ovum in ovo
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents
Although I get annoyed by people who blog/tweet/facebook about the food they cook, I wanted to share with you the fact that when I cracked open my egg this morning there was a grotesque, half-formed second egg inside of it!
I was asked by Vol. 1 Brooklyn to write about my favorite Stephen King adaptation and obviously picked The Shining. I wrote a few hundred words about Kubrick's use of Freud's concept of "The Uncanny" as well as his mastery of "terror" over "horror."
The creepiest and most haunting parts of The Shining are moments of pure Radcliffian “terror,” filled with ambiguity and tension. Danny flinching his finger and squeaking in the voice of Tony, “the little boy that lives inside my mouth.” Jack staring eerily into the model hedge maze and seeing, somehow, his wife and child. The ghost butler telling Jack in a slow and deliberate voice, “I corrected them, sir, and when my wife tried to prevent me from doing , corrected .” And the final ambiguous shot of the film, a slow zoom into the image of Jack Torrance smiling in a photograph that was taken decades before he was born.
The ten greatest Stephen King adaptations
HTMLGIANT has, for a little while now, run a magazine club. Members read a lit mag together and discuss the various themes, stories, design, etc. I think this is a great idea. Far too often lit mags feel disposable. You can pick them up, read a few stories or poems you want to read, and ignore the rest. But the best magazines work more like books. They need to be read in their entirety. I think here of magazines like NOON or McSweeney's (and, hopefully, Gigantic).
The most recent lit mag club has been examining Beecher's #1. In addition to being an extremely beautifully (and minimally) designed magazine, and a brilliantly edited magazine, Beecher's includes a few stories of mine as well as stories by several close friends of mine like John Dermot Woods, Rozalia Jovanovic, Joshua Cohen, and James Yeh. The latest lit mag club entry, by Daniel B. Cecil, talks about interactive/game narratives and has some very nice comments about one of my stories:
Second person narration is used throughout the journal to back the reader into a corner as well. In Lincoln Michel’s “A Question of Commitment,” you are asked as a participant to imagine both a lover and murderer in the same story. The murder, however, isn’t clear, and that uncertainty, paired with the second person narration that draws you into the story, begs you to imagine two terrible possibilities. It is a horrifying take on the “choose your own adventure stories” we’re so familiar with from our childhood.
Anyway, check out lit mag club and check out Beecher's!
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I have a grave message for everybloody going out tonight. There is a spooky storm outside that will send shivers up your spine and make your cheeks turn blood red! Unless you are as hairy as my pal the wolfman, wrap yourself up as tight as my other friend, the mummy. Put on your BOO-ties before venturing through the cold, slimy sludge of the streets. If you don't, you may end up shivering and moaning like an undead ghoul! If you think my warning is chilling, go outside without a scarf. Your exposed neck may notice a real BITE to the air. MUH HA HA HA HA!
I have a poem out in the newest issue of Harpur Palate, which also has work from Sherman Alexie, Tim Jones-Yelvington, and many others. The poem is titled "Drift Ice in the Foreground." Haven't seen a copy yet, but the line-up looks great!
Along with new stories in BOMB and The Collagist, that is three new pieces for me in October.
We have a new online issue up at Gigantic. The issue features new prose from Brian Kubarycz, Dan Bevacqua, Lynne Tillman, Lena Bartone, James McGirk, Matt Dennison, Daniel Borzutzky, Mitchell S. Jackson, and Anelise Chen; a conversation between Gary Lutz, Mary Caponegro, and Tim Horvath; and gorgeous artwork from Maria Kondratiev. Check it out, if you'd like.
The October issue of the always fantastic The Collagist is up and I'm very happy to say I have a new story titled "Hike" in it. The issue also has work from friends Blake Butler and Kate Lorenz, as well as plenty of other rad things.
My story in there pairs nicely, I think, with my short story in BOMB magazine that went up one day before.
Very excited to so say that I have a short story called "Filling Pools" up at BOMB Magazine. It is the second installment of their Page Break series "showcasing original works of fiction by emerging literary talents."
People say I have a baby face. You can look at me and pretend I’m drowning; I do this watery thing with my eyes. How you work the face is important in this line of work.
File this under Amazon mishaps. I stumbled upon this Amazon page for W. Somerset Maugham which describes him as "the third studio album by the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, released November 21, 2000 on Loud/Columbia Records."
Screenshot in case they fix it:
Screenshot in case they fix it:
Last night I was asked to read a two-minute "fan fiction" piece. Here it is:
Early that day the weather turned and the snow was melting into dirty water. Streaks of it ran down from the giant ogre-high window that faced the back of Hogwarts. Centaurs slushed by on the street outside, where it was getting dark. But it was getting dark on the inside too.
Voldemort was in the bedroom pushing dark robes into a suitcase when Harry came to the door.
I’m glad you’re leaving! I’m glad you’re leaving! Harry said. Do you hear?
Voldemort kept on putting his things into the suitcase.
Son of a bitch! I’m so glad you’re leaving! Harry began to cry. You can’t even look me in the face, can you?
I saw the first Battleship (the film!) trailer and it is predictably awful. It reminded me though that I had the idea to make an awful Battleship adaptation over two years ago!
A list of all the books that I've completed so far in 2k11. I've already read more books in the first half of 2011 than I read in all of 2010 (which was a real down year for me in this regard). However, I have to admit that much of my total comes from speeding through a lot of graphic novels and comic books during a two or three week period in June. This was research for a comic series John Woods and I will be working on soon.
These are only the books that I've finished. There are many others that I've started (2666, The Hundred Brothers, NOON 2011, etc.) that I will hopefully complete before the year is out. I've only re-read one book so far this year (the Carver). Favorites so far:
Taking Care by Joy Williams, Wilson by Daniel Clowes and Hunger by Knut Hamsun.
- Wilson – Daniel Clowes
- The Death of Doctor Island – Gene Wolfe
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Love – Raymond Carver*
- The Mezzanine – Nicholson Baker
- Great Expectations – Kathy Acker
- The Clouds Above – Jordan Crane
- Hunger – Knut Hamsun
- Werewolves of Montpellier – Jason
- The Shadow over Innsmouth – H. P. Lovecraft
- Illustrated Three-Line Novels – Joanna Neborsky
- Baby Leg – Brian Evenson
- The Late American Novel – Jeff Martin and C. Max McGee
- The Baltimore Atrocities – John Dermot Woods (manuscript draft)
- Stories V! – Scott McClanahan
- Visitation – Jenny Erpenbeck
- Us – Michael Kimball
- The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
- Antwerp – Roberto Bolano
- 1963 – Alan Moore
- Supreme: The Story of the Year – Alan Moore
- Supreme: The Return – Alan Moore
- The Killing Joke – Alan Moore
- Ultimate Fantastic Four HC Vol. 1
- Ultimate Fantastic Four HC Vol. 2
- Ultimate Fantastic Four HC Vol. 3
- Ultimate Fantastic Four HC Vol. 4
- Ultimate Fantastic Four HC Vol. 5
- Love and Rockets New Stories No. 3 – The Hernandez Brothers
- Understanding Comics – Scott McCloud
- World War Hulk
- Ultimate Iron Man – Orson Scott Card
- Silver Surfer: Parable – Moebius and Stan Lee
- Bottomless Belly Button – Dash Shaw
- Taking Care – Joy Williams
I'm happy to say that I have a new dialogue story up at Hobart this month, Little Girls by the Side of the Pool by Lincoln Michel. Here is how it starts:
“Did you see what Suzy did when her father tossed her into the air?”
“No, I was looking at Jimmy.”
“She screamed. She screamed like a little piglet right until she hit the water.”
“My father is really good at tossing me into the water.”
“Yes, my father can toss me so high that I get afraid I'll never come down.”
“My father once threw me like ten feet out of the water and I did two cartwheels in the air before splashing.”
“My father once tossed me so high into the air that I was at eye level with the top of a tall tree and in that tree was a bird and that bird unfurled its wings and looked at me in a loving way, like a sister.”
Animals in Midlife Crises, the comic strip by John Dermot Woods and me that is published regularly on The Rumpus has a second home now at animalsinmidlifecrises.com. The only difference is that the comic runs vertically on The Rumpus and horizontally at Animals in Midlife Crises. You can read one or both sites based on your orientation preference.
Facing a shortage of exotic animals for the ever-growing zoo-industrial complex, the Chinese government has begun caging humans in amusing anthropomorphic costumes. The costume seams are held together with a form of bamboo-derived industrial glue to prevent wardrobe malfunctions. However, these caged and costumed attractions, being slightly more intelligent than the animals they play, have begun figuring out how to escape their cages. Two such incidents involving a "tiger" and an "orangutan" occurred recently in the Sichuan province to the great disturbance of the children and women present. Luckily, the escaped faux-animals were quickly subdued and returned to their enclosures before they could do physical harm to any of the zoo-going public who had, after all, paid their admission in full.
The new issue of Tin House is here and looks fantastic, as usual. It includes new fiction from Gary Lutz and Jodi Angel, interviews with Ann Patchett and Jean-Philippe Toussaint, and more. It also includes, I'm very happy to say, an essay by me on Herbert Read's enigmatic only novel The Green Child. My essay isn't included online, so you'll have to check out the print issue if you want to read it.
Beecher's Magazine, put out by the University of Kansas and edited by the fantastic Chloé Cooper Jones, has just released their first issue. I'm very pleased to say that Beecher's One includes two short stories of mine as well as work by great writers like Joshua Cohen, Rozalia Jovanovic, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, James Yeh, Alec Niedenthal and John Dermot Woods. You can check it out here.
- Harpo's tattoo barks at Groucho in Duck Soup
Harold Bloom once composed a short list of what he called the twentieth-century American Sublime. It included Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, the story of Byron the light bulb in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, songs by Bud Powell and Charlie Parker, and, amongst a few others, the war scene that concludes Duck Soup.
I've always loved how Bloom is willing to pick very narrow and specific passages or segments of longer works in this list. Increasingly I find that art grabs me in these little moments. This is not always true, of course. A work like Blood Meridian overpowers with its totality. But often it is brief bits of brilliance in a work that I return to again and again. (At our old Gigantic blog, we explained our magazine's aesthetic in such fragments... although here I see I broke even Blood Meridian down and singled out Judge Holden's dialogue.)
But back to Duck Soup and The Marx Brothers. The war segment is indeed sublime, but my favorite moment is even briefer and even more surreal. From 0:33 to 0:47 in the following clip:
Gigantic print issue #3 is hot off the presses and here just in time for the big Gigantic launch party on Friday.
Party will take place at 285 Kent in Williamsburg and go all night long. We've got rad readers, an indie arcade installation from Babycastles, music from NewVillager, cheap booze, and late night DJing by Frank Gilbert Lyon II, James Yeh, and Me.
- voicemail from my mother
Have you been reading Animals in Midlife Crises by Lincoln Michel and John Dermot Woods? The second strip went up this week. It even caught the eye of Flavorwire. New strips every Sunday at The Rumpus.
In unrelated Rumpus news, Nancy Smith reviewed issue six of Canteen magazine and gave a very nice shout out to my essay on disappearing deep ends:
Lincoln Michel writes, rather remarkably, about the loss of the deep end of the pool....I simultaneously loved/was terrified by learning to swim and overcoming the deep end was a rite of summer passage. I’m somewhat depressed by the fact that kids nowadays just splash around in a couple feet of water. As Michel so rightly concludes, “A pool can only be conquered if you actually have to swim in it.”
Very awesome to read! Also awesome to see reviews of literary magazines, something that doesn't happen enough.
I have four haiku up at elimae for the April issue. They are titled Mystic Haiku, Mortality Haiku, Capitalist Haiku, and Foreboding Haiku.
I'm very excited to say that The Rumpus is running John Dermot Woods and my comic strip about animals undergoing existential midlife crises (appropriately titled Animals in Midlife Crises). The first strip can be viewed here. Others to follow every Sunday.
I'm reading tomorrow night in Williamsburg at Brooklyn Winery with two fantastic authors. Starts at 7pm.
Full details over at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
Come out, if you'd like.
Full details over at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.
Come out, if you'd like.
March 11th: In anticipation of Blake Butler's new novel, This Is No Year, Harper Perennial is staging four consecutive readings where a variety of writers will read the entirely of Blake's novel. I will be reading on the fourth day, this Friday, at PowerHouse Arena. Other readers that night include good friends Adam Wilson, Catherine Lacey, and Blake Butler, amongst others. Giancarlo Ditrapano, James Yeh, Justin Taylor, and many others will be reading on other nights. You know you want to come.
March 16th: I'll be briefly reading my own work at the Monkeybicycle Lightning Round reading at the Cake Shop, 7pm.
We're happy to say that this edition of the Lightning Round will also double as a release party for our eighth print issue, which will be available shortly. Featuring: Paula Bomer, Vince Czyz, Scott Geiger, Jeff Grentharer, Michael Hickins, Suzanne Marie Hopcroft, Blake Kimzey, Lincoln Michel, David Moscovich, Dustin Luke Nelson, Steve Peacock, Edwin Rivera, Kathleen A. Ryan, Andrew James Weatherhead, and Katie Wudel, plus others.
March 23: I'll be reading a longer amount of my own work at Vol. 1 Brooklyn's monthly reading series at Brooklyn Winery alongside Marcy Dermansky and Norman Lock. The reading is co-organized by Big Other. Dermansky and Lock are both fantastic writers, so should be a good time! Here is the Facebook event with more details.
An essay in Tin House's summer issue on Herbert Read's The Green Child.
A short story in Indiana Review's spring issue about a dictator and his head bodyguard.
Two poems in PANK print issue #6, one about urination and campfires, the other about an evil grandfather.
A shorty story (from the last Unsaid) anthologized in Tell: An Anthology of Expository Narrative. This anthology is being put together by the very talented and awesome Molly Gaudry. In addition to writing and editing awesome stuff, Molly just launched an indie books publicity business that is getting tons of deserved buzz around the indie lit world. Check it out.
The anthology's contributor list is beyond amazing and I'm very excited to be included:
Contributors include: Matt Bell, Aimee Bender, Kate Bernheimer, Crispin Best, Blake Butler, Alexandra Chasin, Paola Corso, Rebecca Curtis, Justin Dobbs, Anthony Doerr, Stuart Dybek, Brian Evenson, Kathy Fish, Susan Froderberg, Roxane Gay, Thomas Glave, Michael Griffith, J. C. Hallman, Miles Harvey, Lily Hoang, Christie Hodgen, Shelley Jackson, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Lee Klein, Samuel Ligon, Robert Lopez, Gary Lutz, Charles McLeod, Ben Marcus, Peter Markus, Clancy Martin, Michael Martone, Lincoln Michel, Lydia Millet, Rick Moody, Richard Nash (Foreword), Peter Orner, Benjamin Percy, Dawn Raffel, Nelly Reifler, George Saunders, Christine Schutt, Ben Segal, B. R. Smith, Michael Stewart, Terese Svoboda, Christian TeBordo, J. A. Tyler, Deb Olin Unferth, Diane Williams, Kevin Wilson, Lidia Yuknavitch.
SOME OTHER STUFF
Gigantic Indoors (Gigantic issue #3) is heading to press pretty shortly and we are very excited about it. The issue will include fantastic contributions from Dave Berman, Diane Williams, Joshua Cohen, and many others. More info to come!
I have been working on a rad series of comic strips with the very talented John Dermot Woods that we will hopefully reveal pretty soon.
PANK blog in which I use the phrases "children’s party clown with a mean streak," "organic oils and artisanal lotions," "air-dropped into the secluded hunting grounds," "undead howls," and "fool others into thinking I’m thinking."
You can read the interview here.
I know plenty of people have made note of the spam poetry that exists on the web and in emails---the bizarre sentences cobbled by computers to get around spam sensors---but since this one contains my name I thought I might as well post it:
Mondays and thursdays are considered already recent infantrymen for fasting. Ringed piers of different fancy of definitions acutely followed. Thinking contributors were a other interest often constructed over science and from one transcendence to another. Victoria's form is six pipes larger than endurance centrifuge. Lincoln Michel since i published some of his language as inside ideal at night train rocks inside.I'll spare you the spam link, but I couldn't figure out what the spam was even for. Russian Viagra maybe?
Last month I had two short stories in Unsaid #5 and this month I have two even shorter stories up at PANK.
My two PANK stories were featured on BlackBook magazine's "Fiction For Your Lunch Break" series. Here is what writer and friend Adam Wilson had to say:
His two featured stories might only be a paragraph long each, but they manage to encompass big ideas and entire worlds. “The Soldier” hinges on a startling point of view shift, from that of a soldier abroad to that of a local dog the soldier has accidentally kicked. In “The Hunt,” men go off hunting only to return to a burnt shell of a village, the families there regressed to feral, pre-human instinct. Michel is a master at manipulating time, seamlessly shifting from panorama to personal close-up. Re-read these stories until your brain has been marinated in their dark wisdom.
On Facebook, Unsaid super editor David McLendon has been collecting photographs of Unsaid contributors and had a very flattering comment on mine that I hope he won't mind me repeating here (or perhaps using as a blurb in the future!):
Lincoln Michel knows where he is from. No matter the flask or bottle or napkin dispenser from which Michel imbibes, his pages are always poured from the greater vessel that is Michel himself. Or, more accurately, Michel's pages are poured from that part of himself that he wishes but refuses to shake: Home. In Michel's case, home is a more than a place - it is a journey. His pages always orbit the source they intend to flee, but with a kind of furthering recurrence that pushes home much closer to home than was ever possible before Michel framed home with language. In other words, you can never go home again. In other words, welcome home.~ David McLendon
I'm excited to say I have two short-short stories in the current online issue of PANK. I will also have a few poems in their forthcoming print issue.
The first story is about a a soldier that accidentally kicks a starving dog and the second is about abandoned women eating bark with their teeth. Here are two random sentences:
When he was hungry he sat on the ground and gnawed on his own leg.
Our beards grew long.Check them out if you'd like!