Tag Archives: Matt Bell

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:

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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.

PARRRTTTTTYYYYYYY…

[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.]

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Oh, fuck Twitter.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

Samples:

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

S

nachos run all flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics 14

Barely noon-thirty but it’s been a day. I woke at 5:00 a.m. and drove out to cold, vast, sweeping forest of valleys and ridges. The snow was all thought-provoking. The whisper glow. Moon off the snow is actually blue. I went up, down. I hiked squeaky boots. On the way out I saw a man standing near my car parked alongside the road. He looked like a weathered birdhouse with a snake inside all full of eggs. His eyes had a circus.

(via)

He said, “You better not park round here they been throwing glass bottles!”

I looked around. No glass. Just snow. A few shrubs and my car. Overhead a Canada (not Canadian, a common mistake) goose honked.

He said, “Some dude stole my tree stand out the back of my truck two days ago, I know who it is. Drives a maroon van! He and his wife. If I catch that dude I’m going strip off his clothes and throw him off in these woods naked, I will.”

“Well,” I said. I tried a half smile. The air felt like it was trying to cackle or maybe shrug. I got into my car and drove off and in the rear window watched the man just standing there, side of the road, snow. His head was sort of clicking away.

(mommy, when do we eat junior mints and nachos?!)

Home I shucked off layers of clothes, drank a stupendous coffee, got into my boxers, and ran a brutal 9 mile fartlek on the treadmill. Oh god. I mean brutal. I feel all floaty right now. My knees are red. Taste of metal in my mouth. Lungs like wonderful Mylar. My insides feel hollow and happy. If I had a beer I’d down it, I might, but I don’t have a beer.

Well.

I don’t know what to do. I have work-work to do, but why ruin my glow? I am going to review an anthology of poetry, I will. OK, this is a large anthology. Wait. In a minute I will read and review the first 14 poems of flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics. I said in a minute.


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metazen has a Christmas book for charity. I shit you not. They asked if I would write a Christmas thing. I stood and sat down. I said I don’t know, Christmas? I stood, fidgeted, sat down and wrote a Christmas list (well, the first 100) to give to Santa. Here is a sample so you will go buy the book (actually buy it for the other authors, who are glow) and help orphans. 28-38 on my want list:

28. Something to carry in my mouth.
29. Nick, are you lonely up there?
30. Nick, you owe me 14 pink Zippo lighters, as you well know.
31. A device for breaking memory.
32. What kind of name is Gary? I want a spray canister that removes names. Gary as
_________.
33. I will keep the hotel room above my studio apartment and I will go out the window here,
climb up to the roof, and use my swipe card to enter my hotel room. I’ll be needing cable, but
would prefer no internet service. Oh, and a bathtub. I want a bathtub.
34. Teeth contact.
35. Reindeer loin.
36. Shelia, you know Sheila. Fuck, you know everybody. Bring me her gall bladder in a glass
banana. Sort of modern sculpture I can set out and ignore.
37. I pledge the possible Chlamydia to the jet lag….
38. My own contractors. Make the walls bend. Make four taps, I want four silver taps installed
above my toilet, the little toady toilet in my little toady cave in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with
the medi-vac helicopter thumping overhead my hangover-skull, wires of transmission—You,
in the helicopter, oh fucked one, fucked broken stranger, I am sorry to ignore you now (as you
will ignore me later in my time of need)—just four silver flowing taps: codeine cough syrup,
coffee, Pepto Bismol, white wine.

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Rose Metal Press is having a fund drive. Please give. Seriously. Years ago I stumbled into this whole indie/alt community lit thing and it was refreshing as a snowfall of golden ballet shoes. Different than other aspects of the lit/book/author world. Why? Because we look out for each other. It is actually a community. I notice. All of these authors/publishers/amazing artists of all sort–they always shout and wink and glow about others first. It’s what pleased me about this little world, when I first explored lit-blogs, publishers, authors online. They had balance. It wasn’t just, “Read my book!” It was a little “read my book” and a whale of “Holy shit, read her book! And check out this reading! This interview. And look how this publisher just made a book out of a fishing tackle box. ” It was a medication to me, a good one. To give back. It is the oil of the movement, the windmill, the energy, the horse and wagon, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, the metal of the rose, I feel.

so give

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By Lindsay Hunter

“Each tiny, diamond story—precise, comic, poised at the edge of surreal—contains one brutal life force tearing itself off the page. You can hold Daddy’s in your hands and feel it breathing.” —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation

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BOOM chapbook contest, folks.

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Glow Luke Hawley at Hobart:

“I don’t know how you run marathons on sugar and diet soda.”

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FLASH! Mary Hamilton interview at The Short Review.

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I have a flash/prose poem about babysitters and a postcard about living on a houseboat at wigleaf. (If you are reading this months from now, go to wigleaf archives.)

Look under L, you slaw-cheeks.

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Ok, here we go: flatmancrooked slim volume of contemporary poetics. The first 14 poems.

1: “Aftermath” by Brian Adeloye is a cut-to-the-bone poem, so I’ll let you just read the thing and brain your own sandwich:

Whether noticeable

Or negligible

It probably

Was measurable

2: Justin Alvarez made me look up the word, alsacienne. It a term referring to a cooking style, origin “Alsace,” a province of northeastern France. Usually it means braised meat, some sausage, big-ass taters. A heavy meal. I could see someone eating in the alsacienne style and then belching before walking out to the woodpile and sprawling on the woodpile in the warming sun, wood sort of poking your back, legs all angled falling out, and maybe a few ants tickling your legs and next thing you know you’re asleep.

3: I don’t know why Joseph Atkins needs a period in the title of the poem, “Rain or Shine.” Could be something, or nothing. He does it here, too, at Shampoo. “Rain or Shine.” takes a stab at bored and medicated we. A good fork-ful stab, shiny sharpened tines of words:

Choking was the sound of progress.

Choking was the sign of progress.

What pleased me was the spin into another, apparently found over the internet, another soul drifting on the flotsam of split pills and television. He took this and made it that. This may be why they put Atkins name in big-ass letters on the back of this anthology.

4,5,6: Three prose poems appear. All by Mr. Atkins. He seems already a “presence” in this anthology. The prose poems are printed sideways on two pages. Atkins as interested in form. As interesting. I preferred the first one, “Plastic Vines Sparking in the Sunlight.” (though I sort of hate the title. It sounds like a Roadiohead song title)

A wash of “I” sentences, but it is the exhaustive “I” being examined, analyzed, alienated, sharded into nothing. It works:

I like things clean but I don’t like to clean.

I enjoy traffic jams for the homogenized goals of the mobile citizen & the unidirectional lack of insight they reveal.

7: Another Joseph Atkins poem, another period: “Photo Op.”

Odd poem here. A series of linguistic phrases, similar in structure and state, similar in diction, but then attributed to various personalities, DFW to Obama to Bernie Mac. It is a tri-level juxtaposition, with more depth than a photo op, and possibly one thesis: The systematization of celebrity culture transparent in its intent to transport the underlying assumptions of capitalistic society, AKA: they are puppets, but insidious puppets, and even worse, we love them and have no idea why.

8: James Benton made me go and look up amaryllis. It is a lily. It’s nickname is “the naked lady.” Hey now.

9: I’m getting a little Matthew Arnold feel off “Oceanus Pacificus”

Read both poems yourself.

10: Diego Baez doesn’t waste words. Tight as a thoroughbred, no fat. The title is a bit obvious, so off-putting, but I love how he takes me out with an image, a horse grazing in the bowl of our skulls, a diorama of our days.

11: Baez glows in the line, but continues a pattern of “Thanks for making it clear to me” titles. I wish I was his close friend and he would say, “Would you read my poems?” I would say, “No, I’m fucking busy, but maybe in the summer.” Then he would be patient, and I would read them in the summer. And I would say, “Damn, these are poems. I don’t have much to say, except thank you for writing these, and please, please, please change your titles.”

12: Finally, we have a female poet! That opening was front-loaded with male poets.

13: Amy Bleu has an excellent name. She sings. And writes a poem named “Akimbo.”

I don’t like what you stand for

But I like the way you stand there

Arms akimbo

Dominating

Every space you inhabit

Confident enough to conquer

Every Creature

Who extends a tender arm

Tentative as a tendril

In the vain hope

Of reaching

You.

14: Wow, to the “Fistulated Cow.” Glow words, Katie Cappello. (Here is a review of her book)

Aside: A fistulated cow is a cow with an intentional hole in it for scientific research. In 1822, a Canadian suffered a wound that refused to heal, but the man otherwise was in fine health. His doctor discovered that the digestive process could be observed directly through the hole. The discovery spread, and for over 150 years, fistulation has been used to observe digestive processes in living animals, with the first recorded scientific use on animals dating to 1833.

But back to the poem…

What is the cow thinking? I’m glad that’s asked? And isn’t love the wet undigested grass yanked from the cow’s first, second, third, or fourth stomach?

Indeed.

15. BONUS POEM! BONUS POEM!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Everybody slap their grandmother! BONUS POEM!

Anna Clarke brings it with “How I never Wanted to Have Coffee with You.”

I’m reading, I suppose, and I notice

Capturing the coffee shop idyll, hardly reading at all, watching, thinking, we as book, sometimes faking, watching…Look, an elderly couple. Talking about silence, the weather, nothing, nothing

nothing but baked goods between them

Love fades. And is ordinary? As a leaf or a chip of paint. Or cold coffee. And the speaker is that couple. And we are that couple. And it is terrifying. And we must thank Anna Clarke for showing us so.

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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.

Huh?

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

Hey, I just saw The Ring, call me.

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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…

Glow.

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.

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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.

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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.

And…

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.

Blood.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?]

grenadine?

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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.

Lord

Luase

Lollygag, you fucker.

fuck

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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

and

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

And

J is my mother

And…

possibly i need a haircut a need i possibly

And

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.

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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

S

Woot Woot Newz and Miles

Word.

New micro-fiction/poetry/hybrid/whatever/plop/lovely pancakes/celebrities/corn chips/thing coming out in 2011.

The more I wrote on this the more I understood people offended by the term, genre.

What do I know about this MSS?

Pub Genius Press.

MSS is odd. Not sure what to say about the MSS. I feel it’s a swirling pool below a pipe, a flotsam juxtaposition. We’ll see. I enjoyed writing it, intellectual play, shard-glow, sort of the point of writing for me.

I’ll let the words on the page talk in 2011. That’s how it should be anyway.

Here is a sample but a poor sample since I have radically changed the text by now.

Here is a sample but a poor sample since I have radically changed the text by now.

How do I feel? Like snapdragons and wine made from the drippings of arrows. I wear transparent sandals as I walk the kidneys of my living room. That means happy. Then it settles and I had  a small depression (why? but the same thing happen after a good road race) and then I just settle and move on and try to write something. Been weirded out by Lady Ga Ga recently. Not sure why. But I sense I will write about Lady Ga Ga soon. I feel it stirring and that is usually the beginning of how I work. It’s like an itch.

What should I do to celebrate?

Make nachos. Kiss them. Drink champagne.

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Other big news!

The Broken Plate launches on Monday! During the In Print Festival.

In Print has Mary Miller, Matt Bell, Kalia Yang, and Mitchell Douglas.

How kick ass is that?I am always so impressed how this festival gets these people together, reading, conversing, energizing all the BSU community. Makes me proud to work at BSU, to be honest. If you are anywhere near Muncie, Indiana (and I know you are) on Monday or Tuesday, come hear these people read, speak, glee like film-makers and moons.

Wow. It’s been a journey on the magazine.

The Broken Plate is the BSU undergrad-edited literary magazine. I have been Head Editor the last year. It was a new position for me and I had never done such a thing and I went from anxious to OK to we-can-do-this to awed, especially by the students. They really stepped up, from designing to editing to marketing to everything that makes a literary magazine. I am happy and proud of our end product, our words.

This issue crackles like golden larynx bones. Includes Roxane Gay (always strong) and Jimmy Chen (one of the wittiest, most interesting writers, period), many others, and even BSU students. One of the unique aspects of The Broken Plate is the mix of national/international writers and BSU undergrad students.

Someone is going to say, “Hey, Sean, Roxane and Jimmy and you all write for HTML Giant. Is the fix in at the magazine?”

BLAR ME.

The students edited the magazine. The editing was done blind. I didn’t even get the names of the authors until the very end of the process.

But I am HAPPY to see these two authors and many others.

Get a copy!

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New Word Riot out!

Great interviews: Mary Miller, Shya Scanlon, Matthew Simmons.

I thank Riot for these. Excellent.

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Ran 17 miles today at Greenways. What is Greenways? This:

Oh, it hurt. I won’t lie, I was a tad hungover. You do NOT want to run your long run in a state of dehydration. That be stooopid. So I drank a metric ton of water (carbonated–I drink all my water with fizz now, and it is annoying) on the way over. Went bad and good, like many long runs. My hams are screaming now. I felt dead-legs early, then got a second wind about mile 10. Grinded 10-14. Then drove it home. I had a tendency to grind anything home, and I hope to never lose than tendency.

I saw dogs, reclining bicycles, dogs, dog shit (who let’s their dog go ON the Greenway?), kids, no comets, no naked people, a few other runners (more joggers–nobody was rolling it), dogs, a man screaming into a cellphone while standing on a bridge (In general, people pacing across bridges, yelling into cellphones, they scare me.), a nice parcel of robins in the shrubbery, a house with a pond and this canoe at such an aesthetic angle, like some small Japanese print, I don’t know, I was jealous of the pond-canoe people but I am sure they have credit card problems and the wife still pays for porn (who does that?) and the teenager just started hardcore into the Furry scene and I saw several rivers (rivers always make me glow and give me energy) and groundhogs and furrows of dirt and someone mowing their yard (a bit early?) and more robins and a few doves and several woodland/swamp areas I would not mind bow hunting (noticed when I think of bow hunting I run faster).

I talked to exactly one person. This older man bicycled up behind me and just stayed there. It weirded for a second. Why is guy drafting off a runner? Then he pedaled alongside and yelled out, “You are running 9 miles-per-hour!”

I said, “Sounds about right.”

Then he pulled away. Well, thanks for than information, kind sir. Your little digital MPH reader.

That was my only conversation of the morning (except when I prayed to my knees).

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Been playing a lot of Bioshock (the first one). That game be crazy. I like it.

Xbox is weird. I should not be playing it, yet I find odd moments. Reminds me of running or writing in that way. If you really want to do something, you do it. People sometimes annoy me when they say “I have no time” to do something. You can find time, though it might be pain in the spleen (like running at 6 a.m. or X-boxing at midnight or eating nachos during a faculty meeting). Really they are saying, “I don’t want to do that thing as much as another.”

I think.

S

2nd Serving of Eggs. Yassos. All that.

Wow, good newz. Feel like a Kentucky sunset. People like Eggs. Cool book-a-coming! Will be Sally. Like extra Sally. As Eggs will join other fiction collections, to be published in Spring 2011 by Rose Metal as one-fifth of a multi-author volume. This baby will feature Mary Miller (You haven’t read Big World? You are a clod of noses.) , Elizabeth Colen, John Jodzio, Tim Jones-Yelvington. And me.

Word.

I mean to post all the reviews of Eggs but cannot imagine the point. I might put them over there on the right, like some do. Anyone, the reviews have been many and strong and I want to give a big-ass thank you to all who took the time to read, write about the read. Wow.

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The story that will not die. More on Lish and Carver.

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Matt Bell interview very strong. Part one and two. This is sick, so much smart stuff. I read this and felt 1.) dumb (I feel this often), 2.) Now smarter, 3.) A helper in a glass-blowing demonstration. I felt keen. Glow of glass. I made something.

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YASSO X 8.

I went 6:00 mile pace for the first 2 800s, then went 5:56 X 2, 5:52 X 2, 5:49 X 2. I think it is important to increase speed/intensity as you near the end of a workout. To actually grind harder as you fatigue. This is what will prepare you for the marathon. Once you get into flow, take advantage of the flow. Use the flow to hammer, to get into the crucible. You know what I mean? You have to be in shape first, but once you get fit, the world is your workout, the workout your world. And it’s such a creative act. Every run is this castle of sweat and time and speed and something intangible–runners know the Place–and you craft and curve and shape this thing, this workout, this glowing castle, and it is corporeal and incorporeal, I mean it lasts for those minutes but then all the glow after, the muscles response after, the blood and hurt of the lungs, the growing, the day you toe the line, the day you cross the line, the day you finish one thing, start another. It is a castle big as you then big as the universe of running. Maybe castle isn’t the correct term, the image, but maybe a castle of shimmering air, of movement, of blur.

Felt good. Sort of sick of people wondering if these workouts are for real. Some debate whether Yasso can predict race time. Do them. Build up to 10 or more. They are for real. Have run many marathons and race times built on believing this workout. I think it real.

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John Madera reviews Jospeh Young’s Easter Rabbit here. I’d like to see more micro-fictions in the realm, more image based, floating in words.

Examples here.

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I had tofu refried beans nachos last night. I need Dave’s Insanity Sauce.

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I told you good newz.

Dzanc Best of the Web 2010 will include my Casablanca ode.

Word.

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I miss fishing. I wish I was fishing. I hate the cold.

happy.

Fail Nacho Coffee Clear My Throat Now

Well, my MSS “Twentieth Century Visits” has been rejected again. It got kicked like a cupcake made of school nurses, or ash. It is a collection of persona pieces. It has been finalist for a few book contests and several editors have given it the glance and no-glance. Blah blah. I just fell into a fish-like slumber. I just fell into the doorstep of America.

Example John McEnroe.

Example Andy Warhol.

These two pieces are strong (that’s why they appear in strong mags), but it’s past time for this writer to face the honest edge of the mirror. Misunderstanding, while often endless, doesn’t have to be. Yes? (Has anyone ever seen a deer with a red bandanna tied around its neck? A bunch of local hunters in my county have seen this exact deer, and it makes you wonder. Why do people make pets of the wild things in life and give the winking night a destiny?)  The editor gave a close read and perceptive comments on my MSS and it boils down to this: This album has several hits, but then several fuzzy, washy, well weak (these are all my take, not his words) songs. I totally agree. But that leads to my 2nd problem:

Do I want to revise, tighten, re-work these weaker stories? Not really…

Why?

Because this MSS was written a few years ago and I don’t write that way, in that style, that tone, that whatever. People change. Projects pass and move on. How can you become a past you?

So.

Is a frozen lake a clone? Or our all frozen lakes specific and special. I’ve just been wondering.

I like the word shrewd, I have decided.

Thing for me to do is work on the multiple projects I am writing now. The ones I am engaged and excited about. And I think that is OK.

(Blake Butler, on HTML Giant, once called it “Today is National Delete That Old Ass Shitty Manuscript Off Your Hard Drive and Live Again Day”)

Blake be smart (often, not always–I will destroy him in any nacho-related milieu).

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This guy married a video game character. Really.

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WordPress keeps making snow fall across my screen and they didn’t even ask me. That’s real fucking clever. You should ask before you precipitate across my computer. You are intruding, WordPress. What if snow makes me remember cold and cold makes me remember the day I couldn’t find the niceness inside of me and then I go and get dysentery from eating Comfort Food (yesterday’s cabbage or meat soup in a slop pail)? Who am I going to blame? You, WordPress.

Punks.

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One time at Bama I made love in a tobacco field. Very funky. One time at Bama the poet Kevin Young visited and the first ten students who signed up were offered the ability to talk with him about a few of our poems. It is weird I signed up, since I rarely wrote poetry at the time (and always very badly). Anyway, I gave him some poems and we met and he said, “All you young people write about coffee. Why is that?”

I didn’t have an answer.

One time the poet Bruce Smith looked at my poetry and said, “I like the gas station beer.” He was referring to a line from the poem.  That was his feedback, and I feel fair.

Translation: Dude, your poetry sucks.

Indeed.

I still write bad poetry, BTW. People love to write them some bad poetry. I mean LOVE to. I sometimes wonder why. I think writing bad poetry is ingrained in certain DNA. I”m going to wake up today and write some bad poetry, how about you?

My point is coffee. A long way of saying here is WHY I NEVER SAY NO TO COFFEE at Pank.

Here is something about eggs at Hayden’s Ferry review, if you like eggs. I do not like eggs. This is the title story of my collection. People like it at readings. Flash is excellent at readings. I tell people, “If you don’t like this piece, wait. In a few minutes I will read a different one.”

I just had a reading and another professor here at BSU gave his class extra credit to attend my reading and the students had to write up responses and the professor gave me a copy of their responses. They seemed to enjoy flash fiction. They liked my yellow shoes. They liked my ponytail, and that was good since I am way too old to be trying to pull off a ponytail, I am thinking, and here these people say, “No, no, it’s fine.” I try to be flaky but not too flaky, so. I would think at least two of them are going to write and/or read further flash fiction, so that makes me glow all Stinking Potato. I was going to quote from their actual work here, but that seemed petty and presumptuous of me and I am glad my internal editor said, “No, Sean, do not quote from their feedback, that is stupid.”

I can’t say enough about the “new” Hayden’s Ferry (I feel it is new). I mean they had a reputation for being SLOW and a few other things. Now, they are awesome, period. I mean I’ve never seen such care, feedback, work with authors, all of it. Beth Staples (and, naturally, others) have decided to do things the right way, no doubt. In a word, impressive.

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I think I need a third nacho bowl.

I have been eating so many nachos lately I have exhausted my two bowl system. So I am looking for a new bowl. Tonight I actually had to go to a reserve bowl, some Pyrex dish, since both bowls were in the washing machine, and it caused me great discomfort during the Nacho Experience. I wasn’t happy. I need a large bowl, in green or blue (the only colors I admire). Some folks have been helping me with this search, so hope to have a 3rd bowl to work into my rotation soon. Of course, any hints or leads you have, please do.

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Matt Bell is kicking Dinosaur ass. I get my Hayden’s Ferry and he is in there. I get my new Gulf Coast and he is in there. The man can flat write a story. And his stuff keeps evolving, getting tighter and weirder. I like weird. I think he is stretching things, flux and pop. Pick up the two mags and read him!

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I did a 28 minute tempo yesterday, about 5:54 mile speed. People, do your tempo run! It is the bedrock of your training. I know runners read this blog some, because I know you, so DO NOT NEGLECT THE TEMPO RUN! I’m serious.

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The new DecomP is out and I like this flash by Mark Neely. I think his work is getting weirder, too, and didn’t I just say I like weird?

OK then.

S


Some Crank-Shaft Disses Flash Fiction. I Defend.

Some Brie-head interviewed over here at ShatterColors Literary Review. I guess he edits the magazine or something. So he’s interviewing himself in his own magazine?  And he publishes himself in his own magazine? Hell, I don’t know. I’m tired after running a hill workout. Then I read this, making me more tired. He’s one literary dude, though. Very literary, no doubt.

Robert Scott Leyse (14 bucks he prefers you use all three names) says some really un-sightful things here.

Like he says that he attended a “writing event.” Sounded like he had a hell of a good time, too. In his words, I thought, “What does a gathering of clowns spouting pretentious rubbish and thirsting to have their asses kissed have to do with writing?”

Touche, Robert Scott Leyse. “Thirsting to have their asses kissed” is an excellent image, or maybe just a mixed metaphor/dating service for burros. Either way, I love a man who can recognize a clown in disguise (or were the writers wearing their red noses and giant shoes?).  Reminds me of the grandmother in Flannery O’ Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Grannie wears very clean underwear and knows exactly how to identify “Good Men.” Only takes her a few minutes, too. (Unfortunately, she is soon executed, along with the entire family she leads directly to their collective doom.)

clown on computer

I’ll just jot down this epic poem here, la-dee-da….

One problem I have with Robert Scott Leyse is that the people I meet at “writing events” are scared of clowns. Also they are self-deprecating, witty, humble, interesting, well-read, grinders at the page after page, and know how to drink a shit-load of quality ale. (Those that don’t drink beer I maybe never meet.)

Possibly we attend different conferences?

As an editor Robert Scott Leyse prefers, “love stories, at whatever stage of a relationship…”

Hey! I do too, maybe. So good call, maybe.

Then Robert Scott Leyse reveals his true internal thrumming, as he drops the dark and stormy nights of his intellect onto flash fiction.

Egads! Run for the big tent, you clowns!

On flash fiction (you can hear the disgust steeping in his bottom lip like a tobacco chaw): “It’s a writing exercise, useful in learning the virtues of succinctness of expression. As for it being a viable form… Basically, some corner-cutting smartass thought, “Hey, why waste these writing exercises? Why not doll them up in fancy terminology — call them ‘flash fiction,’ ‘flashers,’ or ‘impromptus’ — and persuade people they’re real stories? That way, I’ll be able to churn out three or four or five of them a night!” Needless to say, I neither read nor publish writing exercises.”

I adore that last sentence. Cutting, shall we say. In fact, fuck it, all short forms are actually writing exercises, especially those damn sonnet things. I mean how can 14 lines be “viable”? Yo, parable, fable, mythology, psalm, and all you annoying hieroglyphics, please go away or at the very least add a whole lot of words, OK? Can we get some more words, seriously? Back up the fucking WORD truck, beep-beep-beep. MORE, MORE, like in a legislature or a contract.

And, yes, you pegged me, Robert Scott Leyse, since I do write and read flash fiction, I am indeed a “corner-cutting smartass.”

[But Impromptus? That sounds like a type of water dwelling dinosaur in a children’s book. Dude, don’t bring that one out in public, just a friendly tip.]

Speaking of “corner-cutters,” and since I just spent a semester with a grad student researching a bit of the inexhaustible history of flash fiction as a genre, other corner cutting clowns would include:

Margaret Atwood, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Dave Eggers (a ton here), David Foster Wallace, Tara L. Masih, Pu Songling, Kim Chinquee, J. G. Ballard, Jim Harrison, Kobo Abe, Primo Levi, Angela Carter, Max Steele, Barry Graham, Umberto Eco, H. H. Munro, Don Delillo, Mervyn Peake, Anton Chekhov, Kurt Vonnegut, Andrei Bely, W.B. Yeats, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Luigi Pirandello, D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, John Steinbeck, George Orwell, Ander Monson, Mark Twain, Marianne Gingher, Wu Jingzi, Dubus (x 2), Vladimir Nabokov, Oscar Wilde, Molly Gaudry, Agatha Christie, Dr. Seuss, Jaroslav Hasek, Samule Beckett, Jeff Noon, Matt Bell, Aesop, Deb Olen Unferth, Patricia Highsmith, Emily Bronte, Franz Kafka, Italo Calvino, John Updike, Jill Christman, Julian Barnes, Richard Wright, Sherman Alexie, Sara Teasdale, Shane Jones, Diane Williams, Jesus H. Christ, Blake Butler, Maya Angelou, W. G. Sebald, Edmund White, Thomas Pynchon, Raymond Carver, Carolyn Forche, Djuna Barnes, Virginia Woolf, Buddha, Dorothy Parker, Tao Lin (oh, fuck him [I kid]), Carol Bly, Russell Banks, John David Lovelace, Krishna, Richard Brautigan, Ezra Pound, Scott Garson, Michael Kimball, Jewel, Robert Olen Butler, Gertrude Stein, Alexander Pushkin, Joseph Young, Emile Zola, Ursula Kroeber Le Guin, Michael Martone, Hart Crane, Tania Hershman, Joyce Carol Oates, John Edgar Wideman, Rose Terry Cooke, Plato, Katherine Anne Porter, Kate Chopin, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez.

tolstoy

hanging out, corner-cutting...

I could go on, but it gets ridiculous the number of authors in the canon, and outside the canon, and shooting from a cannon (a la Hunter S.), that have worked in this genre, and didn’t I just say I was tired, and also I need my typing finger for clowning tomorrow morning.

I just got to clown, yo.

Wouldn’t want to be with that “impromptu” crowd, anyway, would you? What’s next, you start valuing other forms of brevity, like say oysters, shots of bourbon, sudden kisses, short films, or the well-cut diamond?

A writing exercise? Flash fiction is to a writing exercise as a haiku is to a pretzel. Something. I disagree, Robert Scott Leyse. And what if a flash WAS a writing exercise? What if someone wrote a story in the shape of an apartment building (Georges Perec) or as a travel guide (Martone) or I don’t know a freaking examination. On and on…or can stories only be one way, “love stories, at whatever…” etc.

[A red fox just loped across my backyard. Is it limping or loping? I mean loping is like attitude. Limping you probably got car-struck crossing highway 69]

Oh hell, I digress, and if you read this blog you know where I will digress to, like a ship drifting to harbor…1.) preheat oven. 2.) slice corn tortillas. 3.) Add cheese and “impromptu” toppings.

Well, I just had some kick ass nachos. It felt good. It didn’t take long, they are often listed as appetizer…so eat my board shorts (those are the very, very, very long shorts, sir, I think you will like them), Mr. Robert Scott Leyse.

Nachos

(BTW, here is an exam, a writing exercise, as you would say.)

Well, what can you do? Not human at all, is it, the flash fiction above…drivel, really.

No, no, know.

Now?

I am going to go relax in the bath.

I will not! For me, a hot shower. I said hot.

And quick.

And good.

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Beer prices are going up. (again)

Here’s what the D-bag at Budweiser says: “The environment is very favorable, we think.” (He means for price increases.)

Here is the D at MillerCoors: “We have seen very strong pricing to date this year, and we are projecting a favorable pricing environment moving forward.”

Can you believe people who work at a brewery talk like this? I am done with these fools. Can you smell the cynicism in the voices of these guys? It’s micro-brew only now (was heading percentage-wise that way anyway). I mean I feel like I am buying my beer from an attorney, and he’s laughing right in my face. Going home and telling his wife about all the suckers he found today in his “pricing environment.”

rcarter0012

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Kind words from The Prettiest Girl in School about Eggs here. Thank you for reading!

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S