Sunday, August 13, 2017

Upcoming Publications


"The House in the Northwest Corner" upcoming @ Vestal Review

I'm crazy happy to say that a flash fiction story of mine called "The House in the Northwest Corner" will be published in the next issue of the immortal Vestal Review. I'm so thankful to Mark Budman and sincerely honored to have placed my work in the oldest and most prestigious journal of flash fiction in the world.


"Ipseity" upcoming @ SOFTBLOW

I've seen the mock up webpage of my prose poem "Ipseity" at SOFTBLOW and that journal is attractive, let me tell you. Not to mention that everything I've read there has been top notch work. I finally felt brave enough to send them a strange piece about redheaded guys deifying Eric Stolz (which makes perfect sense to me) and was thrilled to hear that it will appear there in September.


"Solo Flight" upcoming @ Free State Review

As you've likely seen me talk about here, I've been writing poetry for the past several months. Well, I wrote some poetry very, very early in my career, but without an eye on publication. So how exciting was it for me when Barrett Warner, one of my favorite poets and a good friend and person, wrote and accepted "Solo Flight" for Free State Review, one of the best journals for poetry around? I couldn't stop talking about it. I told every person I saw. The poem will appear in the Summer 2018 issue.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES: "Other Ears Look Fine" @ Gone Lawn

Gone Lawn is an A-1 great journal for progressive literature, stories that push ideas around until they bounce into one another in the best of ways. I've submitted to GL a number of times but only once saw a piece published there. My odd story "Other Ears Look Fine" appeared there in the fall of 2014.

The catalyst for this story itself came after learning about the Roman soldier Longinus. Longinus had cataracts and couldn't participate in battle anymore. Because he was valued, though, he was put in charge of crucifixions at Mount Calvary.  But since he had long been a loyal soldier, he was placed on duty at Mount Calvary, overseeing crucifixions. Whatever else was on my mind at the time, who could possibly tell.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Review of Best Small Fictions 2017

Best Small Fictions 2017
Guest Editor Amy Hempel
Series Editor Tara L. Masih

Braddock Avenue Books (September, 2017)
$13 (Braddock Avenue Books)


My general thoughts about the Best Small Fictions series are probably no secret. I've called both BSF 2015 and BSF 2016 the most important books published in their respective years.

This year is no different.

The most important book published this year is now and will prove to be Best Small Fictions 2017.

Now that's we've established that once again, I will say this year has been a particularly good year for flash fiction. The New Yorker has decided to publish flash stories throughout the summer (though some of those stories beg the question as to whether The New Yorker and those of us writing flash fiction actually agree on what constitutes the form). This year, BSF series editor Tara L. Masih worked with a writer who is arguably one of the best ever at this beautiful and supremely difficult form, the astonishing Amy Hempel. Hempel herself has said this of the series:  “[T]his striking new series...has quickly become essential reading."

Yes, it has, Amy.

This year the selections are as strong as ever. The usual cast is present with veteran flash fiction authors such as Scott Garson, Jen Knox, Randall Brown, and Sherrie Flick, among others, while also peppering in some iconic short-short form writers like Joy Williams, Stuart Dybek, and Robert Scotellaro. But don't let these big names and longtime flash writers lead you too far afield from the others included in BSF this year. The talent is spread around.

Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello's story "The Sea Urchin" was the first story to stop me in my tracks this year. First published at Paper Darts, Cancio-Bello takes what could be a basic memory from childhood and creates a picture perfect example of flash fiction, employing nearly all the usual techniques in the most delightful ways, beginning with that always important first line: "Grandmother kept a diver’s knife strapped to her thigh."

She continues the story and gives the reader a marriage of the beautiful and practical, along with strange tradition and other-worldliness.

"On my birthday, she brought me a ball of spines in a bucket, lifted its bit of ocean into my cupped hands. The creature’s round mouth explored the cracks of my palm, tasting the salt on my skin, recoiling. An offering like the pincushions I often brought my mother, every needle threaded with a different color. Grandmother boiled garlic, soybeans, salt into broth, ladled the seaweed soup into a white bowl. She turned the urchin and broke it open, scooped out the ocher roe with a spoon, dropped it in among the kelp."

Another story as deserving for inclusion in this year's edition is the flash piece "Silent Hill" by Ras Mashramani, originally published in Pank. Mashramani takes a Playstation game from the late 1990s and creates a flashback world to when the character lost herself in the game while escaping a world in which her father was dying.

"There was a first generation Playstation video game about a young father who lost his child in a town where it snowed ash. Together you stumbled through foggy whiteness in the creature infested streets looking for her. Some early mornings you passed out in front of the living room TV screen watching hidden monsters behind your eyelids, ash in your hair, a fire burning forever underground. For so long it had been you and your father just like in the game running from stuccoed apartment to stuccoed apartment."

We are firmly placed in this world of father and daughter, both in the context of the video game and also the reality of the story. And when we find later on that the character finds herself allowing a boy much older than her named Marquise to live out a young lapgirl fantasy while she loses herself in the game, it's both a revealing and a supremely sad moment. But more than that it's a brilliant technique and wholly original, even for a form that is innately original in nearly any and all concepts of fiction. When a story stands out in such a way, it's no surprise to find it between the covers of BSF.

"You did this on the point of Marquise’s knee, engrossed in game play, addicted to the focused labored attention of a teenaged boy with sexual behavior issues and the fear of the screen, the fear of touch, wanting the fear, flattening all the affect and focusing it into this character, the Father, and his quest for his kid in this ghost town, and it was hard to disentangle Silent Hill from Paramount, California, and the neglected section 8 pool and automatic gates that made up the Sierra Gardens apartment complex."

This year's edition of BSF is a clear indication that the series is nowhere near a slowing down point, but is, instead, gaining momentum and prestige throughout the world of literature. When the history of flash fiction as a vital form is told, Best Small Fictions and Masih will be in the opening chapter. Of this there should be no doubt.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Brown Bottle featured at Snowflakes in a Blizzard

Darrell Laurant has featured my novel Brown Bottle at his website Snowflakes in a Blizzard, a site he dedicates to underappreciated books in hopes of getting them in the hands of eager readers. How cool is that of him? Good people left in this world. I answered several questions about the book, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

READ THE FEATURE 

An excerpt:

"Brown Bottle is a true hero story. The journey of a broken and flawed individual who sacrifices the better parts of himself for an innocent youth who is in peril. Along the way he faces the highest levels of corruption, modern day sirens, powerful contemporary potions, and even humans in the form of the most grotesque and heartless monsters imaginable. It’s a tragic but uplifting version of the hero’s journey told against an Eastern Kentucky backdrop recognizable to any rural citizen the world over."


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES: "Mating Ritual" at decomP

Bored children do strange things in the South.
This was one of my earliest flash fiction stories to be published. Looking at it now, I see it could very nearly be considered more prose poetry. But then I have a tendency to get caught up in labels more often than I'd care to admit. I'm working to surgically or otherwise rip that part of me out as quickly as possible.

"Mating Ritual" is one of the pieces I'm most proud of, one that, over the years since I was first published, I've always had a fondness for deep down. It's an odd story for me. I wrote it in less than fifteen minutes without a break. It was actually more like ten minutes, I guess. Each sentence came exactly formed without need for any further adjustments. And each paragraph was structured in the exact way needed. I didn't have to stop and think, didn't hesitate or second guess a single thing about this story.

I've never had this happen with anything I've written since. I really have no idea where this story came from at all. What I can remember is that earlier that day I had told someone how during the summers as a kid I would rip lightning bugs in half with my cousins and admitted we'd then take the luminescent  abdomens and stick them on our fingers and pretend we had glowing rings. Most unusual, yes.

See what you think.

READ THE STORY 

Monday, July 24, 2017

New interview up at Poets & Writers of VMP



Staring at souls
Mike Lafontaine, chief of all things at Vending Machine Press, is working up some great magic for his contributors. One of those extras are interviews he's posting at a sister site called Poets & Writers of VMP. My interview was posted yesterday.

Mike asked some good questions and because he opened his doors to my work at a time when so many others seemed closed for awhile, I opened up and talked about some things I hadn't touched on before. It was fun and interesting. Have a look.

READ THE INTERVIEW

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Appreciation of Timothy Gager's CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW IS REAL


Chief Jay Strongbow is Real
by Timothy Gager

Big Table Publishing (July 18, 2017)
$14 paperback (Amazon)


Timothy Gager is a fantastic poet. I'd like to say this up front. And I say that for everyone. To my mind, and I could be off base in mentioning this, but I seem to think he may go unnoticed too often for his poetry. Reading his most recent collection, Chief Jay Strongbow is Real, I've become convinced he could be one of our most natural poets. His poems have this feel to them, as if they appeared to him in visions. In truth, I realize this only means he worked on them extraordinarily hard. But still, not everyone can bring across this natural feel in their work.

Take this from Act I, the first of eight sections of poems from the collection, a piece titled "Repatriation":


It’s still happening, now, as 
science, debunked their tall tale

that I wasn’t really a native American,
not a cultural item of lineal descendants

see what they dug up, check the DNA 
which shows, I still long to be in the ground.


Timothy spends a good deal of time at the beginning of this collection dealing with justice and injustice, especially in regard to the native American. In his preface, he explains that his perspective on the treatment of the native American was changed following a failed grade school assignment. He spends time on the subject in the title poem, as well, Chief Jay Strongbow, a former pro wrestler who used a racist gimmick, a popular show technique for those guys in the 1980s. But he doesn't stay on the subject, instead moving on to topics ranging from the complexities of love to the hardships of addiction.

In the poem "Sobriety" with stripped down language and minimal space, Gager absolutely sums up one of many aspects of what staying clean is like, the hourly grind of it and how beautiful recovery can be when managed successfully. The poem begins with a familiar image, the addict or alcoholic in recovery with coffee. In this instance, sitting alone in thought, viewing oil paintings.


view the oil paintings 
hung boats and fields 

thousands of brush strokes 
thousands 


But more than what he can do with a ripe subject matter, and returning to this natural rhythm his style develops on the tongue, it is his use of syntax that can astound in this collection. Of the many poems on display, none show this more clearly for me than "Nursery Rhythms." Have a look at the final stanza and consider while reading how Timothy must have labored over each syllable working in perfect concert with the other.


off my crooked clavicle
sapiens discern vertebrae 
unbreakable, resilient 
missiled. And shatterproof 
glass in pitched little houses 
is how we wind up a catapult.


Big Table Publishing just released this title. I suggest you get to Amazon and get a copy as soon as possible. BTP will have it available at their site soon, I'm sure. In the meantime, know that Timothy is writing poetry that is not only pleasing on a poetic level but is also important on a social level, aware of long-standing debts and the newly-wronged alike and poetry that offers wisdom shared beautifully, not something found easily or often. And he shares this asking nothing in return but your attention.


 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

New in the Mail - Kuzhali Manickavel



The Appreciation of Marcus Speh's GISELA


Gisela
by Marcus Speh

Folded Word Press (June 30, 2017)
$16 paperback (from Folded Word Press)
$5.99 Kindle (free with Kindle Unlimited)


I won't spend too much time talking about when Marcus was Finnigan Flawnt, but you should know that Marcus was once a writer on the indie scene that other indie lit writers couldn't talk enough about. He was like Basquiat in the 1980s New York art scene. He still is, it's only now there's that asterisk there under the conversation with that cool pseudonym. Like Basquiat, he is talented, charming, completely original, and when working under the pen name, mysterious without being in your face with it. He's a natural, you know?

Over the past several years, he's receded a bit, back to Berlin and his primary work of being a genius in other fields of study (yes, Marcus is bonafide that way. My daughter could possibly still believe he alone invented the internet, in fact). But let's move along to his most recent achievement, the historical novel-in-flash Gisela, recently published by Folded Word Press.

Based on the historical queen and later saint Gisela of Hungary, Gisela, the book, bloomed in Marcus's mind (that's how I imagine it happening, blooming) from the idea of this influential woman who history forgot or, at best, made a footnote. How would the many pieces fit together, and how could he, Marcus, combine them to magical ends?

The end result is a beautifully crafted set of short pieces that can both stand on their own as exacting and fully realized works of literature but also, when laced together by Marcus's skilled hands, become a full structure that is, for me, literally breathtaking, in that I seriously discovered myself holding my breath while reading at least half a dozen times throughout. For instance in sections such as one titled "The Witches" the reader feels as much under a spell as any character presented in the text. Here's an excerpt:

"Gerbert, by the window, shuddered; his mouth contorted. The witch began to twist faster and faster while her twin was talking to Gisela, mumbling to her, marching old holy words straight through the child’s ear into her skull, where they entered the bloodstream and looked for the enemy. The monk’s fingers twitched in the same rhythm and he found himself falling into a trance. He knew it would be dangerous to witness the witches brewing and dancing but there was an energy in it that he’d missed badly since he’d been asked to educate the young princess. Gerbert didn’t even notice when the hags stopped, tucked the girl in, rubbed the concoction on her lips and left for the unseen place from which they had come. Gisela healed quickly thereafter: The fever fell that same night and she asked for solid food the next morning. She had no memory of what had happened, but when she bounced on one leg across the meadow in the castle yard, she chanted a little melody that had not been heard in church, an odd melody that made Gerbert’s ears prick up because he sensed the uncanny in it."

To my mind (and I've read everything that Marcus has written that I'm aware is out there) this novel surpasses anything he's accomplished to this point. It is no mind whether you have an interest in history or, in truth, even literature. Reading Gisela is to be fully enchanted, and that is the rarest of all states for any writer to place a reader. It may be the writer's greatest achievement. Marcus set an extraordinary goal for himself in this and never faltered. We're all richer for his effort and success.



***


Next Appreciation: Timothy Gager's Chief Jay Strongbow is Real



Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Appreciation of Heather Sullivan's WAITING FOR AN ANSWER


Waiting for an Answer 
by Heather Sullivan

Nixes Mate Books (July 15, 2017)
$9.95 paperback
$2.99 eBook
 

My purchase of Heather's poetry collection Sullivan's Waiting for an Answer set the record, I think. I saw it on my Facebook feed at let's say 8:17 p.m. I owned the eBook edition at let's say 8:24 p.m.

I would have gotten the hard copy, but I was eager. And my book buying funds were wiped out about three weeks ago. These are the facts as presented. Here are some more facts.

I'm a fan of Heather's poetry and with this, her debut collection, I was, yes, eager, to say the least. What I found was a heartfelt collection full of talent and composure that took on the powerful topics of love and family and loss and parenting and childhood with an ease that has been, to my eye, unmatched.

The poems are written sincerely and from a place of awe or contentment or some kind of cosmic blessing the rest of us have yet to experience. When Heather trains her poetic vision on the present day of say her children or the seaside town she now calls home, the reader wants to be there with her, feel all the moments along with her. She does this with words, sentences, lines. And in poems that explore a childhood that immediately intones a past with more shadows and perhaps more jagged learning curves that will later feed the seaside present, Heather never falters with the same composure and talent. What is best about what is given up to the reader of these poems is simply everything Heather has to give that is best about her heart and her mind.

Waiting for an Answer is less a debut poetry collection and more a culmination of one incredibly strong person's inner awakening to a life lived with integrity in the face of hardship and a philosophy built on family and built to last for all time. When a poet gives you that kind of book, you pay attention.


***


Next Appreciation: Marcus Speh's Gisela



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Jellyfish Review publishes "After a Certain Point, You've Got to Name the Bird"




Chris James at Jellyfish Review (who I'm compelled to tell you is an unbelievably good writer himself as evidenced by this story alone) published a story of mine I'm very fond of called "After a Certain Point, You've Got to Name the Bird" yesterday. The story was rejected a discouraging number of times before Chris wrote giving me the fantastic news that he'd publish it at JR. I know we don't get to read as many online stories as we'd like, but I really would love if you could get time to read this one.

Read - "After a Certain Point, You've Got to Name the Bird"


Monday, July 10, 2017

Brief Appreciations Coming Soon


I've bought books by two of my friends in the past couple weeks - Gisela: Empress, Abbess, Saint by Marcus Speh and Waiting for an Answer by Heather Sullivan.

I've read most everything I've found by these two and I've always enjoyed it. I have no doubt I will be a fan of these latest works. It's Heather's debut poetry collection (congratulations Heather!) and I'm already halfway through Gisela, so the appreciations will be coming somewhat soon.

Appreciations? Yes, not reviews. Because let's be honest, I'm not going to find much at all in these books that I'm not going to like. Many thanks to Rusty for that term, by the way. It makes all the sense in the world.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Twitter (v.) - Making new friends. Having fun.


This is awkward. Anytime a person says the sentence I'm getting ready to say, it nearly always implies they mean the exact opposite. But I really do not. So, that said, here's my sentence: I truly don't mean to offend any of my many Twitter friends by saying what I'm about to say.

I don't understand Twitter users who have, for instance, 16 people they're following and, conversely, a total of 12,548 followers.  Here's what those numbers look like on Twitter. You know, closer together.


Following - 16   Followers - 12, 548

It's jarring. At least I'm jarred by it. I'm struck. My attention is captured. I'm stumped, flummoxed. I'm not appalled or anything. I'm only sort of conflicted or confused. Maybe a little bit offended? But only a little, because I have heard the explanations. The one most often handed over is this old standby: I only follow people I really really want to see posts from, people I actually know. Well fine and good and fine, but here's what I see in my already overworked mind when you say that: You standing in a corner of a room talking to sixteen people you know in real life and see everyday in your living room or around the block and who you don't need Twitter to talk to in the first place.



But, in defense of Twitter users seen with these numbers, they cannot, absolutely cannot, be held accountable for the number of people who follow them on this social media platform. And this has nothing to do with my point. My point is this: If they were to follow some of them back I truly believe they'd make a lot more new friends and have a lot more fun.

About two weeks ago, I put this theory into practice. I didn't have the staggering numbers some of my friends have, but I had a noticeable difference. I think it was roughly this:


Following - 321   Followers - 1,252

Here's the truth: I really don't know how this happened. It wasn't planned. I basically stopped following back at some point, I think. Mostly out of laziness. This combined with a lack of checking in on my account and before I knew it I had this big old difference in numbers. In total fairness, this may be the case with many of my friends, too. I have no idea. That said, part of my purpose with this post is to encourage those friends to put my theory to practice, though. Because when I did, my Twitter feed became much much more interesting. And I've started chatting with a crazy amount of hilarious, wise, witty, and charming people.

My theory wasn't complicated. Make things right. Carrying it out was actually fun. I took to Twitter and went first to each account that had followed me. Watching out for bots, I followed people back. No real discretion. How could I know who would be potential online friends? Then I went looking for more remarkable guys and gals. It was fun. Try it, seriously. I honestly think it was what Twitter was invented for. 


Friday, July 7, 2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES: "Four Micros in Second-Person" at Wilderness House Literary Review


This one is from a good ways back. In fact, I forgot until a couple weeks ago that I had ever had anything published at Wilderness House Literary Review, as evidence by the fact that over the past few months I've submitted something to them at least four times with high hopes I might finally get something published there. I'm forgetful, at best. One thing's for certain: It wasn't because I don't admire WHLRevew that I forgot. I admire them at the highest level, and was ecstatic to discover I had placed work with them, no matter how long ago in my career that had happened. I hope you enjoy "Four Micros in Second-Person". It was a piece I wrote while enthralled with both the micro form (still many thanks to Joseph Young for that) and also stories written in second-person (still and still many thanks to Clay McLeod Chapman's amazing book Rest Area).

Read "Four Micros in Second-Person"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New poem "You Can't Trust Water" at Uut Poetry

Uut Poetry is a fine fine online poetry journal. It's a Tumblr: Home run #1. It has fantastic art: Home run #2. And last but not least, it has some amazing poetry (see Howie Good's Judenrein for one example): Home run #3. That three homers in one game. That's some Reggie level chops right there.

You can assume I'm saying this only because I have a poem published there today, but you'd be wrong. I've followed Uut for a fairly long time and hadn't written any poetry. Now I'm writing poetry and so I sent Brooks something. He liked it. I'm happy he did. That's the whole story, and who cares anyways? Right.

Here's my poem called "You Can't Trust Water" and I hope it makes you think and makes your brain enjoy words for a short while.







Monday, July 3, 2017

Second Installment of My Goodread Year at Enclave


I'm rolling along with my Goodreads installments over at Enclave. It's basically a list of the books I've read so far this year divided into 10 or 12 at a time. I write a little about each one. That's the whole thing. But it's fun. Have a look.

First Installment

Second Installment

Friday, June 30, 2017

New poetry at Fixional


There's a new literature website called Fixional. I have a new poem there called "The Bonding Fire." I'd love if you all visited and gave it a read. Below is the link:

The Bonding Fire - Fixional

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

FROM THE ARCHIVES: "Ouroboros" at The Molotov Cocktail

Here's an oldie that Lee Hamblin reminded about a couple days ago. It's called "Ouroboros" and was published a few centuries ago at The Molotov Cocktail. As with most all of my fiction, there's some real stuff in there. And it's not what you'd expect.

READ HERE: OUROBOROS

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Matthew J. Hall Reviews Brown Bottle

Matthew J. Hall wrote a flattering review of my third book, the novel Brown Bottle at his website Screaming With Brevity. The review came out in February and I'm pretty sure I shared it at that time at another site I used to keep up. But, since I haven't shared it here, I'm going to pop it right up. Follow the below link to read the review.

MATTHEW J. HALL'S REVIEW OF BROWN BOTTLE

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Seven Drums" Published in BULL


It's a two-way win for me. I've wanted something of mine to appear in BULL for a very long time, and I had a story I felt was the best fiction I'd written in probably a decade that BULL fiction editor said he's like to see. The two-way win came when Ben Drevlow accepted the story, a western called "Seven Drums," for publication in BULL's pulp issue. And it also appears on the website today. I'd honestly love if you'd go read it as soon as you can. I don't usually say it, but I am proud of this one.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Social Media: An A-1 Dodgy Curse



Earlier today I published a post saying I wasn't going to share these on social media anymore.
Well, my post from a couple days ago (which I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +) had about sixty or so views. The post from this morning has five.

And I'm still not sharing posts from here to social media anymore. These posts are for approximately six people, it seems. And that's turbo okay by me. All are welcome, but six will do fine.



There's Probably a Meme for That


Okay, so the Braves have won their last three games and are only five more wins with no losses to being at 500 ball. Good. Second place in a division where second is really first because the stupid Nats are like 10 games ahead of everybody.

Okay, my back is out, it's 6 a.m., and I've already been at work a half hour.

Okay, something has happened here at my work so that coworkers seem to think my office is Studio 54 and that I love having five to six people in here at all times, which forces me to put on five to six masks at once and nearly cause myself another nervous breakdown. And I also have work to do.

Okay, I'm not going to share this post or any of my other posts to social media anymore because social media is a room full of scratching posts and tomcats and all the tomcats think they have every right to scratch every post. My scratching posts are mine. You cannot touch them. Besides, as the wise and talented Laurence Fishburne said, "My social life is not media worthy." Amen, Orpheus. Amen Jack Crawford.

Okay, my coffee is done and it's now time to grab a cigarette and a cup of McCafe with some hazelnut cream. I'm not even going to talk about how good coffee is, you know? There's probably a meme for that somewhere. Google it.


Friday, June 16, 2017

The Pure Sounds of Baseball

HEY DAY: Glavine pitching for my Braves.

A baseball game on the radio is a wonderful thing. I've been listening to my Atlanta Braves exclusively on the radio this season (of course along with watching highlight clips of big plays on MLB At Bat) and the option has me like a brand new fan, though I've been watching the Braves for thirty-five years.

As I write this, the boys are playing Miami and coming off their second victorious series this season against the reprehensible Washington Nationals. And I'm listening to it all on the radio, the comfort-food smooth voices of broadcasting royalty Chip Caray and Hall of Famer Don Sutton easing me from inning to inning. In the background I can hear the stirring rumble of the fans rising and falling like a lake current hitting the bank and receding. A full second before Chip tells me Matt Adams connects on a monster hit, I hear the crack and already know. All I need Chip to do now is tell me if it's fair, tell me when it leaves SunTrust.

Any fans who haven't tried the Radio Season, as I'm calling it now, really should test the waters and see if next year would be a possibility. It's a return to some kind of pureness, which baseball will always provide you under any circumstance. As the poet Donald Hall said, "Baseball is fathers and sons. Football is brothers beating each other up in the backyard."


Thursday, June 8, 2017

I Hate Being a Writer Today

I hate that writing is so important to me that sometimes the people who love me feel they have to show interest in writing, too, in order to be close to me. Maybe I won't be a writer for awhile.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

My Per "Dead" Ohlin Story at Blue Fifth Notebook

Late last year the wonderful Michelle Elvy asked if I'd like to take part in Blue Five Notebook's blue collection 7. Michelle and the other editors solicited ekphrastic works of poetry, fiction, art, and non-fiction that connected in some way with the creative arts.

I contributed a story about the former lead singer of the black metal band Mayhem, Per "Dead" Ohlin called "Draft Notes on Life Eternal" you can read here. His is a strange and sad story in its entirety. If you read this and our intrigued any at all, I'd surely recommend looking further into his life, career, and eventual suicide.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two Short Stories @ Connotation Press

I want to thank Jonathan Cardew up front for being great in dealing with me on getting a couple stories in shape for Connotation Press's May 2017 issue. He's been doing a remarkable job there at CP as fiction editor and I'm sure we'll see more great work in the coming months.

That said, I have two stories - "Oldbones" and "Persistence" - published at CP this month. The entire issue offers a lot of solid work so cruise around and give it a read.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Relax Again, It's a Reading Roundup, Again

Cause it's my childhood and warm and wonderful.


Here is some work worth checking out. Well worth checking out.





On Beauty and Other Poems by Olivia Marwdig @ Vending Machine Press

Kept by Meredith Alling & Agam Neiman @ 7X7

Three Poems by Howie Good @ RASPUTIN: A Poetry Thread

In the Country of the Broken by David Roden @ gobbet

Hungry by Nasreen Khan @ Anti-Heroin Chic

Storm Girls by Cathy Ulrich @ Fair Folk

The House That Jack Built by John Madera @ Conjunctions

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fluland Is the Name of a Lit Journal

I'm sending poetry out to some journals lately and getting good news. I like that. In fact, I'm so into poetry right now that I may not be able to stick to my plan of focusing on long fiction for the next several months. I need Russell Edson. I need James Tate. I need Francis Ponge. I need prose poetry. As Edson says, I'm a little prose poet. The form just feels comfortable for me. I've always looked at writing on a sentence level and images and the unspoken or unspeakable. The narrative has always been hardly more than the structure that enabled me to lay down these sick phrases, etc.



A few days ago I had four poems accepted at the lit journal Fluland. I saw a friend's piece there a couple weeks back or something like that and checked out the rest of the journal. It's all kitschy and odd and publishes all different kinds of innovative work including comics and such. A place like that draws me in. The different and strange always has had that effect on me and that makes me wonder how in the world I wrote realism for so long. Not to say I won't write more realism at some point (although I seriously don't see me doing it) but just that I can't see how I did so for so long when my interests are in the fantastic. Oh well, only I really care.

So yep, Fluland. So I sent them four the innovative poems. Side Note: I use the word innovative not as a brag sort of thing but because I dislike the term experimental fiction or poetry. It implies possible failure. An experiment can go wrong. Innovation is simply moving past the normal borders in my mind. I prefer the moving past borders option. Yep. So they took four of my poems. One called "a Lectus" that deals with my dad; one called "Forty's Year Mind" that is about Nabokov's death; one titled "Things to Fix With a Hammer" that is about exactly what it says and features some clip art; and a poem called "Rain in Gutters" that is, yep, about rain in gutters. Well, and some other stuff.

This is the first time a journal has accepted a bundle of my poems so I'm excited. I mean Fluland isn't The Paris Review and.....isn't that awesome! I'm serious. I want more journals like Fluland around. This is where the real innovation in poetry and prose is happening. We all know this.

I'm not sure when the poems will appear (I was told when they were published I would be contacted). I'll post here when they are live.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Duotrope Editor Interview for The Airgonaut

Some of you may know that I edit the online journal The Airgonaut; some of you may not know this. If you don't, then pay no mind to what I'm posting here this morning. No worries. If you do, then here is an interview at Duotrope I took part in about The Airgonaut. I basically answered a series of stock questions about things ranging from what I look for in a submission to who are some writers I like. Things such as that. I will say if you're planning on sending something my way there then this would be a benefit to you if you're not already familiar with the journal.


Monday, May 8, 2017

There Are No Prizes

So I'm gearing up to enter some pages for the Italo Calvino Prize this year. I wish I didn't care about awards or prizes because they're intensely arbitrary and a set of certain opinions from certain humans at a given time and place under certain circumstances of which we have no idea the levels of Aristotelian confluences that brought them to their decision that day. But I do care. I hate myself, but I do care. If other people did what I should do and not care then this wouldn't be a problem. My mind keeps going back to the last two sentences in Michael Ondaatje's masterwork Coming Through Slaughter.

"Thirty-one years old. There are no prizes."

Yes, Mr. Ondaatje. I hear you, sensei. But I'm still probably going to make a run for the Calvino. I mean if it was named after just about another other author I'd be able to pass it up right now. But I'm writing Calvino influenced work these days (or had have been the past several months, although that's about to change for a bit). I've also been reading Calvino like a madman. I've been basically trying to take in everything about him and Borges that I can almost as if by osmosis. And I started doing this much much before I learned there was even such a thing as a Calvino Prize. Or that it was given out by the University of Louisville, where I basically went to grad school. Or that someone I actually know (Ryan Ridge) won it last year. Now that's a series of confluences for you. So basically I can't resist. Wish me luck or don't. Either way I'm going to be dropping a $25 entry fee for nothing, as I will not win. I know this because Tyler knows this.



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Refocusing on longer stories for now

For the next few months I'm going to be working on some longer stories set in Appalachia but having nothing to do with Appalachia per se. Reading Moshfegh has me kickstarted back to writing about characters. Keeping the focus directly on them and what they want. I've missed that while writing other material since September of last year. I have starts for about ten or so stories like this so hopefully I'll emerge with some decent work when this is all said and done. Wish me luck.

Another Ottessa Moshfegh Post

Yep, another one. Because you can't get enough Ottessa Moshfegh in your life.

I'm reading Eileen now (the book she admits was written along a familiar paradigm in order to make money). Yes, to sell books. I absolutely love that she says this without any shame, for she should feel none. What's wrong with writing to sell a book? Not every endeavor we make as writers has to be Van Gogh-like in its unappreciated genius and obscure innovation.

Moshfegh comes across as completely real to me, at least in the interviews of hers I've read. Her interview with Luke Goebel in whatever place it was I read it was what led me to read her most recent book, the short story collection Homesick for Another World. Those stories were written in such a pitch as I've never encountered before in fiction. I didn't think that was still possible today. And there's nothing really flashy about them that makes them so good. It's mostly how she tells a story - like she starts from inside the characters and makes her way out to you so that by the time her story is told it's like you've lived it along with the characters and her. It's a subtle talent, and a beautiful one.

Yesterday I ran across a guest post by her that I'm surely going to share here now. It was published at The Masters Review and is titled "How to Shit." Seriously, how amazing great is that? she talks a lot about shit, sort of. She talks about things in only the way she is able to talk about things. Have a look. Just follow the below linked title.

THE MASTERS REVIEW - "How to Shit" by Ottessa Moshfegh 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Reading log from 2014 to present

2017

1. Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

2. The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

3. Cult of Loretta by Kevin Maloney

4. The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire

5. Saw Strokes My Father Taught Me by G. Arthur Brown

6. Root and Shoot by Nathan Leslie

7. United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas

8. Cartoons in the Suicide Forest by Leza Cantoral

9. Visions by Troy James Weaver

10. Naked Friends by Justin Grimbol

11. Thanks and Sorry and Good Luck: Rejection Letters from the Eyeshot Outbox by Lee Klein

12. Handwriting by Michael Ondaatje

13. Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell

14. Bluets by Maggie Nelson

15. Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery by Tim Earley

16. Alien vs. Predator by Michael Robbins

17. On Broad Sound by Rusty Barnes

18. The Second Sex by Michael Robbins

19. Whim Man Mammom by Abraham Smith

20. EOB: Earth Out of Balance by John Minichillo

21. Paris Blues by Charles Baudelaire

22. The Devil’s Trill by Ron Houchin

23. Tinderbox Lawn by Carol Guess

24. Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino

25. Jorges Luis Borges: The Last Interview and Other Conversations by Jorge Luis Borges

26. Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

27. Homesick for Another World: Stories by Ottessa Moshfegh

28. Dreamtigers by Jorge Luis Borges

29. Plainwater: Essays and Poetry by Anne Carson

30. The Book of Sand and Shakespeare’s Memory by Jorge Luis Borges

31. The Cinammon Peeler by Michael Ondaatje

32. The Lucky Body by Kyle Coma-Thompson

33. Best Experimental Writing 2014 edited by Cole Swenson



2016

1. Easter Rabbit by Joseph Young

2. Best Small Fictions 2015 edited by Tara L. Masih and Robert Olen Butler

3. The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction edited by Tara L. Masih

4. Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons by Tara Laskowski

5. Hint Fiction edited by Robert Smartwood

6. Metal Gear Solid by Ashley and Anthony Burch

7. The Nimrod Flipout by Etgar Keret

8. Micro Fiction edited by Jerome Stern

9. Rashomon and other Stores by Ryünosuke Akutagawa

10. Severance by Robert Olen Butler

11. Slade House by David Mitchell

12. Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthleme by Tracy Daughtery

13. If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

14. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 guest edited by Guillermo del Toro

15. Studies in Hybrid Morphology by Matt Tompkins

16. Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories edited by James Thomas

17. A Wild Swan and Other Tales by Michael Cunningham

18. Appalachian Elegy by bell hooks

19. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

20. The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

21. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

22. Basal Ganglia by Matthew Revert

23. The Humble Assessment by Kris Saknussemm

24. Gil the Nihilist: A Sitcom by Sean Kilpatrick

25. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

26. Bolaño: A Biography in Conversations by Mónica Maristain

27. Underworld by Don DeLillo

28. The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges

29. Tables Without Chairs by Brian Alan Ellis and Bud Smith

30. The Tent by Margaret Atwood

31. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

32. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

33. Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor

34. A Universal History of Iniquity by Jorge Luis Borges

35. Souvenirs and Other Stories by Matt Tompkins

36. In Case We Die edited by Aaron Dietz and Bud Smith

37. The Color Master by Aimee Bender

38. Split Rail by Mark Welborn

39. Relax, You’re Going to Die by Tai Sheridan

40. Hoopty Time Machines by Christopher DeWan

41. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

42. Marigold by Troy James Weaver

43. The Insufferable Goucho by Roberto Bolaño

44. Light Boxes by Shane Jones

45. Best Small Fictions 2016 edited by Tara L. Masih and Stuart Dybek

46. He Stopped Loving Her Today: George Jones, Billy Sherrill, and the Pretty-Much Totally True Story of the Making of the Greatest Country Record of All Time by Jack Isenhour

47. The Girl on the Fridge by Etgar Keret

48. Jeff Bridges by Donora Hillard

49. 13 by David Tomaloff

50. Failing This by Alec Niedenthal

51. Kitty by Lindsay Hunter

52. The Map of the System of Human Knowledge by James Tadd Adcox

53. I’ll Give You Something to Cry About by Corey Mesler

54. Our Hearts Are Power Ballads by J. Bradley

55. Daniel Fights a Hurricane by Shane Jones

56. Philip K. Dick: The Last Interviews and Other Conversations

57. The Equation of Constants by b.l. pawelek

58. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

59. The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

60. A Death in the Family by James Agee

61. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

62. Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt

63. Horror Film Poems by Christoph Paul

64. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

65. My Friend Ken Harvey by Barrett Warner

66. Museum of the Weird by Amelia Gray

67. Two Hundred and One Miniature Tales by Alejandro Cordoba Sosa

68. Not Quite So Stories by David S. Atkinson



2015

1. Tampa by Alissa Nutting

2. Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

3. The Baltimore Atrocities by John Dermot Woods

4. Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill

5. Where All Light Tends To Go by David Joy

6. Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash

7. Sinners of Sanction County by Charles Dodd White

8. Hell and Ohio by Chris Holbrook

9. The Cove by Ron Rash

10. Burning Bright by Ron Rash

11. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

12. Straight to Hell and Astrology by Danielle Etienne

13. American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell

14. Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill

15. Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

16. Gap Greek by Robert Morgan

17. Witchita Stories by Troy James Weaver

18. Hall of Small Mammals by Thomas Pierce

19. Big World by Mary Miller

20. The National Virginity Pledge by Barry Graham

21. When You Cross That Line by Sam Slaughter

22. Fourteen Stories and None of Them Are Yours by Luke B. Goebel

23. Gutshot by Amelia Gray

24. The Marble Orchard by Alex Taylor

25. Winterswim by Ryan W. Bradley

26. Haints Stay by Colin Winnette

27. Trampoline by Robert Gipe

28. In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell

29. Blurb by Ravi Mangla

30. Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History by Phong Nguyen

31. Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon by Cameron Pierce

32. The Way the World Is by Michael Henson

33. Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean edited by Karen Salyer McElmurray and Adrian Blevins

34. Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace by David Lipsky

35. The Meadow by James Galvin

36. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

37. Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 1 by Marcel Proust

38. Beloved by Toni Morrison

39. Ridgerunner by Rusty Barnes

40. Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

41. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

42. The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek

43. The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing by Nicholas Rombes

44. Is That You, John Wayne by Scott Garson

45. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

46. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders

47. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

48. The Trial by Franz Kafka

49. The Stranger by Albert Camus

50. The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel

51. V by Thomas Pynchon

52. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender

53. Lucky Alan and other Stories by Jonathan Lethem

54. Suddenly, a Knock On the Door by Etgar Keret

55. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

56. Taipei by Tao Lin



2014

1. Nightwork by Christina Schutt

2. Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

3. Tenth of December by George Saunders

4. Galaga by Michael Kimball

5. The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus

6. Hill William by Scott McClanahan

7. Out of the Woods by Chris Offutt

8. Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones

9. Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan

10. The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell

11. The Uncertainty Principle by Rob McLennan

12. The Day the Cloud Stood Still by Patrick Trotti

13. In the Season of Blood and Gold by Taylor Brown

14. Billie the Bull by xTx

15. Pathologies by William Walsh

16. Baptism and Dogs by B.L. Tucker

17. The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones

18. Above All Men by Eric Shonkwiler

19. The Fun We’ve Had by Michael Seidlinger

20. Backswing by Aaron Burch

21. Brown Dog by Jim Harrison

22. Alone with Other People by Gabby Bess

23. The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

24. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

25. Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson

26. Panic, USA by Nate Slawson

27. Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu

28. A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’ Conner

29. Jeff, One Lonely Guy by Jeff Ragsdale

30. Baby Babe by Ana Carrete

31. Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

32. I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying by Matthew Salesses

33. I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic by Jamie Iredell

34. Colony Collapse by J.A. Tyler

35. Low Down Death Right Easy by J. David Osborne

36. Excavation by Wendy C. Ortiz

37. My Friend Ken Harvey by Barrett Warner

38. Witch Piss by Sam Pink

39. The Black Dog Eats the City by Chris Kelso

40. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

41. Addicts and Basements by Robert Vaughan

42. The Tommy Plans by Cooper Reener

43. Bark by Lorrie Moore

44. Drinking Until Morning by Justin Grimbol

45. High as the Horse’s Bridle by Scott Cheshire

46. Dry by Augusten Burroughs

47. Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata

48. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell

49. My Salinger Years by Joanna Rakoff

50. Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max

51. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

52. Annihilation by Jeff VandeMeer

53. Lost in Space by Ben Tanzer

54. King Shit by Brian Alan Ellis

55. 33 Fragments of Sick-Sad Living by Brian Alan Ellis

56. 10:04 by Ben Lerner

57. Misadventure by Nicholas Grider

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Relax, It's a Mini-Roundup

A few pieces I've come across over the past couple weeks that I shared on social media but am pretty sure didn't really make it to a lot of people's feeds because I probably suck, which is a shame, so I'm sharing them again here as a whole.


The Fruiting Body of the Mycelium by Becca Borawski Jenkins @ The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts


Birthplace of the Saints (comic) by Kevin Reilly @ The Nashville Review


Poems by Howie Good @ Queen Mob's Teahouse


The Mall We Called Commas by A.E. Weisgerber @ Five 2 One Magazine

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thanks for Your Feedback. I Appreciate It.

In the past couple of days I've made my new book A True Story: A Novella available in every way I know how so that as many people as possible can read it without cost. If you've downloaded it I thank you and hope you will will share your thoughts in some way, be it on Goodreads or in a small review or simply by posting in the comments here or elsewhere to let me know what you thought. I thank you and appreciate it more than you can know.

Author Nicholas Grider sits in the Chaos chair

I've got a new Chaos Question interview up with author Nicholas Grider. Go have a look! Back to the Future is mentioned. Just saying. Back to the Future.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ottessa Moshfegh & Anne Carson

I'm reading Ottessa Moshfegh's short story collection Homesick for Another World and it's restoring my faith in the goodness of the long short story. Numerous of these stories in the collection are upwards of thirty pages long. I mean, that is insane. The first story I read in the book was great. Then I realized it was almost as long as Wittgenstein's single published book of philosophy (short, I'll grant you, but a short story this size?) and almost returned the book to the library (would have loved to have bought this one but alas). I'm glad I didn't because unlike with other thirty and forty page long stories I never feel bogged down during hers. It's hard to put my finger on but I think it's the way she commands the sentence and then latches the next sentence on in a nice fit. It's something like that. If you've not read Homesick for Another World and you're like me and hate long stories don't let the breakdown of the table of contents put you off. She pulls off some kind of magic trick, I'm telling you. Also, she gives great interview.

While taking a few strides between Moshfegh's stories I'm also reading Anne Carson again. I finished Autobiography of Red last year with full intentions of just plowing right on through the rest of her oeuvre but it wasn't going to happen. Too many other book distractions. Books for me are like a long table of various donuts. I move from one to the other and the other and so on. I've always wanted to read straight through someone's full body of work but it's not going to happen. The same way I'm never going to eat two plain, beautiful, glazed donuts in a row in a roomful of various donuts. I resign myself to this.

But Anne Carson. Yes, Anne Carson is the personification of insight. One paragraph (sometimes one sentence to the next) throbs out from the page and into some place inside my brain that I hope will activate lively enough to store it away for later enjoyment. I have terrifically bad recall. Lately (especially with Carson and Ondaatje) I've started reading with a highlighter tucked between the fingers of my writing hand. In Carson's case I've highlighted more than I've not, really. Now I've just taken to highlighting the titles or headings, entire pages with a sloppy neon green or yellow star in the corner. Plainwater: Essays and Poetry, which is the Carson I'm reading now, is five parts. I've just finished the second part, the exceptional Short Talks section. 

Examples of full on brilliance from Short Talks section:

"Now Ovid is weeping. Each night about this time he puts on sadness like a garment and goes on writing." - from "On Ovid"

"...will Andreas continue to travel the world like the wandering moon with her borrowed light?" - from "On Parmenides"

"Major things are wind, evil, a good fighting horse, prepositions, inexhaustible love, the way people choose their king. Minor things include dirt, the names of schools of philosophy, mood and not having mood, the correct time." - from "On Major and Minor"

And here's the thing: all of these examples are on just two facing pages of the book (32, 33). Ridiculous right? These two ladies have a lot to teach me, and a lot to teach all of us, civilians and writers alike; those with wounds that heal normally and those who are the wound, opened and bright.

Meredith Alling Adds New Praise for A True Story: A Novella

So here's the early praise so far for my new book A True Story: A Novella:



“Held in a cryptic in-between place fraught with many Alices, new bodies that struggle to know hunger and monsters that once were men, Compton’s A True Story: A Novella boldly unfurls itself.  With every sentence a poem and its vibrant imagery, Compton completely captures."

- xTx, author of Today I Am a Book 




"Wild as a charging boar and tender as a raindrop, Sheldon Lee Compton's A True Story: A Novella is a surreal sleepwalk through a world in which love is a storm and death is a question. It will wake you with a jolt." 

- Meredith Alling, author of Sing the Song 



Once again, you can get this book for free by going here and opening the link in your browser to download. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Publication Day for My New Book. And It's Free!

It's publication day for my newest book, A True Story: A Novella!

The good news is that it's free and downloadable. Not like downloadable the way you buy and download a Kindle book at Amazon, but hey I'm poor. This version will open as a PDF in your browser and then you can download it as normal. I probably shouldn't even call it downloadable. But I am.

Get it; read it; share it; review it; pan it; praise it.

Here's an early blurb from the amazing person and author xTx -

“Held in a cryptic in-between place fraught with many Alices, new bodies that struggle to know hunger and monsters that once were men, Compton’s A True Story: A Novella boldly unfurls itself. With every sentence a poem and its vibrant imagery, Compton completely captures."   -xTx, author of Today I Am a Book

In any case, here's a link that will take you to the place at my author's website where you can get the digital of book:

 A TRUE STORY: A NOVELLA

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Italo Calvino's Magic Moon

 "Now, you will ask me what in the world we went up on the Moon for; I'll explain it to you. We went to collect the milk, with a big spoon and a bucket. Moon-milk was very thick, like a kind of cream cheese."

     - Italo Calvino, "The Distance of the Moon" from Cosmicomics


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Let's Send a Case of Water to Flint, Michigan



I'm going to order a case of water and have it shipped to Flint, Michigan. Ten bucks or so, that's all it will take. I'm asking that my Facebook friends do the same thing. I'm going to order mine from Wal-Mart and have it delivered there. On Monday, I'm going to call the mayor's office in Flint and ask what is the best address for it to be sent to. Please, please, please, please, please do this with me. I'd love to know how many cases we can get sent, so, if you don't mind, direct message me and let me know if you're willing to do this. Let's do this anonymously and not put our names on the shipment. Let's do our part to fix this. If everyone in the United States sent one case of water, well, I don't have to tell you what that would do. Just imagine.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Dark Setup

I write some. I wrote this thing called a haibun yesterday and that was fun, like a puzzle there at the end. But let's not talk too long into the night about writing. Then this morning I became stressed and then angry and got in an argument with my girlfriend. I had a massive heart attack, a flatliner, back in 2014 and this morning I could feel my heart weakening. It's damaged in a way that can't be fixed and this morning I could feel it getting weaker and straining to beat in my chest and I realized again that I don't want to die angry or stressed or unhappy or tired. I'm forty and, at best, I probably only have about twenty years left to live. Likely less. For the past forty years my life has been nothing but hardship - survival. What I'd like is for my life to be about living, just living instead of surviving whatever shit storm is happening at the time. And the horrible part is that there's no way for that to happen. As long as I'm alive, it's going to be a survival situation. People around me will keep hating each other and the tension of that will never let up. My heart will stop and I will die. And then, friends, there's nothing. I've been there. I have been dead and let me tell you that there is nothing. A forever dreamless sleep. So what's to be gathered from this? Well, you need to understand that this one life, however long it may be, is the only thing you get. There's no hereafter, not of any kind. There's no continuation. Dead is the end. I've spent forty of my however many short years worrying and feeling tension and hurting and being depressed and being in the middle of such impossible hardship. I have to find a way out of this if I'm going to have any sunlight in my life. I wish I could hit myself in the head really hard with something and reset my brain, wake up as somebody who can't remember anything that has happened to him and start over, less invested, less heart hurt, less beaten. But it's not going to happen. I'm going to keep waking up every morning to all of this until my heart can't take it anymore and I die. What a fucking dark setup. 


Monday, January 30, 2017

Science and Biology and Aliens

So I watched the first episode of Cosmos, hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson. Now I have some really really different takes on things. Mostly about the fact that DNA evolution is such a unique series of events that it is mathematically impossible to come up with the same living species twice. Not even something closely resembling say the human species or the dinosaur species or another other DNA strand that evolved. With the insane amount of tiny "mistakes" that happen during what Tyson referred to as the proofreading stages of DNA transference, there is no way. Simply no way whatsoever.

Keeping that in mind, let's study for a moment people who want to believe that aliens have traveled here to Earth from some distant place where they evolved completely separate from us. These accounts nearly always include some version of what is called the grays. Below is one abductee's drawing of a gray:




Have you reached the problem yet? Maybe you have. If DNA evolution is a series of proofreading errors that culminate in the finished product (and it is, just saying) then there is no way whatsoever that aliens from another universe or even a new species evolving on this plant would ever look anything near like us. Now, have another look at old gray ass up there. Arms, legs. Check. Feet, hands. Check. Even the structure of the face - the location of the nose, eyes, mouth - are all far far to similar to that of our own species to make any report detailing an alien looking anything like this to be anything more than a super-sized order of bullshit.

The only way this sketch and the sketches like this one are to be thought of as anything other than bullshit it must be assumed that these "beings" originated here on this planet and are from the some string of DNA as we started from but only deviated dramatically at some point. Any other proposal don't hunt, as they say.

Think of dinosaurs, to further explain this. Now there was a species that did originate here on Earth but in an entirely different DNA strand as ours. Thus, and very predictably, those fuckers look a million times different than us, were a million times different than us. The series of proofreading errors - the distinct and exact set of errors in the same exact sequence - was not matched perfectly when we crawled from the natural heating vents and toward land. The end result: we are nothing like dinosaurs. 

Maybe I'm completely insane, but I don't think so. I think my very limited understanding of science and biology has led me to a logical conclusion that changes a few things, at least as far as grays are concerned. 

Even with this logical evidence, at the end of a long day, though, it is still my own personal thought that every single alien encounter of any kind has been an encounter with our own vile government as part of a perpetuated plan unknown to its citizens and for a never-to-be-known purpose. How's that for goddamn crazy as all hell.
 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tonight I Have Scurvy

Got home at 2 p.m. from work today and went to bed. Woke up at 10:30 p.m. Refreshed but have that speculative feeling one gets when having been displaced from the world for a time and returned in the middle of some darkness that seems metaphysical.

I'm watching a television program about the 1980s and buffering that with occasional smoke breaks outside in the cold. The 80s for me is a land of nostalgia, which some have said is a specified form of scurvy. I have scurvy then. Bring me orange juice, but not too much, because I like my current state of remembering Cheers and the championship Chicago Bears and Jimmy Carter and the credit-devouring Ronald Reagan because, yes, Carter negotiated the release of those hostages people and Reagan took credit in the first hour of his presidency. Believe it. And Carter stayed as quiet as fuck about it because he is and was the actual definition of a true patriot - a person who does the right thing, the hard thing, without concern for who gets credit and who gets an unfair amount of shit thrown in their face.

Ordered four books from Amazon today - Blake Butler's Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia, Dennis Cooper's Frisk, The Best American Experimental Stories, and a book I lost in a storage locker back in the dark days of 2008, Charles Baxter's Burning Down the House.

Jesus, those dark days of 2008. I lost my vehicle to the repo man, my house to the mortgage company, a wife I needed to get rid of anyways to an ex-boyfriend who ultimately inherited a fine mess, and my sobriety to the beginnings of a battle with alcoholism that wouldn't end for another six years.

No real thread here, just some rambling.

Also, I really want to read Abraham Smith's book Hank.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Baseball in January

It's January but I'm watching a baseball game thanks to the magical wonder of MLB At Bat. Paid meh twenty bucks and now I'm set for the next year. The Braves spring training games start on April 3 so now I won't have to miss a single pitch. By god. By god.

Today I've been watching San Fran Giant Matt Cain's 2012 perfect game on the classic games option. I'm now in the seventh inning and the crowd and the commentator's are just beginning to mention the fact that Cain hasn't allowed a base runner. I wondered in what inning they would start this up. Also, it's just amazing to hear and watch a baseball game in January.

My plan is to watch classic games from now until the first week of April. The Braves are going to fucking suck, yes. I don't care. They're my team and I will watch them every chance I get. I don't need them to win every game. I want to listen to commentators chatting each other up. I want to tune out to the pops of leather and cracks of the bat. I just want to watch baseball and chill.

I AM THE WEIRD BEAR, I AM THE WEIRD BEAR


I Won't Get To Read All the Books I Want To Read Before I Die

It's horrible. A devastating thought. I will not get to read all the books I want to read before I die.

Right now, this second, I have 567 books on my "to-read" list at Goodreads. I currently average reading about 70 books a year. The math is discouraging.

A couple years back I wanted to become a better reader. I still want to become a better reader, but the temptation to skim is strong in me, too. And I'm going to admit it here in this place that I have started skimming.

For years I've been able to anticipate and immediately recognize a passage from a book that is pretty much nothing else but the writer enjoying they way they write, how they can turn a phrase, etc. It's like standing in the mirror and appreciating how you have good hair that day or making your profile picture one that's really flattering, etc. Once upon a time I would read through these bits and pieces but not anymore. I'm moving right along and feeling less and less bad about it.

Anybody else doing this? Or am I just the worst person on the planet?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

1982 - Revenge of the Creature in 3D

Oh my gob I remember this exact night, everything about it. The first nationally televised 3D movie Revenge of the Creature. I can't believe there's a post about it somewhere out there in the shining glitter. I was six years old. Me and my mom and everybody else along the back road in the town where I lived got together at our landlord's house. I remember that fucker's name. It was Thurman Johnson.

READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE

Everybody brought food - watermelon, corn on the cob, chicken. It was the first time I ever ate watermelon with salt. Something about this night has stayed with me as clearly as when it happened. That was thirty-four years ago. I'd give anything if it was tomorrow.

I deleted this post and didn't feel like deleting it from the post list

On Mortality



It's more than an unhealthy dose of self-pity, I'm aware. But then concerns about the level of self-pity innate to daily life are concerns for other people now. I'm not other people anymore. I'm the more quickly dying, the organic specimen fully graduated from the slowly dying bestowed upon all of us at birth. All that's left for me to do now is live here at The Farm in these replicate hours until someday soon, and without realizing it, I begin to live my last one, sixty minutes of which I will only live twenty-three or forty-seven or twelve. I'm not unhappy, despite what it may seem. I'm only preparing for the end, the great mystery. And when a human begins to turn their gaze to the unknown, I suppose the known, the reality of life, diminishes, becomes an outro that one listens to but doesn't really hear because the life of the song has already been born and died.