Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Occult Los Angeles (And This Is Just The Beginning)

I wanted to direct your attention to this piece I wrote last summer for The Towner, The Architecture of Belief, about (of course) Los Angeles (of course) and the occult (of course):

Here is a story about Los Angeles: In 1935, a man who attempted to murder his wife gifted over 4,000 acres of land – previously owned by a man who had survived two attempts on his own life by separate, jilted lovers – to a corrupt mayor later driven from office by the efforts of a charitable Christian businessman with a side business in sexual novelties, who discovered that mayor’s secrets behind a false wall in a fake library. That businessman founded a thriving chain of restaurants built on the premise of giving away free food, one of which became the meeting place for a science fiction writer’s club, whose members included a man who conned a rocket scientist out of his life savings after first taking notes on how the scientist masturbated, and another man who convinced the city of Los Angeles to erect a three-story-tall fake Babylonian arch in the middle of Hollywood and then turn it into a shopping mall. This really happened, and I mention it here to remind you of the old saw about truth’s superlative relationship to fiction.

I've just started work on a book about the occult in the San Fernando Valley and I couldn't be happier. Have a story about goths in Burbank, psychics in the North Hollywood, or healers in Pacoima? Let me know!

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Monday, November 02, 2015

One-Day Workshop: Getting Published

Next month I'm teaching a one-day workshop on navigating the world of submitting your work and getting it published. This is a great intro class for non-writers and those just starting out! Also you are 100% guaranteed to be published in the New Yorker within 24 hours of finishing this workshop.

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Next Stop, Wikipedia

Last night J Ryan informed me that we now have IMDB pages for the short promotional videos we wrote for the LA Music Center last year.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Midnight Madness

I'm late to post this, but last month I went to New York to work with my friends Mat and Andrea on Midnight Madness.

Midnight Madness is an annual all-night scavenger hunt and charity fundraiser on Wall Street. For the last year I've been working with Mat Laibowitz, the game's founder, to research, write, and test puzzles. During the event itself, I worked Game Control, helping to track and guide the teams through the city (and my husband Dev worked as Tech Support, installing and repairing game installations).

Dev and his multimeter

Andrea installing some of the light boxes

At Game Control:


My work station

There are some great articles about Midnight Madness here, here, here, here, here, and especially this video.

It was probably the most grueling 24 hours of my life, but I can't wait to do it again next year.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In the classroom and on the air

Last Saturday I was on the radio talking about - what else? - shipwreck songs! On Bob's No Wake Zone Boating Radio Show, on KRMS 97.5. You can catch it in the archives here.

I was also a guest on the Brock Party podcast recently, where I was talking about ghosts - and a little about shipwrecks.

Up next, I'll be doing a reading about Bollywood movies at Machine Project.

Also I'll be teaching short fiction writing in two upcoming classes at The Writing Pad. The first is an intensive one-day workshop on Sunday, September 27, from 2:30-5:30pm.

Then I'll be teaching a five-week short fiction class starting Sunday, October 4, 2:30-5:30pm, also at The Writing Pad.

Come sign up and hang out with me - there will be snacks!

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Friday, July 31, 2015

So You Want to Write a Shipwreck Song

I'm back in The Awl today discussing the only good kind of song.

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Friday, July 03, 2015

The Least Dangerous Game

A partial list of literary egg puns compiled by Aubrey Clayton and me, with contributions by Zac Lizer:

Eat, Pray, L'Oeuf
How to Hen Friends and Eggfluence People
Fear of Frying
The Yolk and Its Relation to the Unconscious
12 Albumen
Our Bodies, Our Shells
The Tragedy of Omelette, Prince of Henmark
Upton Sinclair's "Boil!"
The Huevo the Pilgrim
The Kreutzer Frittata
The Mayonnaise Waltz
Thus Spoke Shakshuka
The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzoufflé
The Poachman Always Meringues Twice
Live and Let Dye
The Scrambler
The Soufflé Also Rises
This Sunnyside of Paradise
All Quiet on the Western Omelette
Over-Easy of Eden
Scrambler's List
Croque Madame Bovary
Don Quicheote
The Deviled Dictionary

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The Most Dangerous Game

One great game to play with children at the Natural History Museum is to point to one of the dioramas and ask, "What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?" The answers may surprise you.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
No, actually it's the cape buffalo.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
Yes, it's an elk, but not the one you'd think.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
It's lupine, a poisonous woodland flower.
What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
That lizard on top of the boulder.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
That fox's crippling depression.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
Your own unchallenged assumptions.
What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
Over-reliance on hydroelectric dams.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
Climate change.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
The lead used to paint the backdrop.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
Cosmic background radiation.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
The baby hippo, who is going to grow up to be a spree killer.

What's the most dangerous thing in this scene?
The baby chimpanzee, who is 10x more venomous than the adult.

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