24 Jun

First Day of Summer

School got out a week and half ago, but I taught a class at Write by the Lake, a week-long writing retreat here in Madison, so my summer vacation has just begun. I now become a part-time stay-at-home dad, which I’m mostly looking forward to. (The only thing bridling my enthusiasm is the whole nap thing, which continues to be a “trying” time in multiple sense of the word: the baby tries to stay awake, and I try to maintain my sanity. I’m sure the arrangement will result in the occasional poignant scene: a father and daughter in two separate rooms in the same small house, both crying.)

We’ll have to establish some sort of routine in the next few weeks; I’m hoping to work in lots of bike riding (we have a nice new bike trailer for Cora), lots of work on creative projects and writing, and at least 50 pages of reading a day, which, I just calculated, should get me through 3,150 pages by summer’s end. I may also try to update here with some more regularity, though I can’t make any promises about what sort of content may come–other than a relatively confident assertion that this will not turn into a daddy blog.

On that note, here’s my daughter in a laundry basket:
Cora in basket

02 Jun

Proposal (patent pending)

Dear Sirs or Madams,
Since the dawn of time, dolls have fascinated children. Though they may be of varying sophistication, dolls in every age and culture—from sock puppets to American Girls—offer children an opportunity to practice responsibility and compassion. Such play begins, no doubt, as an imitation of Mommy and Daddy, whose comfort-bringing authority is surely worthy of emulation. When little girls and boys pretend to preside over their helpless playthings, they get to feel more grown-up. And doll-play facilitates emotional and mental growth, as various studies have shown.

In recent decades, doll manufacturers have developed some pretty imaginative models of dolls. Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo dirties her diaper with both varieties of soilings. The anatomically-correct Baby Wee Wee wets his pants, and, according to the Irish advertisement, can even projectile pee while naked. Baby Fart and Burp does just what it suggests it might. Little Mommy My Very Real Baby Doll can do all sorts of things: it responds to touch; it blinks; it speaks 150 words; it eats popsicles. But it doesn’t require breast-feeding, like the Breast Milk Baby does.

All of the above models, realistic though they may attempt to be, fall short of the real thing. They provide only pale imitations of real babies, and are thus limited in what they can offer the child owner. The care-giving, I contend, will only be as good as the need for care. And so, I present to you Little Baby Four in the Morning, whose need for care is unparalleled among other dolls. Not only does she poop and pee, burp and fart, require endless breast-feeding, spit up, respond to touch and voice, and squirm around a whole lot, but she also wakes up at random times throughout the night and screams. Little Baby Four in the Morning will assure that your little caregiver gets no rest and that he or she will thus come to know more fully the joys of parenting.

My wife and I have created a prototype (photo attached). We look forward to hearing from you and working on future prototypes.


Tim Storm

31 Dec


So here it is. My notes from the past two years of my MFA program (at Pacific University) uploaded to wordle yields that nifty graphic above. I accrued about 77,000 words worth of notes (about 170 pages) from 45 days worth of craft talks, workshops, and classes at the five required “residencies,” which alternated between Seaside (in January) and Forest Grove, Oregon (in June). In between residencies, I was paired with an advisor, who commented upon my work and sent lengthy replies to my creative manuscripts and essays. I produced 24 short essays (3-4 pages), a research paper (20-pages), 15 short stories (averaging 15 pages), and 5 flash-fiction pieces. I read approximately 80 books. It’s been a humbling and edifying experience.

16 Apr


Need a change of scenery on the front page here, and I love this pink bus. I’m steeped in grad school deadlines, so not much time to dedicate to an accompanying story, but I’ve got an idea. I picture a couple of kids, maybe a brother and a sister, playing at the end of their long driveway, near the roadside. Their father runs a farm, which has been struggling lately, and he’s in a bad mood all the time. Mom has told them to stay out of the way. As they’re playing at the road’s edge, throwing rocks at fenceposts and trying to whistle through blades of grass, they hear the shifting gears of a large vehicle coming round the bend. They stop what they’re doing and stare down the road. A pink bus comes into view. As it gets closer, they hear music blaring from the open windows–something like Bolero, maybe. It goes by, kicking up dust and rattling over the country-road potholes. They watch it crest the hill and disappear over the gradual slope on the horizon.

“Was that a pink school bus?” the younger sister says.

“It was pink. And it was a bus,” says the brother.

“What was it doing?”

“How should I know?” the brother snaps.

The girl hangs her head and kicks at the the gravel on at the road’s shoulder.

“But it might have been the candy bus,” the boy says.

“The candy bus?”

“Yeah.” The boy invents a legend about a bus that picks up kids and takes them to the best candy story in the country. Everything there is free. Plus, they have waterslides. And you can ride elephants. “I didn’t think it was a true story,” he says. “But I guess maybe it is.”

“Why didn’t it pick us up?” the girl says.

“Because we didn’t ask it to,” he says.

“Will it come again?”

“Probably. Some day.”

The girl smiles and they go back to playing. The end.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I’ve been fairly escape-minded recently, posting images of treehouse communes and private Irish islands on tumblr. It’s the only thing keeping me sane amidst all the dishonesty and cronyism and power-grabbing going on in my state right now. I’d love to hitch a ride on a candy bus to a land where Scott Walker doesn’t exist.