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


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


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


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


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

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...