Melissa Etheridge & First Drafts

On Friday, August 7, I had the opportunity to review Melissa Etheridge’s solo tour, This is M.E., at the Palms Casino.  I have been a fan literally my entire life!

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The review went live yesterday and is available here!

PS: This happened.

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Finished my first full draft of the novel, baby!  Yeehaw!

2014, Literarily

2014 has been such an amazing year — one of the most exciting and surprising of my life. In it, I finished up my first term in UNLV’s MFA program & started my second, traveled my ass off, and got a few stories/essays published, too.

January: Published the essay “in an effort to resist leaving every piece ‘untitled'” in Gravel Magazine and the story “Love Letter to Lady Lazarus” in the Winter Issue of Five [Quarterly]. Road-tripped with Ms. FILA to Los Angeles, California to read at Five [Quarterly]‘s Winter Issue launch party. Saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

Five Quarterly LA readingScreen shot 2014-01-23 at 9.22.57 PMFebruary: Published the story “When the Animals Turned on You” in the “Monsters” special issue of Gesture Literary Journal and read at the Fort Collins, Colorado issue launch party digitally via Skype.

March: Visited the Pacific Northwest for the first time to attend AWP in Seattle, Washington. Road-tripped to present a creative reading at the University of Nevada, Reno’s interdisciplinary conference on the material implications of risk. Visited Lake Tahoe while in Reno.

IMG_2781IMG_2953April: Presented a creative reading at the Far West Popular Culture Association’s conference in Las Vegas.

IMG_2697May – June: Traveled to Spain! After being awarded the University of Memphis’ Talbot International Scholarship, I spent over a month writing in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Alicante, Spain.

IMG_1655 IMG_1587 IMG_1505Also in June: Won Five [Quarterly]‘s second-annual E-Chapbook competition with my short collection of stories, See & Be Seen & Be Scene. Was interviewed by the Las Vegas affiliate of NPR, KNPR news, regarding the contest & publication.

millerphoto-page-001-791x1024July: The essay “Coronation of Mrs. Presley” was published in the print journal Soundings Review.

presleyAugust – September: Visited the Grand Canyon for the first time!  Also, started my second term at UNLV.

IMG_6023IMG_6243IMG_6268October: Published the essay “Still Writing About Grief” in The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review and completed their “Selfie Interview.”

November: Friendsgiving, finals, FILA.

December: Published “Chimp” in Tahoma Literary Review, in print and online, in addition to a digital reading of the work.

Giddyup & Go: Conferences, Seattle & Reno

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The past month has been the Month of Conferences.  First, there was UNLV’s Far West Popular Culture conference.  Then so much traveling: five days in Seattle for AWP, followed by a 7-hour road trip (with three poets, no less) to Reno for UNR’s On the Brink conference.  Y’all know I love to see things I ain’t never seen.  Highlights include Seattle’s Space Needle & Chihuly Glass Gardens, the drive down the Loneliest Road in America, and Lake Tahoe.

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1 – The view from the Space Needle

2 – Chihuly Glass Gardens

3 – Walker Lake on the drive from Vegas to Reno

4 – Lake Tahoe

5 & 6 – Goldfield, Nevada; a nearly-deserted almost-ghost town on the way to Reno

Reasons to be (un)Afraid of the Wild West

Perhaps it is because I have never been missed.  They have never had the chance to miss me, my neighbors and coworkers and classmates.  Two days gone, two weeks gone: nothing.  But permanence is at stake, and the threat of life without livelihood.  I am unused to being missed by anyone not strictly on the level of close family, a self-selecting club of three.  But even they have only had the option to miss for weeks at most; here it has been four months I have lived on my own,  two thousand miles from all those folks doing all that missing.

You don’t ask cowboys what they’re running from.  Not unless you want ’em to saddle up and move along.  Funny, what I miss is the place in which I was most temporary.  Ground not yet accustomed to the weight of me, weather still surprising, folks easily delighted, snakecharmer that I am.  The itch of boots is no novelty, though, and eventually I will wear through the soles of every space I inhabit.

Telephones house confession boxes and whispered sonnets but poets do not love me.  People laugh at how you talk in your new city.

John Wayne compares every city to home and likes the cut of none of them, but home ain’t home no more.

Perhaps it is because my Nana plays hide-and-seek games with the objects I left in my rush to abandon Jonesboro.  Or because the hometown I felt unfit for wants me back.  There is a reluctance on the part of the tumbleweed to do much other than ramble.  It is no ficus.