Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wrap-up: Wigleaf in Twenty Ten

Last 2010 post @Wigleaf today: Nicolle Elizabeth's FOUR STORIES, with maybe her best-ever postcard.

Thanks again to Brian Evenson, for selecting the Top 50, and thanks to everyone on the following list for what I think has been our biggest and brutalist year:

Grace Andreacchi
Arlene Ang
Meakin Armstrong
Adrienne Bard
Kyle Beachy
Michael Bible
Ann Bogle
Eric Bosse
Mel Bosworth
Jessica Breheny
Randall Brown
Edmond Caldwell
Kim Chinquee
Ryder Collins
Dawn Corrigan
Sara Crowley
Stephen Dunn
Nicolle Elizabeth
David Erlewine
Nina Feng
Erin Fitzgerald
Tuere T.S. Ganges
Roxane Gay
Vanessa Gebbie
Greg Gerke
Barry Graham
Tawnysha Greene
Tina May Hall
Jim Heynen
Eric Higgins
Donora Hillard
Steve Himmer
Laura Hirneisen
Colleen Hollister
Tim Horvath
Jennifer A. Howard
Joe Kapitan
Matthew Kirkpatrick
Andrea Kneeland
Darby Larson
Sarah Layden
Charles Lennox
Lisa Lim
Sean Lovelace
Sarah Malone
Michael Martone
Susan McCarty
Natalie McNabb
Jen Michalski
Hans Michaud
Megan Milks
John Minichillo
Kyle Minor
Tirumal Mundargi
Thomas Mundt
Mark Neely
Cami Park
Gary Percesepe
Dan Piepenbring
Lloyd Phillips
Glen Pourciau
Dawn Raffel
Andrew Roe
Sophie Rosenblum
Matthew Salesses
Kevin Sampsell
Kathryn Scanlan
Evan Schaeffer
Peter Schwartz
Laura Ellen Scott
Chad Simpson
Andrea Slye
Lucas Southworth
Amber Sparks
Brooks Sterritt
Rose Sullivan
Jack Swenson
Chantel Louise Tattoli
Beth Thomas
Girija Tropp
J.A. Tyler
Anne Valente
Ben White
Bess Winter
Robley Wilson
Kate Wyer
Anne Valente
Donna D. Vitucci
Mercedes Yardley
Salvatore Zoida

Monday, December 27, 2010


15. All Saints Day, "You Can't Be Alone" (from S/T)

Bent-up, low-fi would-be anthem. I pretty much love this shit.

(free download @ One Track Mind)


14. Kurt Vile, "Invisibility: Nonexistent" (from the SQUARE SHELLS ep)

Kurt Vile is easily the musician I'd most like to get stoned with.

(free download @ Hippies Are Dead)


13. Japandroids, "Younger Us" (from the YOUNGER US 7")

Great song. Soundwise they channel The Replacements here, which makes frontman Brian King's unhealed nostalgia seem right.

(free download via Pitchfork)


12. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, "I Learned the Hard Way" (from I LEARNED THE HARD WAY)

Amy Winehouse might not have reminded you how great Motown was, but Sharon Jones will.

(free download @ Aquarium Drunkard)


11. Japanther, "Spread So Thin" (from ROCK 'N ROLL ICE CREAM)

It hasn't ever taken that much to make a great pop song. Just oooo's and electricity.

(free download @ 5 Acts)


10.(tie) The Black Keys, "Tighten Up" (from BROTHERS); Best Coast, "Boyfriend" (from CRAZY FOR YOU)

I hope The Black Keys never stop pretending that rock n' roll hasn't come and gone. Best Coast's CRAZY FOR YOU was one of my favorite albums of the year; this song was the most embarrassing for a grown heterosexual man to be caught singing.

(free download @ Passion of the Weiss; other free download @ Culture Bully)


9. Doug Paisley, "End of the Day" (from CONSTANT COMPANION)

There were good wooden songs by Black Mountain and Blitzen Trapper in Twenty Ten. But this was the best. Dude's Canadian, may sort of remind you of Neil.

(video @ youtube)


8. Gil Scott-Heron, "Me and the Devil" (from I'M NEW HERE)

Here's how happy I am to see Gil again:

Gil! Gil! Gil! Gil! Gil!

(free download via Stranger Dance)


7. Perfume Genius, "Mr. Peterson" (from LEARNING)

A spare, churchly requiem. "He let me smoke weed in his truck." That line instantly puts it in my top ten. "He made me a tape of Joy Division." Or maybe that one.

(free download via Captain Obvious)


6. The Arcade Fire, "Ready to Start" (from THE SUBURBS)

From a top-three album of the year. Lots of great songs on it; had a hard time choosing.

(free download via ListenBeforeYouBuy)


5. Blair, "Hello Halo" (from DIE YOUNG)

Most underappreciated release of the year. Yeah, she's kind of nineties, but this song—thing of genius. "Don't know what I'm sayin, don't know what I'm sayin, don't know what I'm sayin, don't know what I'm sayin…Got a radio in my head…." Becomes a pop song about writing pop songs.

(free download via Das Kleinicum)


4. Sleigh Bells, "Rill Rill" (from TREATS)



What about them? She's all about them.

(free download @ The Stark Online)


3. Deerhunter, "Desire Lines" (from HALCYON DIGEST)

Who's better than Deerhunter?

Rhetorical question.

(free download @ Covert Curiosity)


2. Kanye West, "Runaway" (from MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY)

Will probably always remember seeing the premiere of this at the close of this year's VMA's.

Drama from persona. What it's all about.

(video @ youtube)


1. No Age, "Fever Dreaming" (from EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN)

Louder. Louder. Louder.

(free download @ Pitchfork)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My 2010 Best Of's @ The Big Other

Sometimes I wish it were called The Big Otter. My fingers would prefer typing that, it seems. The Big Otter.

I did a list of twelve. I wrote it kind of like a story, not really knowing what was going to be on it. But don't let me undermine it. This is a very important list.

(It's up w/ some others--by Norman Lock, K. Sparling, J. Iredell, and K. Sampsell)

Trailer for UNFINISHED

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The arrival of this has pre-empted all other reading.

It's, like, really good. Really.

It's not quite as long as the last one. I'm on page 100 or so, and I'm more aware this time: the pleasure is going to run out.

My story in it, "Dermatographism," is right now one of my own favorites of mine. One reason--and I was saying this to fellow contributor/rising star Luke Goebel the other day: I like the end of it more than the beginning. (Usually I like my beginnings the best.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another Swell Pre-Order

This one, from Jaded Ibis, is going to be an amazing thing.

To finish an somebody's unfinished story--this would imply a hand-off, would imply, as a result, a story of halves, with a visible seam.

But you won't find one, a seam. Lily Hoang took my start--a story I'd called "Eight Ball"--and exploded it from the inside, put new stuff in the air. So then finishing it--this seemed, to both of us, more possible.

Can't wait to read the whole book, which includes Lily's 'finishings' of stories by Kate Bernheimer, Blake Butler, Beth Couture, Debra Di Blasi, Justin Dobbs, Trevor Dodge, Zach Dodson, Brian Evenson, Carol Guess, Elizabeth Hildreth, John Madera, Ryan Manning, Michael Martone, Kelcey Parker, Ted Pelton, Kathleen Rooney, Davis Schneiderman, Michael Stewart, and J.A. Tyler.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Swell Pre-Order

{C.}, an MLP Stamp Stories Anthology, can be got as part of this year's MLP subscription --which, at $40, is a great deal (full length works by Norman Lock, Michael Stewart and Mathias Svalina, plus a bunch of handmade chapbooks, by Kristina Marie Darling, Andrew Borgstrom and others).

Or it can be ordered alone.

Here's the idea: people write stories of fifty words or less, and these stories are then formatted into stamp-sized texts and printed on small cards (they're titleless but carry the author's name). Next--my favorite part--the cards go out to independent presses which are participating in the project by slipping them into the pages of direct orders like bookmarks. I've read a couple of them in this way (most recently one by Gregory Sherl which was in a copy of Sam Pink's great Ambulance book from Cow Heavy). And I've heard from a couple of people who've read mine (it's going out w/ issues of The Cupboard). Am itching to read the full deal, which includes--man i don't even know what to say about this list..... I'll just make sounds.... mah mah mah....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Dog" in NANO Fiction

Been eating this issue up--great stuff by Nin Andrews, Matt Bell, Chas Carey, Doug Paul Case, Sarah Eaton, Erika Eckart, Luke Geddes, Greg Gerke, Nathan Good, Anya Groner, Andrew Kozma, Daniel Lawless, Charles Lennox, Sara Lippmann, Kirsty Logan, Sean Lovelace, Sarah McCartt-Jackson, Shawn Andrew Mitchell, Cheyenne Nimes, Laurie Nye, Carrie Oeding, Michael Palmer, Hannah Pass, Marie Potoczny, Matt Prater, Jim Ruland, Nick Sansone, Kathryn Scanlan, Gregory Sherl, Katie Jean Shinkle, Justin Sirois, Eugenia Tsutsumi, and Desmond Kon.

See lots of Wigleaf contributors there. Could count them but that would require numbers.

Thnx to Glenn Shaheen and the NANO F crew. Is the girl's foot being atomized by spinning blades in the cover art? Sort of disturbing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Silt" up on HTML Giant's LMC thing

One of the two from the NY Tyrant -- pdf w/ take by Robb Todd (who wrote that Halloween story that was in 3:AM last yr--pretty swell if you missed it).

One of the quoted words is wrong, which makes me hope that he wrote it from memory because if he did, that would be, you know, great.

Thnx to Robb and also Tim Horvath, who thinks in the comments some typically smart things.....

Afterthought: about the title, which Robb was wondering about. I had it sitting on the table, like. When I finished. It seemed--I'm not sure why--to work. And nobody called me on it -- of the people who read it right off.......

Monday, October 4, 2010

Short @ JMWW

In the fall issue--flash section, John Madera's first full quarter editing that.

Odd title: "On the Bifurcation of Garments for Men."

Thnx to John and Ed. in Chief Jen Michalski. There's a great intro by John and other vsf by Alexandra Chasin, James Hannahan, Tim Horvath, Kevin Kilian, Miguel Morales, David Peak, Davis Schneiderman, Ken Sparling and Terese Svoboda.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

story up @ New Ohio Review

It's called the "The Fake I.D." and it's up as a teaser for the fall issue, which is just out.

My other one there, not web accessible, was written at about the same time: "Is That You, John Wayne?" Have to thank outgoing editor Jill Allyn Rosser and the /nor staff for their input on that one: they asked me a fairly simple question about the ending, which helped me get it right finally.

Haven't read any of the issue yet, but I'm looking at the names--Campbell McGrath, Karen Brown, Phong Nguyen, Stephen Dunn.... It's next in line. (I may start w/ the last section, "Altered Views: Fiction Reconsidered," where writers discuss "works of fiction about which they [have] changed their minds over the years." Charles Baxter writes on Paula Fox, Julianna Baggott on Garcia Marquez, Peter Ho Davies on D. Barthelme.... Looks pretty great.....)

One other thing, relevant to the only people likely to be reading this: they've just started taking online subs, /nor has.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

B's Book: REMOVING MOUNTAINS: Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields

It's just out from the University of Minnesota Press, and I'm reading it now for the first time in final form. What I'd say: really great--compelling and smart and super-important.

As we got used to telling people in the just-about ten years it was getting made, the book is a study of the cultural politics surrounding the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop-removal coal mining in southern West Virginia.

Here's a paragraph from the first chapter, in which the conditions that give rise to Appalachia's being a 'national sacrifice zone' are being examined:

"The Sago mine tragedy brought to national attention the issue of mining safety and the pattern of increasing unenforcement of regulations and loosening of regulatory oversight of the coal industry that coalfield communities have been dealing with for decades. The coal industry has made it very clear to coalfield residents that it considers fatal accidents in mines, like the many fatal road accidents caused by overweight coal trucks, to be just part of the cost of doing business (Burns 2007). After the Sago disaster and several subsequent deaths at other mines, national and state legislators scurried to enact more stringent protections for workers (Ward 2006c). But cable news coverage of the events chose not to focus on the details of state and federal regulations, their ineffective enforcement through nominal fines, and the lack of proportional response to serious infractions (Ward 2006b). Instead, national coverage of the Sago disaster became a sentimental story of dashed hopes and a miraculous recovery. The conventions of the genre--tight-knit communities, simple piety, and hard-edged suffering--allowed the incident to become an allegory of American national character, an iteration of the story of the ideal white Appalachian. As was Jessica Lynch, the miners were portrayed as always ready to sacrifice themselves to provide for their families and nation. The miners' families and communities justly joined in the sanctifying of the miners on national television; not only did this allow them to express their grief and their love for the deceased, but this is one of the only representations Appalachians can access to escape their stigmatized identity on the national stage. Occupying the narrative of ideal, sacrificing, Christian citizenship allowed West Virginians to portray their communities and the deceased miners in a positive light on the national screen."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

@ Third Face

i-view @ 3rd face w/ Barry Graham, who i finally get to meet at AWP next year. i try to be uncautious--incautious?--in talking about Wigleaf, my balls and other stuff. and there's 6-song life-story playlist w/ really good music on it, tho via somewhat wack videos.....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The News re: Wigleaf

As of tomorrow, officially—but actually right now—Wigleaf is back on its regular schedule.

The first new story: Tina May Hall's "Last Night of the County Fair." It's part of her soon-to-be-released collection, The Physics of Imaginary Objects, which won the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. (I've read the book in galley and it's awesome; here's another sweet piece of it, from The Collagist.)

Now for the randomized list of some of the other sure-fine writers w/ work coming up in Wigleaf this season:

Andrea Kneeland
Glen Pourciau
Anne Valente
Beth Thomas
Jessica Breheny
Gabe Durham
Joe Kapitan
Hans Michaud
Vanessa Gebbie
Dawn Corrigan
Sophie Rosenblum
Arlene Ang
Sarah Malone
Dan Piepenbring
Lloyd Phillips
Meakin Armstrong
Ryder Collins
Grace Andreacchi
Tim Horvath
Ann Bogle
Sara Crowley
Edmond Caldwell
Donna Vitucci
Adrienne Bard
Susan McCarty
Steve Himmer

I'm pumped to the top for this stuff. Please stop by often (new stories are posted every few days)—and if you feel like it help me spread the word that we're back…..

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Say My Name" @ Everyday Genius

Thanks to Luke Goebel for putting this short out there. He's had a great month @EG, running work by Dawn Raffel, Gabe Durham, LIncoln Michel and others.

"Say My Name" was originally part of a three-set; the other two are coming out in the fall issue of New Ohio Review. Really happy to have it @EG; seems like the right place for it......

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thurs Nite, AWP '11, NW DC

Unsaid 5


Not yet pre-orderable. But shit man. The wait is on.

Tyrant 8

The last issue was killer. The one before that was killer. The one before that....

I've got two in this one. Am excited for them to get read.....

Pre-order here.

FF Net

Last Thurs (just got home--am behind) a short of mine was reprinted @ ("Front Yard...." which originally appeared in QF #12).

Randall Brown does a great job w/ this site, and he offers a great riff on the story at the end of the post. Thanks, Randall!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jessica Breheny's SOME MYTHOLOGY

I've been following Jessica Breheny since I read her story "Bug Funeral" in Avery #4. She's got a new chapbook out, SOME MYTHOLOGY, from Naissance, and can I say: it's pretty damn good....

If you're a writer--and you probably are--you'll appreciate JB immediately as a stylist. As a stylist, she's first rate. Like, for this last little while of my life, I haven't read anyone better.

Here's a bit from the first par of the opening story, "MirrorMirror," which was first pubbed in 580 Split:

"I live in a secret room with mushrooms and bats, skeletons and roots, pitchers and pipes. When I fly I have no legs. I hold out apples for my guests. Every night I set out to study fear."

And, because I can't help myself, a whole par from the title story:

"It wasn't until later that I met you in a class on Greek Mythology, and we drank the city into a sweet swirling puddle neighborhood by neighborhood, and you showed me how history is toppled together in a heap of velvet and cocktails, waltzed me into an oblivion of drunken ghosts. We Shanghaied each other from bars to corners to bars, and when you kissed me, at a bus stop haunted by garbage that flew around us like birds, it was poison and whiskey, a death that happened to someone else a long time before we were born."

W/ paragraphs like that, I'm a happy reader, but SOME MYTHOLOGY offers more: it's really cohesive, really carefully conceived as a whole--in ways I'll probably be better able to articulate when I read it again. But I sense that right away. Maybe I could say this for now: in these stories, if there's mythology, it's blurred, pulled into the anxieties of lived experience.... And if there's experience--regular fucked-up subjectivity--you can see how its subjects try to negotiate it as story/mythology, and later how they negotiate the stories themselves.....

Final analysis: great stuff: go forth and read.

Monday, July 12, 2010

3 Gymnos, translated

Some of my forebears are from Poland. I'm doing a seance tonight to call one back and get him/her to read one of the Gymnos that Piotr Siweki has translated for the Minimal Books blog.

He did Oklahoma City, Houston and Baltimore.

He's also translated work by Kim Chinquee, Molly Gaudry, Matt Bell, and lots of other friends and familiars.


Have been on the road, and am leaving again soon. Happy July everybody.....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Open Query Letter: 'VSF' Anthology

[Opening Paragraph: The Pitch]

I'm putting together ananthology called VSF: Very Short Fiction. I see it as the Flash Fiction anthology of the 21st century. I want you to want to publish it.

[Paragraphs Two, Three and Four: One Argument]

Hazuka and Thomas and Thomas' '92 Norton anthology, Flash Fiction, popularized the term, 'flash fiction,' and also an aesthetic – stories that often seem, in their art, flash- or glimpse-like. Such stories can be wonderful, of course, but a lot has happened since then; a lot is happening now.

Here's how I would characterize what we're currently seeing: pretty much every really talented new writer is participating in the exploration of a form whose conventions are far, far less set than are those of the full-length short story.

The VSF anthology will offer:

• a range of lengths under the 1000-word mark. In '92, Hazuka and Thomas and Thomas set the ceiling at 750 words, but most of the stories included were between 500 and 750 words. To capture what's happening now, I think you need an anthology that has a more than token offering of microfiction, and one that's also open to what people are doing in the 750 – 1000 word range.

• a range of styles and approaches. Writing in his intro to the Best American Short Stories volume of '92, Robert Stone had this to say: "As of 1992, American writers seem ready to accept traditional forms without self-consciousness in dealing with the complexity of the world around them." As of now? Writers are doing amazing vsf within what Stone calls the "realist mode," but they're certainly not confining themselves to that, or to any tradition.

[Paragraph Four: Who the Hell are You?]

I'm Scott Garson. This is my blog. Welcome. I'm the editor of Wigleaf and the Series Editor of the Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions annual. My collection of microfictions, American Gymnopédies, was published as part of the WWP very short fiction series. (Jim Heynen's blurb: "Like Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies, Garson’s atmospheric shorts surprised me with their subtle shifts and eccentricities. Linked by geographic places, the collection progresses in tiny increments to become a dance between internal and external geographies. In perception and execution, this is a wonderfully original work.")

[Paragraph Five: Why Aren't You Doing This the Conventional Way?]

I'm not lazy but writing letters bores me. I think I can get a publisher this way. I think it will be the right publisher.

[Paragraphs Six and Seven: A Parting Argument]

This anthology will be landmark and will sell.

It will sell because it will be fucking great. It will be fucking great because it will offer the best of an intense reading experience that most readers are not now being offered. Very short fiction isn't poetry, but it's closer to poetry than the novel and even most short stories. Pick up the average collection of stories nowadays—something like More of This World and Maybe Another—and you get fat, relaxed paragraphs that assume, from the start, readers' willingness to invest in a character that hasn't yet been introduced. This is much like most novels (and is the reason, I think, that readers don't spend a ton of money on collections; if they work like novels, why not read the real thing?). Very short fiction works differently. I won't limit it via definition, but I'll say this: in vsf, each word is a choice. Together they will burn into your brain. You'll feel like you're on drugs. You'll feel like you're on crack. You'll be saying, Please, Mr. Garson. More.

[Paragraph Eight: Polite Adieu and Expression of Good Wishes]

Thank you so much for visiting today, best,


Mini I-view @ Fictionaut

Happy to be boxed in the F-naut Five. Thnx to Meg Pokrass.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


* Guest post up at Emerging Writers Network for Short Story Month. There've been lots of great ones at EWN this month, by Dan Wickett and Stacy Musynski and others. Mine's on "Ghosts and Lovers," a story from Joanna Howard's recent collection, On a Winding Stair.

* Little 'pensee' up at The Laughing Yeti, Shome Dasgupta's Writers on Reading project. Words by Matt Bell and Brian Evenson went up in the days after mine. (I've been returning to this site; it's sort of addictive.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Unofficial Acknowledgements Page for American Gymnopédies

So: American Gymnopédies is here. It's sold out again (for now?), but for anyone who got one, copies should arrive by Tuesday.

Some public thanks here for my editor/publisher, Molly Gaudry @ WWP. I read it through, the collection, for the first time this morning, and I realized something—maybe something obvious but something I hadn't fully realized before: what you get in the case of something like this, if you're the writer, is not all yours. MG brought to this thing ambition, investment, big talent. She's been a visioner. Heart MG.

Others who need to be upped for contributions or involvements big or small: David McNamara at sunnyoutside, James Ullmer, who did the cover and interior art, Pia Ehrhardt, Jim Heynen, Michael Martone, David McLendon, Sara Lippmann, Peter Cole, J.A. Tyler, and all the editors of the mags in which some of the Gymnos were first published—though the editors, except for Corium, do get thanked in the pages (thnx Corium).

Today I'm a happy boy.

Next in line for the WWP Very Short Fiction series: Pedro Ponce, with Alien Autopsy, and Kathy Fish, with Foreign Film. I've taught stories from both of these collections. Believe this: I'll be the first one ordering them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Have You Heard the Zeppeliny Four-Tet Remix of Madvillian's "Great Day"?

That's a good song for.....

The Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2010

Brian Evenson is a god.

Ravi Mangla is a comet.

Lisa Lim is a midnight movie. (is that graphic not a big step up?)

Two random enticements:

* included in this year's list is one that makes Hint Fiction seem verbose. A four-word story that I think kicks the ass of Hemingway's famous six-word one.

* included also is a story that could not have been chosen for the flatmancrooked anthology, Not about Vampires.

Friday, May 14, 2010

In Fairness

I hit The Faster Times pretty hard for its ranking of lit mags a couple of wks ago.

Lincoln Michel, the author of that ranking, has revised the original post. The ranking has become a simple list of mags, and there's a pretty straightforward acknowledgement as to the arbitrariness of the cut-off point.

So uh--no further complaints.....

Are we on the internet, or are we on the internet?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

One Thing

I just want to say one thing about Susan Steinberg's story "Cowboys," in the Spring issue of American Short Fiction.

1. This is great!

"I am still able to lie there nights. But I am unable to do much more than that.

Meaning I am still able to lie there nights, but I am unable to stick around in the mornings.

Meaning I am unable to lie there pretending I want what it is certain women want.

Because of this and because of that. And I cannot pretend to be anything other than the result of this and that."

1. This is great!

"...The doctor had been up all night.

Trying to save your father, he said.

To no avail, he said, and I wondered at the word avail, wondered if the doctor got to be a doctor because of whatever it was he had that made him use the word avail."

1. This is great!

"A man I knew in Warrensburg, Missouri, a man I knew from the job I needed to quit, had been bitten by a brown recluse. He'd rolled over it one night in bed and got bitten in the ass. When he told me the story I laughed. I was like, Why were you naked? He was like, Wrong question. Because he was trying to tell me the bite dissolved the skin on his ass. Because he was trying to tell me that this just wasn't right.

The technical term is necrotized.

The point is I was not always serious.

No, the point is we're limited."

1. This is great!

"There is no intentional meaning in this story.

I would not subject you to intentional meaning.

I would not subject you to some grand scheme."

1. This is great!

2. Okay--a few other things.

3. Those quotes? Those are just from the first five pages. There are five more. And I could have quoted stuff just as good from the first five. Easily. There are enough good sentences in this story to last you all year--if you read w/ your flashlight in bed.

4. I guess I make myself clear but just to be sure: you have to fucking read this story.

5. And one more thing: Susan Steinberg, if you're out there, if you've figured out a way to get Google Alert to separate you from all the other Susan Steinbergs in the world: please send something to Wigleaf! We can't give you that dollar appreciation which is so nice--which I don't mean to knock--but we can love you. We're good at loving people. And is there ever enough love?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Robley Wilson @ Wigleaf

The story is "Bears."

Dawn Raffel had a great post about him @ EWN towards the end of last year. In it she calls him "one of the under-sung heroes of American fiction."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hobart GREAT OUTDOORS / extras

Number 11 hasn't shown up in the mailbox yet (one of the chief bummers of not going to AWP....), but the issue is loaded and the traditional 'Bonus/Extras' update just went live on the Hobart website.

I did, on command, an 'extra' outdoors gymno (my cont. to #11 being gymnos for Duluth, Big Sur and Mississippi River).

Tim Jones-Yelvington supplied the place, Champaign-Urbana. Thnx Tim!

David Erlewine, M.T. Fallon, Molly Gaudry and Laura Ellen Scott each flipped me a word to use. Thnx D, M, M and L!

p.s. points if you can guess which words were supplied, and double secret bonus points if you can guess by which person.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Official Statement

Mary Timony seems a little fucked up in this one. Wigleaf hearts Mary Timony.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Contempt...

....seems to going out to the Faster Times today, for its new ranking of lit mags.

I'm not all that contemptuous of a person, so I'm asking myself why.

If Wigleaf had made his list, would I feel different? Probably not -- though I might find myself less willing, at the moment, to say what I think...

So why then? Possibilities:

1. I've never loved Cliff Garstang's lit mag rankings, but Cliff has always been completely frank about what they represent: nothing but Pushcart success. In the Faster Times list, I see Lincoln Michel going for what Cliff is going for--an objective-type sense of which lit mags are held in high esteem. But he's not as forthcoming about how the calculations are made.

2. In the 'Why?' section – like, why offer such a list –- he suggests that he's trying to help writers who may be overwhelmed by the number of mags out there and so not know which are the most prestigious. Am I being too bone-headedly literal if I point out that another clear function of any such ranking is to rank? The Faster Times may or may not be super interested in helping fiction writers – who knows – but there's a clear enough basis for interest in stratifications, assertions of relative prestige. Who's up? Who's down? Who's in? Who's out? Tell us, People Magazine. I mean, Faster Times.

3. Back to number 1: the lack of forthcomingness about how mags are assigned 'tiers': Michel is quick to make clear that the rankings don't reflect his own favorites, among which he lists Noon, Unsaid and New York Tyrant. These happen to be among my own favorites, too. Have to say, though: a couple of mags in that general 'family' appear in the lower tiers (fuck you, I’m not listing them)—while some higher-profile/more fully established mags (Barrelhouse, for example) are omitted. Yes, I'm wondering about pandering.

4. Back to number 2: People Magazine. Why do we even do this shit? If you think, as I do, that the fiction in the New York Tyrant is, in general, better and more important than the fiction in the New Yorker, let me suggest that you have an obligation: to lend it your fire, to declare, wholeheartedly, your belief in it. You can be a tool, try to serve the man, or you can be part of how perceptions change.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I-view + Gymno @ Stymie

My D.C. Gymno is reprinted at Stymie Magazine, which has been revamped nicely (Congrats to Editor Erik Smetana and everyone else there). It's alongside an i-view conducted by Sara Lippmann. We talked about Townes Van Zandt, Gass, desire in writing and lots of other stuff. Was much fun...

Am excited to sit down and do the full reading. Some of the contributors: Brian Oliu, Dawn Corrigan, Ben Loory, Sean Lovelace, David Erlewine, and Daniel Orozco (of "Orientation" fame).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Marvel Comics is doing an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's story, "The Electric Ant." Here's the promo copy:

"Garson’s world continues to unravel around him as he ponders the nature of his existence as an Electric Ant—an organic robot. But there are interests that want to prevent Garson from discovering the truth of his situation. And they are prepared to use deadly force."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letters to... Oh, whatever

Maybe because I e-know some e-people who are starting their non-e MFA's, I've been thinking a little about my own grad schooling.

Here's what I'd say for the benefit of those e-people, none of whom needs my help in the slightest.....

1. Your truest, you-est stories might not be the ones people love or the ones people hate. They might be the ones people don't have much basis for, the ones they meet with a not-ungenerous quiet.

2. If you're made to read or hear stuff about how much work writing is, how much bleeding and torture should be involved, be suspicious. Seriously, why the fuck would anybody ever consider doing something as nuts as fiction writing if it was no fun? Whatever a real good time is, for you, that's what you should be having when you write. Doesn't matter if it all gets thrown out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Upcomings @ Mud Luscious

There's an excerpt from Am. Gymnos up @ Mud Luscious now, in the all-excerpt issue. Tons of real goodness here from upcoming releases by Amelia Gray, Rachel Glaser, Peter Markus, Robert Lopez, Joanna Ruocco, Alissa Nutting, Ken Sparling, Roy Kesey, Michael Kimball, Lily Hoang, Aaron Burch, Jac Jemc, James Kaelan, Adam Robinson, James Chapman, Ted Pelton, and Dawn Raffel. Thnx to J.A. Tyler for putting it all together.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Corium Mag #1

Some big-time talent on this one: Lauren Becker, Greg Gerke and Heather Fowler edit.

The first issue looks world smooth. Happy to have 2 Gymnos there alongside work from these friends and fantastics: Stephen Elliott, Sean Lovelace, Alec Niedenthal, Adam Moorad, Donna Vitucci, Kathy Fish, Beth Thomas, Kim Chinquee, Sheldon Compton, Ryan Ridge, Julie Babcock, Eric Beeny, Andrea Kneeland, Christina Murphy, Laura Ellen Scott, Shaindel Beers, Corey Mesler, Sam Rasnake, Rusty Barnes and Cami Park.

I read the LES short, which rocks. Looking fwd to the rest.

Monday, March 15, 2010

JMWW Spring Issue (All-Flash)

March 15 is looking just as neyesh as March 1. 3/10: makes a good argument for web fiction, if such arguments need to be made any more......

David Erlewine edited this issue, and I'm seriously pumped for it. I've worked w/ some of these writers @ Wigleaf, and I've admired others from afar. The full list: Charles Lennox, Jarrid Deaton, Gary Moshimer, Rusty Barnes, Katrina Gray, Timothy Gager, Seth Fried, Tria Andrews, Damian Dressick, Sheldon Lee Compton, Ethel Rohan, S. Craig Renfroe, Andrew Roe, Kyle Minor, Michael Czyzniejewski, Matt Bell, Edward Mullany, Matthew Salesses, Kevin Wilson, Curtis Smith, Tara Laskowski, Molly Gaudry, Erin Fitzgerald, Meg Pokrass, Roxane Gay, Sam Nam, Robert Swartwood, and Ben Loory.

My story there is called "Supreme" and starts like this: "I ditched the pizza delivery boy's subcompact behind a Quonset hut of corrugated steel and made for the hills, desirous, you could say, of goodness--feeling good--and thinking maybe I had the night's blessing...."

Big thnx to David and Jen Michalski for putting this thing together. By the end of the day, I'll have dented it good......

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

'Hee hee' and 'Yup'

"...let’s admit that literary fiction is a genre, too, shall we? Expectations guide its readers, that of respect for consensus reality and the poignancy of seemingly ordinary lives..." --Peter Straub @ The Millions.

Chapbook Month

Dan Wickett of Dzanc Books has proposed that March be chapbook month. These three can't be read yet--they're on pre-order--but they must be propped.

1. Chad Simpson's Phantoms.

I read an advance of this and was happy to contribute praise. In addition to those words, I can give these: the collection is so solid. You may read it quickly, but in retrospect, the very short fictions in Phantoms might take on more breadth and solidity than do many of the novels you've read.

2. Nicolle Elizabeth's Threadbare Von Barren, a collection of very short fictions and prose poems.

I published one of Nicolle's early stories in Wigleaf (and have since snagged two more of hers). I remember titling a blog entry about that first one "Nicolle Elizabeth for Prestidigident," and that seems apt. She's an original, a conjurer. Her stories are marvels of life and craft.

3. Matt Bell's Wolf Parts

Matt does as much as anyone does for independent publishing, and his own writing is one of independent publishing's triumphs. I've read his two previous mini-books--How the Broken Lead the Blind, and The Collectors--with admiration, appreciation and real delight. I couldn't be more excited to read his forthcoming full-length collection, How They Were Found, which includes some of the best and most memorable stories I've read in a long time. It's a good bet that Wolf Parts--which is available only for a limited time thru pre-order--is going to deliver.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Help w/ HO #11 Bonus Materials?

You know how Hobart always does bonus stuff for the new issues online?

I have three Outdoors Gymnos in there and was thinking I'd write another for the web bonuses-- 'on demand.'


One person to give me a place in the comments here.

Five other people to supply nouns that will be used.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two @ 3:AM Mag

If there's a such a thing as a classic web mag, 3AM would probably be it.

A pair of mine just went up there, "Listings," and "Self Portrait as a Man of Importance." These two are newish and to me feel kind of post-Gymno. Thnx to Utahna Faith, 3AM's American flash editor who helped w/ them (and thnx also to others who helped).

Will something like a billion people see these things? Weird to imagine people reading them who haven't read anything else of mine.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Push Push

Sometimes the more unusual stories can use a little push: Lucas Southworth's "Crossing Our Communication Networks."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day's Big News: DZANC BEST OF THE WEB 2010

Have been hearing about the nods.... I want to congratulate everybody but especially, on behalf of the mag, those writers whose stories in Wigleaf were honored with inclusion:

Elizabeth Ellen, for "Samuel L. Jackson Is Not a Good Name for a Rabbit"
Dave Housley, for "Pop Star Dead at 22"
Sean Lovelace, for "A Sigh Is Just a Sigh"
Mary Miller, for "Aesthete"
and Jennifer Pieroni, for "Now, Right Now"

Don't think this is the last you'll be hearing from me about Dzanc's BOW 2010. Truly can't wait.

And capping the good news: my story from American Short Fiction, "Premises for an Action Plan," will be there 2.

So uh--yay!

Monday, January 25, 2010

How Long B4 Unsaid #4 is Gone?

A while back, I went on a little jag here about David McClendon not making Unsaid easier to buy. It's only fair that I report the good news: you can get it via Paypal now.

#4 is easily one of the best things published in '09. It's 'ginormous,' as my 7yr old would say. After finishing it, I was reluctant to file it away; I'm currently going back thru for rereads of my favorite stuff.

Now that it's paypalable, it'll be interesting to see how long it lasts......

Anatomy of a Flash at The Big Other

My story "The Fifty," from the New York Tyrant, has been reprinted @ The Big Other, with Q+A, as part of the Big O's new Anatomy of a Flash thing. Thnx to the Tyrant and to Greg Gerke.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some Randomness RE: Am. Gymnos

1. I wrote the first one in the collection, "Houston," first.

2. I've written a couple more after sealing the collection. After the first time we sealed it, I wrote "Nashville" and "Buffalo," and those two ended up getting included.

3. Thirty American states are represented, plus D.C. California has three, and Missouri, New York, and Minnesota have two each.

4. I wrote the "Minneapolis Gymno" while actually listening to Satie, but others came from other musics. "Sandusky" comes straight out of the song by the same name on Uncle Tupelo's March 12 album.

5. Some come from other stuff. I dedicated "Greenbrier" to Blake Butler because I wrote it from a line in one of his lists of 50.

6. "Seattle" was the first one published, in SmokeLong. Among the last to be published elsewhere will be "Mississippi River," in Hobart. That's one of me and Molly's faves.

7. Fourteen of them are set in places I've never seen. That number feels low.

8. I wrote "West Palm Beach" from a photo on Flickr and from the great first song on the Will Oldham Gulf Shores ep.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

American Gymnos on Pre-Order (big day!)

I won't try to be all cool about this: so excited!

It's something I'm not used to -- thinking of myself as lucky -- but I really am: to have worked with Molly Gaudry and others on this, and to be part of the WWP Very Short Fiction chapbook series (The first, Matt Bell's HOW THE BROKEN LEAD THE BLIND, is going to be a collector's item, I'm pretty sure, and the next, ALIEN AUTOPSY, is by one of my own favorite writers of vsf, Pedro Ponce). And then the cover art, by the super-sweet James Ulmer.....

Another lucky thing: to have had such fantastic writers as first readers. Some excerpts from their words on the words:

"Like Erik Satie's Gymnopédies, Garson's atmospheric shorts surprised me with their subtle shifts and eccentricities. Linked by geographic places, the collection progresses in tiny increments to become a dance between internal and external geographies. In perception and execution, this is a wonderfully original work."
—Jim Heynen, author of The One-Room Schoolhouse

"Scott Garson concocts, in American Gymnopédies, a diabolical geography of loss out of an atlas of jim-dandy and cracker jack, snap-shotting the American township grid, netting up the world in a strung-out string theory of gorgeous adhesive prose."
—Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone

"There's a world of detail, sound and story humming through each of these short pieces about cities. Garson's an alert writer, and he engages with each place in a way that stirs, worries, and delights."
—Pia Z. Ehrhardt, author of Famous Fathers and Other Stories

"Garson's collection reads like a travelogue of the periphery. These are plainspoken reports from a different way of seeing."
—David McLendon, editor of Unsaid

Now let me see if I can get this paypal button thingy to work.....

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Pages Reads the Wigleaf Top 50

Henry F. Tonn does the write-up in the new group of reviews. He covers included stories by Roy Kesey, Kevin Wilson, Tai Dong Huai and Robert Olen Butler.

There's a little more Top 50 talk in the nice back-and-forth between Ravi Mangla and Greg Gerke at The Big Other.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hppy 2 Bday Wigleaf

Only two. Hard to believe. Maybe because there are so many babies around -- The Collagist, Matchbook, Necessary Fiction, etc.

Haven't decided what's going up tonight. Erin Fitzgerald's story, "Trumpet Voluntary," holds the top spot now. I love this one, and also Kevin Sampsell's, beneath it, and also Tawnysha Greene's, and also.......

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Interstate" @ The Mississippi Review

Very happy to have one here. It's the All-Flash issue, edited by Kim Chinquee, and it's pretty much tops, with stories from Mary Akers, Randall Brown, Lydia Copeland, Kathy Fish, Avital Gad-Cykman, Greg Gerke, Daniel Grandbois, Peter Grandbois, Tiff Holland, Jeff Landon, Paul Lisicky, Robert Lopez, Darlin Neal, Carol Novack, Lorna Perez, Jen Pieroni, Peter Ramos, Gail Louise Siegel, Carrie Spell, Rusty Spell, Ed Taylor and Diane Willams.

Some samplings:

"She was next to me, all over my side of the question, and I told her, 'You're like an animal!'

Although, nobody worries about her manners, they know they're good."

—from Diane Williams' "Wrigglework"

"In my dreams all those animals talk. I see their eyes in my window, like glowing blue stars, and hear them at the foot of my bed—the pads of their feet, their dew claws in my blankets, their high, unpracticed words in my ear. It's some other language, but I know what they mean."

—from Lydia Copeland's "Checkers"

"I got a ride from a baldheaded truck driver named Gil all the way to Bedford, a small churchy town near Roanoke. Gil was a talker. In thirty minutes he filled me in on the various ways his children had disappointed him, and how to please a woman orally. 

'You just gotta get in there and love what you're doing,' he told me. He gripped his big hands around the steering wheel like someone trying to crack open walnuts."

—from Jeff Landon's "Where I'm Going"

"The trouble is this woman is smarter than me by at least half. I realized I needed a new strategy, something else to go on. This is how I came to the second decision.

I had to start thinking way over my own head."

—from Robert Lopez' "Nine off the Break"

"Am I asking for too much when I propose he was giving us the bones of something we could give flesh to in another life? Life after life—and, oh, the grand dinners beside the littered shore! And oh, the trips given up on two miles before the tip of the continent! Who could ever say what childhood was from here, what it felt like to be caught up inside the mouth of it?"

—from Paul Lisicky's "Mr. Cat"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wigleaf Subs

....closed until March 1. catch-up time needed.