Saturday, March 31, 2007

Six Six Word Stories

Read more about 6 word stories here.

Six Six Word Stories by C.M. Mayo

(1) Credit card. Rolex. Saks. Hawaii. Scissors.
(2) Skanktard believes own lies. Club collapses.
(3) Everything coconuts. Boys. Dancing. Drugs. Death.
(4) Suburbs of Cleveland. Record Store. Escape.
(5) Dream of fame. Get fame. Icky.
(6) Waitress finds spaniel. Spaniel saves chef.

By the way, for 365 five minute writing exercises, click here. More anon.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Leslie Pietrzyk's Fabulous New Litblog: Work in Progress

My amiga the novelist and short story writer Leslie Pietryzk--- she's the guilty party who got me into blogging last year--- now that I think about it, yikes, today is the one year anniversary of "Madam Mayo"--- has just started blogging! Her fabulous new blog is "Work in Progress" and today's post features Yours Truly, talking about literary translation and the new Tameme chapbook, Mexican writer Agustin Cadena's "Carne verde, piel negra," which I translated as "An Avocado from Michoacan." Leslie Pietrzyk is a writer I would love to see in more translations--- she's already in Dutch--- as her novels, Pears on a Willow Tree and A Year and a Day give a portrait of the US heartland that is rare find abroad. As for blogging, Leslie has been following the litblog scene long before I ever heard the term. Click here to read about her favorite litblogs. Leslie is not only at work on a third novel, but she teaches creative writing at various venues, including the Bethesda MD (near Washington DC) Writers Center so her take on "work in progress" is sure to be fascinating. More anon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Kenyon Review Today at the Writers Center

Today at 7:30 pm Kenyon Review Editor David Lynn will be at the Bethesda MD Writers Center to talk about "Dizzying Change on the Literary Scene." The talk will be followed by a question/answer session and a reception. Free admission. (The summer 2004 issue has my short story, "The Building of Quality". There's an online Kenyon Review interview about my work here.) This is sure to be a fascinating lecture. If you're interested in publishing literary fiction and poetry and you are anywhere in the Washington DC metropolitan area, you'd find it well worth your while to attend. More anon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pet Food: What to Feed Your Dog (How About, Um, Food?)--- Updated

Re: the massive pet food recall which includes Iams, Eukenuba and some 50 more brands of dog food and 40 brands of cat food. So, what to feed your dog? My own dog (pug) goes for:
--->1/3 meat (chicken, livers, fish, and/or beef)
--->1/3 starch (rice, tortilla, noodles, potato, oatmeal, barley)
--->1/3 vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, carrot, zuccini, sweet potato--- basically, any cooked vegetable except onion)

Note: some dogs also like to eat fruit such as bananas and apples. (Careful: do NOT give your dogs onions or chocolate, as both are toxic to their systems).

Clearly, dogs can eat our leftovers---- as long as (common sense) the food is not overly spiced or containing onion or chocolate or troublesome little bones. Actually, dogs have always eaten our leftovers. The most unnatural thing is kibble! I don't buy the argument that it's cheaper than homecooked food--- after all, if your dog gets cancer or kidney failure, the vet bills can go well into the triple digits. There's plenty more to say about it.

My pug has been on this diet for 7 years and is in excellent health.

According to Rudi Edelati's Barker's Grub (our recipe Bible) different breeds do better on certain foods. All dogs can eat a wide variety of foods, however, for example, pugs do especially well with barley and beef (very true in our experience). Airedales do especially well with fish, beef, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and oats. Labradors do especially well with fish, poultry, lamb, dairy, wheat, olive oil and green vegetables.

I feed my dog three times a day. The dogs I had before (who died of old age) were fed once per day, and that worked well also. But I think the smaller, more frequent meals are easier on her digestive system.

I throw it all in a big pot and boil it up, then mix, then freeze in plastic tubs (and thaw as needed). I also sometimes cook the meat in the oven. Additional benefit: I find that I end up eating more fresh vegetables and soup myself as a result of cooking for my dog!

Update: Lots of information on the blogs. Read a bit into this one for some very interesting thoughts. She writes, "Am I the only person questioning all these diverse foods being made in the same location? How can a more expensive and theoretically higher quality food be made side-by-side with lesser products? If this one gigantic food plant was making food for all those different companies, then where is the quality control or oversight by the companies whose names are on the cans? Who would be the watchdog to oversee that the origin of the ingredients and their processing wasn't the same for all of them and packaged differently? If each brand was actually being made according to a separate recipe, then what need would there be to recall every can made for every company during a three month period - unless they all shared common ingredients before being labeled and priced differently?" Yeah, well, when I was a little kid my class at school got a tour of the Leslie Salt plant. I saw with my own eyes the same salt go down the conveyor belt into the one blue cannister, and also, into the cannister labeled "organic sea salt" which, as you might suspect, retailed for a higher price.

Update #2: Here's another interesting link about the problems with commercial pet food.

Update #3: Where have we come to as a society when we don't know how to feed our animals? It's Orwellian.

Miraculous Air: The Milkweed Catalog Has Arrived

The pub date for the paperback edition of Miraculous Air is but 2 weeks away... Milkweed Editions has just posted the catalog information here. Yes, it can be pre-ordered. And there's even more ordering information here. Yes, there will be a book tour. Why is there an angel carrying a tiny house on the cover? To find out, click here. More anon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pet Food Recall: It's Massive

Here's the latest on the massive pet food recall. And here's more, on Menu Foods. Yes, massive. It should be on the TV news shows tonight. In fact, DC's Fox (channel 5) happened to be filming at Friendship Hospital for Animals this afternoon and got some footage of Picadou, my black pug (she's fine--- just in for a routine checkup). While we were there, someone brought in a very sick cat--- another possible poisoning victim. I've long been an advocate for home cooked food for dogs. It might sound extravagant--- certainly, it's cheaper and easier to just toss a cup o' kibble in that dish--- but if you knew--- really knew--- the gruesome, unwholesome pure yuckiness of what goes into most commercial pet food, believe me, you would not give it to your pet. Read more about the fundamental problems with commercial pet food and get some wholesome and easy to make recipes in Rudi Edelati's Barker's Grub. More anon.

Update: a few links to other blogs. One notes a skanky-looking time-line. Another blogger notes that it took the media a suspiciously long time to get started with this story. PETA has more here. Read Tina Perry's "What's Really For Dinner? The Truth About Commercial Pet Food." Writes Perry, "It is not happenstance that four of the top five major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of major multinational food production companies: Colgate Palmolive (which produces Hills Science Diet), Heinz, Nestle, and Mars... From a business standpoint, multi-national food companies owning pet food manufacturers is an ideal relationship. The multinationals have captive market in which to dump their waste products, and the pet food manufacturers have a direct source of bulk materials. Both make a profit from selling scraps that originate from places far worse than the dinner table." Read on (warning: it's a toe-curler.) I recall reading a few years ago about a very serious in-depth investigation about the pet food industry and its obscenely lax regulation and supervision --- but haven't been able to find a reference to it in the Niagara of articles now on-line. More anon.

Update #2: Check out the address on the website for the Pet Food Institute. Cheek by jowl with K Street, where else. The Animal Protection Institute website has an article, "Get the Facts: What's Really in Pet Food" with a good list of references.

Update #3: The blog posts are pouring in. Here's a typical personal horror story. and here's another.

"From Mexico to Miramar or, Across the Lake of Oblivion"

My essay about a visit to Maximilian's castle in Trieste, recently published in the Massachusetts Review, has been named a finalist for the O. Henry Award for Best Work of Magazine Journalism, 2006 by the Texas Institute of Letters. Click on the Texas Institute of Letters--- see a very curious squirrel photo. And speaking of people who got completely wrapped around the axle with debt, seems we have more every day here in the USA. Last night I went to see James Scurlock's new documentary Maxed Out. It's jaw-dropping. More anon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pure Sea Glass: Writers at the Beach

The Pure Sea Glass Writers Conference begins this Thursday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Director and novelist Maribeth Fischer has once again put together a magnificent lineup with Richard Bausch, Robert Bausch (yes both of them!), Carolyn Parkhurst, Leslie Pietrzyk, Liam Callanan, Lisa Couturier, Sheri Reynolds, literary agent Candace Furhman, Tin House magazine, and many more. I'll be on panels about point of view and publishing, and giving a morning workshop on travel memoir. (Click here for the complete schedule.) I'll also be reading from Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion and Miraculous Air. This is a very unusual writers conference in that the whole thing benefits an important charity: the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Back blogging next week.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mexico in Washington DC This March: Carlos Prieto; Say It In Espanol, Beatriz Ezban & Mucho Mas

A big week next week in Washington DC: world-famous Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto is coming to the Kennedy Center on March 13th. (Read about his new book, The Adventures of a Cello--- a Stradivarius--- here.) And there is a whole string of events at the Cultural Institute of Mexico-- check it out at 2829 19th St NW tel 202-728-1675: March 15th "Round Table: Say It In Espanol (Spanish in the US / El espanol en los EEUU)" and March 22 "Beatriz Ezban: United Field: The Border Project / Campo Unificado: Proyecto la Frontera."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mexican Writers on Writing: A New Book Edited by Margaret Sayers Peden

Just back from the AWP bookfair in Atlanta-- so much to blog about! One of the books I was most excited to see is the gorgeous and essential new anthology edited by Margaret Sayers Peden, Mexican Writers on Writing. (Trinity University Press). It includes essays by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Rosario Castellanos, Angeles Mastretta, Juan Villoro, Pedro Angel Palou, Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, Ilan Stavans, Juan Villoro, and Jorge Volpi, in addition to a dozen others. The cover painting is "Our Dream" by Mexican artist Alfredo Castaneda. (Peden and Castaneda have collaborated on another book: read about that here.) More anon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The End of the CD? Nah.

Just back from AWP where the "Beyond the Book" panel with Yours Truly, Richard Beban, Joseph Bednarik, Urayoan Noel, Richard Peabody, and Nancy Zafris brought up about 7,000 fascinating questions. One of the subjects was CDs--- Peabody's audio CD, "31 Arlington Poets" was my inspiration to do "The Essential Francisco Sosa or, Picadou's Mexico City". Peabody said he expected that in the future audio would be downloaded off the 'Net--- itunes and podcasts and the like. (Here's an article that argues the same.) And all of this seems commonsensical... but.... it also seems to me that there is always going to be a need, if a drastically reduced one, for the physical object. The graphic design and "jewel case" of the CD is a kind of wrapping. A gift comes wrapped in paper and tied with a bow. A book, too, has a wrapping-- the cover, the dust jacket. People don't have to, but they do wear clothes. Tea could be dispensed out of a vat, but it also comes in bottles. I have hope. I would expect that CDs themselves may shrink, perhaps down to the size of a coin. But the CD case itself is a good size. It fits in the palm. It can be beautifully designed: a work of art in itself. So: I'm going to do another one. And isn't the CD Baby logo cute? And DVDs! I've just been watching Urayoan Noel's way-out wacky Kool Logic Sessions. More anon.

Daniel Olivas @ La Bloga

A very nice mention of Tameme's new chapbook, Agustin Cadena's "Carne verde, piel negra / An Avocado from Michoacan" in Daniel Olivas's excellent weekly column over at La Bloga. Later tonight I'll be posting some news about the Associated Writing Programs Conference last weekend in Atlanta. So, more anon.