“Most [failed writing] that I see, the reason the shit doesn’t work is because there is no play in it. There is nothing in it that we would call the human. There’s no play. There’s too much control. You’ve eliminated the story because instead of listening to what the story is, you put your own wishes and your own dreams on it…There is the story and you’ve kind of got to be open to where the story is going to take you.” –Junot Diaz
It’s a good day for optioning things! Here’s my latest news via Publishers Marketplace
November 1, 2012
Liza Monroy’s THE PROFILER, a fictional, romantic comedy spin off of a novel-in-progress along a similar storyline as Monroy’s NYT Modern Love column “When Mom Is on the Scent, and Right,” about her mother, a professional profiler, who tries to find the perfect man for Liza via profiling techniques only to have it turned around on her, to Douglas Banker and Alex Garinger of Five All in the Fifth Entertainment, by Michael Cendejas of the Lynn Pleshette Agency in association with Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
November 1, 2012
Liza Monroy’s MEXICAN HIGH, pitched in the vein of Gossip Girl set in an elite upper class international school in Mexico City, starring a teenage American protagonist who gains entree into this exciting, glamorous, and often dangerous world when her US diplomat mother is transferred to the Embassy there, to Charlie Matthau at Matthau Media, by Michael Cendejas at The Lynn Pleshette Agency working with Jennifer Lyons at The Jennifer Lyons Agency.
I had a great time talking with Doug Dangler, who hosts this series of conversations with authors from a studio at OSU. It aired on Wednesday, October 17, on WCBE radio, central Ohio’s NPR station, and is now up on Writers Talk’s YouTube channel.
Check out the interview here.
I’m at the end of my second week at the Thurber House. While I have to admit that my expectations for being the writer-in-residence here this month, inaugurating the annual John E. Nance Nonfiction writing residency, were high to begin with, so far they have only been exceeded. I’ve been joking that they won’t be able to get rid of me at the end of the month, I’ll chain myself to the house in protest of ever having to leave this magical historic home, or Columbus, Ohio, for that matter.
For starters, the house is haunted. It has even appeared on that Ghost Hunters show. I don’t believe in ghosts, never have, but there is definitely something at least verging on paranormal amiss here. I found an apple in the middle of my living room floor, okay? After putting away all the apples in a bowl in the kitchen, nowhere near the living room. (Nor do you have to pass through the living room to get to the kitchen.) Also, one morning I was typing away on my book, the very lines I was writing began deleting themselves backward. I kid you not.
Besides the haunting, being here has been exceptionally productive. I set a goal of ten pages a day and so far have kept to it, though I’m taking a break today to go check out a capoeira class and bike around. The city of Columbus is a hidden gem–the cafes and shops of the Short North, the Wexner Center and Ohio State campus, and the historic homes and Discovery District downtown, the area where this house is open daily as a museum.
The staff is here until 5pm, and after that, I have the run of the place! I often find myself wandering the halls, marveling at whatever fortuitous power led me to the privilege of spending an entire month in the historic Victorian mansion once belonging to James Thurber and family.
So far, I’ve been interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch and Writers Talk which airs on Central Ohio’s NPR affiliate (will post a links when the pieces come out in a week or two), and dispensed some advice about finishing a novel to high school students who are participating in NaNoWriMo. I’ll also lead a workshop on Wednesday, October 24 at OSU.
…and up on SELF’s web-edition, too: The Things We Do For Love.
I had a lot of fun thinking about and writing this one, and after a long time of hoping to work with my former personal essay teacher, SELF editor (and a beautiful, insightful writer to boot) Paula Derrow, I finally happened upon a subject and angle that was the right fit. We went through multiple drafts and versions, and it was a great experience. As anyone who’s read Mexican High can probably tell, the younger me wasn’t exactly an athlete–so finding capoeira through somewhat odd circumstances at age thirty was a happy surprise, even if finding out that the guy who introduced me to it had another girlfriend wasn’t. (Yet in the end, was, as, “in truth, I should thank him, because if we hadn’t met, I never would have ended up traveling to Brazil with two capoeira friends … And I would never have dreamed that an art that comes as close as possible to teaching a person to fly would turn out to be the very thing that keeps me grounded.”
PS – Another reason why I’m in heaven this week: I’m at Copalis Beach, WA. I am reading an incredibly long novel, and now – off to hiking and the beach! Seriously contemplating a move to Seattle. At least temporarily, maybe in the spring.
The morning after I arrived on a very delayed, very turbulent flight to AWP 2012 in Chicago, I awoke to find a girl I’d never met before in my room. She was a friend of a friend, who woke up and introduced us, and in conversation she mentioned she had a book of essays coming out from this great independent press, Future Tense, and she was at AWP to give a couple of readings and promote the book, Legs Get Led Astray. “I write about authors sometimes,” I said. “Then you should take one,” Chloe said. “It’s the first copy I’m giving out at AWP.” I read it in one sitting, thinking, this girl is brave. She’s done and written about things most people fantasize about, she romanticizes nothing, and she’s hilarious to boot. I got to interview her for Publishers Weekly, which you can read here, and on September 1st we’ll be reading in the Hudson River Loft Reading Series Chloe founded, the final one she’ll host before she moves to Portland.
I went in looking for a workout that wouldn’t make me bored. I ended up finding so much more than fitness: amazing friendships, love of Brazilian culture and Portuguese, plus a new obsession to write about! (Capoeira Brooklyn stars in my forthcoming essay in September’s issue of SELF magazine) A little over two years since starting capoeira, I can’t imagine life without it, and if you’ve talked to me during this time you probably haven’t been able to evade my inevitably somehow weaving it into conversation (“Oh, you like fly fishing? But have you ever tried capoeira? It’s, like, this Brazilian martial art but also a dance and a game….”). You probably also know I don’t like asking for stuff! But this is really important to me and an entire community, and I would deeply appreciate any generosity you may feel toward making our September Batizado (cord-advancement ceremony/celebration) happen! We train hard and this is the culmination of a year’s worth of investment in improving at this challenging physical art form. Check out the Indiegogo campaign. Thank you!
When Mom Is on the Scent, and Right is my second Modern Love essay. It’s been fun to read the feedback so far, from a reader calling it “very charming, and also somewhat whimsical” (which is kind of exactly what I aspire to be as a person) to my dear ex-boyfriend who appears as the “Boston filmmaker” re-posting it with the same sense of humor and positivity that I always loved about him. (Post is viewable on my Facebook page.) There’s even been some film/tv interest. All exciting stuff. But perhaps my favorite part of all this is that the Profiler herself has started a blog–in search of “the one” for me! A former self would have been embarrassed, but I think it’s adorable that my mother is doing this. Anyway, in this life, you never know what will work when it comes to finding your soul mate…Check out The Profiler Selects and feel free to send anyone her way.