Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Would Rather Have Written This with a Berol Black Warrior

I'm embarking on some deep reading that may or may not pay off.  Roberto Bolano, starting with The Savage Detectives (en route to my mail box as I write this).  And then just everything else he wrote with 2666 next after Detectives.

No real reason other than that I'm enthralled with larger than life people, especially writers, and Bolano is that for sure.  Almost mythological.

* * *

Listening to Brad Listi's Other People while I write this.  His interview with Dmitry Samarov, the memoir-writing, taxi driving author of Where To? out from Curbside Splendor.  I like these interviews.  I don't know.  Most of the time Listi is good at getting through some of the bullshit and having a real conversation.  I like that.  Okay.

* * *

Things are popping at Revolution John.  I'm trying to get a lot of essays and opinion pieces on there along with fiction and poetry.  I like that.  I've published literary journals before, but not arts and culture journals.  So when some essays started coming in I figured it would be fun to just open up the door for that sort of stuff.  It's been a blast and I'm going to keep it up.

Jason Lee Miller's essay on metamodernism published at RJ apparently drove Mather Schneider a little bit crazy from what I gather following a series of back and forth comments between Mather and myself on Facebook.  He's a baiting master and almost got me with that back and forth.  Oh Mather, you do keep it interesting.

I don't care about online baiting.  I've only lost my cool in that respect once.  I told a guy at Fictionaut I was going to find him and make sure one of us got his ass kicked.  They kicked me off that site for that.  But in fairness I had took a lot of bullshit from the guy for almost a year there before finally saying okay enough.  Fictionaut reinstated me, though, and I haven't heard from Matt Dennison since. Blah, blah, blah.

Point is, I just don't give much weight to online baiting or bashing.  It's strange.  I do give a lot of weight to online friendship and literary value, though.  Weird.  Connection is connection.  Maybe I should take online prickdom more serious.  What's good for the goose and all that jazz.

* * *

Lately I've been a little concerned I'm not leaving enough time to write due to editing and curating, etc.  It almost feels like when I reached a point at about 15 or 16 when it occurred to me I would have to make a choice between studying guitar and writing.  My dad was a professional guitarist and I started at about age 5 at his knee, not my choice.  But I liked it and kept it up.  But in my teens I started seeing that I would need to marry myself to either playing guitar or writing and I picked writing.  I didn't feel a I could immerse myself entirely in two creative interests, still don't.  I think you have to commit to one thing and move forward.  Maybe my limitations make that so, but whatever.

Thing is, my thoughts lately about editing and writing are starting to feel like that.  This time around I'm not going to be able to drop one and go with the other, I think.  I like both.  I'm going to do both, even if that spreads me thin and holds me back for both.  So be it.

* * *

Things you should be checking out:

- Change Seven Magazine.  New.  Hoping to see some bitchin cool stuff from this one.

- Atticus Lish.  I've not read his debut novel, but I've read a ton of interviews and the book will have to be pretty damn interesting to top this guy's general coolness.

- Metamodernism.  Read about it.  Write about it.  Send what you write to Revolution John.  I want to hear from you.

That's it for that.  I'm not skilled at telling people what is cool.  I don't know what it cool.  I just like what I like.

Right?  Right?  Right?


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

That Alone Is Heaven Enough

 A couple cool things coming up for me in the next while.

Karen McElmurray will be co-editing an anthology due out from Ohio University Press this coming spring.  Thanks to Karen (and to Chris Offutt for sending my name along to her) I'll have an essay called "Dangerous Stories" in that anthology.  There's a lot of great writers who'll be in this one, and I'm always happy to be included in fine company.  I'll be talking more about this as the time gets nearer to publication.

Another essay of mine called "Thanks, Breece" will be published soon (not sure when the next issue is out) of Mad Hatters' Review.

This one is close to my heart for two reasons.  One, because Pancake is the one, for me, who said it was okay.  And, two, because MHR was the brain child of Carol Novack.  Carol and Ryan W. Bradley remain the only two people in the indie lit community who I've actually spoken to IRL, as they say.

Carol and I had been exchanging emails, etc. back in 2008 over the course of about two weeks when she called me one day at the newspaper where I worked.  I'm still not sure how she pulled that one off.  She didn't spend time with small talk but, instead, went straight into talking about whatever the last thing was we had emailed about.  It was this bold, strange, and surprising thing that happened.  It was totally a Carol moment.  I'll never forget that.

So, happy on two levels, yes.

I don't know, it feels like there's more going on than that, but I guess it's just an overall good feeling for me lately.  That's probably the thing I'm thinking of.  This month will make six months, a half year, that I've been sober.  This one is off the charts cool because it's had a hugely positive impact on everything for me.  I've been more clear-headed, more productive on every level, happier, more content, reading more, writing more, loving more.  Just everything.  It's amazing.

I've posted a few things on Facebook about my sobriety and want to take time again here to thank everyone who responded and said kind things or offered any words of encouragement or shared stories with me one-on-one about their own struggles.  Can't tell you how much I truly appreciate that.  It's a shitdog of an existence, being a drunk.  Things are better now.  This alone is heaven enough.