My next book is slated for release in November 2014 from Writ Large Press. Hollywood Notebook is a prose poem-ish memoir-ish book of over 80 short chapters that was originally a blog I kept from roughly 2002 to 2004. It’s a book of ideas, appropriated text, lists, dips into the abyss, and the kind of joy and darkness one gets hit by when they’re in the middle of a Saturn return and Pluto transit.
The projects more “in progress” right now: a fiction collection, the theme of which has recently risen up to announce itself, and that theme is girls and women either disappearing or leading double lives; a memoir based on the Modern Love essay I wrote for The New York Times; some kind of hybrid collection about the eight years I lived in Olympia, Wash., between 1993-2001; and a poetry collection that wants to be about my mother and late grandmother.
I’ve noticed that in all the various writing you have floating in the world, there seem to be a range of voices, from the voice in the monthly McSweeney’s column “On the Trail of Mary Jane” to “Girlfriend” at Vol. 1 Brooklyn—what’s up with that?
I contain a lot of voices and think of them as “parts.” One part of me wants to live in the desert, another part wants to set up a tent by the ocean and live there alone. One part is terrified by heights but remembers the part that wasn’t that way at all. One part wants to drink beer starting at 11 a.m. and through the afternoon, and another part is a teetotaler who lets beer sit in the fridge for months. Three separate parts speak from the 14, 21, and 28-year-olds I have been (35 has been silent so far). There are also all the parts that are impressionable and take on the voices of my favorite writers in order to play. How do I catalog all the parts? Possibly by writing.
Which writers would you rather be interviewing?
Among people I know? Rae Gouirand. Sarah Pape. Sean H. Doyle. Cynthia Cruz. The poet Joseph Delgado.
The hummingbirds in my backyard. The dude I see on my hike in Griffith Park who shows his teeth every time he smiles at me. The Rottweiler pup next door who weighs more than my toddler. The owners of the Tokyo Fish Aquarium down the street from me. The last woman I got a lapdance from.
WENDY C. ORTIZ is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, July 2014) and Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, November 2014). Wendy writes the monthly column “On the Trail of Mary Jane,” documenting medical marijuana dispensary culture in Los Angeles, for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, PANK, Specter Magazine, among many other journals. A recent essay that appeared on The Nervous Breakdown was translated into Italian for the online journal Abbiamo Le Prove. She has twice been a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook, a rural writing retreat in Washington state for women writers. Wendy is co-founder, curator and host of the long-running Rhapsodomancy Reading Series in Los Angeles. In addition, she is a mother and registered marriage and family therapist intern.