Last lick of Lincoln lowdown ere the latest year lapses out of life:
Vol. XXVIII Number 1 of the Mid-American Review has come out. It features two short pieces of mine that were finalists (and Editors' Choices) for the 2007 Fineline competition. My old pal Rachel Pearson also has some work included. Check it out.
Next year we will be bigger, harder, faster and stronger.
Two quick updates on me:
1) I forgot to post this before Wed, but last week my humor piece A Letter to New Members of the Gamma Eta Fraternity was posted on The Big Jewel (a great humor site). The piece is archived at the above link if you fancy a gander.
Every frat brother needs a seashell necklace, but not everyone can afford one. Try spray-painting a few conchiglie pasta shells white and threading them with an old shoelace for a neat alternative that won't strain your wallet!
2) My poem This will only hurt a bit was nominated by Night Train for a Pushcart. Here is their blog post announcing the various nominees. So a thank you to Night Train, that is very flattering!
Other random things:
- Ruben Bolling (Tom the Dancing Bug) illustrates what would happen if Cormac McCarthy wrote the screenplay for Toy Story.
- The NBCC is going to start monthly book recommendations.
- Maud Newton versus Gawker.
That's all folks (I wish I had an ASCII picture here of a pig blasting through your computer screen)
- You Have Time For This, a flash fiction anthology that includes one of my own short pieces was published recently by Ooligan Press. Link goes to Amazon. The collection looks very slick and nice and features many cool, young and hip writers like Steven Almond and Deb Olin Unferth. Check it out.
Speaking of Deb Olin Unferth, someone animated one of her stories over at Salon.com.
- The Washington Post has an odd article on Boomer writers. Notice anything wrong with this quote:
"Vonnegut was the American Mark Twain. He even looked liked him.[...]" says J. Michael Lennon, the literary executor for Mailer,
Really? The American Mark Twain? You don't say.
Small update, but I promise there is more on the horizon, oh ye patient readers!
Well, I hate to say it but I've got nothing better to do than post internet fads from ages ago (or last week in internet life) for you people.
First up: Hip-hop lip-syncs to children's TV shows.
Best of the bunch is Crank that Soulja Boy mixed with Barney.
I'm not going to embed the following, because too many vids makes things messy, but also check out Soulja Boy Winnie the Pooh version, Spongebob's "This is Why I'm Hot" and the Teletubbies "Walk it Out."
- The Mastodon intro song for the ATHF movie is also worth a watch.
- Stephen Colbert had a NY Times Op-Ed piece recently that is pretty great.
Let me regurgitate: I know why you want me to run, and I hear your clamor. I share Americans’ nostalgia for an era when you not only could tell a man by the cut of his jib, but the jib industry hadn’t yet fled to Guangdong. And I don’t intend to tease you for weeks the way Newt Gingrich did, saying that if his supporters raised $30 million, he would run for president. I would run for 15 million. Cash.
- Did you ever know how much Carlos Santana can shred?
- Here's an article on the guy dubbing concert footage with horrible guitar work. The Metallica video is also good.
- Lastly, the lady Rozalia is blogging for KGB bar now.
More to come... at some point.
Hello everyone. It is time for my semi-regular Odd Search Awards. Since I got a nifty site meter I can view what google searches people used to get into this page. Here are the best ones from the last couple weeks:
"old movie" "penis" "drunk guy"
(Geez. This is like my entire DVD collection.)
aphorisms on ice
(A musical I would certainly pay to see)
hairy chested NFL players
poems about teething
How Old is the young boy in Part I of Swann's Way
How far away from sea in the tundra Biome
(I wonder if he was looking for Biodome... I think the penis drunk guy search might have worked for this as well)
nietzsche some people ideas fish pond fossil cabinet
(I can't tell if this guy had something really specific he was looking for or if he just typed in a random string of words and thought what the hell...)
free "magazine bin" -subscription -trial -recycle -Laden
(I feel kind of bad that this guy just wanted a free cool magazine but kept coming up with Al Qaeda newsletters and Environmentalist pamphlets.
GOLD: Bible text "make like a tree and leave"
(You sure that's a bible quote, buddy?)
- If you haven't heard Marc Ecko (yeah, the urban clothing designer) bought Barry Bond's record breaking ball. He is letting the public vote one what to do with it. Obviously you should go vote for branding it.
- 2007 World Chess Championship is going on right now. I'm rooting for Anand and he is currently tied for first. Follow up on the results here.
- That's it for now.
- A few days ago I had a little poem up at Juked, if you are interested. It is about ox-carts, summer jobs, the devouring of your enemies internal organs and aged wine.
- Ooligan Press has put up their announcement for "You Have Time For This," a flash fiction anthology that will include the first piece of fiction I ever had published. Looks very nice. Aimee Bender, Steve Almond and others will appear as well.
- The Onion has been amazingly consistent for so long now. Anyway, here is a great article: Pitchfork Gives Music a 6.8
CHICAGO—Music, a mode of creative expression consisting of sound and silence expressed through time, was given a 6.8 out of 10 rating in an review published Monday on Pitchfork Media, a well-known music-criticism website.
According to the review, authored by Pitchfork editor in chief Ryan Schreiber, the popular medium that predates the written word shows promise but nonetheless "leaves the listener wanting more."
- Lastly, while the US Open may have come to a close (you broke my heart Djokovic!), the Wold Chess Championship 2007 is starting up in only a few days. Get excited!
I am going to be bear hunting in a frozen tundra across the sea for the next week, so don't bother calling or emailing me until I've returned with a furry, bloody hacked-off head in my arms.
In the meanwhile, here is a piece of mine up at Word Riot to bide your time.
No matter what he said, he always turned out to have said something libelous, but strictly speaking, you might say that everything he could say about this weird country, with its extremes of inhumanity and irresponsibility all on the increase as they were, could be considered a so-called libel...
~The Lime Works by Thomas Bernhard
- The Elegant Variation has an interesting post up on revisions and Fitzgerald.
- I enjoyed this week's New Yorker Shouts & Murmurs.
The Hawk and the Mouse
A clever mouse is sunning himself in Battery Park, when a hawk swoops down and seizes him in her talons. Whistling through the air, the mouse warns the hawk not to eat him. “Why shouldn’t I?” says the hawk. “Don’t you know,” says the mouse, “that mice are loaded with trans fats?” Alarmed, the hawk releases the mouse and flies away. Several days later, the hawk happens upon an old owl devouring a less fortunate mouse. “Stop!” cries the hawk. “Don’t you know those things are loaded with trans fats?” The owl stops eating and says, “What are you, an idiot?”
Moral: You just can’t argue with libertarians.
- Chris Onstad, creator of Achewood, is interviewed over at The Onion A.V. Club.
- Well, I just felt like it had been awhile since I got a post up. Some pieces of mine are forthcoming from Quarter After Eight, Word Riot and elsewhere. So check back soon... or something.
- The blogging is starting to heat up over at the Creative Writing MFA Handbook Blog. Get in on the action.
- Two stupid listmania lists I made on Amazon.com while I was bored. Books I Rip Off and the Top 10 Longest Books I've Read.
- Lastly, I have a new piece up at Juked... well a pretty old piece that is newly up at Juked, rather. A Link. It is called Seven Views of Abraham Lincoln's Death and here is a snippet:
Lincoln attending an important diner—
Suddenly his stoic face is bright red in panic:
A chicken bone lodged in his windpipe!
Booth seen fleeing out the back door
Okay, last comment on this. My story "Whale Belly" appears in the second annual The L Magazine summer fiction issue. I must say I'm very pleased with the artwork they did for my story. Very rad. You can actually read the stories online(with artwork). Otherwise you can pick it up for free from an The L Magazine bin in the city.
- Mid-week this week my story "Whale Belly" will be available in various bins around the city that are stamped The L Magazine. Pick it up... or don't. I'm not gonna force you. $^&%, why are you even here?
- I'm going to be one of a panel of contributorsons over at The Creative Writing MFA Handbook Blog. My poorly thought out profile is here. I'm excited to be a part of this, because Tom Kealey's blog helped me a lot when I went through the application process last year.
- That's it.
Franklin Winslow points out to me that his and my names appear briefly in the New Yorker's GOAT (That's Goings on About Town, not the crappy LL Cool J album):
Throughout the past two months, contestants in The L Magazine’s “American Idol”-like short-story-reading competition have presented their fiction before a panel of literary-world insiders. The three finalists—Franklin Winslow, Raphaela Weissman, and Lincoln Michel—face off on June 21, starting at 8:30. (The Baggot Inn, 82 W. 3rd St. No tickets necessary.)
Yep, there is your reminder. I'm reading this Thursday and if it is as fun this time as it was last time then it will be pretty fun.
So... success was had! I was very flattered to be named the winner of the 3rd semi-final round in The L Magazine's Literary Upstart competition. I would also really like to thank all my friends who came out for the support and drunken fun times.
I read a story called "Whale Belly" and was described as the
Guy Whose Story Narrated By a Man Who Secretly Thinks His Pregnant Wife Is Gross and a Little Scary Had the Effect of Possibly Scaring the Female Contingent of Our Judging Panel off of Childbirth Forever.
I will be reading again in the final, along with my pal Franklin and someone yet to be named (or was probably named by his parents and has been named by the judges but whose said name has not been named to me as of yet), to see who gets "one fifth of your monthly rent" in prize money on Thursday June 21st.
No I am off to party at a club and or bar that is either called House, Home, Abode or Crash Pad... I can't remember.
I wasn't informed my piece went up at Pindeldyboz until after I'd made my earlier post. But here you go, a short-short about childhood games and atomic spiders. Also, the poetry print issue of Pindeldyboz (which contains a poem of mine) is now available for sale.
Just to sum up this (suddenly) literary past couple of weeks for me:
- Three poems up at Night Train magazine.
- Prose-poem up at Juked.
- Short-short up at Pindeldyboz.
- Pindeldyboz Print Issue #7 available to buy with a poem of mine.
- Reading at the Baggot Inn for L Magazine.
* For those wondering, the titles of my recent posts come from a book Alan Ziegler gave to me: Professor Latour's Gold Book of Dreams. This is one of those crazy pamphlets from the 60s that explains the true meaning behind every physical object that appears in your dream. A beggar asking your for a spare bagel means "special news about money" and a baseball flung at your head portends "popularity for you." Sadly I can't find this online, but if you ever see something similar at a yard sale, grab it up. The perfect thing to flip through when you are in a writing rut.
In other news:
* According to BBC News, fewer people finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire than Ulysses. I can't say this surprises me much. I've always found that the famously difficult books (In Search of Lost Time, War and Peace, etc.) are never quite as difficult to read as their reputation. On a page by page basis they can even be breezy. I think they get that reputation of being too difiicult to bother with because they are so long that people want an excuse not to read them.
I can sympathize. People who know me know that I am fanatical about finishing books I start....but I will admit there are two novels who have bested me (so far): David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. My first major mistake was starting them both the same summer(!) and also in allowing myself to take a supposed break after reading book one of Gravity's Rainbow. Gravity's Rainbow has indeed been a difficult read, due mostly to its structure that consists of a constant series of non-demarcated prolepses and analepses (flashforwards and flashbacks). Infinite Jest, on the other hand, is very readable as well as extremely funny. However, its constant stream of (demarcated) flashforwards, flashbacks and flashsidewayses are stuffed to bursting with such a wide variety of characters and plot lines that you feel you can start and stop anytime. The story you are hooked on for ten pages will be cut off and then not returned to for a hundred pages for more. You aren't on a roller coaster ride you can't jump off of, but instead walking around a crazy amusement park and it doesn't matter what order you visit the tents. The chaos somehow inspires a leasiruly pace. This isn't the best attitude to take if you want to finish a 1000+ page beheamoth though.
* A fun lit tool to check out is LibraryThing's Unsuggester. Instead of giving you recommendations based on which books you like, it gives you books to avoid. So, we learn that if you enjoyed Thus Spoke Zarathrustra you probably will not like The Husband by Dean Koontz or Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. If you loved The Loser by Thomas Bernhard (a book I just finished yesterday) you probably should avoid The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.
Well there you go kiddies, have some fun.
I knoweth that thou loyal readers hath suffered through a drought of mine writing mana, but despair no more for I am about to unleash a veritable flood of poetries and fictionies upon the land!
Or at least I think so. Some of this stuff was accepted over a year ago and only now working its way into print. Anyway, I hadn't updated my lit situation in a bit so here you go. First up is Pindeldyboz book of poems which can be pre-ordered now and should be released this spring. Features hip literary peeps like Tao Lin, Kim Chinquee and Matthew Zapruder.
More news to come as it comes...
- I'm probably the last lit blogger to get around to this, but here is another voice mourning the loss of Kurt Vonnegut. Although in certain snobby circles he is passed off as being a hack writer, I completely disagree. Vonnegut was (as many eulogies have pointed out) our lifetime's Mark Twain. He struck a brilliant and hard to achieve balance between social satire, interesting prose and formal innovation. Hip young writers are still ripping of his tricks to this day. My father was a big Vonnegut fan and always tried to get me to read Cat's Cradle when I was in high school. When I finally did, I loved it and it still remains my favorite Vonnegut book. If for some reason you have avoided his work because you think it is only for angsty teenage boys, I'd urge you to go pick up Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five today. Run!
- NYT mourns
- Various writers mourn in the Guardian
- BBC mourns
- Salon mourns
Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.
- Pablo Picasso
The sun is pure communism everywhere except in cities, where it's private property.
- Malcolm de Chazal
It is enough that the arrows fit exactly in the wounds that they have made.
The True Way goes over a ropewhich is not stretched at any great height but just above the ground. It seems more designed to make people stumble than to be walked upon.
If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without ascending it, the work would have been permitted.
Those who are slow to know suppose that slowness is the essence of knowledge.
We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way- not at all or in an interesting manner
Opinions and fish.— Possessing opinions is like possessing fish, assuming one has a fishpond. One has to go fishing and needs some luck—then one has one's own fish, one's own opinions. I am speaking of live opinions, of live fish. Others are satisfied if they own a cabinet of fossils—and in their heads, "convictions."
The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.
It’s quite true what philosophy says, that life must be understood backwards. But one then forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forwards. A principle which, the more one thinks it through, precisely leads to the conclusion that life in time can never properly be understood, just because no moment can acquire the complete stillness needed to orient oneself backwards.
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
- Albert Einstein
A cynic is a person who knows the prize of everything and the value of nothing.
This is more of a novella than a novel, and a novella I really dug. The book's opening and final chapters are pure awesomeness and the middle is good enough. The story centers around a young boy who peeps on his mom having sex and, with a group of friends, practices a form of "absolute dispassion" and "objectivity" that leads them to dissect neighborhood cats and curse fathers as the scum of the earth. This author eventually committed ritual suicide after trying and failing to get the Japanese army to over throw the government, although his secret lover failed during his attempts to behead Mishima and another militia member had to finish the job. Go figure.
Memoir of the Hawk - James Tate
In Memoir, Tate writes surreal, humorous and (mostly) irreverent prose poems. Tate is an author who is mostly miss for me, but whose hits hit hard enough to make me read him. For my taste, most of these prose poems are nice enough, but mostly pointless and often feel random for the sake of randomness. But there are some brilliant pieces as well and even the weak ones make for a fun read. While reading I marked fourteen that really struck me. 14 out of over 100... is that a good ratio for me with a poet? Probably. Here is a sample:
“Would you like to have your head examined?”
I said to Kinky, who was holding his head. “Oh yes,”
he said, “I would like to know what’s wrong with
me.” Gloom was his life, despair was his only food.
I opened up his head. My God, it was dark in there,
and full of cobwebs with dead flies in them. “There
are no lights in here,” I said. “It looks like you
have had no visitors in years. And there’s not a
trace of an idea, just a rat gnawing on its tail
hoping to become a saint in some counterfeit hell.”
“I love that rat,” Kinky said. “He’s the last of
my monsters, old skin and bones.”
Spanking the Maid - Robert Coover
This was an excellent quick read. Coover has a ton of fun and shows brilliant lyrical skills in this comic novel. Hard to describe and I'm not going to bother. I said quick thoughts didn't I?
Swann's Way (Vol. I of In Search of Lost Times) - Marcel Proust (trans. Lydia Davis)
Recently I've been trying to work my way through some of the giant classics and Proust is obviously a necessity in that area. I was very surprised by this book. From all the noise, I'd expected Proust to be an almost impenetrable mess of a writer whose work was not fun to read and only French scholar's ever bothered with it. Instead it was a very nice and fun read. Proust's style takes a little getting used to, but it is nothing hard. The biggest surprise for me was how hilarious the novel got at times. I literally laughed out loud at at least three points, which is something I rarely do. The Davis edition is beautifully printed as well.
The Dead Fish Museum - Charles D'Ambrosio
Despite what the title might connote, the stories in the Fish Museum are pretty straight forward in both style and realism. They are, however, fantastic. Unlike most practitioners of this kind of short fiction, Ambrosio allows his stories to be messy and chaotic instead of neat little structures with cute epiphanies tagged to the end. A lot of darkness here. I dig it.
Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
with Sci-I am a big fan of Sci-Fi films and comics and TV shows. And yet I am perpetually disappointed by Sci-Fi literature. Every book seems to be written with zero regard to style or the prose itself, they revolve entirely around their "ideas" (such as they are) and flat characters. However, I am always willing to prove my experiences wrong and thought I'd try with the much hyped Rendezvous with Rama by one of the best regarded sci-fi authors ever, Clarke. Conclusion? Yet another badly written book. The story and ideas are interesting enough to make the mediocre prose go by, but I still can't believe that this kind of writing could ever make someone a famous writer. Clarke's humor is atrocious, but perhaps the worst part is how forced the cliff-hangers are. Every chapter seems to end in something like "X stepped through the spaceship's doors... for better or for worse movies, which have a much wider audience, are actually (often) well filmed, acted and directed? Have you ever noticed that the best Sci-!" or "Things were looking up... or were they!?" Ugh. What is keeping sci-fi authors from having style? Is it merely a matter of reader demand? Do sci-fi fans simply not care about the writing, but only the world and ideas? Is this why Sci-Fi films (like Blade Runner) are filmed by people who haven't even read the books? They just take the good parts (plot, world, ideas) and then rework it with their art? Am I the only one thinking of the children!?
Anyway, I'm writing a Sci-Fi-Horror-Western right now. It could be cool, maybe.
Someone yesterday did a search for "iStalking" and I'm proud to say my blog is the first search result for that. Clap clap.
More good Google searches that led people here recently:
Rex Grossman Fanfiction (Grossman is the quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Fan fiction!?)
Fan Fiction Two Males Harry Potter (If they had only put "furry" in that search it would have been the ultimate creepy nerd search)
Ray Dragon Hairy Chest
Iowa Writers Workshop Scam "v'agra" drink
jewellery store similar with urbanoutfitter
Dave Foley on Communism:
Bruce McCoulloch on working at a bank:
and some other stuff.
The Michael Showalter SHOWalter, episode 1:
Dana Carvey Show, Skinheads from Maine:
The State, Nazi War Criminals:
Michael Ian Black recites a poem:
Allie recently convinced me to get Site Meter, which allows me to see the details of everyone who views this blog. The best part is seeing what brought people to the site, most often odd google searches. Here are the five best google searches that led people here, in order:
4. what freud got wrong
3. TEETHING NUGGETS
2. the soccer player only dove once
1. how to blow things up with household objects