On Missing Girls & Why I Can’t Listen to Eric Clapton

The Back to the Future soundtrack is the sound of happiness.  If you don’t love “The Power of Love” than you are an inhuman monster and we have nothing to talk about.

But on a weirder, darker note, I can’t listen to Eric Clapton’s “Heaven is One Step Away,” on the A-side.  It’s a halfway decent song (I’m not a huge Clapton fan anyways) but it’s linked in my brain, the way that music gets, with two tragedies.  The first, knowing about Clapton’s son Conor, who died in a fall from a window and was the inspiration for “Tears in Heaven,” a song that I feel bad for deeply hating.  The second is an incident that had a fundamental impact on my life, one that has stayed with me well into adulthood.

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On Triathlons and The Myth of ‘Wasted Words’

628x471One of the coolest parts about my job as a reporter is that for all the meetings I attend and hard news I write, I also get to do a whole host of feature stories, which means I get to meet a lot of interesting people.  And last week, once again, I got to dip into my email and pull up Olympic triathlete Sarah True’s (formally Groff) contact and email her congratulating her on qualifying for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

Sarah, like her sister Lauren ( NYT bestselling author of Monsters of Templeton and the forthcoming Fates and Furies) are Cooperstown natives, so whenever they do something awesome — which is seemingly all the time — I get in touch and write a story.

And as I looked through photos of the qualifying race, I thought about what it takes to compete in a triathlon.  I ride my bike into town to get coffee, sure, and I can run to catch a bus pulling away from the curb, maybe swim a little in a hotel pool when I’m on vacation, so seeing someone like Sarah kicking ass on the course just blows my mind.  And she got there by practicing her butt off, swimming Otsego Lake as a teenager, and getting up every day to ride and run and swim some more.  You don’t get to the Olympics twice by playing video games and eating chips all day.
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Galley Copies

UglyCryMy galley copies of The Big Rewind arrived yesterday and…wow.  They’re incredible.  To actually hold my own book in my hands, to see my name on a cover is such a thrill that I lack the words to describe it.  For the whole night I kept picking it up and turning it over in my hands, thinking this is really happening.  That’s my name!  On the cover of a book!  Those are my words, my sentences, my scenes all laid out in actual, book-like form!  Eee!  It doesn’t seem real.

And yes, I cried when I opened the box.

And the best part is that my husband, Ian, who hasn’t read the book in any form, is devouring it.  Not just because I wrote it (he’s very honest which stories of mine he loves and which ones aren’t his thing)  but because he’s actually enjoying the book.  I had to banish him to the other room last night because I wanted to go to sleep and he couldn’t put it down.  That might be the best endorsement I’ve gotten so far!

 

The Big Rewind….Cover Reveal!

Here it is, the cover for my debut novel, The Big Rewind!

 

The Big Rewind Cover

I am beyond thrilled about this.  I had gone back and forth about it, choosing colors and such, with Chelsey (my editor) & Jim (my agent), who are the two most awesome people in the publishing world, but until now, the cover was still top-secret to my friends and followers.

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Farewell, PANK

SWAG, BABY!

SWAG, BABY!

PANK announced today that they would be closing down at the end of this year.  This is a drag on multiple levels.  One, they always had the best buttons at AWP and two, because being published by PANK is an awesome experience for any writer.  I would know — they picked up my story “Hotel Jesus” in March 2011.

“Hotel Jesus” was one of my turning-point stories where I began to see that I could play with form and format.  I allowed myself to explore the narrative voice rather than dictate it.  It’s a story driven by language and image, rather than plot, and it allowed me to start looking at characters who exist in the grey areas of morality.

It’s also hopelessly fucking sad, and I can’t remember what sort of terrible nonsense I must have had going on when I wrote it.  But I haven’t written anything like it since, which is too bad.  It’s a fascinating little piece.

Fare thee well, PANK.  You will be much missed.

BOOK GIVEAWAY UPDATE

I’m packing up writing craft books to ship out Monday, but I still have a few left to give away.

If you’d like one, just find me on Twitter (@libbycudmore) or leave a note in the comments section.  US only, please.

 

Cory Doctorow, Content

The College Handbook of Creative Writing, Third Edition (my favorite)

Writers Digest “HowDunIt” Series,  Cause of Death

BOOK GIVEAWAY

In the continuing purge of stuff from my father-in-law’s basement, I came across a box of writing craft books from when I was first starting out.  I love craft books even though I rarely use them anymore; their pages stuffed with knowledge and promise and possibilities.

But just because I’m not using them doesn’t mean they won’t have value to someone else.  So I invite you, dear readers, to find me on Twitter or leave a comment if you see one from the list below that you would like.  No charge, no postage; if you want to trade me a book or a mix CD, I probably won’t say no.  First come, first serve.  The books are:

P.D. James, Talking About Detective Fiction

Cory Doctorow, Content

The College Handbook of Creative Writing, Third Edition (my favorite)

Writers Digest “HowDunIt” Series, Scene of the Crime and Cause of Death

One per person, please, and I’m sure I’ll post more soon.

Idiot Box: ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Michael Westen’

What We Talk About When We Talk About Michael Westen

You are only a handful of dress shirts, but you are a different man each time you wear them.  Walk, accent, tie or no tie.  It’s only when you’re stripped bare that I recognize you at all.  These days, you’re naked less and less often until I have forgotten all but entirely what you look like.

Florida heat has scorched our brains in a way mint and rum cannot fix.  We drink anyways.  My CIA contact says I should let the ghost of you go, but yogurt won’t ransom my heart back from Brennen. 

Ours is not a solution of bullets or gasoline.  We cannot be fixed with a quick wit or a fast car, a doctored cell phone and a stockpile of C4.  You’re lying low with fake papers in hand; even if I could catch up to you, I can’t say I’m sorry in any language you might speak.  Call your mother.  Maybe she knows what to do.

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Make the Time

My biggest pet peeve is when writers tell me, “I don’t have time to write.”  It’s a lament I hear all the time, oh, how do you find the time?  I wish I had some free time to write, I just really want to write a book but I’m so busy. . . and then, inevitably, the conversation turns to whatever video game or TV show they’re binging on.  No time for writing, but six hours to spare for House of Cards.  I see.

Here’s a thought — that time you’re spending passively slack-jawed in front of someone else’s creative output? That’s time you could be writing!  

Look, I love TV, but it’s the first thing to go when there’s writing to be done.  And I’m not saying all pleasures must be sacrificed to the mighty altar of work, but a book or a story or an essay isn’t going to write itself.

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Guest Post: Jason Bates of Punks Write Poems

(Today’s post comes from Jason Bates, author of The Littlest Spoon, which I loved.  Jay and i have known each other for years, and he’s my absolute favorite poet. He was awesome enough to do my Sunday work for me, and I hope you’ll all run out and buy The Littlest Spoon)

I’ve noticed that oftentimes Libby (who in my head always has “the Liberator” attached to her name) starts her posts with a playlist. I am not sure if those are the songs she was listening to as she wrote the post, or songs that she believes the reader should listen to while reading the post, or is it both? (it’s both) I feel compelled, not by the Liberator of course, to capture the feel of Glam Geek Writes…so with that said, here be the playlist:

El Phantasmo and the Chicken-Run Blast-o-rama” by White Zombie.

Please Play This Song on the Radio” by Nofx.

Lock Step and Gone” by Rancid.

I Met Her At the Rat” by the Queers.

I struggled with the legitimacy of calling myself a writer when literally anyone with a computer and the ability to type letters, numbers or random symbols could publish their very own book. I had deep conversations with friends and loved ones about “success” and “publishing” and “accomplishment”. I drank beer, alone, and bought a pack of cigarettes after almost a year of clean lungs. I dug my old “the Queers” t-shirt out of the box in the closet. I remembered that I’m a punk ass motherfucker! I paced my weather-worn deck, blowing smoke and mumbling to myself about how DIY isn’t a TV station and how Nike didn’t invent “just do it” and how I didn’t need someone else’s permission to be a writer…to be a legit poet!

I decided on a number. The number of copies of The Littlest Spoon that I need to sell in order to personally validate myself as a writer. When that number is reached, I will put my copy on the shelf alongside my favorite books.

We’ve come to the end of my blog-bomb and I haven’t even introduced myself.

Hi.

I’m a Jason.

Come say “hey” on twitter @BruHaHa222 or flip me off at punkswritepoems.tumblr.com

Jason will be giving away a signed copy to a random reader — leave a comment by Dec. 1 for a chance to win!