the University of New Mexico. How strange it must have all seemed to her! I have a poem in my second book manuscript, called "Transplanting," that attempts to recreate or recover some of the images from this time period. As newlyweds, my parents used to occasionally borrow a car and drive up into the Sandia Mountains . . . my mother once bought a ceramic pig on one of these drives from a roadside vendor that seemed to exemplify for her all that was exotic, strange, and heartbreakingly beautiful about her new life. She also likes to complain about how the Bureau of Immigration in Japan tried to make her get all sorts of strange shots prior to coming to America because they hadn't even heard of a place called New Mexico, and insisting that what she really meant was Mexico. "I keep saying no, no . . . I going to New Ma-keys-co so I don't need take typhoid shot," my mother still recounts with indignation.

This second book manuscript, though . . . the one where the poem "Transplanting" is a bit of a centerpiece of sorts . . . I've had the most outrageously wonderful news today. In fact, I'm still feeling a bit surreal. It's apparently been named one of two winners in a national book competition, and in addition to a cash award and a public prize reading, the book itself will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in April, 2004. My second book has been placed! Wow. I can't believe I just got to say that. In fact, I think I'm going to have to say it again. My second book has been placed! Let the binge-drinking and indiscriminate sushi consumption begin!!
Posted by Artichoke Heart | 12:03 AM |
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Books by Artichoke Heart
Beyond Heart Mountain
Year of the Snake

Poems by Artichoke Heart
Songs for a Rainy Season
Toothpick Warriors
Snake Wife
Happy Hour
Girl With A Bowl On Her Head

Pillow Book Courtiers Of The
East Wing
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Pillow Book Courtiers Of The
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