conversations with friends elsewhere…

courtesy of gmail.

being marooned in Wyoming, at times, isn’t easy.  to-do lists that get longer before they get shorter.  bouts of self-doubt staring at a blank word document too early in the morning, either because you’ve stayed up late to get writing done or gotten up early to get writing done and somehow you happen to be awake at an hour associated with responsible adults, but instead of reading the newspaper over eggs and toast you are pulling out your eyelashes. then, there’s the weather. a friend in California, inquiring about my mental state, said to me in an email the other afternoon:

winter is about to start, and being in your house all by yourself will either a. inspire some amazing writing or b. end up in a Shining like situation where you are talking to a ghost bartender and driving axes through the walls.

California is another world, right now.  And I’m suddenly relating to The Shining in ways I’d never thought possible.  REDRUM.  REDRUUUUUM.   I tell the ghosts to quiet down and reach out to California over gchat.

me:  i have a reading tomorrow
and i have to make up a bio
for the dude to read when he introduces me.
but i used my stock bio at the last reading so i need something new.
this is what i have so far:

estella soto is a fiction writer from southern California. she lost her virginity at the age of 16 to a boy on the varsity football team. she writes about this experience in her novels, “the whole 69 yards,” “what we talk about when we talk about butt sex”, and “first down.”

anyway/ how are you?
Kevin: i am ok. really busy.
work + building the new cobrasnake website + novella + blog + lit mag + social things
me: it all sounds like good stuff
Kevin: yeah. hoping to have the novella done by the time i turn 26.
ive really taken a turn with the prose though
stylistically very much diff from how it was the last time we talked
really got into joan didion’s fiction.
(though i still h8 play it as it lays)
and i think i was really struggling with third person.
really recommend didion’s ‘a book of common prayer’.
anyway yeah. other than that, i declared myself asexual. no more sex for, kb.
people have expressed skepticism as to whether or not it’s the case of somebody who ‘wasn’t getting any to begin with’ subverting the ‘rhetoric’ to make things seem cooler.
i say, ‘splitting hairs’. etc.
also tao lin may be sleeping over tonight.
but maybe not
oh also emily is watching over kanye west and his crew
tomorrow and sunday
while they edit his new music video
also what are you working on right now?

Doing some work for the department, I was tasked with calling Colson Whitehead.  This was particularly challenging for me because he happens to be extremely attractive.  Or so I have inferred from his author photos followed by a thorough google image search.  I hate talking on the phone, and if I think the person on the other end of the line is in the least bit wonderful, I fall apart.  He’s also incredibly smart and talented.  But because I’m kind of shallow, I don’t know that those virtues intimidated me more than the google image search results.

me: colson whitehead didn’t respond to my email and i am supposed to call him
i don’t want to do this at all
Kevin: hahaha
im telling u @tweet him
me: then i’d look like a stalker!
“it could be fun to talk to Colson!” – program director
Kevin: lol
it could be fun
i mean he’s young and he seems clever.
hell prolly say ‘STELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLA!!!!!!!!’ when he hears ur name
me: i totally don’t want to call colson whitehead
ok dialing.
Kevin: sweeeet
gimme the play by play
itll be fun
me: i haven’t hit send yet
Kevin: ill tell u what to say
as i peruse his twitter feed
me: loooooool
i am gonna hit the little green phone button……….
he answered
we talked
Kevin: yeeeess
no way
me: he said he saw the email
he was teaching yesterday
Kevin: r u talking now
me: he is going to send the letter
no i can’t type and talk at the same time
i was paralyzed
Kevin: lol
me: i am as mad awk on the phone as you are
biiiiiiig awkward silences
followed by a rushed goodbye
and sigh of relief
Kevin: lol
i am so skillful at eating orangess
me: good. good for you.
Kevin: lol
damn stella’s scared to talk to colston whiteheady
u have a crush on him?
me: no no no. tell me more about eating oranges.
i do. after reading his twitter.
Kevin: via dreads
i eat oranges without spraying juice all over the place
im efficient and smooth
me: ❤
Kevin: and thas wassup
me: since you’re not getting any action are you taking pride in eating out fruit
Kevin: lol basically.
u can envision what he looks like

when you’re talking to him on the phone
me: hawt
Kevin: ‘hey, uh uh uh uh is your refrigerator uh uh uh running, mister whitehead?’
‘uh uh uh bc uh the letter the mail uh uh’
me: [pause]
Kevin: ‘twitter uh uh uh wyoming uh uh uh cowabunga uh GOODBYE!’
me: [pause]
cw: bye?
Kevin: damn
if not colson
then who do u have to call
‘uhhhh hi uhhhh thomas pynchon uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’

At the end of two years I’ll have hundreds of pages.  Will it be enough, though, to stretch out end to end and walk a path all the way back home?  California, Max. California.

–Estella Soto

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