An Interview with Julie Carpenter
Author Naomi Ulsted recently interviewed Julie, and they talked about writing, Things Get Weird in Whistlestop, and juggling Life, the Universe, and Everything it throws at you. Uncle Morty interjected a few opinions of his own.
Here's a snippet of the interview, but click on over to Naomi's site. It's easy to get lost in all the great content but Uncle Morty and Julie give you their permission to sit down, grab a cup of tea, and settle in. All that stuff you have to do will still be waiting on you to do it when you get back. Trust us.
Here's a little of the interview to get you started:
I think your sense of humor is one of the defining traits of your writing; however, there is a more serious tone below the humor as well. Can you describe what you consider to be the major themes of your work?
I think one theme is that just because something seems ordinary or normal, you can’t assume that it’s righteous or just. St. Bartholomew’s church in Whistlestop is a good example. Of course, everyone assumes that the church is a safe and spiritual place, but what’s behind that door in the choir room? Why did it choose the church and not the basement of the Pop-a-Top Bar? Other than the fact that I’m not sure the Pop-a-Top has a basement. The fact that you’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. The fact that you’ve always trusted some person, or institution doesn’t mean that they are, in fact, trustworthy....
You also work full-time outside of the literary field. How do you balance your work, your website, and your own writing?
I balance my work, website, and writing like a novice juggler on a drunken binge, which is to say, ummm, not very well. I also have a garden, two cats, and chickens who need my attention every day. And family. So, my system is simple triage. I stamp out whichever fire is burning hottest at any given time, frequently going up in flames in the process....
Reed College Recording
Review by Julie Carpenter
The cool cats over at The Rocking Magpie, where they collect all sort of music and music adjacent reviews for your listening pleasure, asked Julie to review Allen Ginsberg's The Howl, Reed College Recording. Here are a couple snippets, but please head on over to the site and hang out for a while when you get there! There's plenty to see and hear.
Midnight in the Garden
of Good and Evil
Author, Jon Berendt
Review by Jarad Johnson
Many of you will know the title of this book, a very popular book in the nineties. It was also made into a movie with John Cusack and Kevin Spacey - he adds a layer – but that’s not the point of this post.
I was born at the end of the nineties and believe it or not I’d never heard of this book. Given that it’s an LGBTQ book, I’m surprised I missed it, but somehow, I did. I’m also not the most clued in about pop culture or the vile cesspools of social media. Although I consider myself very liberal and culturally aware, I also distance myself from certain things, which may be radical for someone my age. I just want you to understand that I had no, I repeat, no idea whatsoever what this book was about. No preconceptions. To tell you the truth, I recognized Bonaventure Cemetery from the cover; it’s one of the cemeteries I have always wanted to visit. That’s why I picked it up. I don’t know what I thought it would be about, but a murder trial was not it.
We thought this would be a good time to focus on friend of the chickens, Naomi Ulsted, since she has a brand new website and author page Naomi specializes in young adult fiction, memoir, and also writes screenplays. She is a master of writing about late teen/early twenties giddiness and angst. Her writing lends grace and humor to one of the most difficult and occasionally magical learning periods in human development. Her work sparks memory and acceptance, a look back through the hard times to find growth and beauty.
Me, the Moon, and Brutus the Cat
By Julie Carpenter
I didn't find Brutus. Brutus found me. I had stopped at the end of the drive to get the mail, when I saw him running across the street from our neighbor's meadow, racing straight towards me with all the focus of John Cleese's Sir Lancelot in Monty Python's Holy Grail. I was somewhat shocked when an unknown cat jumped into my arms. I petted him, set him down, and drove to the house to unload some groceries. When I came back to the car to get some more bags, I found him sitting in my back seat desperately trying to open a pack of hot dogs. I tried to find out where he came from , but in the end it turned out the universe had given me another cat.
Review: En Route
Author Jesse Wolfe
by Julie Carpenter
En Route is a slim poetry collection about what it might mean to be human, whether it means anything, whether the meaning of life is created through intention or is simply distilled experience.
The Ghost in the Machine
Review by Crow Carpenter
Note from Julie: Sometimes Crow watches television and I watch him watching television. Sometimes I'm bored enough to take pictures and videos of him watching videos. This is how I've been affected by isolation. It could be worse. Uncle Morty is trying to learn the bagpipes and Jarad was last seen wrestling a large vine and calling for a machete. On the other hand, if you are taking the time to read this maybe you shouldn't judge us. Anyhoo...here's how Crow felt about the story of a haunted painting, a love story gone wrong, and a secret underground tunnel.
New Place, New Plants!
by Jarad Johnson
I recently moved into an apartment, and there is a distinct lack of landscaping here. There’s a few weeping holly’s and some poorly trimmed hedges - don’t even get me started on that! Who trims a hedge when it’s going to winter damage? Fools! - but that’s about it. Of course, I’m not lacking on indoor plants -it’s a jungle in here- but outdoor plants are what I prefer to deal with. I’ve got a balcony to work with and some railing at the front door, and I’ve already got some plans for that- lots of planters, vines and endless other plants are on my buying list this year. Rosemary, lavender, moonflower, black eyed susan vine and heliopsis are must haves. Lilies and clematis and a lemon tree also. I’ve already moved some very pretty (and very heavy!) stone planters up the steps near the front door, so that’s likely where I’ll start. I’ve also got a large pot earmarked for a rose and some spilling annuals.
by Naomi Ulsted
This week we're lucky to have a piece by a fantastic writer, Naomi Ulsted. Glamour Shots is a delightfully funny and poignant look back at a time when hair was tall and glamor could be had for about sixty dollars and a trip to the mall. Enjoy!
I had spent my morning fantasizing about the UPS guy. He had thick dark hair and a natural smile, and he usually arrived at the office around ten in the morning. While booking reservations at La Quinta hotels across Texas for the children’s theatre show I worked with, I made sure I was in the front office in case he was just running late. After lunch, I gave up and was in the back room reorganizing our costume box, when I heard the door open. I draped my sparkling green witch costume over an office chair and darted to the front, ignoring my office manager’s disapproving look. She didn’t care for me bolting in or out of rooms. She pursed her lips as I slugged back Gatorade, suffering from after effects of an evening dancing down on Sixth Street. It was only a salesman selling Glamour Shots from the mall. So maybe I bought them because I was consoling myself about the UPS guy. Or maybe because the office manager sniffed with disdain as I reviewed the package; a sitting that included makeup and dress for up to three people and one eight by ten print, all for a flat rate of sixty dollars. I handed over my credit card.
Author, Tomás Prower
by Jarad Johnson
This is a book that I’ve been meaning to read for some time. If you’re a long-time reader of the blog, you’ll know that Julie and I have no problem discussing death or the topics that relate to it. People call it morbid; I call it healthy. To me, it’s important to come to terms with the fact that your death is going to happen. Not that I’m encouraging you to speed up the process, of course, but accepting your mortality brings a sense of peace. So many things we do are motivated by our fear of death. Why fear something you can’t avoid? As the saying goes, “no one makes it out alive.”