Monica Friedman

Dear World,

By some vagary of circumstance, you've become entangled in the pernicious web of Monica's Home Page, and unless you have been completely misled by a malevolent search engine, your primary research question is, "What's up with Monica?"

Tucson treats me well. Say what you will about the culture of New York or Boston: the weather there sucks. And say what you will about the weather in LA: the culture there sucks. I will be enjoying my 300 days per year of sunshine from the deck of my 16,000 gallon swimming pool, thank you very much.

The Girl Who Followed Her Own Counsel has "passed first read" at DAW, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, an important, reputable publishing company appears to be seriously considering my sweat and blood. On the other hand, they have been considering it for over a year and a half, and my sources tell me they could very well consider it for another eighteen months. In the meantime, the unnamed sequel is nearly complete (first draft, anyway), and I've finished the first drafts of two more novels: The Ninety-Two Psilympics, a 100,000 word scifi story, and The Gonif, a 50,000 word YA fantasy novel about a Jewish house elf.

Currently, I'm juggling a few paying projects writing web copy for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Apparently, I am good at this and, having reached an age where idealistic poverty is more of a burden than a liberation, must shrug off the part where my soul recoils from the nature of the labor and just get on with it. So, yeah, I'm working. Who'd have thought? At least I'm working my own hours. In my pajamas. On the deck of my 16,000 gallon swimming pool.

I've also sold my first book, although not quite as I expected. Following a brief editorial stint with an educational publishing company, I've contracted to produce a short biography of Rosalind Franklin for fifth graders, which ought to come out this year.

On and off, for a few years now, I've been moonlighting as an art rep, selling the fabulous and functional products from Woodeye Studios. In addition to paying the rent, this helps further the career of a great artist and friend.

Also since I've come to Tucson, I've been spending several afternoons a week doing volunteer literacy work at a nearby elementary school, through a nominal affiliation with Rotary Reading Seed. I've gone from one-on-one tutoring, to working with entire classrooms, to teaching to the NCLB standards. In the fall, I hope to spend more hours in the library, as well as go back to the one-on-one work that helps individual kids keep up.

If you want to see some of my on-line projects, check out Dragon's Library: What are you reading? (An Amazon Affiliate site where I post a review of every book I read), In the Weird (it's...weird), Raincoat Flashers (the future of this project is in the air, but the archives are interesting), and the Open Source Punk Name Database, a subject on which there is nothing more to say.

Another change from my last update: due to popular demand, I have a LiveJournal. I have a few of them, but I'm not going to tell you how to find them.

Monica Friedman
Tucson, AZ
May, 2008


Welcome to Monicaís new and improved homepage! Congratulations on choosing the only all-natural, completely organic, lactose-free, non-shedding, grammarific web site to serve all your post-spam needs.

This site hasnít been updated in about a year (which may explain why I consistently refuse to keep a live journal) and a few things have changed. I will not be pursuing a Ph.D. this fall. I researched two programs before realizing that I am burned out on higher education for the time being. (Turns out thereís a reason they call the M.F.A. a terminal degree.) I do want a doctorate in comparative mythology, but I donít want to deal with comps, language requirements, or teaching college freshmen right now. Instead, Iím working on a Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification through Rising Sun Yoga in Southgate, Michigan. I love writing, and I love teaching writing to people who want to learn about writing, but those people are few and far between. In 3 years of teaching freshman comp, I probably had about 3 students who expressed sincere (non grade-grubbing) appreciation for what I taught! them. Itís not uncommon that I hear similar sentiments from 2 or 3 students after one yoga class.

Iím doing freelance work now, including my first break as a professional writer: writing entries for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Childrenís Literature, edited by my favorite living scholarly author, Jack Zipes. Once again, I am in synchronicityís debt. In fact, although I still havenít sold my novel or published a story in a magazine with a circulation of more than 500, I am now completely comfortable saying that I am a professional writer. For the first time ever, I have received money for reading of one of my stories and doing a Q and A about grad school and the writing life.

Here are some things Iíve learned recently:


The Wild Monica in Her Natural Habitat
  1. Magic realism is a lot easier to read than it is to write. My first effort may never find an ending. My second effort is clearly science fiction.
  2. Although I am more muscular than ever, I will never master the trapeze. I have fibromyalgia, a really unpleasant condition that I have suffered with since childhood despite numerous doctors telling me the constant pain was all in my head.
  3. Life is much more pleasant when youíre not attached to outcomes. Buddhists are really onto something here. Contentedness is theoretically possible.
  4. People think you are really magical when you learn to interpret Tarot. Interpreting Tarot is not all that difficult if you have a good deck.
  5. Nihilism is a copout. There is a meaning to my life. The world started to make a lot more sense when I figured this out.

In my continuing pursuit of bliss, I am planning on leaving this periodic icebox known as the Midwest. Although I love the people and the prairie, neither my joints nor my serotonin receptors are willing to suffer another frigid half-year (the length of "winter" here in Kalamazoo). Through the grace of a dear college chum, I, like my nomadic Semitic ancestors before me, will soon dwell in the desert. (Arizona! I havenít the stomach for the Middle East.) Hopefully, I can make this transition before the first snowfall.

In the meantime, I'm working on loving my enemies, living up to my potential, following the divine plan that has only recently been revealed to me, and trying not to condemn myself for hypocrisy when I fail at any of the previous goals.

 

Namasté

Monica Friedman

Kalamazoo, Michigan

August 21, 2004

 


 I didn't take this picture, but I think it's the most cosmically meaningful forward I've ever received.


Welcome to Monicaís homepage. Unlike other web sites, this page doesnít rely on fancy wallpaper or prurient imagery to distract you from a lack of content. Here at Monicaís homepage, "content" (known as "writing" in the real world) is all I have. I am a fledgling writer, and this fledgling page will eventually showcase the different kinds of writing I am interested in. In the future, this site will contain examples of my fiction and creative non-fiction prose, interviews with other writers, scholarly essays on folklore and mythology, links to writing- and education-related sites, and probably something or other about cannibalism.

Eventually I hope to have a full c.v. posted as well, but until then, here is some basic information. My name is Monica Ilene Friedman, and I will be 29 on November 19, 2003. I have bachelorís degrees in psychology (from Antioch College) and English (from Northeastern Illinois University) and should finish a Masterís of Fine Arts (from Western Michigan University) in creative writing in the spring of 2004. Some of the great writers Iíve worked with through this program are Jaimy Gordon, Stu Dybek, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Claudia Allen, Arnoöt Lustig, and Syd Lea. My next educational goal is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. combining my writing with comparative folklore and mythology.

Currently, I am a composition teacher at Western Michigan University, where I pound writing skills into the heads of recalcitrant freshmen four days a week. I also teach yoga once or twice a week. Iím also the fiction editor at Third Coast, a critically acclaimed literary magazine. Iím also working on my masterís thesis, a conglomeration of fantasy, fairy-tale, and traditional fiction.

Of course, I love to read pretty much anything. My other hobbies include hiking, biking, gardening, cooking, art, loving it up at any sort of beach, and playing with my pet rats. Iíve had one trapeze lesson and one scuba lesson and canít wait for mastery of both skills. Iíve traveled to most of the contiguous 48 states and the following countries: Mexico, Canada, Jamaica, The Bahamas, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, The Czech Republic, Israel, and Jordan. If you wonder when I find time to breathe, join the club.

Monicaís homepage is still under construction, so check back periodically for more enthusiastic writing.

 

~Monica Friedman

Kalamazoo, Michigan

August 31, 2003


This page was made by Brad and Monica and last updated on 21 May 2008.