Who knew my months of working in the Amazon warehouse would yield so many words……

I have plunged into the seedy world of nonfiction. Deep lake. Dark waters. I’ve no idea which way the bubbles are going….BUT The Atlantic was kind enough to take a chance on me and publish a piece I wrote about my time trying to start a union drive in the Amazon warehouse. Click on the picture of the stack of Atlantic Monthlies below to go to the article directly.

I am not in this issue

We shall see where such things lead. I have long been simultaneously drawn to and terrified of long form nonfiction. And I have a lot of ideas, but I will spare you all. For now.

And….Portlanders. I am reading tonight at the Blue Monk. Click on the image for more details.

I'm actually reading at a bar called The Bue Monk and not on a piece of sheet music...

Michele Tea’s infamous RADAR reading series…and unsolvable font problems AAAHHHH!!!!

People of the Bay Area. If you are not actively involved in occupying something (a bank, a dock, your life…) at 6pm on Thursday Nov 17th, I would love to see you at the San Francisco Public Library where I will be reading with other amazing people for Michele Tea’s RADAR reading series.

Click gender neutral reader for details or follow this link http://www.radarproductions.org/?cat=5

On other fronts, I am working on novel number 2 in the southwest and spending a lot of time in the desert. I am starting to think that the more time you spend  in Arroyos, the less you really need to write novels. Jury is out on that. Suffice to say it is easy to get lost in your mind. Or it is for me. Here are some things I saw…

The World Tree

More proof that other people lived here

The Southwest version of "Kilroy Was Here"

Regarding the habit of stacking rocks, it seems to be a bit obsessive…but that’s just an outsider’s view. I saw a carefully raked Zen sand garden with deep gouges crisscrossing the sand where a puppy had run through it. That was pretty cool. And of course, very Zen.

the natural death of another World Tree

I climbed up a mesa and walked several miles out into a bowl of land in the high desert and I never wanted to come back. I certainly didn’t want to come back to the disturbing slowness of an unformed novel. When I was a young and dumb artist, I loved the beginnings of things. All the energy was there, the possibility. But now the beginning just feels like wading through mud and reeds when you just want to get out t the ocean and swim. I have to say, I long for water that’s well over my head.

Porchlight in San Francisco–the special Litquake edition

My afternoon at WORDSTOCK with Charle Yu was pure joy. That sure is a nice, talented man. Everyone should buy his book. I’m in the middle of reading it and can’t stop.

this is a porchlight

This morning I fly to San Francisco to be a part of the iconic Porchlight Story telling series where, though I’ll surely be outclassed, I plan to enjoy myself enormously. If you are in the SF area and want to come see the show the details are here: http://www.porchlightsf.com/thismonth.html

Next up–WORDSTOCK and then on to San Francisco…

I will be reading this coming Sunday at WORDSTOCK.

click image for link to details or read on...

And according to the schedule I will be reading with the amazing Charles Yu.

Mr. Yu wrote this book.

There are two things of which I am not sure in all of this.

1) I don’t know what “reading with” means. I kind of hope it’s a bizarre 1960s-retro-dada-french experimental theater kind of thing where we each sit on the stage facing away from the audience simultaneously reciting passages from our book while stock  footage of tanks runs on the overhead screen.

by there is a lot of red in this post. Must be the alienated fires of transformation burning...

But somehow, I think this is not what they meant when they said that Charles Yu and I were reading together. I think they meant that we are psychologically paired, which I consider a high compliment, and that our audiences share something in common. Other than venue. Anyway, he’s great and so get there early enough to see him. It’s this Sunday and I go on at 3pm. Charles Yu is at 2pm.

2) The second thing I am unsure of is why WORDSTOCK is always capitalized. I mean, I understand why they do it, for branding. But why do I do it?

Next post, on to the Bay Area where I will get to tell a story at the inimitable Porchlight Storytelling series for their special Litquake edition…

Lord! what a whirlwind of days

Due to the amount of cool events and stuff (Why, what a lovely and particular word you’ve landed on Ms Veselka, so elegant and descriptive: stuff…) I get to do over these net few weeks, I am go to post them separately in a stream so that they each get the attention they deserve.

And so I don’t get so overwhelmed and freaked out that I burrow into the mud.

if I'm very still they'll think I'm a...I'm a...worm burrowing--wait, this isn't smart at all.

So first up on this little glory train is…The Nervous Breakdown and Wordstock event this Monday  (October 3rd) at the Bunk Bar in Portland Oregon!

like movie stars!

And if you can;t read the details…go here http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/gharrison/2011/08/tnble-portland-10311/

…and more great events to come. I am so very lucky and truly, truly grateful for all of this.

Yes, I will be reading at This! Fest.

I have been asked to read with a cast of amazing writers here in Portland this weekend (sept 9/10) for an event called This! Fest. It’s a mix of musicians and writers all doing really short performances, which is pretty neat because it’s so rare to hear so many people putting it o the line all in one night. Truly, the line-up is great and I am more than honored to get to join them. My reading will be around 9:30 on Friday but the festival is over two nights and it is all going to be good. Please come.

Yes, I will be teaching classes in Portland this Fall. Update #1.

For my Portland friends…

A few spaces are available in the weekend boot camp (Sept 10/11) called “Creating New Worlds.” If you are looking for a short sharp writer slap to wake you out of your torpor (and I know I am!), this might be the class for you. And it is genre friendly.

click picture to link to class description at the Attic

(Go here if I have failed to link the URL correctly http://atticwritersworkshop.com/workshop/july-weekend-boot-camp-creating-new-worlds-vanessa-veselka)

And starting in mid-September I am also leading a 5 week non-fiction workshop called “The Truth About Truth.” This one will meet Thursdays during the day so it’s good for freelancers and moms and no good scoundrels. Like me. And here’s the link to that one:


thanks. more updates to follow.