Friday, December 18, 2009

All Work That Is Play.

We're seeing the porchlight with Wrong Tree #1. Just a couple more turns and we're there. It would have been ideal to have birthed this thing in the first week of the December, but everyone involved with this (all three of us, hey Jarrid, hey Ralph) have worked and had fun and worked some more as often and as hard as we can.

And I should say that many of the writers for this first issue have worked just as hard. Many were asked to submit their work and took the time to pen material just for this journal. We couldn't be happier or more humbled to have worked with these individuals, and those who had pieces picked up by us through open submission.

The excitement is strong in me. Vibrant. Real. Tangible.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bob Marley Had A Drummer.

Been chewing a lot of gum today. Chewing gum and thinking how I should probably submit something to Thirst for Fire pretty soon. But for now it's just the chewing.

There's a story of mine and an interview with me at PANK right now so have a look, friends.

Been feeling a shade dark and a shade stormy the last couple of weeks. It happens from time to time. Not much can be done. Truth is, I don't mind it too awfully much.

I tried to knock a squirrel out of a tree today with a rock but only grazed its tail. It was hovering about twenty feet above me, fixed on the limb, making strange rabid sounds. Its fur was ratty and the sound it was making . . . rabid, I tell you. Crazy. One cannot take chances and, also, I really wanted to know if I could take its eye out from twenty feet.

Yeah, it's mean.

Happy birthday, Carlton Barrett.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Esteemed Guest Of Honor.

Good morning, afternoon, night.

Skies the shade of shale, fat with shale, with weather. Will there be weather tomorrow? Tomorrow will there be weather?

Our esteemed guest of honor says there will be weather, wind and clouds the fine, fine color of smeared eye shadow.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Monday In Confusion Town

I'm generally confused most of the time. At one time, this blog updated automatically to my Facebook whatthehellever, but I disabled that and now I'm rolling along.

No idea why I disabled, exactly. But the result is that I again feel as if I'm talking to a much smaller audience. I see there are seven good people who have signed up as folks following this blog, so I suppose you are the audience. That's just fine with me.

How is this confusing? Not really sure, but here I am...Mayor of Confusion Town. Confusion town would have no street names, pets would wander the outskirts with pinched looks on their faces. Dogs, cats, hamsters. Think of that, the hamster with a pinched look on its face. Where is my blessed wheel, the hamster might say to me, the Mayor.

"You have no wheel," I would answer.

The hamster would cry and, for at least that moment, Confusion Town would become Sorrow Town, if only for the little hamster who I will name Gunnershock.

But, yeah, I stay pretty much confused. The above is an example of where my mind kind stray to when left unattended and deprived of rest. It's not always bad. Sometimes I make friends like Gunnershock.

In addition to wandering pets, there might be a Director of Communications for Confusion Town, except his job would be to go about town making sure no one made sense of anything. He would be busy and so would be paid well.

"Think you've got a parking space picked out?" Happystill the Director might ask.

"Yes, thank you," the driver might answer.

At this moment Happystill the director might throw yellow paint into the parking space, creating the needed confusion. Two levels, do doubt -- where to park now and why did Happystill throw yellow paint in my space?

Happystill would say nothing. He might even leave them while speaking, in mid-sentence no less and then...........

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Firebug.

Nerves a bag of sharpness, bag made of slowly peeled away hide, sharpness the long slices of glass from a window broken long ago.

Through the window you watched the field burn away. You pulled wind through the jagged mouth of the window and dripped red-black onto the carpet. It was best when the field caught fire first at the edge and then across the middle until the smoke covered all the world, protecting only you, its creator.

It was your hand through the window, your hide peeled back from the knuckle. You, the firebug. It was you all along.

They even blamed you for bleeding.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Just Can't Help Myself So Get Out Your Tiny Violins.

It's hit and miss, mostly. There are days when I can't figure out a single reason to write another word, then there are stretches, months at at time, when I can't stop. The work feels so urgent and important then.

Today I'm looking for a reason.

There are times when writing just doesn't seem to be serving a practical need in my life or the life of anyone else I care about. Practical. It's a nice, clean word, and completely irrelevant in the world of art. I have two degrees, one of which is the highest degree that can be earned in my field of study, and I'm plugging away at two jobs and still going under.


It would have been practical of me to pick up a trade skill along the way. It would have been smart to have escaped from the university on my first night, tossed my books, my writing, my oh-so-lofty ideals of intellectualism and found a hammer, a welding torch, a pair of pliers. I should have been thinking bricks and mortar, but instead I was in the clouds, prepped to be blindsided. I should have been studying tools and trade instead of writing stories.

Regret's not the right word, but it's close.

Whining is the right word. Feel free to say so.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kuzhali Manickavel Makes the Good Words.

Just read some things by Kuzhali Manickavel and want to now go back and rewrite about three quarters of all my material. This lady can do some storytelling.

Here's a story by her in SmokeLong Quarterly. Put some sunglasses on before reading, though. And here's the interview SLQ published to accompany that story.

And here's some more of her storytelling that moved like a word tiger through my brain.


Also, I don't live here....

I live here....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The William Elliott Whitmore Test.

This is William Elliott Whitmore. Listen to his music or suffer from lack of ear candy.

Also, I was in need of a test to see if I could post a picture up here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Best Time To Buy An Ant Farm or News From the Lit World.

A few things to mention briefly:

There is some crackling good stuff at the new decomP.

This guy, Alan Stewart Carl, is a writing beast. Don't believe me? Read this.

I had a story up at Metazen a few days back called "The Body Ricardo." Thanks to Frank Hinton and team for throwing that up.

JMWW editor Dave Erlewine interviewed me. Find it here. Thanks Dave and Jen Michalski, two of the good folks.

Fractured West is putting out a final call for submissions before hitting the world in the face with issue one. Send something.

Wrong Tree is coming. No lie.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Whiner. The Hypnotist. The Legendary.

Must complain. Please bear with.

The fifth college I've applied to since getting my MFA two years ago just told me to go to hell this morning. Worse, of those five colleges, not one has even allowed me the chance to sit down for an interview. I'm always weeded out during the "reviewing candidates" stage.

Here's the rub – I know what's going on, I think. I've been keeping tabs. These college are hiring out of state professors with TEACHING EXPERIENCE. I have only high school teaching experience, no college.

Paradox begins to materialize before your very eyes.

You're getting sleepy, very sleepy.

You're fully asleep.

Now, when I count to three you will travel to five colleges around the region, ask to speak to the presidents of these five colleges about the virtues of hiring local professors who can actually relate to their students and therefore provide a more rounded college experience and soon after you will wake up to find a better world for all your convincing.

Okay, I'm done.

I have a story up today at The Legendary called "Girl Spotted During the Solo." There's also a picture of me smoking a cigarette to go with said story. I look confused in the picture, but I'm really just upset. I can't remember why, but I'm sure there was a good reason. The story is okay, though. Check it out here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Funny Things I've Heard

Funny things I've heard recently:

Me: Why does Victoria Beckham always look so upset in pictures?
Dry Wit Person: It's because she's so hungry all the time.

Dry Wit Person also told me that a character actor whose name I cannot remember was asked who was the strangest person he'd ever worked with and he said Tom Cruise. No surprise there, but when asked to further explain the actor said:

"He's the biggest homophob I've ever met. We'd be sitting around between shoots and he'd be like 'This is good ice cream. Sure glad there's no gays around.'"

Somehow that was much funnier when Dry Wit Person told it, but I'm gonna leave it here because, well, the delete button is all the way up there.

Guy Who Is Very Often At My Workplace: Who is that guy who played for Chicago? Man, he could jump. I seen him jump from the free throw line and dunk. He's really good. What's his name?
Sports Editor (confused): Michael Jordan? Are you talking about Michael Jordan?
GWIVOAMW: Michael Jordan. Yeah.

My girlfriend sends me the most awesome internet stuff of all time. The backlog is too numerous at this point, but I think I'll start sharing some of the goodness on here in the upcoming posts. Here's a sample, and here. Envy me for having such a badass cool chick. I can feel you envying me and it feels good.

Michael Jordan. Damn.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Mary, Frank and Cindy Show and Mel Bosworth Reads.

Some cool writing things I've happened across I think folks would like:

Mel Bosworth reads people's stuff, including most recently Darby Larson's story "Reflexive," and sent me cigarettes as a closer for our correspondence on his piece that will appear in Wrong Tree Review. He's of course a cool cat. Have a look.
Roxane Gay's piece up at Hobart is phenomenal. She keeps cropping up in every nook and each time is better than the next. Read, I say.

David Erlewine is working on a novel. Yes, that just happened. He's been posting a bit here and there at Fictionaut. Go have a look. Sign up if you haven't already. Fictionaut is a good, fine place and David's stuff is some of the best there.

There's a lot more out there – HTMLGIANT's Mean Week is a catch up situation if you didn't get a chance to follow along for instance and the new issue of decomP to name just a couple more – but these have stuck out in my mind.

I've had some fortune lately with my work.

Three pieces taken since last I spoke of my growing number of submissions out there in the world.

I'll have a story called "A Tree Born Crooked" in The Cut-Thru Review's winter issue, another called "The Body Ricardo" at Metazen soon and just this morning learned that Cindy Rosmus will take my story "Reaction" for Issue #20 of Yellow Mama.

I'm more than pleased with all of these, no doubt. Thanks to Mary Stepp, Frank Hinton and Cindy for including me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Funny Dinner.

Had an interesting dinner with some awesome folks recently. Some funny things I heard during this most awesome dinner:

"My tongue...there's breath on my tongue."

"I always check for raccoons in my backseat when I get in my car. Like it's a serial raccoon or something and hiding in the back seat."

"Oh, you've been married three times. That's nice, that's nice. Hey, who are we to say anything about your hobbies?"

These folks rock. Simple as that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go With the Dark Flow.

I sleep four hours a day. If I say any more it will be nothing more than childish whining.

But really, four hours, sometimes three. Okay, I'm done.

Honestly, I shouldn't complain. Sleeping so little leaves me in a state of dull and blur that is pretty close to being drunk all the time. Who wouldn't want that?

Lately I've been surfing around reading a lot about DARK FLOW and 2012. Both scare the hell out of me. The hell runs straight away and out of me every time. But the universe scares me in general. If I look at the sky long enough I can feel first confusion creeping in and then concern and finally fear. It has always been this way, but worse since I learned of DARK FLOW. Read about it, if you dare.

And what can I say about 2012? I sure would liked to have accomplished a little more before the world came to an end. I know, the Mayan calender had to end somewhere. I heard about the Mayan elder ancestor dude who recently said during an interview that the only thing the end of the calender meant was that it was time to buy a new calender.

But still.

Those Mayans knew a few things, people. I'm just saying.

A few things people have said I found, you know, funny:

"Phil Spector looks like he has a tumbleweed on his head."

"He can't help how his face looks." -- (Immediate response after being told critics were saying Clint Eastwood had become a parody of himself in Gran Turino).

R: I used to live in a building that was an old hospital.
A: Was it haunted?
R: Probably, there were a lot of plug-ins.

Andoraleesena (Not her real name): My daughter did the strangest thing recently. I came into our bedroom and she had taken all the pictures down off the wall and stacked them on the bed.

Me: That is strange.

Andoraleesena: Then she squatted and pissed all over them.

Me: .......

Okay cats and kittens. Remember: You can like something without loving it and you can love something without liking it and also you should know that off-white paint is on sale at Wal-Mart today so buy some and also take a phone with a camera on it or something so you can get a few pics while there to post them here.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poetry in Thieves Jargon. Some Eyehole Candy.

My poem "Nobody Ever Talks About It" will be live at Thieves Jargon Monday. It's the only poem I've ever submitted for publication. I like it pretty good. I hope you will, too.

Some cool stuff floating around out there that might make your eyeholes happy.

JMWW's David Erlewine interviews Molly Gaudry here.

A blog I check more than my email is Roxane Gay's "I Have Become Accustomed To Rejection." Read it here.

Issue 3 of >kill author is live and offers good works from Lisa Lim, Mel Bosworth, Jason Jordan and several others, including this "killer" piece from Ajay Vishwanathan. This journal is one of my favorites out there by a long shot. Check out this new issue, please.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reading Rainbow.

Bought a Pepsi this morning when I really wanted coffee.

The coffee here at the office is made of something chemical-based used to freeze flying fecal matter inside homes existing near sewer grates. The chemical is then captured (with fecal matter in tow) and then placed in blue containers. A woman who sits across from me and only smiles when exercising her once-broken elbow while medicated then scoops the crystallized form of this into the coffee pot, adds water and then, defying all points of human logic, IV drip drinks it the entire work day.

So I bought a Pepsi and cursed her medicated, brown smile.

Speaking of the office (an open newsroom in which I spend the day peeling potatoes) the temperature in here, as of 9:06 a.m. is a kooky 65 degrees F. I'd write more about that, but I had a friend once get fired for something he wrote on his blog. It went something like this:

I hope everybody in _______ gets ________ by a _________!

People nearly shit themselves. I believe, in my heart, they feared for their lives. They watched the windows and double locked doors. They hugged their children and told them they loved them and ad nausem, etc. and so on. I also believe they probably indulged themselves in most every nasty fantasy they ever dreamed of in what they were sure would be their final hours. Just seriously, just imagine. You have a better imagination than I do. You can make it as funasty as you want. No one will tell.

I hope everybody turns into ___________ and flips through __________ while chirp, chirp, chirping to a endless stream of ____________.

Don't you?

I thought so.

Oh, I almost forgot to use my new linking powers. Let's give this a try.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter Isn't the Only Time To Publish.

Picked up another grand writer for Wrong Tree winter issue in Sam Nam. Now if only I could convince Sam Pink to do some cover art for me, all the pieces would be in place.

Actually, it feels like there are several stones unturned, to be honest. There are so many writers out there I enjoy and who I'd like to have in this coming issue – Molly Gaudry, Ryan Bradley, xTx, Brandi Wells, Scott Garson, Ben White, Dave Clapper, and on and on – but I've got to realize that this winter issue will not be the only issue I put out. I must save room for seconds, not to mention the wealth of submitted material I hope will come in after we print winter.

Heard today that PANK nominated Molly for a Pushcart. Congrats to Molly, who deserves every bit of it.

By the way, as I said I'd love to get some artwork from Sam Pink, in addition to his writings, of course. On that note, if you don't go read his blog today parts of your face will fall off. You can find it here.

A big old nod to our webmaster at Wrong Tree, Ralph Davis, is long overdue. He has worked hard as hell to take care of things that would've had to've been, well, just wouldn't have been done. If you're wondering what Ralph looks like, and I know you are, this is Ralph.

Also, pumped that I've been asked to take part in some sort of blog thing for JMWW.

Yeah, I just learned today how to link to places. Can you tell?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Buckaroo's Love Child.

If Buckaroo had a love child, and Buck being awesome it would be, of course, an awesome love child, that child's name would be: The Lineup of People To Appear In the First Print Issue of Wrong Tree Review.

It's like a Native American name thing. It was confirmed by the elders even though Buckaroo is not a Native American. It's real. I promise.

Here's some of the lineup:

Rusty Barnes
Matt Bell
Mel Bosworth
K.L. Cook
David Erlewine
Roxane Gay
Stephen Graham Jones
Kilean Kennedy
Sean Lovelace
Cami Park
Ethel Rohan
J.A. Tyler
Charles White

The elders were excited and shared with me much good smoke and we hunted large game afterwards because we were immortal.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still Climbing the Wrong Tree.

Work continues on the winter print issue of Wrong Tree. Had a great day yesterday getting material from some people I'm happy as hell to have on board. Among them were Stephen Graham Jones, j.a. tyler, Roxane Gay, Mel Bosworth and Cami Park. And that was just yesterday. The hunt for awesome writers and awesome work continues today and until the Dec. 1 deadline for work. But, if we don't get a single other person we're hoping to publish in this first issue we're already in the black. We're already packed with wonderful talent. It's a good feeling to be this far along more than a month out from copy deadline.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Marge Simpson graces Playboy

Just a quick note to say that I'm strangely excited about the fact that Marge Simpson is the centerfold for this most recent issue of Playboy. Feeling pretty weird about that, but honest at least.

MSNBC rocked out and had a feature piece of very very very short short short (okay you get the point) fiction. Twiction, pictofiction, etc. Man, there's too many ways of saying that, which leads me to this statement: I think a story should just be called a story. No need to add labels. Anyway, David Erlewine and company are interviewed about the form. Roxane Gay mentioned something in her fine blog that also stood out to me about the segment. They refer to David, at least, as a "lawyer by day and an amateur author by night." Roxane said "amateur" stuck in her craw (my words, not her's) and I agree. But I'm gonna focus on the awesomeness that is attention where attention is due and try to forget simple-minded editors who meshed up the narration without any of the people interviewed even knowing it was happening. Rock on storytellers.

So I moonlight a second job third shift at a hospital, and, for the record, I'm not paranoid about swine flu. It just happens to be that I'm constantly surrounded by people with either swine or type A flu, which is basically swine about 85 percent of the time. The reason I mention this is because I'd really like some time off work and hope that the gods hear me and remember me when they break out their swine ammo to unload. Hey, stop picking on kids and old people and give me a little vaca time. Thanks, god folk.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On Second Thought.

Was going to write about things here, but remembered that today could be the last day of my life. I think I'll do something else. See you tomorrow if it gets here.

Oh, they blew up the moon. Big fucking whoop.

Oh, President Obama got the Peace prize. Big fucking whoop.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Made Out Like a Thief. Every Dogz Has Its Day.

Been a good day for the old shel. Heard back from Thieves Jargon on a rare poem I submitted in mid-Sept. They liked it and accepted it. Titled, "Nobody Ever Talks About It," it'll be coming up there soon.

Then, not more than two hours later, I received a same-day response from DOGZPLOT. I sent to them today on David Erlewine's suggestion. I submitted a story called "Role Models." I felt pretty good about the submission, but never expected to hear back the same day and have them accept it.

So, all in all, a great day in storyteller land. Storyteller land is having a carnival. Storyteller land just got voted Biggest Flirt, Cutest, Most Likely to Succeed and Best All Around. Storyteller land....oh, okay. You get it.

Hi, Amy.

Hi, Dave.

Found out just a few minutes ago that David Erlewine reads a little here at Bent Country. And then there were two.

Maybe if I understood how to network a little better and spread the word about things like having a blog then I'd have more traffic. But then, maybe the idea isn't traffic, right you two?

I think this thing acts more like a diary than anything else. Speaking of diaries...

A short of Sean Lovelace's I read recently referenced entries from Franz Kafka's diary. I instantly grieved for this book, this man's diary entries. The one's Sean used in his story were awesome as hell, and I wanted more. I Googled it up, hoping to find out how much it was maybe at Amazon and what not, and to my surprise those babies are online. I was so happy I almost turned into . . . okay, that would be too easy. Easy as turning into a cockroach! That's right, I did it. That makes no sense. I imagine if one could actually turn into a cockroach that it wouldn't be an easy thing to do at all. Enough of that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rejections and Going Dormant.

Picked up some good rejections from Wigleaf, Nanoism and elimae this past week. I'm looking for a couple from Night Train and Thieves Jargon before hump day. Keep your fingers crossed.

It occurs to me that blogging is strange. For instance, I know that I have one (1) follower, bless her heart. Hi Amy, if you're reading today. So I basically write for Amy.

With that in mind, I'll say this: Amy (You) is (are) rocking it hard in Oklahoma (hope I got that right) with her (your) plant biology dude Channing. Just up and went, them (you) crazy kids. Good for them (you).

Okay, that was confusing.

When I finish the rewrites on the JMWW piece (David Erlewine is an editing god, incidentally) I'm gonna go dormant, I think. This is my process as a storyteller. A certain amount of time when I write nothing and then a fairly short burst when I write a lot. But it's different at other times, too. I don't really keep up with it. Some storytellers say you have to sit down and write for two hours or three hours a day. Can't do that.

But I gotta keep in mind that this is the peak season for sending out work. Oh, well. I can't work if I can't work. I've got some stuff put back from my last stint anyways.

Okay, Amy. Hope you care about all of this. If not, well, sorry. Go Sooners!

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Pushcarting uncle

My uncle G.C. Compton (known to me as Gayle) was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the lit journal New Southerner. I've told about everybody I've seen. The thing is, most of them had no idea what a Pushcart was. I explained, only to be asked what a small press was, exactly.

Well, it seems he had the same experience. When I finally saw him after learning of the nomination he said he'd thought to tell a few of his co-workers but had about the same results. Said he just wondered around most of the day with this feeling of, you know, happiness, without really having anyone to share it with.

With this in mind, I've decided to post here about his good fortune in hopes that anyone who might read this would realize its importance.

Wrong Tree work and JMWW

Been gathering up stuff for the first print issue of Wrong Tree Review. Soliciting is a new game for me and I think I bite a little. Can't get myself to ask for work for some reason. But that being said, there are several folk I'm going to ask. I am going to, for a fact. I'm just gonna do it and call it a day.

On that note, we do have several pieces that we accepted before closing to submissions until Dec. 1, so it's not all solicited material. Who cares, right? Well, I do. I like to comb the slush for that bitchin little story from that person I never heard of before. It's a rush.

I've been working with the very cool David Erlewine on a story for JMWW the last week or so. I'm pumped as all hell to have my work considered and also to be working with David. This cat has been extra generous with his time and offered much help on shaping my story up for publication. Well, can't say enough good about David. That's about how that shapes up.

Time to go do the journalism thing. A meeting looms this morning. Fiscal court, payments to senior citizens centers, reimbursement approvals.

Get a gun.

Shoot me.

Yes, I googled myself. But look what I found!

I googled myself yesterday. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last. I have a busy online life and so I like to see what...