Tag Archives: Brian Evenson

How to Have a Good Reading

Went to a good reading on Wednesday. A good reading: How do?

1. Employ a hip space.

The Irving Theater was exposed wood beam ceiling/dark corners/suicide/chandeliers drooping like mid-70s/various colors of paint I associate with dust cobras or deep scratches in vinyl cars or the time I jumped over a tall fence and wrestled a deer to the ground, cut its throat with a knife, etc. My head did the whoosh whoosh. I felt like maybe my house could have hardwood floors and a furtive cat, if I so wished. Naked woman painting!!!! I am so cool people wait in line to eat me. I think it’s funny when people say pass the time. Pass the gravy, pass gas, pass the time. There were rows of seats and maybe church pews someone stole from a church. The ceiling was tall as a tall ceiling. The lighting was dark. I felt a level 5 hipness factor, like maybe an ironic T-shirt or The Hipster Olympics.

3. The new summer JMWW is fucking nuts. Wow. I mean it is loaded like a pepper gun. A gun that shoots peppers.

I seriously want to thank the editors. Good work.

I glow Kim Chinquee. I said Kim Chinquee. I said Kim Chinquee. (Click on the links, dumbass. If you aren’t going to read Kim Chinquee, I can’t imagine why you are here at all.)

I glow Brian Evenson flash.

I glow Robert Coover.

I glow Terese Svoboda.

I think it’s funny when people discuss a magazine or whatever and they are actually in the magazine but pretend they sorta aren’t or something I don’t know. I don’t think that’s appropriate. Ha, ha. I’d like to ask myself to be my friend and tell myself to go to hell or just ignore the friend request altogether. Maybe when I get older I’ll call an ambulance to my house–like chest pain or maybe I’ll say my ears are made of Styrofoam–and none of that will be true, I’m just calling the ambulance to have someone to talk to, someone to visit me, another expensive friend.

Here you go, fucker.

Here you go!

Fucker.

Fuck.

Did I mention I love Ken Sparling and he is in the new JMWW? The more I publish in venues with Ken Sparling the happier I feel.

14. Have beer at the reading. Always have beer. I can’t tell you the amount of situations in my life that have improved just by the presence of beer.

[Sex in hot tubs is uncomfortable]

[I got a telemarketer calling me from Florida]

[Two bucks and a coffee mug]

[Salad I pretend to enjoy]

[Awkward greeting your dad]

[Accidents happen now and again]

[Tiny trees grow out my house gutter]

[A bunch of wasps just fucked me up]

[blar me]

Thank you Sun King Brewery.

9. Have Christopher Nugent show up. He is doing awesome Vouched Books. Good to see you, Chris!

11. Take shitty, blurry iPhone photos:

10. You could have nachos. Why don’t you people put rice on your nachos? Do I have to tell you how? Everyone goes beans, beans, beans, but think about rice. Think about rice. Think about it. Rice.

Or maybe you go to lunch by yourself and read the papers and feel like you are in a novel.

[Seeing the smoke rise]

[I am French today. I am action but thought, like mixed]

Weekend Nachos interview.

Nacho’s blog is confusing as all get-out. What the fuck does this even mean? It’s like some odd poem:

5. Fiction Daily interviews me. Interview me.

6. DC with an amazing Sad Keanu post.

2. Keep it short. I said keep it short. KEEP IT SHORT. Jesus Christ, you people that blather on and on at readings–you have lost us, your audience. Our minds are thinking about cleavage and the exposed wood and dust whorls and credit card debt and orange crows and man this fucking IPA is tight, light yet succulent and Old Spice who’s wearing Old Spice? and coffee shop down the block and sake, sake tastes like candy corn and are you supposed to drink it cold or hot, like maybe the tourists drink it hot but actual Japanese drink it cold it’s like in Mexico all the restaurants have two menus–one for the stupid gringos, one of real Mexican food–and I’d love to break some windows right now and a dark mass of blackbirds or maybe starlings in the sky, European imports and that dude is hot/that chick is hot/I’m hungry/need a promotion too and why is there a hole in my shoe are my toes too long is that the problem, are you saying my toes are like Appalachian or something?

So, you know, keep it short….

Andrew Scott (of Freight Stories, etc) read first. He did a persona screen-play/script type piece, and you know I glow any persona fiction. Then he read his Esquire flash. He kept it lively and short. Good work.

Donald Ray Pollock read next. Wow. He glowed it. You have heard of KNOCKEMSTIFF, right? He read about murder and huffing Bactine (!) and Kmart realism if Kmart was a fucking alleyway full of Appalachian whores and homeless killers and beer cans, etc.

I almost bought Pollock’s book but I needed to purchase more beer and I have too many books to read right now.

7. Persona piece Paul Bowles I wrote getting good run at Fictionaut.

77. OMG hole 5 is right up against the creek on R and that’s a headwind 90 % of the time–you are all fucked.

11. Or a pepper in the shape of a gun?

44. No joke, I was on the roof today and wasps fucked me up. I nailed down a shingle and this wasps jumps out and stings/stings/stings me. 3 times on the left side of my knee. I screamed, hopped, but I was on a roof. Calm down, Sean. OK. OK. But why is my right side knee swelling up like a balloon? Anyone had this happen? Fucking wasps.

2. I swerved to miss a squirrel and hit the damn squirrel–tha-thump. Well, fuck me. That’s philosophical and shit. I made a purposeful act to avoid harm and caused harm.

2.

At some future time, meet Lady Gaga for drinks at a bass pond. The idea is BYOB + fishing rods + some Hank Williams Jr. songs on your IPhone + whipping persimmons in the air with sticks + later frying the largemouth tails over a low fire + they taste like some form of potato chips + you have this summer heat/beer buzz pelvic stirring + you and Gaga wading into the pond, holding hands + frog thrum in the air + she says what did I just step on, it was like a smooth football made of marble and you say it’s only turtles, you stepped on a turtle’s back + both of your underwears sprawled out on the bank + warm currents and eddies and toe-sucks of mud + 14 geese over in a honking V + you and Lady Gaga slipping away into the torn tops/swaying reeds of the cattails…I don’t know how you’re going to achieve this but make an actual date. This is going to take some effort, some persistence, now that Gaga’s all famous and etc, but we are a tenacious people. I mean look what Nick Nolte did with his looks and talent. Check out Mandy Moore. So. So? Make the appointment with Lady Gaga. Do it. Today. Write down the actual time and date.

Now just wait.

This is the best formula I know to avoid depression.

8. you want me to shoot arrows at Blake Butler’s book, huh?

wigleaf 50 Jensen Beach, ACE disc golf, Harvey Pekar Glows Ball State

Harvey Pekar features his Ball State visit in his latest comic. Pretty cool.

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wigleaf Top 50 is out.

Excellent forward by Scott.

Excellent introduction by Brian Evenson

Today, let’s snare/share “Family” by Jensen Beach.

Someone suggested swimming and someone else said that in this weather all we need is another incident. Someone recalled that there was an expression that perfectly explained this very moment.

This opening is a stirring, a crackling (surely, we are due an “incident” soon) and also a cosmos, a shard-world of a larger one, the world of family.

Someone said that they’d read an article on the Internet about this topic and someone else said that, well then of course it’s true.

Truth. Internet as family, family as Internet: Information. Who to trust? What to say? What to share? How long does it remain, the things we write and say and don’t say–the things we whisper into our coffee mugs/clenched teeth/night.

Craft: Anaphora: The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs

“Someone”

“Someone”

“Someone”

Someone struggled to hold on until someone else suggested that maybe lunch should be served, which turned the subject to food, which as usual had a calming effect.

Food, sure. Or we could discuss sports. Or weather. Or clothing. Or we could pass around photos–as one dimensional as anything, as staged lie–or stare glossy-eyed into our Smart Phones, or we could find all sorts of activities, as a family, intended to assure, to make certain, that we say Nothing.

“These sure are good potatoes.”

Hummmmmmmmmmmmm

“The rain is going to go below us” (A doubling technique–stare into radar on phone, intimate a necessity [I am the one who checks the weather for the family], do nothing.)

Someone said that as a family we’re always forgetting important details, and someone else said, do you mean forgetting or ignoring?

Indeed. Families choose what they forget. Or remember. Unearth. Bury.

And “Someone” works well here. We don’t choose our families. Or if to have them. We are someone. They are someone. Close, far, near, distant. With us. Without us.

This piece dances and swirls around the dangerous gaps, the precipices of family. The repetition brings weight, brings a cadence, as I said, a dance. But it is fitful. Something is about to seize, in the subtext. Somehow I see all the flickering corners of this gathering, as the storm rolls overhead, as the Others stare out the rain-streaked window. Someone is in the bathroom for way too long. Someone is upstairs napping. Someone runs an errand, simply to escape. Someone is laughing way too loud, at anything. Someone hasn’t had a good laugh a single day of their life. Someone has a bottle of beer stuck down their boxer shorts. Most everyone is medicated in some way, and aren’t there so many methods? Someone is out in the yard, on the ground, mouth open gasping rain.

This is an odd piece, Jensen Beach. Odd.

Like family. So.

Someone is impressed.

Your reader.

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ACE at Honey Hollow. Full Peru disc post here for those that glow disc (and why don’t you?)

S

Speed Diagram Nachos Danica Nurse

Did speed. Burns X 20. All one minute bursts with .40 seconds jogging between. Good flow, cadence, feel quiet and fast, and no problems during, but hurt today. My L heel a bit Unreliable Narrator and my knees two cans of spaghetti. They will be fine. They just need a day. I should have taken a cold bath after the workout but instead drank 4 cold beers.

Speed was 5:27 X 4 reps, 5: 24 X 4 reps, 5:21 X 4 reps, 5:15 X 4 reps, then finished with 5:07 pace X 4 reps.

The last few were Nails, but you must recreate that feeling of 6. I mean the last six miles of a marathon. The first 20 and the last 6 are the same race, but different zip codes. The last 6 are a zip code in outer space. Or possibly located in the center of your chest. You fold into yourself. Things blur or become crisper. Things float or cement themselves to the ground. There is no one answer. You must put yourself in the crucible during training, that is a form of answer. If you see/feel enough of this you might not be so concerned. There is a philosophy of making training tougher than the race. It depends.

OK.

I have a 10k coming up and I’m not in 10k shape (I am in marathon training mode), but I do want to keep my leg turnover. I mean you have to rev the engine once in a while. Or as one coach told me way back when: They key to running faster is running faster.

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The new Diagram Ten Years Anthology is a fucking deck of cards. It has new diagrams and many, many authors. These: Stephanie Anderson, Sarah Blackman, Jenny Boully, Jason Bredle, Lucy Corin, John D’Agata, Brian Evenson, Tom Fleischmann, Albert Goldbarth, Heidi Gotz, Caitlin Horrocks, Melanie Jordan, Paul La Farge, Dolly Laninga, Sean Lovelace, Barbara Maloutas, Ben Marcus, Michael Martone, Philip Metres, Ander Monson, Manuel Muñoz, Lia Purpura, Emma Ramey, Aurelie Sheehan, Michael Sheehan, Katie Jean Shinkle, Lauren Goodwin Slaughter, Bruce Smith, Nicole Walker, Kellie Wells, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Mark Yakich, Jake Adam York, and Charles Yu.

I am one of the Jokers, as you may guess.

I would suggest all AWP poker games use this deck of cards.

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How great is my Advanced Fiction class at BSU? Recently they presented Kim Chinquee’s work to the class. Today they present Richard Brautigan. They are studying the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction.

I am brainwashing flash fiction, as is my way.

Chinquee points out in her flash essay (pp. 109 in the Field Guide) that plot is NOT the events, it is the context around the events. So I wrote DOG BITES CHILD on the blackboard. The students spent time filling in the context: what child? what dog? who owned the dog? what the did the child’s parents say? Etc. This went on for some time and many interesting stories bloomed. They could just spin them out in class, aloud. I felt good about this.

I then read THIS aloud.

That worked.

They then went home and wrote a plot Flash.

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I got chips two time and had this radical idea of baking the chips two kinds and habanero love goodness all dark blue freckles all grainy strong hands and the salsa and the beans and I don’t know where this idea came from, my synapses shuffle my OK let’s eat my everything united cheese as one (enter song) and I broke grain broke mind broke tastebuds broke giant erasers of glow and redraw glow and munch my skin. Does this name have a dish?

Level 6.

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I watched the NASCAR race until Danica crashed out. I liked how Danica’s mechanic radio dude or whatever you call them got on the radio and kept telling her to race closer to the other cars. I bet she was like, “Fuck you. Why don’t you get in this car?” That is the most car racing I have watched in my life. The old record was 34 seconds. I watched the very end of the race where Dale Earnhardt died. I was working at a psychiatric treatment center for children in Alabama. I do not like working with children. They are vastly more unpredictable than adults. This has been my experience. One time in Tennessee two kids busted out and jumped in a huge-ass river (It was the TN river). They swam out into the current. I was in charge at that time. We did get the kids back, alive. It is a long story. It was a long, wet day.

I miss being a nurse and I do not miss being a nurse.

S

Eggs and Bush and Red Lobster.

Look what I got in the mail today! Can you say ken baumann, shane jones, jimmy chen, brandi wells, blake butler, nick antosca, sam pink, james chapman, colin bassett, michael kimball, jac jemc, kim chinquee, kim parko, norman lock, randall brown, brian evenson, michael stewart, peter markus, ken sparling, aaron burch, david ohle, matthew savoca, p. h. madore, johannes göransson, charles lennox, ryan call, elizabeth ellen, molly gaudry, kevin wilson, mary hamilton, craig davis, kendra grant malone, lavie tidhar, lily hoang, mark baumer, ben tanzer, krammer abrahams, joshua cohen, eugene lim, c. l. bledsoe, joanna ruocco, josh maday, & michael martone?

I feel like Rod Stewart or Cher back when she had orange hair and that crazy spandex and the battleship.

This has been out a while and I then forgot and now it arrives and I am about to read until I swoon.

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Cynthia Reezer at NewPages does a sweet review of Eggs.

“Lovelace weaves scenes that flow organically (or maybe “morph” is a better word) into the next thing happening by the writerly imagination.”

Word.

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holy shit

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I have decided I have a cooler beer glass than most.


You are Going to Feel Pain, but Are You Going to Suffer? Brautigan Crystal Gavel.

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The thing to do is stutter, flutter, cutter your tortillas into chip-size, circles or triangles. You can make your own corn chips, by frying, or baking. That’s a personality thing. I mean some people can’t stand home-frying and some people fry everything they eat.

It isn’t my place to draw you in like a scar.

It isn’t my place to say fry over bake, bake over fry, but obviously baking the chips is more healthy and less messy.

Like Greg Oden I bake. And, when depressed, I prefer to eat like I dream–alone.

Option two is the bag of chips in this photo, above the tortillas. They are ready for the oven, for the beans and cheese and jalapeno, oh my.

I hope for holy criminals who battle boredom, Brit-knees, other B words.

I hope for viable reasons to forsake godly thoughts.

I hope you know to NEVER fucking microwave nachos. I beg you. I beg.

I hope this chip thing is clear now.

You need a good chip. Don’t go chip-skimping on me. This is your foundation, OK? I mean if you were going to start an opiate addiction and you asked my advice on logistics and quality control and so on I wouldn’t hand you a starter balloon of some cut-up talc stuff from Baltimore, like MonKee, or that Blue Tar from the 1980s. Ok, poor analogy. I was getting off subject for a moment there…What I mean is you are probably only going to get married like three times in this life, so be careful. Wait. I am saying don’t build your house on sand, my friends. Unless it’s a sand castle, then I guess go ahead.

The first miracle Jesus ever did was water to nachos (or wine, I forget), so I think we understand the Man’s priorities.

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9 miles this morning, a modified YASSO (all with 90 second slow jogging break between surges).

6:00 mile pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min

6:00 pace X 6:00              6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min

6:00 pace X 3min            5:45 MILE.

Whew. Seriously. I was in a floating womb of pain near the end, off this planet for a few minutes. My head did the whoosh-whoosh-clang. My legs a concept of vanishing. Pain is an odd sweet experience. In Murakami’s running/writing book he says, “You are going to feel pain. But the question is: are you going to suffer?” I did not suffer, unless pure throttling electricity is a type of suffering–LIFE.

I had to play Missy Elliot really fucking loud on the stereo to finish this workout. I never run with music so this should prove that I did indeed Get My Freak On today.

(I generally don’t like music)

rave_jul081

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Hey, does anyone have a spare couch RIGHT BY the start of the Boston Marathon I could sleep on, night of April 19? I am driving to Boston, running the race, driving home. I actually have a place to stay in Boston, but I am wondering how I am going to get to the start line. Well, this will be an adventure.

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HTML GIANT turned me onto the Australian indy press, Falcon Vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins and the new issue of Torpedo, a homage to Richard Brautigan.

Interesting issue. It has:

1. an opening letter by Brautigan’s daughter, Ianthe. I found this letter touching though a bit defensive. It seems Ianthe is simultaneously pissed and pleased that Brautigan’s works haven’t established themselves in academia. As an academic (oh god no!), I never really understand what writers desire, and/or fear from the university. Academia is not some abstract beast, or a wall painted vividly beige. Academia is a small classroom of 18-20 year olds, with a few retired men (often attorneys), elderly women (for example–I have a 91 year old student in my fiction I class this semester), and so on. Then me, showing them authors and work and methods of craft, discussing writers excitedly with the class, letting the students work together on a variety of exercises and activities to discuss these writers–their lives, work habits, CW techniques on the page, etc.–and then these students use this energy, recognition of artistic skill and method, and apply it to their own writing, to improve. They desperately want to improve, get it? What exactly is so horrid here? And, by the way, like many, many, many of my colleagues, I teach Richard Brautigan.

2. a brief collection of Brautigan’s actual poems and flashes (They called these things “Brautigans” at the time–pretty bad-ass huh?). This is an amazing read, all of it.

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Me reading my lunch-time lit mag…

3. a stuffed envelope of art prints, really funky, well done, all inspired by Brautigan poems and stories. Kick ass. Did everyone else get these?

4. pages of writers influenced by Brautigan and obviously trying to write like him. The last part is a bit lame, but to apply an overused and meaningless sports cliche: It is what it is. The editor wanted respect and genuflection, so that’s what we get, Brautigan knock-offs. Most are so derivative they hold no great magic. That’s Brautigan’s brilliance, this intangible truth whirling about the page like a mayfly hatch: a mix of oddness, sadness, time-passing by, a keen eye to nature’s small blessings, and an understanding of social (humans interacting with humans) absurdity.

I am not trying to be an ass here. These writers are worthy, and I myself have (and do at times now) mimicked Brautigan. It is a form of respect, and also a yearning. But the intangible, by definition, is as tough to catch as flies in a landing net.

(one of my Brautigan knock-offs here.)

(BTW, I just liked getting mail from Australia. That was cool.)

And I did really enjoy Josephine Rowe’s poetry. And Brian Evenson and Ruby Murray (Melbourne based writer) were the strongest prose selections.

5. the editor’s own work in the magazine. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying, right? Worth a friendly blog discussion, but I won’t be the hypocrite at this church kegger. I co-publish a lucrative literary magazine with a corporate partner, and I included my own work in the award winning first issue.

So.

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the_maze_of_violence_200902151120301

Oddly, I got  into a good blog-writing groove for 14 minutes while listening to this artist.

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Let’s end this fucker with a prose poem by Alexandre Pope.

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Meaning of Life # 36

“Mr. Brautigan submitted a book to us in 1962 called Trout Fishing in America. I gather from the reports that it was not about trout fishing.”

Viking Press

Cloud of mechanical flower, sunny California. Of knobby nose, of cinder. Of clank. Because we have to deal with all of this—to metaphor or not to. Must sleep (cannabis) and wake (coffee) and live each day (with Baudelaire or newspaper or moth-eaten laundry mat love note) and sleep again (alcohol). Among the cast-less and the prayer-less, who don’t even grasp sun-clatter, the shaped voice of clouds. Hoop cheese and port wine. Blackberry zephyr. Hymnal of floppy hat, of bullfrog. A woman’s words as spring, summer, fall. Within the looped cast, the meander of raccoon tracks. October 25, 1984—a Thursday morning. See it mayfly, its curling hatch. Like fog or fog-horn or fogged-over steel. Waterlog heft. Underwood on a picnic table. Empty bottle. Full revolver. He will lift them, every one, soon as another young man stops him on a streetcar and asks, “If you don’t keep them, why go fishing at all?”

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