Monday, February 27, 2012

Robert Vaughan Interviews MaryAnne Kolton for Some Unknown Reason

Remember this, Robert? 

RV     Name one food you have not eaten since childhood, and why?

MAK  Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.  My father was out of work and money was tight.  My mother found an unbelievable deal on the above, so she bought three cases!  We lived a half a block from the school and came home for lunch every day.  For almost a year we arrived in the kitchen to face a steaming hot bowl of ( makes my stomach roll just to think about this) Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup.  Yuck.

RV     Is there one person you can think of whose writing makes you want to write immediately.  If so, who, and why?

MAK  Aargh!  I hate being confined to a choice from a group consisting of one.  I'm not a very decisive person.  You know me, I'm the one at the restaurant where all my friends are starting on the third course, and menu still in hand, I'm musing, "Um, maybe the salmon, but I don't really feel like fish."
Getting back to your question, I get so much inspiration from so many writers.  A theme, a word, a phrase, or even an author's note can make me run to the computer.  That's not one person, though, is it?  Okay.  I can't pick one, however, I will say that writers whose fiction easily transitions to prose always makes me think, Now that’s how I want to write.  Kazuo Ishiguro, Leah Hager Cohen, Karen Alvtegen and Alice Hoffman are just a few examples.  Recently, I wrote a fairy tale that I thought came pretty close.  It’s been accepted and due to be published at some point.  Links will be everywhere.  I've considered hiring a skywriter. . .

RV    Any animal that terrifies you?  Why?

MAK  No.  I am such an over the top animal lover.  I suppose I wouldn't be enamored of an out of control orangutan with a face-eating compulsion or any animal with a face-eating compulsion for that matter, but overall I'm not afraid of much of anything.  I do have one sister that . . .well, never mind about her.

RV    First draft-Paper and Pen?  Or Computer and keypad?  Describe your first draft process.

MAK  Computer and keypad, even though I am the world's worst typist.  For a first draft I just write all the thoughts I have about the story any old which way - just to get ideas on paper.  Sometimes, the main character tells me the story, but that's rare. Then I go back again, clean it up, look for better words.  You know the drill.  It's not unusual for JLD and I to be in the kitchen getting coffee and I’m saying "Don't talk to me.  I'm writing in my head."  God forbid that I lose the perfect phrase.  My memory is not what it used to be, for sure.

RV    What matters more: expensive thread-count bed sheets?  Or fancy anniversary celebrations?  Why?

MAK  Twelve hundred thread count all the way.  JLD says I'm a hedonist at heart.  I have a luxe king size bed, down pillows and comforter and twelve sets of sheets.  Six for summer and six for winter.  Sleeping comfortably is more important to me than breathing.  Almost.  One of the stories I wrote, The Love Tap, is pretty much about me and sleeping.

Wow!  I really rambled on here, didn't I?  Sorry to be so wordy but you know how it goes. . .

Thanks Robert.  This was fun!

Robert Vaughan is a brilliant writer, a notoriously kind and handsome man, and happily, my friend. For his full bio see 

Friday, February 10, 2012

insignificant compared to a tornado touch down

Thank you Liz (ahem) and Laura at The Toucan

Friday, February 10, 2012

We find it very ironic that this narrator's name is Liz, and that's all we're saying.

Now enjoy this whirlwind of a piece by one of our favorite contributors, MaryAnne Kolton. And just be happy you aren't this Liz. Or Editrice Liz. We know Editrice Liz is fabulous and rocks a mustache pretty hard, but you don't want to read the amount of things she has to read right now.

insignificant compared to a tornado touchdown
by MaryAnne Kolton

Liz huddled against the wall in the small space between the angled fireplace and the sliding glass door.

“Answer the door, bitch.  I know you’re in there!” He was pounding and shouting now.

 She was shaking.  Afraid of real violence.

  Liz started out on a somewhat even keel.  Good job as a Real Estate Broker, big house, two lovely, intelligent (or so she thought) teenager daughters and a so-so marriage. 

Boom!  Her oldest daughter is forced into rehab at fifteen, where she thinks she’s there as a counselor rather than a fuck-up like everybody else. 

Pow!  The thirteen year old resents all the attention her big sister is getting and begins to act out by doing things like going into the city with older friends to see the Smashing Pumpkins.  After asking permission and being told no.  

Bang!  Liz discovers her often-absent spouse has been seeing a wealthy, younger woman in Boston.  It had crossed her mind that he was spending a lot of time in Boston.  She files for divorce.  The thirteen year old goes to live with her father because he’s “so not such a pain in the ass”.

Splat!  She falls in lust with a married man who promises to take care of her forever or at least for the eighteen months they are together.  She neglects her buyers and sellers so she can be at her lover’s beck and cell phone call.  Her successful real estate business becomes less so.

Ouch!  His wife wants him back. 

The market turns, she sells her house collecting eight thousand dollars at the closing table.

 Duh!  She tries her damndest to fit all the furniture from her eleven-room house into a two-bedroom apartment and ends up selling or giving away most of her life’s possessions.  Most of her life.

Liz finds a job as a corporate salesperson hustling “connectivity” devices.  Read Blackberries and iPods.  She soon discovers that all the other corporate sales reps are twenty-two, blonde, and wear skirts that are eight inches long and shoes with six-inch heels.  She could arrive at eight o’clock for a ten o’clock appointment and still be the last one seen.  Her knees are too plump and noisy for short skirts. 

Ugh!  She tries a three-inch, semi-stiletto heel, but the right heel gets caught in the decorative brickwork surrounding the entrance to an office complex.  The fall breaks her ankle in three places.

            Whack!  Jobless, broke and four months behind on her rent, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy is trying to serve her an eviction notice for about the seventh time.  Her life has become a reality show.  A train wreck.
            As she trembles and crouches, she wonders what could possibly be next.