Brad Listi & I chat about a variety of things like my work as a psychotherapist intern & how I used to consult high school health textbooks before ingesting designer drugs as a teen, among other topics.
–Interview by Brian Kornell Wendy C. Ortiz’s story “Interiors” appeared in April 2012 issue of PANK. She is the author of Excavation, a recently released memoir from Future Tense Books, about family, secrets, sex, and coming to terms with her queer identity.
Ten days & I’m all yours.
We’re not quite in true fall yet but this is typically the season when all the summer brewing I’ve done on projects and ideas start to come to fruition. The harvest comes in the form of travel, readings, opportunities to meet new people, and birthdays of those I love (autumn babies, my favorites).
I was approached by someone, a someone who is multi-talented, warm, friendly, and solid, to be her mentor. I think some part of me was in disbelief and it took about 24 hours for me to digest the idea. Once I had, I checked in with her: Do you mean me? As in, me mentoring you? Yes, she assured me. In my Book of Houses, which I’ve consulted with for the last several years since it was given to me, my instructions for the current house I’m in read, Take on an apprentice. Share your experience, teach another person how to do what you do. Tomorrow we’ll have our first meeting.
Speaking of the loo loo (as the love of my life calls anything related to astrology or what is to her otherworldly phenomenon), a great audience turned out for what was Rhapsodomancy’s first “live rhapsodomancy” event at DTLAB’s #90for90 at Traxx Bar at Union Station this past Sunday night. It turns out that people, even random people just traveling through the train station, want to write anonymous questions, put them in a child’s sun hat, and let me ask the question to a row of diviners (our rhapsodomancers for the evening). Each diviner consulted their book of poetry briefly, sometimes just happening on a page, and answered a diverse range of questions. Like a good host, I tossed the questions that remained in the hat after the divining. As they flitted into the recycling can, I sent positive intentions to everyone whose pen hit paper willing to ask into the void the way they did that night.
Next week I’ll be in Chicago for two nights. If you’re in the area, I’ll be reading from & discussing Excavation: A Memoir at the Harold Washington Library Center on Thursday, September 25th at 6pm. The next evening I get to read with phenoms Megan Stielstra and Dmitry Samarov at Unabridged Bookstore at 7pm.
If you’re in Los Angeles on September 25th, don’t miss the It’s A Book! all-female panel of recent first book authors that will discuss the joys and pains of bringing a first book to publication, featuring Antonia Crane, Iris De Anda, Toni Ann Johnson, Kate Maruyama, and hosted by Tisha Reichle.
Right on the heels of the Chicago events, I’ll be reading from & discussing Excavation at Santa Monica College on Monday, Sept. 29th, hosted by WAM!LA. It’s at 5:30pm, and they ask for an RSVP, so click on the link to attend.
The trail I walk/hike/run three days a week is what’s saving me now, just as it has in the weeks since my father’s death at the end of March, and in the few weeks leading up to that event that marks 2014 to me. The death of the hummingbird, the earthquake, the reunion with my trail that I’ve now hiked on for a dozen years and counting—all of these things and more have been compass points that only in looking backward I can make sense of now. Since my book was released in July I’ve enjoyed waves of happiness, gratification, and an optimism I wasn’t sure I’d carry in those months of grief. The grief still rides alongside me but then I see things like this peanut butter jar on my path. Creamy suddenly has new meaning. May all words unveil new meanings to me, always.
On October 4th, Melissa Chadburn, Rae Gouirand and I bring you BEAUTIFUL & BRUTAL: A Reading at Stories Books in Echo Park.
'Brutal' is a word I'm getting used to hearing when people talk about my book. They often pair it with another word, sometimes 'beautiful' and when this happens, I'm reminded that I'm on the right track.
I spent a couple of nights in the desert recently working on what is a new manuscript I hope to show an interested editor in the next month. The afternoon I arrived I felt like this.
By that evening, two nights before the full moon, I can say I went to a whole other place entirely. Without giving too much away—because I intend to flesh it out more elsewhere—it was the kind of night where I considered walking out into the darkness naked, even as I imagined I might not be entirely alone, either—though what was keeping me company was not anything with an earthly body. That’s one of the effects the desert has on me.
October & November will see me doing more readings in Los Angeles, as well as in Santa Barbara, Sacramento, and Chico, after a quick trip to Miami (?!). October 12th is Rhapsodomancy’s 10th anniversary, in which we’ll have 10 writers reading for 5 minutes each—with the intent that each reading will knock us out in such a short time frame.
In December I’ll be a guest at UCR’s Palm Desert MFA Program, which means giving a talk, meeting with MFA students, and two days in the desert. This is a totally thrilling gig for me and not just because it’s happening in the desert. On Sunday, Dec. 14th, Rhapsodomancy will feature Cynthia Cruz, Karolina Waclawiak, Justin Maurer, and one more writer to be announced.
If you’re interested in my full list of upcoming events, click here.
If you want to see my author website, which is not as updated as I like it to be, but I’m working on it, click here.
Thanks to each and every person who has touched a copy of Excavation: A Memoir, spread it on their lap, dog-eared a page, loaned it to a friend, reviewed it somewhere, even just said its name out loud. So much gratitude to you.
How do you tell the story of an abusive relationship when you don’t recognize its wrongness until many years have passed? That’s the problem and central metaphor of Wendy Ortiz’s memoir, Excavation.
Thanks to Jim Ruland for his review of EXCAVATION: A MEMOIR in San Diego City Beat.
Via Rae Gouirand: Hello, all, and happy September! The fall sessions of my local workshops are officially underway this week, and I’m glad to bring you a little preview of some of the many things we’ll be chatting about with Wendy C. Ortiz & Elizabeth Scarboro at each of their respective upcoming visits to Evenings With Our Authors this fall (on November 5th & December 3rd, respectively). If you haven’t yet registered and would like to join us, drop me an email at rgouirand [at] gmail [dot] com and I’ll be happy to send you the registration form.
Luna by The Smashing Pumpkins
::Happy Full Moon Monday::
spinner of plates. healer. firecracker. undefined. ink squirting from a squid. container: small neck, shapely turquoise body. thumping laundry in the washer. energy organized into a body organized into a matrix organized into a universe. skin and bone and blood. crone and nymphet. ocean. cat in lap. solid wood table with extensions. fire. cold-blooded reptile. alligator mother. gold dust. golden cord. the hunter. the moon. harvester, maker. written into visibility.
One year ago my submission to McSweeney’s column contest was named an honorable mention & I embarked on a one year odyssey through Southern California medical marijuana dispensaries to produce the monthly column they asked me to write. Today the final column appears. It’s been a great year.