People Everyone Should Know: Annie Easley

People Everyone Should Know: Annie Easley

To my mind, shining a light on diversity in any field is important–not just because minority viewpoints matter, but because honest and truthful representation is important.  What actually happened, and who was actually there, isn’t always what we choose to remember.  To that end, I’d like to introduce some people to Annie Easley.  I’m sad to say that I only learned about her a few years ago, but Ms. Easley was a pioneering rocket scientist–her research made space travel and hybrid vehicles possible.  And she has a great story.

Also, I’m thrilled that Engadget, one of my favorite technology blogs, is spreading the word.  A number of different people–especially women and people of color–have contributed a lot to various fields and artistic movements.  But sadly, you don’t always hear a lot about them.  And while that silence might not be intentional, it is a political decision (what you choose to know and not know, what you teach and don’t teach–it’s always political).  And, not to preach for too long, those decisions can lead to dangerous and lasting misconceptions.

I’m also sad to say that in my crowded life, it’s easy to shove some things in corners–I ran across this by accident, and Engadget mainly ran the article because it’s Black History Month.  But I’m hoping that I can reorient my thoughts–year-round–to more important issues such as these.  I mean, I know about Henrietta Lacks and Sophia Stewart, but my goal is to expand my knowledge beyond a few key figures.  I’ll be reporting my progress here, and please feel free to keep me on task.

New Interview is up

New Interview is up

Back in 2010, I was fiction editor of The Fourth River, and I was thrilled when I discovered “Marine Biology,” a story by Sandra Gail Lambert, in the slush pile.  I quickly picked it up and published it in issue 8.  A few weeks ago, I interviewed her to discuss her new novel THE RIVER’S MEMORY.  You can read the interview, in which we discuss the role of memory, describing violence in fiction, and the depiction of women in literature, here.  Special thanks to Robert and Jeff at Braddock Avenue Books for publishing it.

Love for “Cottontails” and Colorado Review, which is, in the words of Joelle Jameson, “A Lit Mag as Flowing and Immersive as the Colorado River”

Love for “Cottontails” and Colorado Review, which is, in the words of Joelle Jameson, “A Lit Mag as Flowing and Immersive as the Colorado River”

#TBT.  Thanks to John Palen/NewPages and Joelle Jameson/The Review Review for their reviews of “Cottontails.”  It was a difficult story to write, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.

Also, thanks to Colorado Review for publishing the story.  To read reviews of the entire Summer 2013 issue, click on the images.

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Indianapolis!

Indianapolis!

 

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So, thanks to the wonderful Theresa Beckhusen, I read at Indy Reads Books, a lovely bookstore in Indianapolis, and also led a WordLab session there.  The bookstore itself is lovely–the photos below don’t really do it justice–and I can’t say enough about how kind and accommodating the staff was.

The reading and WordLab session went well (to read a summary of the character-mapping exercise I led, click here).  We had a good crowd, and they were game for just about anything, which is a fantastic energy for a teacher to work with.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a reading, and I was happy to learn that I wasn’t as rusty as I’d feared.

Sal and Theresa gave me a whirlwind tour of Indianapolis.  Honestly, I had no idea what to expect.  I visited Purdue’s campus back in 1998 (for Triennium, for those of you who know what that is), but that’s about it.  I must say that Indianapolis is one of the cleanest and most progressive cities I’ve ever visited.  By “progressive,” I mean that things are improving steadily there.  They have an active literary scene.  There are a number of new restaurants featuring locally sourced beer and meats.  There’s a huge brewing scene in Indianapolis, which means every restaurant has 12-300 craft beers on tap.  There’s also a healthy cycling and outdoorsy community there.  Being from Pittsburgh, I couldn’t help but marvel at all the space they have.  Also, since the city’s laid out on a grid, you can just look at something in the distance and directly drive there.  Try that anywhere in Allegheny County and you’ll end up in a river.

Some highlights:

Suntory Whiskey actually exists.  Sal built a fire and we drank about a gallon of it.  It was magical.

Visiting Hero House, a great comics store in downtown.  I bought Issue #1 of Outcast and a copy of Don Lomax’s Gulf War Journal.

The Indiana State Fair.  They had a number of “selfie stations” set up.  I got one in front of a hog farm, and also took one with the Soybean mascot.  It took several tries, considering the sheer size of the costume.

At Fat Dan’s restaurant, eating a rack of ribs off a sheet of butcher paper, with thick brown high school-cafeteria paper towels as napkins.

We didn’t have time to visit the Kurt Vonnegut museum downtown.  So it goes.

Every time a character swore in the new Dragonball Z movie (“That talking purple cat is a real bastard”), you could hear everyone in the theater clucking in disapproval.

The new Dragonball Z movie features a talking purple cat.