Literary Death Match

Literary Death Match.


Literary Death Match

Okay, I’m a little late for my blog post, but life has been nuts.  I picked up my minivan from the auto shop where they seemed to have an inside competition based on how many times they could get me to say, “I ran into my own mailbox.”

I took Sylvia to get her cast off today.  A couple weeks ago I posted her in a pink cast, then she had a green waterproof cast, today she got it all the way off and will wear a brace for the next four weeks and still can’t do gymnastics.  On the way out, the doctor says, “Just be careful.”  Within seconds Sylvia walked into a computer shelf jutting out of the wall.  She nodded yes she was okay, then started shaking her head that no, she was definitely NOT okay.  Then she buried her face in my shoulder and wailed.  The doctor turned around at the screaming and I felt him staring at me.  “Yeah,” I said.  “I’ll be getting that brace today.”  I almost said “stat” but it’s hard to be breezy when you’re being snotted upon.

Then I went to the grocery store because we were out of milk because my minivan was in the shop because I ran into my own mailbox (ding goes the bell at the auto shop).  But I was hungry because I didn’t have my coffee because I forgot that we didn’t have milk until I’d already made it, the coffee not the milk.

We had no creamer, no cooking cream, nothing.  I found two mini half and half jobbies that you get from a diner shoved to the back of a kitchen shelf.  When I peeled off the tops and turned them upside down, the mixture remained inside.  I wasn’t brave enough to scoop it out.  So I pulled out the ice cream and put a dollop in.  Ice cream is made from cream, right?  And milk.  And, apparently, bits of cake.  Especially if, when you check, the ice cream is called “Wedding Cake ice cream.”  Huh.  Cake in ice cream might be fine, but cake in ice cream in coffee is not.  Just sayin’.

Anyway, I’ve put away the apple pie that I didn’t need and the half-price bakery goods (what?  This is why you don’t go shopping when you are hungry) and ten Greek yogurts.  And two gallons of milk.  And two bottles of creamer. A rotisserie chicken.  And the True Lemon (unsweetened) packets that the twins and I need in our cold, refreshing, water.

And now I’m almost finished this blog post and still haven’t even gotten to the Literary Death Match.  Okay, really quickly.

Writers are (generally) introverts whose work requires a great deal of time alone with either a computer or notebook and pencil.  It’s not very glamourous work; there’s a great deal of waiting involved.  It takes time to share what you’ve been working on, sometimes a novel isn’t available to the public until years after you’ve written it.  Blah blah blah.

So, what do writers do for fun?  The go to Literary Death Matches (drum roll).  There are four writers.  3 judges.  A host personality: Adrian Todd Zuniga.  An audience in the basement of a restaurant.  Drinks are flowing.  We got there early and parked it next to the stage.  Something like this:

Literary Death Match 1

I don’t know why my eyes are glowing like I’m from “The Host,” but check out that cool jacket I’m wearing, Christmas present from Mike.

The first two writers read from their own work, the judges critique, Mr. Andre Dubas III moves on.  Break for more drinks.  Second round.  Sarah Shun-lien Bynum advances, despite being shot with a nerf gun for going over the seven-minute limit.  The judges aren’t even making sense anymore, although Mr. Tony Hoagland is impressive in his stream of consciousness.  The final winner is to be determined by a shoot-out between the two winners.

A shoot-out in a packed basement bar?  That’s crazy, you say.  No, what’s crazy is a cupcake war!!!  An overly large photo of author George Saunders magically appears.  My friends Lisa and Amanda are instructed to blindfold the authors, and Andre Dubas III WINS THE NIGHT by hitting the photo of George Saunders with a cupcake to the face.  Well, more like an icing soul patch, really, as it hits under his mouth.  Something like this:

Literary Death Match 2

There you go.  Good clean literary fun.

Result of evening: I bought Townie by Mr. Dubas III for my husband and went to the library for House of Sand and Fog.

Other books I bought at AWP:

  • The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson.  (Saw her read poetry and my friend May recommended.  May has excellent taste).
  • Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
  • A book of translated Russian Poetry for my friend Elyse.  My keyboard can’t type the title and I can’t read Russian, but I hope its good.  Or dark, I guess, in an appropriately Russian way.
  • The FairyTale Review, editor Kate Bernheimer
  • Passages North, Winter 2013
  • The Problem with Power by Agnes Jayne, met the author and looking forward to reading this.

That’s it.  I will stop writing about my less-than-a-week in Boston, although I did want to talk about Elyse and I following the Freedom Trail and my taking a picture of Ben Franklin’s tomb.  Here’s a picture of us while I wait…..

Elyse and Sherri Boston

…yes, that’s right.  Ben Franklin’s tomb is NOT in Boston it’s in Philly.  Thank goodness my phone is so slow to text that I had time to delete Ben Franklin’s parent’s coffins BEFORE I sent the pic to Mike with the caption, “Hey, guess who is buried in Franklin’s tomb?”  Joke would’ve been on me, right?

Much love,


AWP Pictures

I’m up in Boston for the AWP conference (Association of Writers and Writing Programs). The internet connection in the lobby of the Marriott is a bit spotty, so I’ll be brief. Last night, I went to a reading by Anne Carson. Here’s my visual imitation in if-then paragraph:

1.  If you wear beautiful new shoes,


2. If you are not invited to a reception,

Then make your own.  With truffles, wine, and apricot cheese and crackers. 

3.  If you sit through a Political poets presentation

Then you can sit in the front row of Rick Russo and Jennifer Haigh’s talk on regionalism.