This week when I’ve been telling people I’m going on a retreat it seems their first question is “what kind of retreat?” And, dull thing that I am, I tell them truthfully: a writer’s retreat. Really, though, I am totally missing a swell opportunity to freak people out and say it’s Est training, or extreme regression therapy, or that I’ll be spending several hours a day floating in sensory-deprivation tanks filled with green tea, or that I’m “cleaning out my system.” I could say, “I’ve heard that by Day Five you really get used to wearing the diaper,” or “when I get back I must ask you to please call me by my new name.” Damn. I’ll lie next time.

It’s true that I’ll have only very limited access to email and the internet, so you probably shouldn’t email me for awhile unless you absolutely have to (and if you do, you better not put the word “message” in the subject line, since I have that set up as a “delete” rule in one of the dozens of spam filters I’ve set up to try and keep the webmail from getting too out of hand). But hell, if you want to send a postcard I believe you can send it to: Wendy McClure c/o Ragdale, 1230 North Green Bay Road, Lake Forest IL, 60045 and if it arrives before the 30th it just might reach me…

Flaky Writer Camp

So I’m going to Ragdale. I leave in a couple of days and I’ll be gone for two weeks. I never go anywhere for more than a week, and while technically this place isn’t anywhere far–it’s only an hour or so away–the whole point is to get away from the rest of my life: from work, and obligations, and the internet, and buying groceries, and having to talk to people who have the nerve to live actual real lives that don’t involve trying to finish a book, because did I mention I am trying to finish a book? I think I mentioned that I am trying to finish a book. From what I can tell, Ragdale is sort of an asylum for people like me.

These Ragdale people, whoever they are, will give me a room, and a place to work, and meals. They’ll make the meals. This is a very good idea. One time last month I had just macadamia nuts and hamburger buns for dinner because writing made me stupid. I do my best to function like a normal person most of the time but I think I probably need this.

Every year, the start of summer is sort of hard for me in a way I can’t really explain. There’s always at least one or two days that seem to shake my conviction that I’m a part of the rest of the world, where suddenly everyone is sitting outside at the sidewalk tables at restaurants I hadn’t even known had opened in my neighborhood, wearing clothes that I had no idea were in style (seriously, what’s with those knitted poncho thingies?), drinking Mojitos or some damn thing. But now I guess I have a place where I can go, with a prairie preserve and all the trees that Mr. T. never got around to cutting down.

There will be some other writers and artists there. I hope they’re nice.

Books and blogs and, um, more books.

I must be the last person in the blog universe to post about Book Expo America. I went, all right. The muscles in my feet still seize up when I look at this picture.

Into Infinity

I’ve gone to BEA before, but this is the first time I’ve read so many blogged accounts by other people who attended, so now I can know specifically which free books I missed picking up and which celebrities I didn’t get to spot. I’ll have you know I walked away with a fine collection of vampire erotica, mostly because I was too shy to hand it back to the person who offered it to me. And I did see Toilet Seat Guy, though I didn’t get to my camera fast enough.

I was glad I made it to the blogger panel where Jessa at Bookslut and other distinguished folks had some very bright things to say about this whole, you know, cyber craze. And then when the panel session ended, a guy whose badge identified him as Ron Hogan of Beatrice came over and said, “Hey! You were on TV!” Ha! That made me slightly dizzy.

And see that book cover poster in the right corner?


Here is a closer view.

The M Word

And then closer still.

I like blogging as much as anyone else, but being on a book cover is kind of a kick, too.

Mama tired

My seven homeschooled children were very demanding this past week. They ate all my cereal and threw laundry everywhere and made me sleep-deprived and cranky. Their outfits so do not match. Usually they look like this.

So all I have for you here are a couple of self-promotional bits, which I’m actually really happy to report, because, hell, I’ve been working like crazy.

1.) New issue of BUST is out, and I’ve got a column on curves. Not Curves curves but rather the word curves. I know lately I haven’t gone into pop culture/body image territory here as much as I used to, so if you’ve missed that, go check out BUST.

2.) I have an essay in the forthcoming book The M Word: Writers on Same-Sex Marriage from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. It’ll be published in the fall, so I guess that can hold you over until next year when my book comes out. Yesterday I saw the book listed in the catalog and also a cover design on display at the publisher’s booth at BEA; I’d kind of forgotten I’d get to see that. It’s really satisfying, like when Homeschooled Child #4 wins the regional spelling bee.

3.) Later this month I’m going to Ragdale, an artist’s retreat for a couple of weeks so I can get even more work done. I’ll be almost totally offline for two weeks. More on that next week.