Monthly Archives: June 2011

They Could No Longer Contain this Fucking Book Launch!

I went to Chicago to launch this fucking book, to read at the Beauty Bar, a bar that offers manicures and pastel walls and martinis but i had vodka and Oberon and then later Oberon and a quaff of Guinness so to speak, a dark, swirly, cloudy quaff so to speak, i cut my right index finger (and there blossomed blood) while opening a Fat Tire in my hotel room, as i ate a light dinner of Pepperjack cheese, French bread, an orange, and a tall, brown bottle of Fat Tire in my hotel room so to speak, this modern curves and colors hotel room in the winding spires and steel monoliths of downtown Chicago, the hacking and the coughing and the scissor-running streets, and my hunger forced me into the scissor-running streets where i was intimidated by the choices and the bustle and the sheer majesty/monstrosity of the place, and so i found a quaint local market and I handed my 8 dollars to a beautiful young lady (most of the young ladies of Chicago are stunningly beautiful) and she said, “Wrong side” like I suppose I handed the 8 dollars to the left of the cashier machine and so then I corrected and handed the 8 dollars to the right of the machine and the beautiful young lady gave me change and so I bought bread, cheese, an orange, a tall, hefty Fat Tire and went back to my room like some animal, like some scratching, burrowing animal so to speak, and i lay out my parcels, my freshly baked bread, my tightly sealed block of Pepperjack cheese, my wonderfully pebbly and fragrant orange, and this sweating bottle of Fat Tire and i had no opener or spoon or fork so ate with my bare hands, tearing ragged chunks of bread, ripping off crumbly crags of cheese, and opened the beer with the edge of a car key (i often carry car keys) and the key blade slipped and cut open my right index finger, as i have said. And so i bled.

People dig this fucking book, they do. The Chapbook Review goes all:

The overall wonder of this plump little gem is that there is no jockeying for space, no jostling of elbows, no stepping on toes. Yes, five authors have colored these pages with volumes of desire, longing, humor, loneliness, heartache, wit and desperation; and yes, the stories are often larger than the page, larger than the space allotted in our chests to breathe them in, but. Each individual voice is heard. Each story is a concrete, complete thing that connects with the others in the most honest and organic way. There is no point where the smoke of one story shapes itself lazily into the haze of another. These five voices are distinct, definitive, and each story smarts with such pin-prick execution you’ll be surprised not to find blood on the page.

Tim Jones-Yelvington in the house! I have always wanted to meet, read with Tim Jones Yelvington because I enjoy his work (here, here, here) and I have seen his musings and revolution and advocacy and words on The Google but to have a meeting or reading or word association on The Google is naturally not the same as seeing someone in person, not the same at all no matter how much of this world is becoming an attempt to convince us all otherwise, this calculated devouring world, the devouring bit-by-bit of my mind, of my sense of self, on The Google, also anyway as I was saying Tim Jones-Yelvington is the type of person to talk with you while wearing a doll attached to his forehead and I need more people like this is my life, my daily meaningless life so to speak, to read with and to talk with while they wear dolls affixed to their heads and also naturally to write with as we launch this fucking book, this book, talked about, people do talk about this book, for example, Outside Writers Collective and Press:

This collection of five flash chapbooks from five different authors (the four finalists from the fourth short short chapbook contest and the winner from the third) is as inspiring as it is moving, sad, funny, challenging. It’s basically everything you’d ever want from the written word, and it comes in such a damn tight package that, well, it’s wonderful.

Time-Out Chicago does it all:

So let it be said that the authors here know what they’re doing. Jodzio’s book, Do Not Touch Me Now Not Ever, leads off the collection with an infectious sense of humor, featured in stories like “Octane,” in which a woman thinks a warlock has cast a spell on her because a pony-tailed man smiles at her. Miller—whose Big World is a personal favorite—delivers Paper and Tassels, another clinic on how to pack character work, pathos and even plot into 250 words. And Lovelace’s How Some People Like Their Eggs, originally published on its own, gets a worthy reprint here. Colen is the most restrained writer included here, and Jones-Yelvington provides a slightly punch-drunk counterpoint.

Word. And then I got to meet John Jodzio at the reading, John Jodzio who I did not know, had not seen, had slightly read (here, here, here), and so I was wondering, Who is this John Jodzio? and then he gets up there, on that stage at the Beauty Bar, and he’s reading, reading rather well, and then he starts gearing up and killing it, killing because he’s very funny, very, very, funny, and I now have a new favorite funniest-writer-that-I-actually-know (the prior one was Peter Davis, a very funny man)


I hope you learn something from this poem and the powerful, mystical way it concludes!

and what a surprise, a surprising way to live life, where you show up in Chicago and all the taxis honking and scurrying about and the Beauty Bar vodka rolling through your veins and to read with fellow flash writers and stumble right into a new funniest-writer-that-I-actually-know, John Jodzio, a man whose words fill the room and ceiling like glittering mechanical horseflies, giant, cartwheeling, glowing, blinking horseflies that sting and buzz and sting again, who will read about hookers and chili and fog machines, all of this while gradually unclothed, with various “messages” written across his chest (he later said this was a pain in the ass to remove)

and this possibly brings me to a point of this post, a comment on what I consider the “best” type of reading, and an example was seen and heard and felt here during this launch of They Could No Longer Contain Themselves (most would or should go TCNLCT by now, just for the sake of brevity), the very thing I have argued with about with writer and internet and occasional “real-time” or “actually having a beer” friend Blake Butler, the idea of readings working best with HUMOR or SEX or something titillating along those lines and here we had myself reading with humor and sex and Tim Jones-Yelvington reading with humor and sex and John Jodzio one of the funniest reading of words men on this planet, I mean that I have heard read so to speak, I mean a true humor, not a cleverness or simple guffaw, but a human laughter of light and pain and mechanical horseflies, etc., and so all three of us (and also Davis Schneiderman–a dynamo of a man I am happy to have met; and Kathleen Rooney, a glow-force reading the other TCNLCT flash authors not in attendance) screaming out humor and sex, a sort of laboratory exercise in my theory, though with an understanding and respect by me of Blake’s point, Blake saying, I think, don’t write down to an audience so to speak, or read down, don’t go for laughs or sex when you could bring the audience higher, up to words and themes and areas of language much more involved and layered and so on, and I get that, I get that, but I also attend many, many readings and laughter releases endorphins as does various ideas of sex, and these things are not mutually exclusive, and truly funny is actually very hard and takes someone higher, as true humor has subtext, as true humor is really a recognition of our absurd existence, namely that we were born on this planet to die, and anyway I mean to say the audience was howling and the vodka was howling away, and then a hip hop artist showed up later and he really didn’t have much flow, not a great deal of flow, so we moved to another bar and someone sang musicals very loud and very well, and I took a taxi to the hotel eventually though I don’t remember the ride back, the swirling black ride back, a swirling black tornado that emitted from my eyes and head, a tornado with shimmering silver dots within, and possibly edges of purple, as is my way.

Audience enjoying humor. (James Tadd Adcox was there–good to see you again! Good to quaff many beers!)

Audience enjoying sex.

Before leaving Chicago, I walked down to the majestic/monstrous lobby of my hotel and found an empty table and chair. On the table, I placed a review copy of my new book, Fog Gorgeous Stag. Inside I wrote:



I then signed the book, walked away, and drove home.

Exploding treadmills doing what you love coffee clacking

The Lit Pub is up and running. Like a crackling yarn crane of goodness. Fly! Fly! Check out this exciting project. It will make you want to consolidate a garden of stars. It’s got Molly Gaudry. She kicks ass. It’s got Chris Newgent. He kicks ass. You know it’s going to be glow. These people mean bizness! I mean to say: buy some books, people. One of the best way to support this whole scene is to buy some freaking books.

But what exactly is Lit Pub?

Good question. So. HTML GIANT does an interview here:


I’m all serious and presidential and shit and gonna drink this beer all presidential going to drink this beer all presidential and Michelle be drinking this beer and working out later on the treadmill and everyone shut the fuck up while I down this wonderful beer in this authentic for once Irish pub. [Damn, I do love Guinness. Good choice, sir. And you look better than some:]

Oh lookie a shot of whiskey…oh my oh my.


[I thought you quit drinking.]

[I hate people who drink through their foreheads. I knew this one young lady drank whiskey through her feet, the soles. I had a sister tried to drink gin through that little cabinet above the refrigerator. Dusty bottle of cabinet gin. Never works. So I removed that gin and hurried away. In the mouth! In the mouth, Nixon.]

(BTW, here in a medical study about three desperate lads who decided to INJECT vodka into their veins.)

When questioned about intravenous injection of alcohol, he said that he had been using this method for 10 years until 1 year before admission. He injected mainly vodka with a frequency of four times per week. His main reasons for injecting were the rapid effect and enjoyment of the needle, particularly when heroin was not available. He described the only side-effect as redness and a burning pain at the site of injection.

[Style. That’s why we voted for the man. That little kid is rocking a cool relax pose, too.]


Oh, fuck Twitter.


Have you checked out ChickLitz? Literary blog, yo. Go.


Oh, glow Amy Schreibman Walter. She wrote this poem that is sort of/kind of a Dorothy Parker mashup. Made me all worm-riddled with happy. Me like. Read it at elimae.


Pissed off I am. So I channeled that into my visual art. This image below is a piece of art work. I used a technical piece of optical equipment, a device called an iPhone. I pressed something called the camera icon button. VEry technical stuff. I used a technique called juxtaposition, like when you see a beautiful woman but she is driving a blue scooter on the highway shoulder and she runs over a crow eating French fries.  The the sun cries. I call this print MY FUCKING TREADMILL LIFT MOTOR EXPLODED AGAIN BUT AT LEAST I AM IN THIS BADASS BOOK OF FLASH FICTION AUTHORS.

So, the bad news is I had to run outside in the mid-80s temperatures, full sunlight, did a little Fartlek X 20 bursts, a 5 miles deal of sweat and red knees and legs rubbery like a window sealant when I was 12. Etc. There is a difference between running on a treadmill and running outside (wind resistance, foot push-off), so I always elevate the grade on my treadmill when training. I’m giving you a tip here. Go at least 1 %. I yawned a bit after the workout, a signifier of a good run.

So the bad news is I need another fucking lift motor and this IS MY FOURTH LIFT MOTOR!!

Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I dropped some pretty serious $$$$$$ bread, bullion, mazumah, cabbage, chicken feed, coin, coinage, dinero, dough, funds, bucks, green stuff, legal tender, skins, ready assets, refund, riches, , wampum, wherewithal on this treadmill, I mean this is no Sears bullshit, etc., this not yo mamma’s treadmill, this is like the treadmill bought for clubs, for health clubs (Think about the difference. A home treadmill is for hanging your underwear on. A club treadmill has a bear engine, for people to run on 24 hours, to stagger all over, etc.) and sure it’s been years I have owned the thing, and everything falls apart, we are all falling apart, oh my, oh my, but FOUR lift motors?

The good news is They Could No Longer Contain Themselves: A Collection of Five Flash Chapbooks By Elizabeth J. Colen, John Jodzio, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Sean Lovelace, and Mary Miller!

The buzz is starting. Good. I just want to honestly say how privileged I feel to be in a book with these flash authors. My mind is a piano paw. I glow. Look:

Already reviewed here.

Already on the Small Press Distribution Best Seller list!

Buy it, people.


I just played a metric ton of disc golf in Peoria. Don’t even flutter that link unless you love the game, unless you know its perfect fits and dark carpets of joy.


I am stoked about Tyler Gobble and Stoked Press. They have a call for submissions, so, you know, submit. Now.


I write some more Velveeta over at Robert Lopez. Cheese. I intend to write only about Velveeta until 2012.


New Hobart has a Julia Wertz interview. Who is Julia Wertz? I didn’t know. I don’t even like these type of comic things. OK, I’m warming up a little, but really, I’ve read two graphic novels. So. Started reading and surfing and checking out her Web Comic blog thing. I like it. I like her stuff. Might get her book.

Here’s a sample. Funny. And that’s not an offhanded comment. Tough to be funny. It shows intelligence, perception, and understanding of narrative structure. So, hey, respect.

The only annoying thing is her disclaimer, something like EVENTS NOT RELATED TO MY CURRENT LIFE…etc. Why would she put a disclaimer next to her creative work? Like the readers are idiots. Or she is too sensitive? Maybe some things happened and she wants the Internet freaks to LEAVE HER ALONE. I get that. Internet freaks are the worst. I have stopped reading COMMENTs on news articles or at Youtube because they make me depressed about humanity. So maybe she ran into someone so concrete they think her graphic artwork is somewhere they could go find a drink? And why would anyone care if her comics are/are not about her actual current life? I don’t get that one. Maybe this is the world we live in. Even if it is autobiographical, you have to tell a reader that your life has changed, that you have changed, that you are capturing a period of time? That makes me sad.  I mean it’s a cartoon, right? A cartoon needs a disclaimer? But I digress.

Saying all that, I think I’ll buy the book.


The Atlantic has a glow series examining the creative process of many artists, from T.C. Boyle to Chuck Close to Tim Burton to Frank Gehry to all types of designers, chefs, directors, writers, seers of artistic visions. It’s interesting how these “geniuses” work, their processes so different and then often the same. Grinding it out, for example:


With me, if it’s a good idea and I don’t have it right, I stay with it. You have to be patient, just keep erasing what you don’t like. At a certain point it becomes alive, and you know the problems are solvable with solutions you may have used before. That’s my songwriting process.

Paul Simon

The system seems totally mechanical and so systematized, but in fact the thing about limitations like these is that they free you to be more spontaneous and intuitive. The painting is always in a state of flux. It’s a process well–suited to me, because I’m a nervous wreck. I’m a slob. I have a short attention span.

Chuck Close


Here is a photo of Brian Oliu eating nachos. He has a book out! Get this book! You know Brian has  a name no one can pronounce and he likes satiny 1980s jackets and 1980s video games and this book is made of lyrical essays composed as Craig’s List missed connections so hell yes.

One time I was in Alabama at this diner and Brian showed up and I said, “Brian, eat a fried pickle.” And he said, “OK.” And he ate a fried pickle. True story.


You do know about Bat Segundo show, right? Best radio author interviews around. Check them out.

Correspondent:It’s an unsuccessful story. Should history really be in the business of remembering the losers?

Hochschild: Well, first of all, for me, as a writer, it was a challenge to see if I could write a narratively interesting and emotionally meaningful story about a movement that failed. My last book was about the anti-slavery movement in the British Empire. That was a successful movement. Slavery did come to an end. These people failed to stop the First World War. But I still find them very, very much writing about. Because it takes a special kind of courage and nobility to go against patriotic madness that’s in the air. And very often, a movement like this, it doesn’t succeed the first time. We still haven’t stopped war today. We’re caught up in at least two necessary wars, in my view, in the United States right now. I would like to see people who opposed those wars take some inspiration from these earlier folks. Even though they failed.


A lot of buzz for Lidia Yuknavitch’s  new memoir, The Chronology of Water. I really enjoyed this review by Amy McDaniel, mostly because McDaniel wades into the novel/memoir civil war. Good mind, good words, Amy.


the same third of a meat-can at dusk.

Meat-can indeed, sir. It’s about time everyone understand Matt Bell is a meat-can of badass. Thanks for this flash, Matt.