Saturday, November 24, 2007

New at Juked

"The Happy Family" is up at Juked.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New elimae! (2007:11)

Haven't had a chance to dip into it yet, but I see that the new elimae is up. I've got a story in it, "Captions," and there's work by people who have been publishing great stuff for a long time: Jimmy Chen, Claudia Smith, Elizabeth Ellen, Aaron Burch and others.

Myths of Norman Mailer

I ask myself, what have I to add to the Norman Mailer tributes?

Well, has anyone mentioned that Lloyd Cole gave him a line in his Eighties breakthrough album? "Read Norman Mailer / Get a new tailor." Something like that.

And a tale: Norman Mailer was asked -- by an audience member, let's say, when he was on some panel -- what he was reading at that particular time. His response: he wasn't reading anything right then because he was writing. He didn't like to read when he was writing. He compared it to having your car in pieces in your driveway and turning to watch a shining red sports car flash by....

Or that's the story.

Does it sound like Norman Mailer to you? It does me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great Atrocities in the History of Adaptation

Read Graham Greene's 1954 novel "The Quiet American"? Fantastic book. Effing great. Seen Joe Mankiewicz' 1958 screen adaptation? Probably not. But here's its choicest moment: Pyle in the guard tower, giving poor Fowler some needed instruction: "I'm from a country that's been in existence for less than two hundred years in a very old world. Fifty years ago we were barely taken seriously as a nation, much less a great force for wisdom and decision. But suddenly, now, a watch tick of history later, the world waits angrily for us to provide the answers it hasn't been able to find in fifty centuries."

Oh no he didn't!

Poor Greene. At least Hollywood paychecks don't bounce.

How Not to Grade the Next Paper

1. Eat chips.
2. Look out the windows.
3. Pick up pieces of leaf that somebody's tracked into the house.
4. Or just think about picking up pieces of leaf that somebody's tracked into the house.
5. Eat more chips. Eat a pickle. Eat chips.
6. Wonder if you've had too much caffeine.
7. Eat leftover pizza.
8. Decide you haven't (had too much caffeine). Open a Coke.
9. Wonder if the girl you took to a dance in the Eighth Grade is up to something more exciting than this. Google her.
10. Count the number of papers remaining. Forget the number. Count them again.
11. Look out the windows some more.
12. Think about going on a jog.
13. Think about just writing about thinking about going on a jog, instead of going on one.
14. Write about thinking about going on a jog.

Unpaid Advertisements

Got that Halloween candy in the salad bowl still. And here's what I'm thinking: Snickers. Unwrap a bite-size Mars or Three Musketeers and you're bound to be disappointed. It's like, why didn't they put the other stuff in that would have made it a Snickers? Snickers, man. Snickers. (Butterfinger is all right, too, but it gets stuck in your teeth.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

New Online Issue at Barrelhouse

Just saw that Barrelhouse has its new online issue up. My story "Reengineering" is there.

Free Music I'd Pay to Hear

"Here's Your Future," The Thermals (via Subpop)

"Georgia... Bush," L'il Wayne (via Pitchfork)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Quick Fiction #12

Confession: I sometimes send stories out to journals I've never read. A couple of years ago, I sent a story called "Lucky" to a journal whose name appeared in the back of the BASS, Quick Fiction. I didn't then know that QF only publishes stories under 500 words, and it was just by chance that my story was about that long. They took that story -- Adam and Jennifer Pieroni, who run QF. I couldn't believe how great the issue was when it arrived (#9). I don't think I've ever read another contributor's copy in the space of a single day. Pedro Ponce was in it, and some other really fantastic writers: Kim Addonizio, Kim Chinquee, Jeff Parker, Edith Pearlman....

I figured that now that I knew how good QF was, I'd never get in again, but I was wrong. My story "Front Yard on the East Side of Forty Second" is in the upcoming issue, which is available for pre-order here. Again I'm in some okay company: Girija Tropp, Mary Miller, Blake Butler....

Rejection Letters

Back in grad school one of my friends' boyfriends would go, "Oh no, you're not going to compare rejection letters again, are you?"

My brother's girlfriend is a writer. I guess she gets a lot of loving rejection letters. Loving rejection letters make her sick.

I like loving rejection letters. I'm not crazy about consoling ones ("Take heart, writer. We are but one small pond in a vast terrain of...."). I'm not crazy about ones that tell me how I'm supposed to react ("Unfortunately, we've decided...." Unfortunately? For you? Then why not take the story?) But loving rejection letters.... Yeah, I'll take them.

I got a loving one a while back from another writer, Darlin' Neal, who was guest editing for the Mississippi Review online. She didn't tell me what was wrong with the story (though I'm sure something was), and she didn't tell me that the story wasn't a 'fit' for the issue (that I could see for myself later on). She said that she was happy to have read it and that the characters would stay with her. Getting a letter like that -- not a bad day.... That's the kind of thing that can get people like me addicted to their email....