Some days are just good.
Still on a high from sending in the finished manuscript for Jane Bites Back on Monday, yesterday I opened my e-mail to find two pieces of truly excellent news.
First up was an advance review of What We Remember. For those of you who don't keep up with every single event in my life (and shame on you if you don't), What We Remember is my next book for adult readers (as opposed to young adult readers, not as in books with dirty bits in them, although there are some of those in WWR). Anyway, the book comes out in May. Feel free to pre-order it.
This novel is a bit of a departure for me. It's a mystery of sorts, about a family who seven years before the book opens were shaken by what they believe to be the suicide of the father. Now they find that he was actually murdered. By whom and why form the core of the novel. But really it's about the secrets we keep and how we often go to great lengths to maintain the appearance of normalcy.
I've been worried about this book. It was very difficult to write, and in fact is coming out a year later than it was supposed to because I went through a really rough patch when, after writing more than half of it, I threw out everything I'd written and started over. So I'm more anxious than usual about the reception it's going to get.
I'm pleased to say that this first review makes me feel a lot better about that. The full review won't appear until June, but I'm sharing a bit of it now because, well, I'm so excited about it. It's by Killian Melloy--who is clearly a genius--and it will run in the EDGE series of newspapers.
Ford provides each character’s views and recollections with a drop-by-drop craftsmanship that makes the book blaze by. But this isn’t simply an exhibition of Ford’s storytelling skill: "What We Remember," true to its title, is also an examination of the layered, multiple meanings of moments, both as we live them and as we look back at them to make sense of where we’ve been. The expert plotting defies prediction, keeping the reader guessing until the moment Ford chooses to deploy a final volley of shocks and revelations, but it’s the book’s deeper meanings that will stick with you later on.
That's so much better than "What the hell is this piece of shit? What was Ford thinking?"
As if that wasn't enough to make it a great day, I also received an e-mail from the organizers of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival informing me that two of my photographs have been selected by the jury to appear in this year's collection. Again, for those of you who don't know, I've gotten a bit into photography over the past two years. I mostly do self portraits that explore gender and are just generally odd.
I love this festival because it celebrates artistic expression of gender and sexuality, which is just really cool. I mean, where else are you going to find ceramic weet-woos and macrame hee-haws? Just kidding. About the macrame, anyway. I'm particularly pleased by the photos they've chosen. One of them is perhaps my favorite photo I've ever taken. I did it when my mother came to visit last spring. I wasn't sure how she would respond to the idea, but she was thrilled to do it. In fact, she has a copy of it hanging in her house, which amuses me to no end.
Here it is. I think my mother looks absolutely beautiful. I don't look so bad myself. Kind of like Goldilocks on crack.
(You can click on the images to see them at original size.)
The second photo is another favorite. I wanted to capture the feeling of a 1970s snapshot, the kind someone might take during a session with a hooker at a cheap motel. But I also wanted to say something about the roles we adopt and the faces we wear to express our sexuality.
Here's how it turned out. I took this at the hotel in Monterey where my friend Lynn and I always stay when we go diving. I made the light really harsh, and added a layer of grit to give it that "photo you find in your dad's sock drawer" look.
By the way, I had a hell of a time finding that slip. They apparently aren't as popular as they once were. Particularly in big girl sizes. I feared I would never find one, but then Lynn and I found one--literally one--at a Target store. The shoes, too. And they were only $4.99. That was a good day as well.
And that was yesterday.
Oh, for those of you who are wondering, those photographs will eventually be printed in a signed limited edition of 100. They'll be available at the festival, and if I ever get my act together I'll be making them available on my website.