Wednesday, March 17, 2010

All About Me Day Part II: I am not Scott

I thought it would be a good idea for us to talk about ourselves because I figure our readers should know who they're listening to, or not listening to, as the case may be.

I'm Davin. I've been writing for about nine years, and before that I painted for about nine years, give or take. So, I've been an artist for a long time, just changed media as I moved to smaller spaces and got tired of having paint on my elbow.

When I first started writing, the first stuff that came out of me was magical realism. So, deep down, I always feel like that's my natural genre. I later fell in love with more realistic stories. My first completed novel is called Rooster, and before that I wrote two other novels, one about a man and a magic swimming pool, and another about two families in an ultra-personified world. In all three I ended up writing from the points of view of multiple characters, and I think that's what I'll continue to do because it's the most exciting thing for me.

I've finished several short stories, often short short stories. Some new ones just came out:

"Dolores", which everyone assumes is true

"God In Frogs", based on a trip I took to the mines of Brazil

"Red Man, Blue Man", which is published in the current issue of The Los Angeles Review (with my name spelled as David instead of Davin, unfortunately!)

"Enchantment", published in a small and beautifully presented Paris literary journal called Upstairs at Duroc

Scott mentioned a short story in Opium Magazine where I got 17 writers to all collaborate on the same story. It ended up being nightmarish, but I'd do it again, so feel free to ask if anyone wants to collaborate!

I've got a few other things online , some of which I'm still proud of, and some of which I'm not as much. Plus, you can find some of my writing throughout this blog and in a few print publications. I've taught a couple of free writing classes in person and online, and I'm a staff editor for the online literary journal SmokeLong Quarterly.

Lately, I've been working hard to write more for myself. That has involved focusing less on story climaxes and more on sustaining a low and steady level of emotion throughout my stories. I know that's perhaps weird, but I think it's writing I enjoy more. And, I think it's finally teaching me about structure!

I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with Rooster. I did start querying agents again a couple of weeks ago, but I'm finding that my heart isn't in it this time around. I think about self-publishing a lot, but I feel like I don't yet have good enough marketing ideas to do that well. Or maybe Rooster isn't a strong enough book to self-publish. I keep thinking of ideas that could break out in a self-publishing forum and am currently working on some.

Other things: I live in Sherman Oaks, CA and have lived in California for almost my entire life. I got my Ph. D. in biology and get paid to do environmental microbiological research--I study algae, bacteria, nutrient deficiency, and water contamination.

Even more things:

I think commas should be allowed to go outside of quotation marks.

I very much want a puppy.


  1. What kind of puppy?

    Also, commas do go outside quotation marks in British English grammar. So if you ever decide to write things in that style, then you're all good!

  2. Wow, I had no idea you were a painter and a microbiologist. Magical realism seems a right good fit to me.
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I will check out the links, too.

  3. Ahh....the commas. Yes, disturbing...

    Rebel (v)


  4. I second Tricia. I didn't know you were a painter and a microbiologist. P.H.d? Shouldn't we be calling you Dr. Malasarn?

    I've been looking for books recently on amazon for a subject matter similar to my current WIP and started to notice a ton of books published through Create Space (Amazon's publishing partner), and the books seem to have little to no marketing which make me wonder about the sales.

    I think self-publishing is right for people with a marketing plan in place. Best of luck which ever way you decide.

  5. Interesting stuff, Davin. I knew you were involved in science, but I didn't know exactly what. And if you want a puppy, why don't you pick one up? Or is it that your current living quarters are not appropriate or acceptable for a pet? Thanks for sharing a glimpse into who you are with us.

  6. Cool stories! I love the images of the red earth and the golden frog.

    And your "Dolores" story gave me a shiver because it is so similar to a story I wrote in college called "Danny," based on a conglomeration of strange fellows I kept meeting in a shady cafe off campus. I wrote it in the same tense, same structure, even some of the same characteristics of the person. Freaky! Maybe Dolores and Danny are a pair of muses that live in the cigarette smoke of free-spirited young people.

  7. I'd love to see some of your art sometime.

  8. Matthew, I've grown to really like French bulldogs, although I didn't like them very much at first. Growing up, I had labrador/dalmatian mixes, and they were great dogs. I'm in a small apartment these days, so if I got a dog, it would have to be small. But, I'm also not around enough to take care of one right now.

    Tricia, In college I worked very hard at painting and was able to get my work shown in a couple of galleries in Davis (where I went to undergrad) and in San Francisco. It was pretty exciting, but I also think I never quite found my voice in that medium.

    Braja, I tend to break that rule pretty frequently these days.

    Crimey, You can call me Dr. if you want, but like I was telling Michelle, it usually just makes me giggle. I have one friend who published through the old version of Create Space. He seemed happy with the results, but he also didn't market very much.

    Eric, Yeah, I'm not home enough these days to be a good partner to a dog, unfortunately. I wish I was though!

    Genie, That is very interesting about Danny! Have you posted the story somewhere? I'd love to read it.

    Lois, I'm not sure my art work is up to snuff. :P

  9. Davin, I really enjoyed reading this even though I knew many of those things already! I didn't know, however, that you really wanted a puppy! I also didn't realize you were published in a Paris journal. Did you write the story in French? If so, I'm uber-impressed!

    Sometimes I wonder if right now just isn't the time for Rooster. I do think it's strong enough to sell to a traditional publisher, but timing can be a huge thing, and if your heart isn't in it, maybe that's why? I don't know, just a thought. :)

    Thanks for sharing! I get to go tomorrow, and have no idea what I'm going to say!

  10. Michelle, my only fear with Rooster at this point is that if I don't do something soon, I'll probably decide not to do anything with it at all. And, that feels like a waste when I think at least some people will appreciate it.

    Valerie, I at least found an apartment building that allows dogs. :)

  11. We have three dogs, two border collies and a great pyrhanese (sp) but then we live on a working farm and have plenty of room for them and something to keep them busy. Good luck with your queries. By the way, Durwood, do you really think it's possible to make gasoline out of pond scum?

  12. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing - I find it quite interesting that you've tapped into two somewhat opposing sides of yourself with science on one, and arts on the other. Very well-rounded...whole-brained, perhaps? :-)

    Good for you for knowing when you can/can't devote time to a dog...though if you're home in the evenings, an adult dog might enjoy being able to lounge around your apartment all day sleeping, and hang with you at night. I don't do puppies anymore, cute as they are. Too much work. I always adopt older dogs (I have two). Something to think about...

    Good getting to know you better. :-)

  13. I'll loan you a neuortic schnauzer. He's cute, decent jogging buddy, licks his paws all day every day, barks when the when blows, barks when the wind stops blowing.

  14. Well Davin who knew you were a real Renaissance man. Artist, writer, scientist, what else have you got hiding up your sleeve? Secret agent? Gourmet chef? Professional concert pianist?

    I just took a gander at "Delores". Fantastic Davin, really really great. I loved that last line.

    In my own humble opinion I think you should persue agents for "Rooster". Pick a number, say 25, send it out to those and then if they all come back with rejections, call it quits. You have to at least, try. (And I know you'll get a few requests so what have you got to lose besides postage?)

    As for a puppy, get a beta fish instead. If you keep him on the kitchen counter you'll be able to talk to him in the morning and at night. No walking involved, they're more self-sufficient than cats, and no poop to clean up. Besides they're pretty.

  15. all the times I have visited, I can never figure who is who very well. Good idea you all are doing this!

  16. P.S. Artist, writer, scientist? Brilliant comes to mind.

  17. Davin: I think we should do an "exquisite corpse" version of a detective story. Like "Ladies Night at Finbar's Hotel" or whatever it was called. Which leads me to think about a possible contest...I'll be in touch.

  18. Dr. Malasarn: I will try to find Danny and post him later today, when I'm not sneaking onto the Lit Lab at work. Hehe.

    ALL of you guys on the Lit Lab are inspiring me to no end. Davin here is Renaissance Man. Scott writes novels on the bus. And Michelle has children! And I don't even have a puppy... I have no excuses not to finish my work. :)

  19. "Lately, I've been working hard to write more for myself". - I think this is the best way to write, and even the great Madeliene L'Engle agrees with you, so you're in great company!

    Now, about that puppy . . . best of luck. I love my dogs, but training is a beast. Patience is the key.


  20. I find it interesting that you’ve had a hand in so many things. I’ve really enjoy reading your stories, I think biology is pretty cool, but I am just so curious about your artwork. I know you had a large hand in the Genre Wars cover, but I wonder if there’s any way we might have a glimpse at some of your other artwork...from one artist to another...

  21. I kid you not I just saw the cutest little French bulldog not more than ten minutes ago.

    I'll go you a step further I think we should be able to punctuate wherever we darn well please. No?

    When I paint, it always ends up in my hair!

  22. Chuck, Sometimes I wish I lived on a farm too. I know it's a lot of hard work, though. As for the pond scum, I am very aware that the technology is available and successful. I doubt whether or not the country can actually grow enough of it to be useful, though.

    Jamie, I don't think of myself as whole-brained. More, middle of the road, if that makes sense. I'm not a very systematic scientist, and I'm sometimes too analytical as an artist, perhaps. I end up being in the middle, which is sometimes useful and sometimes not at all.

    Rick, ship that schnauz! I'm ready. :)

    Anne, I wouldn't be able to tell you if I were a secret agent, now would I? :P As for Rooster, I have sent it to a few agents several months ago, so I'm slowly making my rounds. I don't think it would be difficult to reach 25, although I'm guessing it might take closer to 225 agents before I find someone who is interested in my unmarketable drama.

    She Writers, I'm glad that was useful to you!

    Scott, Yes, do get in touch. I've done the exquisite corpse thing in a sculpture class. I was responsible for making the head and torso. Pretty fun! I'd love to try something like this in writing. We've got a lot of project proposals going!

    Genie, Thanks so much for posting your Danny story on your blog. Everyone should check it out!

    Scott M., I do feel really good about my latest writing. I'll write more about this in a future post, but it is comforting me much more than my past work has.

    jbchicoine, I'd love to show you some of my art work. I just never felt like Lit Lab was the place to do it. The other problem, unfortunately, is that I didn't document my paintings very well. I only have old-fashioned slides of the vast majority of my work, and I've given or sold most of my paintings.

    Southpaw, Great comments, LOL. If you see the dog again, take it for me, please. I'll send you my address. It can play with Rick's schnauzer.

  23. I'm curious about the book you wrote about the magic swimming pool. what was the story in that one???

    PS -- don't give up on Rooster yet.

  24. It is always amazing to discover new things about folks. You have an interesting background. Great idea and way to get to know you all virtually. I don't want a puppy. My four cats would drive the pour thing out of the house. Thanks for the link to Smokelong - didn't even know it existed.

  25. This is fun! Thanks for sharing about yourself. Any chance you'd link to some of your paintings? Do you still paint? It'd be neat to combine the two artistic mediums that you practice. RE Rooster, if you love it, you should keep up the queries.


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