Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Stole A Line from Suzanne Vega

I have this story in Hobart called "My Hand, Dead Tissue, Severed at the Wrist". There's a line in there that reads, "I bloodied a nose and kicked one girl so hard in the gut that she made a sound like two babies had fallen out of her." I had been thinking about this line, having read it somewhere as a teenager, for many, many years, just waiting for the chance to use it.
Just recently, I was trying to remember where I'd stolen that line, where it had come from. And I found it. Suzanne Vega wrote it for an article in Details Magazine. It's an awesome essay, called "Fighting". It's basically a child's list of rules for fighting. Holy god, tell me this section isn't amazing:
Girls are crazy and mean. They don't fight fair. Fighting fair means hard, tight fists and regular punches. But girls will slap, bit, pinch, pull your hair, rip the buttons off your shirt and the earrings out of your ears. There are no rules in fights with girls. Just hurting.
The one exception was the fight with Carla W., when she challenged me. We never even touched each other. I just stood there staring at her as she wound herself down, and she eventually began speaking nonsense. "I'll kick you in the guts and two babies will fall out!" Eventually the crowd around us began to laugh, and I won.
In high schol, I read Details all the time because I was obsessed with how to comb my hair and I liked looking at men wearing suits, which seemed like the strangest attire in the world at the time. Now, I can clearly remember reading this essay, and I can clearly remember wanting to marry Suzanne Vega. So, sorry for taking that line, Suzanne, but I could not help myself.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shirley Jackson Awards

I just found out that I am nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. The awards are given for "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic," and I'm nominated in the category for Single-Author Collection. I'm up against Brian Evenson, Paul Witcover, Robert Shearman, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, and Otsuichi. What I'm saying is, I'm not going to win.
But I'm really excited because I love Shirley Jackson's work. "The Lottery" was a story I read when I was in sixth grade and it, along with reading "A Good Man is Hard to Find" in fifth grade (a teacher at my Catholic grade school read that story to us. She introduced it by saying, "This is a Catholic writer."), really shaped my idea of short stories long before I ever thought of writing any. I love, love, love We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. So this is a good day.