Friday, October 14, 2011

New Interview Up: Fear, Halloween, and an Enchanting Talk

Erin recently sat down with her sister-in-law, Misty, via computer and across 2,000 miles, and chatted about Halloween, making stories, making childhood, making memories.

Here's an excerpt:

photo of Erin Pringle-Toungate as child Misty: Did you visit graveyards as a child? Since reading The Floating Order the first time, I have wondered if we had this in common. I'm sure my brother has told you about our adventures in graveyards prompted by our grandmother.

Erin: We lived down the road from one, and so we drove past a graveyard every day. The schoolbus took the same route. I remember my mother getting into genealogy and so that took us to graveyards, making rubbings and such. Graveyards captured my imagination. Everyone who had lived in the town had ended up in one. Then, part of the town's teenage folklore included visiting either graveyards or places where hauntings might occur in the country. I was part of the drive-out-into-the country crowd, though mostly I just heard about what would happen if you went to the bridge and did such and such. I was never very brave or popular enough to find myself very often at such "haunted' sites but would imagine what I would do were I.

But graveyards have never ceased to interest me, maybe more now since I know more people who now exist in them. So I do visit more now, though not so much the ones where I know the people whose names are on the stones. For example, the graveyard in Fredericksburg, TX is a really intersting one because of the amount of children's graves-- and that the children's graves are in their own section and many of them have metal bassinets made around them. Graveyards understand grief. I find them to be empathetic places to go.

Read the rest of the article and interview, "fear and an enchanting talk", at the blog senseMaking.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"This Bomb My Heart" in War, Literature & the Arts

logo WLA
Out in the vast field, she kneels under the wings her brother made when she lost her arm. He sawed them from a storm-fallen tree then picked a wheelbarrow of Queen Anne’s Lace from the field and ditches, spreading the stems across newspapers on the porch as their mother once had. When the flowers dried, he glued them over the boards then spray-painted the wings white. He screwed the wings to the front of his drum harness from marching band. She wore the harness backward, as she does now over her winter coat, though the wings are patchy and he’s dead.
Read the rest of "This Bomb My Heart" by Erin Pringle-Toungate in the new issue of War, Literature & the Arts (volume 23, 2011)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"The Lightning Tree" in Box of Delights, anthology from Aeon Press

cover Box of DelightsThe house has the empty feeling cleanliness or new death brings.
She touches her neck. Her heart like a leaf scared by the wind.
The wind presses against the window panes
She turns to the other side of the pillow, imagining her pupils like two broken, erratic lenses, like two puddles on a country road to nowhere with a sky, like skull sockets dark as death—death always. Death that makes and diminishes all our gods.
She reaches to her husband's side of the bed.
He isn't there.

Finish reading "The Lightning Tree" by Erin Pringle-Toungate in the anthology Box of Delights, published by Dublin's Aeon Press.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In Celebration of Mother's Day: The Woman Who Helped Author Me

Last June, she interviewed her mother to find out what her mother might think about reading, writing, and more:

What excited you more—learning to read or learning to write?
Photograph Carol Pringle, child in Evansville, Indiana
Mother Pringle as a young girl, 1940s
Evansville, Indiana
I don’t remember learning to write. You’re assuming I was excited to learn to read. It was just part of what you learned. I remember in second grade being bored. Because everyone read together, and the slow readers took longer. I know I sighed. First grade you learned to read, second grade you learned to tell time, third grade you learned cursive. You knew what you would learn. No, fourth grade we learned cursive. I was impressed by that. But we had ink pots. You couldn’t control the ink. Big blobs. That was before ball-point pens were invented, apparently.

To read the rest of the interview, click here

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Daffodils were open in St. Stephen's Green

(Outside Amsterdam airport)

In March, she flew to Dublin to be a guest at the Eighth Annual Phoenix Convention. She stopped in Amsterdam and had wine and lunch with an old college friend from Brussels. They found that even after a few years and so much ocean between them, they were still tied at the souls in important places, and so when their glasses were empty and the time what it was, they parted.

When she arrived in Dublin, she took the 16A bus to the convention's site at The Central Hotel and would have missed her stop had she not sat next to a lovely woman who didn't say a word until Georges Street. The lovely woman wore a black coat. and was a guest in Dublin, on business, and would be speaking as an important person part of an important event. Or so it seemed, based on what she said into her telephone.

Had she found that breakfast was served at the hotel downstairs, she would have avoided an embarrassing scene the first morning, which took place at a convenience store and ended with an irritated clerk, a currency problem caused by Wells Fargo, and the clerk basically giving her the bun and snapple. She ate her bun and drank her drink outside, on a cold bench on Dame Street. She leaked jam on her skirt and thought, I'm such a stupid American.

(Sculpture dedicated to Yeats,
picture by Erin Pringle, 2011)

Luckily, her day could not be totally shot since, before the bun incident, she had strolled through St. Stephen's Green and found the daffodils blooming up. She also took some pictures for her husband, like this one, of Yeats. It was a peaceful place except for all the sculptures to those who had died as part of defending Ireland during the Easter Rising or events that followed. The sculptures, then, were doing as they were intended and keeping Dublin's history present in its present.

She took part in several panels and attended several panels ranging from how to think about the event of the e-book as a writer, to the rise of the graphic novel in publishing. She drank several Baileys and promised several times to attend other, future conventions. She was told several times that the economy wasn't what it was since the last time she was there, eleven years ago. She had new thoughts about publishing, writing, and marketing and came away feeling less threatened by the e-book and more empowered by it now that she has an idea of how to think about it.

On Sunday, she gave a reading in a private room in the Library Bar. The audience was warm and welcoming and took their lunch as they listened. The sun came through the windows, and the people went into the faraway places she had made for them.

Photograph of Georges Street, Dublin 2011 by Erin Pringle-Toungate(Up Georges Street, Dublin,
Photo by Erin Pringle-Toungate)

Then she flew back home, and hardly believed she had been in Dublin. Most of all, she came home feeling far less worried about being a writer, or reader, or general citizen of the world--because she met good people who think writing and reading is important and worth meeting to discuss. Everyone was so warm and welcoming at the Phoenix Convention, and she wishes it many more good years. She thinks of those few days in Dublin like the cool, sweet air she had felt in St. Stephen's Green.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Real Surrealism: 1955 Documentary, Night & Fog,

Cover of documentary Night and Fog
Directed by Alain Resnais, Night and Fog (Nuit et brouillard, 1955) is a 31-minute film that ponders the Holocaust at the sites of abandoned concentration camps.

While an unseen narrator answers what he can and gives words to the questions that have more questions, the film moves between footage of camps during their activity and present-day (1955) footage of the camps.

The film is elegy whose poetic brevity and honesty make it an extremely respectful film, though the footage is, of course, utterly the opposite, utterly surreal. A camera slowly panning out on all that hair, so much hair, just hair taken away. Stored. Spun into cloth. By someone. Someone's hair spun by someone. So many someones.

A trillion eyelashes to wish on.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mini-Review: A Brief Encyclopedia of Modern Magic by Michael Stewart

Cover of A Brief Encyclopedia of Modern Magic by Michael Stewart, published by Cupboard
She ordered this book a year ago; it came in the mail a year ago; she began to write a post about how splendid it was to come home and find it in her mailbox in its small envelope. Then, she never hit "publish". Instead, she read the little book that fit so well in her hand that she can't find it now. She carried it around with her, read passages aloud to people. Like this one:

Trick eggs. There are so many trick eggs. A partial list could include: eggs from which full grown pigeons emerge; hollow eggs with silks hidden inside; eggs so heavy two men would be needed to lift them; eggs so light they float an inch over the table; unbreakable eggs; eggs which can wobble and walk on their own; eggs which when broken scream out.

Then she would look up, and they would be smiling. Maybe they would laugh.

She would frown and reread to herself what she had read to them. But isn't it sad? she would say. Well, sort of--but it's humorous, it's also supposed to be funny, they would insist.

Oh. I think it's just tragic and beautiful.

--a Brief Encyclopedia of Modern Magic, Cupboard Pamphlet, 32 pages, $5.00

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review of Nightmares: Hiroshima by John Hersey

Cover of Hiroshima by John HerseyShe had a nightmare that took place in San Marcos, TX, where she lived at the time. It was one of a series of nightmares in which sudden explosions occurred, huge fiery blasts that lit up and burned up everything--including her. In this particular nightmare, she was downtown, walking down the sidewalk along Hopkins Street. She was across from the courthouse. It was a blue sky day. Then everything exploded, and went orange and black.

Maybe that dream ended there, her thinking, Why can't I feel myself burning? And then the pain so intense it wasn't even pain. Or maybe the dream continued, or this was another nightmare in the series, after an explosion, and she's running down the sidewalk toward the river, and there are all these people jumping in, and she's trying to tell them not to, that jumping in water will only make their burning skin worse, and then the river is filled with death instead of the usual people floating down on their inner tubes--lazily, under the bridge, under the train trestle, gliding away where the water curves against the curving earth.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

seed toss, kick it over: new make-it book by w. craghead

Cover of Seed Toss, Kick It Over by W. Cragheadw. craghead w. craghead, the artist who turned her story "The Only Child" into an award-winning work, has a new make-it book: "seed toss, kick it over". The book is available and free oncraghead's website where readers can print out and fold the 12-page book into place.

"seed toss, kick it over" is a love letter out of craghead's signature style that collides the childlike with the somber-serious.

--To return (or turn) subject matters to the startling that, for one reason or another, had gone numb.

He's an artist to thank, she thinks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Man Reads a Short Story Every Day for a Year

Photograph of United Methodist Church in Casey, Illinois
And then he makes a list of his top fourteen favorite stories. One of her stories makes the cut. Congratulations to the story "Sanctuary" from The Floating Order.

Read an excerpt of "Sanctuary" as part of a 2009 interview at Romancing the Book.