Ask me a questionPost a question to the QnA section by using the form below.
Q and A
Do you believe in a deity? Does your belief or lack there of effect your writing? How? Jimmy Cliff is alive! He is a Muslim, converting from Rastafarisam in 1974.
Thomulon, I hail thee! No, I do not believe in a deity. I don't think I'm an atheist though, since I've never renounced or longed for a belief in a diety. I'm so sincere in this that the Jehovah's Witnesses won't even come back to my house, though I ASK them to. I invite them, I urge them, but once I've told them that I don't believe in anything, they wander off and don't come back. It's the same with the little Mormon Elder boys.
Though that particular idea doesn't seem to affect my writing, I do think that belief fuels fiction, absolutely, and I think that everybody has a belief system, even if they're not aware of it. Because if you don't have a point of view, or something to say, or a strong idea pushing you forward, what's the point? That's interesting about Jimmy Cliff!
So what's next?
Hi Stacey, How's the Pirate novel coming along? Tom
Good! I'm done. It was awarded the 1964 Pulitzer Prize.
Hey Stacey, you ever see Angie Bowie at the supermarket, or the library, or the bus stop or anything?
I've seen her, yes, though not at the bus stop (I think it was an art opening). I never thought she was going to stay in Tucson for long so I neglected to notice her, or think about her, or understand how cool she is, until recently when I reread Please Kill Me and realized I'm an idiot who should have been paying more attention.
I am a cat. I have a problem with my fur. The problem is I lick my fur and end up with saliva on my fur. Then I rub the saliva on my paw and wipe it across my face to clean myself. I am wondering if there is a solvent or maybe type of vinegar I should be using instead. If so, does it come in a container that can be opened in paws. Also, can I pay for it using some sort of barter system involving crunchie remnants? I have neither money nor pockets for money. Also, why do I purr? I purr so much it scares me. My purrs have purrs. Also, my tail: Why does it exist? It looks like a racoon tail. What is up with that? It is embarrassing. is there some sort of tail surgery I can get to look more like a jaguar or a leopard? Come on, I need help here. Please help. Meow meow for the love of god help, meow.
Did you know that "meow" is a combination of the feline word "me," which means "come here," and the feline utterance "ow," which means "go away you disgusting cur?" No, you did not, because you're just a little cat and you don't know anything. Mitten, Mittens: to be a cat is to be ambivalent, to feel too dirty one moment and excessively licked the next, to be ashamed of one's tail and then excessively proud of it, to be a little baby and a mighty hunter at once, meow meow. The solution is simple. Find the nicest carpet in the house and throw up on it.
Have you ever seen True Blood? I was going to say it is like magical realism, but then I realized it is actually just magical, and in no way, not even metaphorically or psychologically or philosophically, real. It is a filthy pleasure and you should check it out.
No. Okay, I will. I hear the dudes are all naked. I don't have HBO but am hatching a scheme to get it. But also, do I have to? Remember those things, books? I like them.
Stacey, You give great life advice! I like how you actually give advice instead of taking a namby-pamby, repeat back what the person said, therapy-like approach. (My parents are therapists and all I can every get out of them is something like, "it sounds like you are feeling confused..." Okay here is my dilemma: I am 23 and have always had fantasies about living in the red American desert by myself with an athletic dog. As a way of realizing this I have been planning on going to grad school in Laramie, or Reno, or some place like that, finding a dog soul mate, and then studying alone in my mobile home. But then I fell crazy in love with a very domestic, bespectacled, dark and handsome 30 year old man with a mortgage and a grown-up job in one place (not the desert). I know if I lost him because of my crazed desire to enact this singular fantasy for 2 years, then that would really suck. But then what if I'm 30 and pregnant, and saying, shoot, I never acted out those favorite dreams of independence! Where has my inner cowboy gone?
Hi Cookie. It sounds like you're freaking out. That’s fine, love freak-outs are normal, but I don’t think your dilemma is actually about trailers and dogs. I think it’s about about the fear of losing the sense that you have, stretching before you, a life of infinite possibilities. Of course you don’t want to lose that! But consider this: you’re not the first person to fall crazy-in-love and then immediately begin contemplating how to hightail it out of there. Love is terrifying; it involves giving things up (like possibilities) and puts you at a terrible risk of being left (which can be avoided by leaving first), and sometimes, if you’re really crazy-in-love, you might let it take some other things away while you aren’t paying attention, like your sense of yourself as an independent entity, a cowboy-girl who has friends, independence, passions, and ideas, who can spend time by herself no matter where she lives.
Here’s some great news: I’ve decided that your quandry isn’t real! Not actually real, like a rock. Because in real life, Laramie and Reno don’t even have red soil, and Laramie is probably too cold for trailer living—so how serious could your dream be? Only vaguely serious. But that’s good! Metaphorical quandries don’t require freezing your ass off in a double-wide for a solution! You may feel stuck between wanting a crazy-love boyfriend and wanting total independence, but guess what? I think you know where I’m going with this: you can have both. The choice between pairing up vs. being a renegade chick might have been real for our mothers or grandmothers but for a young lady of your vintage, it’s all in your head. Crazy in love is great, you should enjoy it, but you don’t have to spend all your time with your boyfriend. You shouldn’t. You know that feeling, that you can’t get up and he has to get up and get you a glass of water; and also that other feeling, that if he leaves the room you’ll die? That’s something to resist. Though fun, it's actually bad because it sucks away at the core of your individual identity. Don’t do too much of that. Get up and go do your thing every day. Be your cowboy--it's an inner state. Get a trailer where you are, and a dog, and use them.
Because honestly, your dream isn’t going to work out now no matter what. It’s not going to be a truly solitary life. If you go to Reno, you’re probably going to call him all the time anyway, think of him, and visit. Anyway, the world is full of wonderful animals, and places are always there, but there’s only one bespectacled man and you have him right now. So just have him.
And Madeline, don’t let his 30 year-oldness impress you—that’s not so old, and I’m sure he’s still totally retarded in many ways. Don’t be surprised if, when you stop having your love vs. independence freak-out, he starts having his own. Most relationships contain a fixed amount of sheer intimacy-terror and if one person drops some, the other picks it up. I’m sort of afraid that if you settle in with him, he’s going to get terrified and dump you. I don’t want that to happen (though then you can go live in your trailer), so I'm going to advise you to be sort of mysterious and French about it. Do it slowly. Keep him guessing. Don't make him curtains yet. Wait. Let him make you curtains first.
You know where there’s red dirt? Moab, Utah. It’s beautiful. There’s a huge animal rescue place in the middle of nowhere near there called Best Friends. I bet you could go there for a few months and volunteer. They probably have trailers; in fact, they might not have anything else.
Hi Stacey, how has your summer been? I've decided to try my hand at writing. So far it's been a lot of fun. Do you have any advice for a beginner?
Hi Tom. My summer has been okay but I've had a lot of pack rats up in my shit, like my car engine and my hot tub filter area--though it just occurred to me that maybe the pack rat is my totem animal. That would fit, as they are very, very cute and very, very destructive.
For you, Tom, as a beginning writer, my advice is to try to write some good dialogue; to get there, look at books you like to figure out what you think good dialogue is. That way you'll have at least two characters and, if you're lucky, a little bit of frisson. You strike me as being sort of simultaneously attracted to surfaces and depths, and since surfaces are easier in dialogue, I'm afraid you'll write dialogue like: A) "What time is it?" B) "I don't know." A) "Shouldn't the pizza be here?" B) "Yeah. It's late. I'm starving!" A) I know. Food is good!" etc. But you can do better!
Have you heard the new Jimmy Cliff record, "Rebirth"? It is really good!
Oh, no no no no. A pillar of my life-strategy has been: avoid all reggae music (though I do really like "A Message To You Rudy"). Anyway, I didn't think Jimmy Cliff was still alive. Is he still alive? Because if he made it while dead, that would interesting to me.
Hey Stacey, I'm just following up too. Your advice was great - I emailed the guy and he said that I was in final-final consideration (again) and (again) he'd let me know by the end of the weekend. That was now 3 weeks ago that he said THAT. He's kind of killing me. I followed up again in the last couple of weeks (twice) and asked if I was still in the running he isn't responding to me. But whatever. I'm going to the beach. Thanks again for the advice.
Aces! Congratulations on your final-final. Maye you will drop me at a note at stacey@staceyrichter dot com when/if it comes out? I'd love to read it.