News & Events

Get Lit!

April 9, 2014
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In 1998, Eastern Washington University’s Press and the Creative Writing Department sponsored a literary festival that would become Get Lit! At the time, I was a graduate student, and couldn’t afford to pay $10 for the events, so we worked the box office instead. That year Denis Johnson read from Jesus’ Son. It was one of the most extraordinary readings I’ve ever experienced. I was 23, thinking about stories and poetry as radical acts,...

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GSA

March 27, 2014
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I have such love for this group of middle schoolers. They’ve just finished their Capri Sun and their cheese and crackers. We’re here to do a writing exercise, to talk about how to create characters. I tell them that writing saved me. That I knew I was queer when I was five and that I knew I lived in a family hostile to the truth about me. That I would not be safe if...

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Ban me!

September 24, 2013
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It’s a curious experience to consider well-intentioned attempts at censorship. I don’t mean the assholes who object to the word vagina, or to children being empowered to think for themselves, or to uppity talking animals. I mean the mother of the only black child at the school whose daughter says she feels like she’s being punched every time she hears the n-word while the class reads Huckleberry Finn. How many times do we have to...

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In defense of Meghan

July 24, 2013
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In my interview with Merry Gangemi on Woman-Stirred Radio, one of the most interesting discussions is about the character of Meghan. Merry Gangemi, an astute and fascinating interviewer, held the perspective that Meghan is irritating and doesn’t know her self. I’ve spent the week considering this, and I’d like to take a moment to talk about why Meghan is important. Why her character is valuable despite the fact that for much of the book she...

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Teen up

June 18, 2013
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One of the many reasons I’m drawn to teen protagonists is that they have the benefit of being unformed while still deserving our sympathy. We expect teenagers to be selfish and egocentric. It is all about them. And if they can work through that shit while they’re teenagers, they’ll be less likely to be libertarians later. How do you go about voicing a teen? I was asked that this weekend at my reading. Did...

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Diaspora

May 28, 2013
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On the panel of Place in Fiction with Judith Katz and Elana Dykewomon, Elana says that lesbian culture is like the diaspora but without our families. And the odd thing is that in my nomadic life, I’ve never considered that we’re all displaced. That so many lesbians had to leave their homes in order to radicalize, in order to survive authentically. To realize themselves. For three years, I’ve been having frustrating roundabout conversations with...

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The plain plane

May 22, 2013
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Tonight I’m talking with the Queer Theory class at Eastern Washington University. Tomorrow at dawn, Mary and I fly to New Orleans for the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. It’ll be our first plane trip together to the city where I became certain I’d marry her. The city of Zombie Brides. My ideas about this book and marriage equality and being queer have a cohesion I hadn’t expected. Coming out is a second adolescence...

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Please praise what you love

April 10, 2013
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I used to dread the question: What’s your book about? Um. It’s a kind of love story. (Red Audrey.) It’s a tragedy. About martyrdom. And family.(Field Guide.) Yes. Yes, way to pitch, Jill Malone. But now, I look forward to you asking because fuck, I’m excited. I’m so excited. Giraffe People is the book I hoped to write. The story I meant to tell you. The one about being young and striving, about being...

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Just a note

March 13, 2013
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Many thanks to Women and Words for posting my guest blog about Giraffe People today. This has been quite a week. My second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, won the Great Northwest Book Festival, which is particularly exciting because I can’t think about Spokane without thinking about that novel. Young family. Young adulthood. The horrible cost of getting away with things. I’ve been ill with the joint-aching sinus-infection thing that’s going around, and...

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Heroine

February 5, 2013
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My love for Wonder Woman has more to do with Lynda Carter than anything else. And last night, in the stellar documentary, Wonder Women!, Carter said that when she got the role, people warned her women would hate her as Wonder Woman. “Why?” she wondered. And then she decided to insure women wouldn’t hate her and she deliberately created a character that behaved toward women with compassion. Even the villains. She subverted the drama...

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