Interview Preview

I’m being interviewed over at the Swivet on August 28th, when the book comes out, by LaGringa.  But she’s posted a preview of the interview today.  She’s going to be giving away copies of One for Sorrow, too, so I’ll make sure to remind you all to go over there and get one when the interview goes up.  Don’t know if you have to do anything in particular, answer a question, be the first four to comment, get an audition for Survivor and make the cast, etc.  But if you’re the sort of person who’s thinking, I’m not really willing to pay for a book by that guy, but a free book is another case entirely, be sure to read The Swivet on August 28th.


one_for_sorrow_bookmark_highres.jpgMy friend Steven Andrew is a graphic design genius. I heart so many of the things he does. Like his that he started up, which is a sort of myspace for the local Youngstown arts and entertainment scene. And his own myspace page, which he redesigned because he’s an online design wiz kid like that. And when I ran into trouble trying to get bookmarks made for One for Sorrow because I didn’t know how to photoshop the thing to the size needed, with bleed gutters and all these other sorts of things the printer asked for, he took my book cover and redesigned it into this totally rockin’ bookmark. Someone needs to hire this guy for some kind of design work, cause he’s got the skills. Click on the little rockstar bookmark to get a closer look. I love it.

Days go by

Ugh, this is sort of agonizing, waiting waiting waiting for my book to come out.  For months, even after all the work with Bantam was done for putting it together, it was this distant thing in my mind.  But now its presence just keeps looming nearer and nearer.  Rick Bowes told me that every writer becomes neurotic the first time they ever have a book come out.  If I’m typical, then that’s true.  Justine Larbelestier has written a ton of entries in her online journal over the past few years about the beginning of her writing career, and I was always interested in what she was writing about, but right now I’m really thankful to have them to read through and see a lot of the weird emotional bubbling going on inside me at the moment is not that strange an experience, as Rick said.

Nonetheless, I will be glad when the anticipation and constant obsessing goes away. *

*I would normally say that obsessing is something we have to stop on our own, with willpower.  I see now, though, that in cases like this one, willpower is completely useless.

Don’t give a damn

Apparently the Republican debate via YouTube is back on.  At first the candidates complained about it and thought it was demeaning, according to Mitt Romney.  Between their hesitation to participate in truly democratic forums like this one, and their outright disregard for the GLBT community’s Visible Vote forum, I think any sensible person with an ability to add two and two together can see that they don’t give a damn about you.

You can stand under my umbrella

A return to a mood I have not felt in a while.

Recently I have been sort of obsessed with the song “Umbrella” which is sung by the very popular Barbados-born Rihanna. And when I say popular, I mean popular. You go to this woman’s myspace page and look at how many “friends” she has. Over 900,000. That just sort of blows my mind, people myspacing so much that you can get over 900,000 people under the same virtual tent. But back to my recent obsession with “Umbrella”. Like most Rihanna songs, it both attracts and repels me. I love the general tune, and the sentiment of the lyrics really grab me, but Rihanna herself sings them in way that feels less sincere than the lyrics themselves. At least, this is the case for “Umbrella”. In another case, the lyrics are kind of a problem as well as Rihanna singing the song in the first place. Such as “Unfaithful” a big hit of hers when was it? Last year or two years ago? I’m not sure. I’m not going to look it up either, but you know, in the recent past. The problem with “Unfaithful” is that the singer is basically feeling bad and guilty because she Can’t Stop Having Sex With Other Men and can see how this hurts her boyfriend so much that he is slowly dying. She says, “I don’t want to be a murderer.” And yet it seems to me like she’s saying, But I Can’t Stop Having Sex With Other Men! What a dilemma! Boyfriend slowly dying, sex with other men, I don’t know, which is more important?

It’s easy to forgive a song like “Unfaithful” because the song itself is so utterly flawed and stupid because of the basic narrative of the lyrics. I just can’t sympathize, you know? But songs like “Umbrella”, which has actually quite touching lyrics, irk me, because I love their essence and become irritated because they feel less “felt” or “sincere” when in particular being sung by Rihanna.

Don’t get me wrong. Despite my Rihanna bashing here, it’s done with love. I can’t help but like the girl, I guess. She’s so cute and despite her not being the person I think best for some of her songs, she has an interesting sound in the way of commercial music. And she’s from Barbados. Awesome.

When it comes to “Umbrella” though, I find myself kind of crushing on Scott Simons’ version, which I found the other day and have been obsessing on in a happy way, as opposed to my frustrated obsessing over Rihanna’s version. In any case, I’m playing the Scott Simons version of the song over at my Myspace page, and you should go take a listen. You can also follow the link to Rihanna’s Myspace and listen to her version and also the aforementioned terrible song “Unfaithful”. I’m charmed by Scott Simons’ version. I will now go stand under his umbrella.

Long and narrow like a coffin

Midori Snyder over at the Endicott Studio for Mythic Arts has written a review of One for Sorrow:

While reading One for Sorrow, Christopher Barzak’s remarkable debut novel, I was reminded of a quote from Danish author, Tove Ditlivson: “Childhood is long and narrow like a coffin, and we do not get out of it without help.”

It’s a really lovely, blush-making review. You can read the rest of it over there.

Also, don’t forget to read the comments, where Terri Windling stands with Midori’s review, and Holly Black comments very excitedly. We love Holly. 🙂


This may be a long shot, but if anyone out there knows of links online or books or documentaries, or anything really, that has to do with munitions factories in the United States during WWII, I could really use some help finding stuff.  I’ve been waiting to use the archives at the Museum of Labor of Industry here in Youngstown, but the archives have been closed the past couple of weeks as the archivist has been on vacation.  She should be back in a few days, but I’m getting itchy, and also if there are good sources out there that I haven’t been able to locate on my own, I would love to see anything someone can point me to.  You can post in the comments or e-mail me directly.  Thanks in advance!