Tag Archives: Elimae

Flash 14!!

1. At elimae: Halloween by Elizabeth Ellen.

I like flash of detachment. I like how the genre lets us read off the page. I like homage to William Carlos Williams. Red wheelbarrow is off the page. I respect tone, control of tone. This reminds me of “Night” by Brett Lott, a cold sun of a flash found in this anthology. EE’s flash is the whisper of the space inches above a cold floor. That space exists. The sound of mist on a rooftop. It is a type of quite-ssssssssssss-Chiaroscuro, with a slash of red lipstick, a painting with a hint of violation, a caught breath, a dizzy drop of blood .

2. Kathy Fish at Smokelong Q

Startling juxtapositions here. Worlds of lives orbiting underground, under covers. Reading this I had a feeling of being cut off, apart, like maybe I was talk floated in its journey, fallen words like leaves. Or this ending:

He knows that someday Mattie will take to calling him Handsome Mole. That her skin will never wrinkle. That she will someday board a train with faulty brakes. He knows, but he is helpless to change things. The repair man will someday carry a backpack full of books to the Wife Saver but he will fail to open them. He’ll say, Mattie I’m frightened, but she won’t coo to him. And he will die alone on an ice morning, walking past the subway to church.

3. Tina Hyland at decomP.

I’m not a huge fan of the title, but most every word afterward  is a well struck chord. This one falls into the long history of flash as parable, as magical realism, remake of God, and I appreciate the understanding of the genre and form. These are tough to write. Easy to take in the wrong direction, the wrong tone. Hyland keeps it glow with precise phrasing:

See my heart, he said. It really goes.

It really goes, it really goes, this FF. We thank you.

4. Flash Master Bruce Holland Rogers discusses repetition.

A paragraph that says “rose” five times is probably just as clear as one that says “rose,” “flower,” “bloom,” “posy,” and “inflorescence.” In fact, the repetitive version may be clearer than the varied one, particularly if the pursuit of variety leads the writer to scour the thesaurus and find words that aren’t quite right.

He’s right. As a teacher, I note the thesaurus-scourer, too. A student writes, “He ingested his morning sustenance,” and I say “You mean he ate his cereal?” But then again I don’t want to put my students off the thesaurus, though there is a better way to glow/know words: read more books. But I digress…

Holland Rogers argues for repetition. He makes some fascinating points. For example:

If you are going to repeat in your prose, repeat often enough so that the reader can see that the repetition is deliberate and part of your design.

He also lists various types of repetition, varying techniques. It’s a smart essay, thoughtful, and passed my gold standard: It made me want to write.

As a teacher of writing, I think about repetition in a student’s technique. I mean to say students might try a structural flair, or a certain tone shift, a few notes, a hotel of words, or a look-ma-no-hands stylistic move. But they do it once. My feedback is always to say, “No, don’t do it once. Repeat the move.” As Holland Rogers notes above, give the move intent, voice, ownership.

5. Dan Sanders made beer blow out my nose over at Hobart. The rarest thing is to write funny, even rarer the funny flash. But wow. I coughed my spleen into discrete syllables.

We launch in four days. I am assured that my time here has been worthwhile. I feel better than I have in years. Yuri bought a Cadillac. He’s very excited. Every time he sees me he erupts into joyous laughter and says “Cadillac” in his thick Russian accent. He is the very best spiritual advisor a fifty year old man could have before being launched into space.

And this gem:

If you’re going to take people into space, provide them with something to do.

Indeed, sir.

6. Raymond Carver by Dan Choan.

This one is a nod to my students. Recently, I was teaching persona fiction, or fiction working the terrain of celebrities, personalities, stories told with their presence or through their eyes.This is a good assignment for many reasons, but it’s strength is that it forces students to understand the power of characterization.  Persona fiction provides a massive advantage for the writer–the characterization is already complete. The reader “knows” the character beforehand.

I gave them spiderman, a version of.

I gave them Paris Hilton and Nicole.

But they really locked onto Mr. Choan’s flash. Maybe because it’s so aware, such a Carver story about Carver about…I mean to say it’s glow.

7. Flash interview with Caia Hagel.

It is a challenge to write, to find the precisely right word after word and rhythm to keep the whole of it viscerally alive. I find that attractive.

8. You have from November 9, 2010 to January 31, 2011 to enter the Vestal Review flash fiction contest.

9. Time is odd and devastating. We’re trapped. Who asked for this? This life. Seriously.

Eric Higgins at wigleaf presents our deathly dilemma very well:

Because It Was Sunday
Eric Higgins

My father was reading Golf Digest in his chair. I was reading about ancient heroes (made up kinds). My father was my ancient hero. Mother passed through on horseback. Twigs and Spanish moss like grandfather’s beard in her hair tangled. She waved. We waved. Father did it without looking up. This was how we spent Easter Sunday, not because it was Easter but because it was Sunday.

Time must have passed because I was sautéing mushrooms next and draped with too-big gingham pants belted high. What’s for dinner, someone asked. What’s on your plate, I said.

Suddenly a nasty accident saved us.

Mother sold her quarter horses. Dad, his clubs. I turned over my skillets and books. We got to know each other gradually. Videos of us picnicking were made. This was a happy ending. This was a happy ending and over our food we prayed.

10. My flash advice is to write three of everything. That’s what I do now. Three. If one flash “works” I write two more, a series. I suggest you do the same.

I suggest compulsory masterminded attacks of vowels. Go almost taxi, like move your respect into the sky beyond the bridge. I suggest you kiss a pearl’s mother. An owl. I suggest beers the size of synagogues. I suggest lecturing your own brother. Or vikings! Or maybe you jump a fence and wrestle a deer. Or take a nature poem and drown it in yellow gouts of snot. I suggest you listen to the rain. Have sex in the basement of a boycott. Go ahead, take several eggs from the clutch. And suck them. I suggest you go about randomly shouting, “Is anyone here named Terry?!” You’re trapped. I suggest you caress your own earlobe. Remove the wax and sculpt someone who will be by your side when it’s finally your own time. Your own time is coming! Or picnic during an invasion. busyness, I suggest. Or, hell, go bet on dogs and feel horrible for betting on dogs. Cast your mind into turmoil. Gray slime. Flapping shadows. Create your own stamp from a block of hot sauce. Menu my body. HELLO MY NAME IS. Let out a screech. Check that. I hate the word screech. Mystery and imagination, our very few days. Whoops, I just lost another full minute of my lifetime. Drink whiskey, read the Times, etc. I suggest you shut the fuck up. Sorry, sorry, it’s this ghost in my stomach, a thing I once thought impossible. Glassed cabinets I call my eyes. Work one third of my fucking days. Sleep another third. I suggest you fast walk. Quick talk! Stalk out and remember yourself today. Fry in hell! Sorry…I know but one time around dusk I saw a coyote with its mouth full of bird and it was stalking a rabbit snagged on barbed wire, a screaming rabbit, one big spinning eye on me.

11. I also suggest The Party, a two-party gathering at 3 in the morning, a flash by Alan McCormick and a drawing by Johnny Voss.

12. I just remembered that I write flash fiction. Here’s one for the Elvis fan in all our greasy souls:

Elvis Presley Visits His Volatile Temperament

It was snowing the night they say I lost my mind, and I never shot no damn TV. It was too much Budweiser on top of codeine on top of valium on top of methaqualone and an argument with Sonny West about him cheating in racquetball that afternoon. Really it was just about me losing to a man so grossly out of shape, about self-image. I just looked in the mirror and something snapped. I tore the mirror from the wall and jumped on the bed until the bottom fell out and opened my big window and hurled all of this and one hell of a hi-fi set into the frozen swimming pool below (we never did get the cover on that year). Then I tossed a big blue lamp—some kind of glass sculpture thing—followed by a silver serving tray and a chair made to look like a leopard standing on its hind legs (given to me by Zambia’s Tourism Minister, Frederick Mwanawasa). It was all fine until I found my revolver. They’d removed the bullets (wrapped them in duct tape and hidden them in the downstairs freezer I found out later). I ranted and raved—“Where’s my ammo!” They held me down, until I passed out. The next afternoon, after I woke up on my bedroom carpet, I gave them all hell, my voice thick as cough syrup.

“Where’d my life go?” I demanded.

“In the swimming pool,” Sonny said, the rest of them nodding along.

“Oh.” I thought a moment. “Well, go get it.”

13. Jared Yates Sexton over at The Raleigh Review.

This is some gritty, fast-moving knife flash here. In dialogue, internal monologue–check this glass, glitter shard of, technique. Conflict ramped up, no waiting on the wind, no waiting, words glint of beer can off bits of bone, bits of skull. I keep saying to students, “Get the story started!” I show them things. Next time I say it I’m going to show them this Sexton flash.

14. Kim Chinquee is the Queen of Flash Fiction. Well, no shit.

In curt sentences detailing many unsettled lives, Chinquee constructs a mosaic of despair in modern day America.


braying glass banana machine curves of deliverance glow

Deliverance, the book, is 40 years old. That’s older than Jesus C, in theory. Glow changing water to wine. Glow not-owning-a-damn-thing. [OK, sandals] Glow whitewater and the sound of a boat being sucked away/throat-down like meat from a bone. [Yes, I did almost drown canoeing, but I did return]. Glow spray. Glow eddies. Glow the human-face shape of a rock formed after years of river over its nose.

Glow Deliverance/James Dickey article here.

What do I think?

1. Glow movie. Best movie Burt Reynolds ever made. He could have been a contender, but he fucked it all up. He could have been an actor.

(And don’t give me some Longest Yard bullshit)

2. The James Dickey cameo is OK, but no backwoods sheriff would have that mouthful of crystal white choppers.

[Now they pay the writers to go away. Far away.]

3. The infamous “scene” should be infamous. It is the linchpin to the plot. It is integral and essential. Do you want to look away? Fine, but you must take the next step: why do you want to look away? It is the flame to the fuse to the whole damn explosion.

I actually knew a prof who would not show the rape scene to his class. Why show the damn film? He would pause the film, skip the scene, and then show the film. I did not respect this decision. I found it ludicrous, misguided, wrong. I found it the very thing a teacher should be against.

Yes, the scene is visceral. So what?

The blank face, the cut, the still, the silence, the “let’s skip this.” These are valid responses to life?

4. In the book and movie, the bow hunting deer scene is a contrast/setup later for the bow hunting human scene. It is a marker for change, protagonist change, and a smart structural device.

5. The book is a testament to why EVERY fiction writer needs to write/read poetry before ever starting on prose. The word, the line, the sentence is what writing is all about. Poets know. Fiction writers should. Plot/suspense and beautiful prose are not mutually exclusive.

The Sheep Child disturbing, as in amazing.

People, honest, smart people, keep talking about Deliverance and then saying, as an add-on: “Dickey was also a poet.”

Shows you something. But I digress. I was talking about words.

[To all those who have not read The Sentence is a Lonely Place.

Linking this makes me feel like a prof teaching “The Things They Carried”

Let it go.

But still Lutz...]

6. Deliverance, the movie, kick-started the canoeing boom in this country.


That’s:  Jaws making you want to go for a swim. Or

Hey, I just saw The Ring, call me.


Robb Todd at PANK.

Seductive. Building to crescendo. Step by step, drink by drink. And next thing you know we are dreaming of Gordon Lish…


I think the person-visiting-foreign-country is one of the most cliche lit mag stories in the whole damn galactic volcano world. So I respect this. Todd pulled it off. So dank beers to you, sir.

Here is an interview of Robb Todd.


The Boy in a philosophical moment. Moments later he would rod/reel in a clam the size of a thimble. He would say, “I didn’t get skunked, did I?”This clam was the size of a sigh.

[later some dude brought us a pizza we did not order. it was chicken. i would never eat a chicken–that’s cruel. these are life-moments i enjoy.]

The waters were angry that day, my friend. The waters were profoundly urban. Chalky. Plucked on strings of gray and hot lunches of dry erase marker soup. I want to say bar-of-soap sky but I think I ripped that from Annie Dillard. I know DFW would call this sky the color of a faded cotton shirt. Half a million writers would say pearl, but we all would suck.

We mostly all suck.


The new semester has started. I am teaching fiction and fiction and graduate fiction. This is a glow life. The students are glow, honestly.

I’ll tell you what: students get quicker, smarter, better. Every year. Any teacher in the world knows quicker/smarter/better is what you want in a class.


We have a new coffee machine at BSU and that makes me believe I am in the future. Feels like Sleeper but less satire, less dangerous. You can’t take the machine that seriously. Although it is taller than Us and impressive enough to see/feel that it could beat your ass in chess. Machine is tall and sturdy and earth-colored and feels like a robot, yes, but a kind, serious robot about to set you up with some quality Joe. So wary. I am wary. It claims to grind/brew the coffee a few seconds after you put in your 50 cents (regular) or 75 cents (premium). And it often does.

Good thing for Us, it often does not. I get what I “order”/punch in  about 17 percent of the time.

The coffee is oily coffee and makes me shiver some. It isn’t dregs, just keen, like turpentine or when you leap out a moving truck. I drink it and my mind is a hamster that has escaped and made its bed in the crinkly green grass of an Easter basket. You reach down and it bites you.


If your coffee doesn’t have a narrative inside it’s core/bean, a story wanting to hatch with every sip, why in the hell are you drinking it? Coffee should make you shudder, should kill you as it glows–like any drug.


I made an evening of drinking mojitos and googling photos of the world’s tallest man and thought surely this giant will die soon, and he did the following morning.

This is from Steve Stringer’s excellent elimae.

The opening. Sets us up with realism and turns to magical, twists us up, quick. There’s a Murakami story where the man wakes and makes toast and he’s about to head to work and then the author writes something like, “He was on his way to the elephant factory.”

The man worked in the “trunk” division, but I think was later transferred to Ears. Later comes a dancing dwarf.

Stringer catches something here, the fumes/fuel mix of alcohol, and this “giant,” most likely a wound of some sort, most likely one of those ghosts that haunt every hotel and give them layers of glow.

Thank you, Steve.

Hotels can be horny. Or sometimes sad. It’s hard to get my head around hotels. People come and go. For some reason I feel hotels are like graveyards, but that makes little sense. Hotels have lots of clunks and down-the-hall sounds. You can lie in bed and listen all night. Sometimes a headlight will paint the walls. The bed always makes me pause. What a history! If you look behind the headboard, on the floor, you will usually find straw wrappers, bottle caps, child toys, other things…You can open a bottle of beer on the jamb of a hotel door. Any hotel door. There’s a tip for you. Do you tip the sad people who clean the rooms? They talk loudly so you know they are sad. Nothing is more sad than being loud. Sometimes I sit in a hotel and feel like a boulder, but a hollow boulder and that’s called a geode, I think.

May all our giants return, I say.


The Third Annual Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose ends very soon. So if this is what you do, do it now.

Prize is $1000. Or eighty-three (83) Zombie Undead Jesus Necklaces.


A fucking galactic supervolcano erupted a few days ago. This explains a lot of things. Like war, people who don’t tip bartenders, Nicholas Sparks, people who don’t let you play through in disc golf, some lady named Mrs. Rose who opened a CHRISTIAN THRIFT STORE near my house.

What in the hell is a Christian thrift store?

Do I need to worship a Christian god to get in the door? Does an alarm sound? Do I take an oath? Are you going to card me?

What do they sell? Like only Christian things? Like Mary on a piece of burnt toast or old pamphlets or ceramic apples or golf clubs or high heel shoes or tree limbs or dusty church pews?

1. Jesus key chain that makes people think you drive a Lexus (?), $1.95.

2. Jesus air freshener, $1.50.

3. Grow your own Jesus, $2.50.

Maybe they sell peacocks and Flannery O’Connor books. Here is the story where the devil is a hero for being honest and shooting a grandmother, Mrs. Rose.

[Yesterday I found a shotgun shell in a graveyard. Who shoots off a shotgun in a graveyard?]



I am in a book with Michael Martone, Jim Daniels, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Daniel Orozco, Kennebrew Surant, Rick Attig, Lolita Hernandez, Michael Martone, Matthew Salesses, Matt Bell, M. Kaat Toy, Billie Louise Jones, Lita Kurth, Anne Shewring, Dustin Hoffman, Tania Hershman, Nick Kocz, Michael Zadoorian, Steve Himmer, Pete Anderson, Pete Fromm.

This book.

I tell my students repeatedly one of the best subjects in the world is work, work, work, so I glow to be in this anthology. To walk the walk. Etc.

BTW, the anthology includes Matt Bell’s infamous Fried Chicken story.

You haven’t read it? Are you an icking fidiot? Here, dumbass.



Lollygag, you fucker.




I just had a great run. Almost spiritual. And I don’t say that lightly. Runner’s High is a bit of a pop term, and not so accurate, usually. But I did feel high today, floaty, yes, spiritual. So.

So I have no interest in the organized  religions of man. I believe in the religion of Motion. Of river. Of arrow/disc in flight. Of apple tumbling from tree. Of fish. Of the body, running.

Today was some weird flow. Runners know it. Tough to capture. Tough to figure. You feel like the runner and the run. Form=Function. Like you were born running. It doesn’t happen that often. You have to be thankful. You have to hope it happens again…

It felt like this:

corn, corn, golden kernels of hot sauce–my lunch


oh my, a mix pack. they do mix packs now, i drank the 6 quickly and my knees soared around the hotel room i was blue but sort of a deep-end blue with a tiny dime shimmering on the bottom


J is my mother


possibly i need a haircut a need i possibly


dinner on Lake Michigan

And the run went exactly like this:

6:00 mile pace  X 800      6:00 mile pace X 800      5:56 mile (full mile)

5:52 mile (full mile)      5:49 mile pace X 800      5:49 mile pace X 800

5:24 mile pace X 800

Whew. But I felt like I could have just kept on running into South America, or maybe to that former planet, Pluto, poor thing, or maybe right into the heart of all of this confusion we call Our Life.


Pay attention to Caren Beilin.

I said pay attention.

I used to make out with the household iron.

I said!

I’d like to trample you in an old fashioned manner. A writer comes along, a writer comes along. You know, sometimes you read something exponential bad-ass:

At the zoo you can buy animal balloons, dead birds on strings given shots of helium into the rectum and they jounce overhead attached by the string for an hour.

Here it is. Go fucking read.

Oh my


came down with lemon squirrel eggs mange

Lucy Corin at Hobart. Damn. This be like nachos.



Eggs made The Believer honorable mention list for 2009!

Thanks fans.


I have decided the best iPhone app is Pandora. I set up a New Order/Smiths/Pet Shop Boys/Depeche radio station mix and cranked out some good miles in the Man Room. Sweet. Next I will do a Missy Elliot channel for my speed work. Maybe a waltz for my long runs?


he can smell the adverbs on his tongue in the mornings.

That must kind of suck. I hate adverbs, greatly. Ha, ha…oh. Shut the fuck up, Sean.

I’ll tell you what does not suck: This new text from Kirsty Logan at elimae.

If I am lost on a rowboat in an extinguished sea on a giant rind of cheese, please send my elimae. I can read it until the crows loan foam. All day long.

he says that he will go to the 24-hour hardware shop to get the right tiles and walks down the garden path swinging his keyring around his finger and whistling the theme tune from a TV programme and he drives his car around the block and parks under a sycamore which gently vomits leaves onto the roof and lies down on the back seat and reaches into the footwell and brings up handfuls of words and he closes his eyes and he swallows them.

That be gospel. Damn. Glow writing.


BLACK LAWRENCE CHAPBOOK CONTEST: You got 11 days. We need more fiction chapbook opportunities, people. So go support this one.


Nicholas Sparks is a douche bag:

“There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power. I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies. A thriller is supposed to thrill. A horror novel is supposed to scare you. A mystery is supposed to keep you turning the pages, guessing ‘whodunit?’ A romance novel is supposed to make you escape into a fantasy of romance. What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from (Greek tragedies), to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with A Farewell to Arms. A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write. That’s what I write…There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.”


Santa is a Whore. I love you. Nachos for Holidays?


I am not being “ironic” or “cool” or “caring what people think of me,” or any of that shit that destroys the early years/imagination in all of us.

It is Christmas Eve and I would like to thank my mom for all the traditions: making homemade cookies, drinking only 10 ounce Cokes (hard to find now), driving past Elvis’s house (this in Memphis, TN) to see the lights of Graceland. In my stupidity, I thought all of this was “corny” for years. Now I know it was more valuable than heroin. It was my brain, the inlaying memories of my synapses, dendrites–it was the highway capillaries of my life, the sparks I remember of those holidays. It was myrrh and glow.

It is Christmas Eve. And why did Einstein need to tell us Time is relative? Do you remember how LONG it took Christmas to arrive? That’s why you have kids, maybe. I don’t want to lose my excitement over Christmas Eve. I don’t. If I lose my excitement over Christmas I feel it would be like losing my arm. Sure, I’d go on, but not really. Later tonight I’ll set up a Play Station for my 5 year old. I’ll inflate some toast. I’ll have my Christmas, damn you!! Then again, I’m a little drunk and with a big-ass mortgage. But still. We try.

It is Christmas Eve and I really want to say: I would like to thank all the blogger/writers. I read you, your work, and it makes my life better. Glimmer in the morning. I feel like part of a community, though I have only blogged since summer. I don’t “know” these people, but I “know” them; and mostly admire them, and certainly their work. They pass my test: I would quaff a beer with all of them.

Shout out to KGM!

(I would drink 14 beers with her)

Shout out to “Tao Lin” (note the Tao Lin quotes)

Shout out to Poker Grub.

(Wow. I vote him Most Honest Blog. Gamblers usually inflate wins, minimize losses in conversation. There is a whole level of bullshit involved in gambler talk. Poker Grub just drops the straight dope, and it’s so bad it’s good, like gas station coffee.)

And naturally the insomniac blur of publishing goat of bolt/oar.

(He can write. He’s kinda clever. Etc. BUT. Seems like he has a good heart. I can “feel” this. I have a good-inside radar. Really, in the larger picture, that’s all that matters, to me. I have read a lot and learned a lot and thought a lot, because of Blake.)

I can’t believe he wrote a running text!!! Damn him! I am going to write a running text next! I fucking KNOW running. You want some, Blake? You want to race?

But I digress…

Thank you all (and other bloggers/writers)  for making me less existentially alone. Maybe one purpose of the internet, or a byproduct?

I remember a story about how BEFORE the internet, this guy from Nebraska collected Barf Bags from every airline possible, all his flights, any contacts he had (every airline had a unique Barf Bag–its own logo, etc.). Why in the hell would a human do such a thing? Weird, right? No one could understand–a guy that collects vomit bags from airline flights? HE felt so very, very alone. He felt weird. BUT, then the internet came along. You know what happened? That guy got online. And guess what he found out? He wasn’t weird, he was human.

Sam collects Barf bags, too.

There is even a museum.

Buy this Venezuelan bag right now for $20.


The internet opened the throat of the world. The voice. WE ARE ALL WEIRD.


Tonight, I can not complain. I won $60 bucks at the horse track. I ran 5 decent miles. I walked my dog. I met a guy named, “Sam the Beer Man.”  He sold me beer. I began an essay on Road Head. I can’t believe nobody has written a good Road Head essay yet. I guess I’ll just do it.

I edited a story today.

Here is an excerpt from my story:

14. The Best Weekend: We smoked anchovies and laid garments on a counter and slipped our arms through pineapples (not made of pine, not apples) and drove to stay the night at the exact place the sea and the sky embrace.

15. Another One: Bad drugs done in the library stacks.

16. Another One: Also words, puckered red and ugly; drunken Ebaying; drywall wounds in the form of clouds.

17. Massive Debt: She told me that we abdicate our own free will, act in bad faith, when we avoid difficult, honest decisions, when we make excuses to deny conflict, etc.

18. Co-Workers: I respect a man who can read a river.

19. Co-workers: Ask me how the grant is going one more time, I fucking dare you.

I took a bath while drinking beer and reading a novel. There is something about drinking and bathing and reading I really enjoy. Maybe it’s the way I can do three things at once?

I wish more people in the world were faster. I am a fast walker, big-time. I blow by people, I weave and stutter and plan routes several yards ahead of my walking. Jesus I can’t stand slow-walkers. But that’s just me.


I spent the night in a Comfort Inn that REALLY would make a person re-think Comfort Inn. It was 121 years old. This was Warren, Ohio. Here it is, and please note my Baby-Baby Subaru in the foreground. This car purrs like Ativan or a table saw.



What the fuck am I going to eat while way up here in New York??

It spleens me.

Oh, then the in-laws bought me tortillas, cheese, black olives, jalapenos. They heard something about my diet, apparently.


Holy shit I love nachos.

Happy holidays, all.


why yes I do write casablanca. sub-lit. failbetter. elimae. Bill Faulkner. tao lin. nacho report.

if i can only get enough alcohol into this dude…

If you know my writing (wait a minute–I just spilled a plate of nachos while laughing), you’ll see I adore persona fiction.

Here’s my newest vein branching along the wigleaf.

Why do I write persona?

Because I want to embrace.

To escape.

To gather at the limestone sigh of long-suffering.

To glee.

Theory # 34: Celebrities as our Roman/Greek/African gods.

Because I think all of us are odd.

Are lying.

Are heart-shaped crows.

Are bruises behind makeup. Gristle beneath breastplate. Insects burrowing beneath glistening suburban lawns.

note: I hated Blue Velvet. Sorry. Rip my aging pseudo-hipster badge off my skinny jeans.

Because I am attracted to anyone whose Id bleeds right through their Superego. Like mad-screaming-racket-throttling-pushing-a-cameraman and his dolly-over John McEnroe.

note: I consider the House of Pain lyric from Jump Around, “I’ll serve your ass like John McEnroe,” to be one of the finest rapster/slip hop scoff of all-time. It just clicks. (Of course we know that McEnroe’s serve was never one of great ferocity in terms of pure MPH, but was still brilliant: As a left-handed player he had a unique angle plane and as brilliant athlete held a Gregg Maddux-like sense of speed (or no speed), spin, timing, and angle.)

Because it gets me published.

Theory # 14: A lazy writer uses a character previously formed in the reader’s mind.

Because it’s not two people drinking beer in an apartment.

Because the persona is me.

And not me.

And alert antennae.

And the reader feels the same.

note: I just realized there is no truly correct amount of Bacos (fake bacon bits) a household should have. If you have none, cool. If you have one bottle, that’s great, too. I have three in my house and it doesn’t seem extreme.

Because everything is observed but unexplored, really.

And we are time-freezers. Iceboxes, our words. How many trees have you passed today? Now go sit below one, pause, look, and draw exactly…There’s a difference.

Whoa! I just found my cat dead in the dryer! Why would a cat crawl up into a dryer? For warmth, I suppose. The way we select things in this life to embrace. Then someone shuts the door and turns on the spinning…

I have to grieve now.


(while carrying cat to backyard for burial…)

Kathleen Dusenberry has something like a blow to the eye over at Sub-Lit. (I used to lay off pimping Sub-Lit in protest of them not having enough FLASH FICTION. But now they do, more and more, no matter what they call this Greek Frat/Nest to Grow/Beautiful Cyclops Climbing A Ladder genre.)


(while shoveling dark earth)

I like the word glaciations. Also whiskey. Both appear for Craig Davis in failbetter.com.

“The tools I need for my work are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.
William Faulkner

Uh, no Word Processor, Bill? Then how can your work look published while you’re writing?


(while thinking: sure, I’m a little sad the cat is dead, but, honestly, a little happy. What did the cat do for me, physically, emotionally? Eat food. Shit. Sometimes screech at her own shadow. Shit. Ignore me. Repeat cycle)

I like narrators wishing they lived a life not their own Flash. Here’s one by Jennifer Pieroni at elimae (a mag that rejects me thrice a month, but damn it, I’ll keep on trying. Like a little fish, like a rock cavern. Like a patchwork of surf and sadness).


(shovel put away, alongside hammer)

Nacho Report: (home recipe # 141, aka: Cantonese Nachos [heavy on the black beans]).6 of 10 rating.

This afternoon’s nachos were quality, but could have scored higher without the aroma of burning wood in the air. Apparently, a neighbor is burning leaves today. So I missed several notes; the tasting was not clean. I did detect an earthiness from the jalapenos, a taste like running past a stable of goats. There was a light mineral touch from the skin of the beans, with an accompanying full-bodied undertone from the salsa (Mrs. Renfro Habanero). This sustained throughout the meal, so I was gleed with murmur.


I just bought some Tao Lin and some Kimball and some other words because money should be a car that parks itself in the garage of Wordsville, highway Thoughtsville, driveway of scrolling over a sleeper’s head, and also organ of nostalgia.




Six Rejections This Week. Blue Cardinals. Beck.


1.) Elimae

2.) It was really late. I had a 2.5 drink buzz. On the TV a beautiful man was shilling an exercise machine that resembled a preying mantis. He had abs like abandoned clocks. I walked into the bedroom. The shadows made me tired. I whispered, “Denise?” She didn’t move. She didn’t move at all. I lay down. Stared at the ceiling fan and treaded night thoughts and fell asleep.

3.) Avery: An Anthology of New Fiction.

This was an encouraging letter. Here is a small excerpt:

Hi, Sean:

Thanks for letting us read your work. We talked about your piece quite a
bit and each liked the premise of the story. It’s something you don’t get
often. I truly love the quietude and loneliness you’re able to convey in
such a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, we received a lot of short pieces this time around, and in
the end, we just couldn’t find a place for “Ingrid” in AVERY. As much as
we liked the writing of the story, we just weren’t as emotionally
connected to..

And so on.

I have at least three magazines this year say they couldn’t get “emotionally connected” to some of my persona pieces. Maybe the writer (me) isn’t connected enough? Frost said, “No tear in the writer, no tear in the reader.” He was using hyperbole, but you get the idea. Do I care enough about this material?

Me Above, after Checking My Email:

Sometimes in intro Creative Writing, a student will get their work back with my feedback; and will sheepishly say, “I apologize. I admit I just wrote that a few minutes before class.”

And I reply, “Yes. I know.”

4.) I was so ready to disc golf. So ready for the sirens. With disc golf thoughts and disc golf glee and disc golf supermarkets in the Denvers of my brain. So crank and father. So miracle stuff the turkey. I felt disc golf in my aorta, thrumming, a little wild bird, a little chance to be a better man, a little pulse growing to verve growing to a universe of composed songs…Then God made it rain.

5.) “Come here, Mia! Come on dog!” I pleaded. “Come on, girl!” I was in the eager kneeling position, hands outstretched to the sun. My dog ran away from me, across the creek, across several yards, across highway 32, into a pasture, over a fallen tree, across a river, down a bypass, into Manhattan, along a tunnel, out of the tunnel, up a brick wall, into a hispter’s apartment on the upper East Side, a tiny little shotgun going for $1400 a month, and my dog curled there below the futon, below the hipster and a single mom of 45 making out with up-most awareness of the brevity of life, in the warm glow of actually living; and off the bookshelf tumbled Buddha.

Some of this is metaphorical. (I just saw a blue cardinal outside, at the bird-feeder, and that’s going to distract me all day. A blue cardinal?)

6.) Elimae again…