30 October 2007


Something I read in The American Scholar at the bookstore. I regretted not buying it until I found it online...
...certain writers produce Brooklyn Books of Wonder. Take mawkish self-indulgence, add a heavy dollop of creamy nostalgia, season with magic realism, stir in a complacency of faith, and you’ve got wondrousness.
Makes me feel good to be a Jonathan Lethem fan--in sort of the way you do when you hide out during a scuffle long enough to read the writing on the wall, and then throw the last two punches for the winning side once all the hard work's done. Well, not really. I mean, I've read both of Lethem's short story collections, and I have both Gun, With Occassional Music and Motherless Brooklyn on tap.

But, I also have You Shall Know Our Velocity and McSweeney's 14, too.

Two for the Price of One

Two rejections, that is. Or, is it one, if it was two pieces submitted to the same place?

Yeah, it's two.

27 October 2007


Lit Shuffle: "Pretending" by Ray Vukcevich

Pimpin' Ain't Easy

...is it, James?

I heard this alluded to on the Bat Segundo Show podcast interview with James Lipton, but my jaw dropped when I looked it up.
Actors Studio host Lipton was a pimp in France
Last Update: 10/22 5:04 pm

James Lipton, the host of U.S. talk show, Inside the Actors' Studio, once worked as a pimp in Paris, France.

The revered TV presenter, who has sat down with Hollywood's biggest names for in-depth chats about their life and work over the last 13 years, has revealed he once procured clients for French hookers.

He says, "This was when I was very very young, living in Paris, penniless, unable to get any kind of working permit... I had a friend who worked in what is called the Milieu, which is that world and she suggested to me one night, `Look, you'll be my mec... We would translate it perhaps... as pimp."

Hail to the King, Baby

NerdTests.com says I'm a Highly Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

x-posted to the other place.

26 October 2007

The Reading List

Yes, this one's overdue, just like all my other entries. Deal :). So, two weeks ago, I read some cool stuff, mostly from The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and a couple of old issues of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
  • Geoffrey H. Goodwin, "Stoddy Awchaw"
  • Theodora Goss, "The Rapid Advance of Sorrow"
  • Sarah Monette, "Three Letters From the Queen of Elfland"
  • Gigi Vernon, "Solomon's Wedding"
  • Gigi Vernon, "The Maidservant's Letter"
  • Janice Law, "The Girl Watcher"
Yeah, I said I was gonna read Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn. Sue me. I'll get to it this week ;).

Las Vegas Turnaround

I didn't want to let this pass without mention, though it would've been easy to do since it all happened so fast, just like this fine magazine said it would, but I subbed a tale to them that was kindly rejected earlier in the week. 'S all good, because I think said story's got a better than even shot other places (maybe) :).

25 October 2007


Lit Shuffle: "Heartland" by Karen Joy Fowler

Posted a couple days late, but hey...the bit itself was over a week late :(.

14 October 2007

Speaking of Reading

...I have to pass on listing the various short stories I've read this week, unless you want me to regurgitate the table of contents for the last half of Barry Hannah's Airships.

To tell the truth, I'm going to slow the short-story reading for a bit, even though I want to just continue with reading more Hannah. I snatched up a used copy of Hannah's collection High Lonesome at one of the used bookstores. Instead, while I edit my last couple of stories, I'm going to read American Son and Dogeaters, slated to be the 6th and 7th novels I've read in the past four years.

It used to be a point of pride with me to be able to brag about how many shorts I've read at the expense of novel reading. I've come to realize, since I devoured Nick Sagan's Idlewild trilogy and Ben Tanzer's Lucky Man, that I do just shove them down my literary throat. I go through novels like I go through showings of Scent of a Woman or A Few Good Men on cable TV--before I know it, I've spent a couple of hours--2 to 3 days in the case of novels--doing nothing but taking it all in. Case in point, I'm a third of the way into American Son, and if I did nothing else for the rest of the night, I know I could finish it.

More to Read (Not That I'm Complaining)

I attended a presentation at the local library yesterday by poet, author, and teacher Luis H. Francia, called "Longing and Belonging: The Idea of Home in Asian American Literature". Don't worry, I'll keep my thoughts on the eye-opening themes of his lecture, how they've impacted my personal views on my culture which impacts on my writing, to myself (for now!). Suffice it to say that I was honored to get to speak with the man briefly afterward, and was pleased that the library actually carried two out of the three books he suggested to me, namely the novels Gangster of Love by Jessica Hagedorn and Brian Ascalon Roley's American Son. The library didn't have the third, Hagedorn's Dogeaters, but a local bookstore did.

Yeah, I bought it and borrowed American Son. Yeah, I know I already bought a crapload of books to read. I bought a couple more on top of that last week, too. I'll read what I want. Hey, quit yelling at me...

Tough Love

Okay, I got a backlog of posts and post ideas going back a week or so. Here's where I try to get to them.

Last week, I workshopped a flash piece for the crit group, formerly titled "NIGYSOB," one of the Games People Play in the book written by Eric Berne. It's been a week, so I'm trying to recall the context of the notes I made.

The Good
  • Good characterization.
  • Nice twist at the end.
  • It was apparently the right length (Just over 1,000 words. I've edited it down to about 920, though I have the sense that it might've been too much).
The Bad
  • The parentage of one of the characters was too ambiguous for most--especially when I intended absolutely none.
  • The escalation of the conflict felt rushed.
  • Some disagreement over whether or not I left enough clues to the "punch line." Everyone felt I didn't, but some liked it that way.
The Ugly

No real ugliness, this time around.

I joked about how I wrote and brought a finished flash piece when I'd started two longer-length shorts which I haven't finished. Well, now I've got two pieces to finish and two to edit. I think I've got a legit excuse for not bringing something to read next week--I should be editing!

09 October 2007

Good Reads

Last week, I got through some awesome stuff...
  • Mary Robison, "In Jewel"
  • Amy Hempel, "Three Popes Walk Into a Bar"
  • Karen Joy Fowler, "Heartland"
  • Barry Hannah, "Green Gets It"
  • Barry Hannah, "Our Secret Home"
  • Amy Hempel, "The Man in Bogotá"
  • Amy Hempel, "When It's Human Instead of Dog"
  • Amy Hempel, "Breathing Jesus"
  • Ray Vukcevich, "Pretending"
  • Jeffery Ford, "What's Sure to Come"
With that, I've finished off the first quarter of The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, which was originally the collection Reasons to Live--so, I've technically finally finished one of the many collections I'm multitasking on. And, at the rate I'm going, I'm going be done with Hannah's Airships in pretty short order, too.

Those Damn Kids

10 Reasons Jeff Vandermeer Rarely Reads YA
9 - Tired of reading about teens who turn out to be The Chosen One. (One time, just one time, why couldn’t The Chosen One be some tired single parent with four kids, just trying to catch a break.)
Now, get the hell off my yard :).

06 October 2007


I went to the local comic-book show last Saturday and got to hang out a bit with VERTIGO editor Will Dennis, who steers such fine books as DMZ, 100 BULLETS, and Y: THE LAST MAN. I also attended a talk he gave last Thursday at the library. The talk was billed as a how-to on breaking into comics, but as usually happens in I-town during talks like this where only an interested few show up, the talk regresses into chilling out and talking shop. Which is still cool. I heard lots of stuff about the biz that I've heard before, but that sounds more real coming from someone neck-deep in it.

Besides, where else was I gonna sit two feet away from comic book legend Roger Stern? God, I've lived in this town for two years and I'm still too nervous to talk to the man. He's a veteran with cool war stories, talking about stuff like conversations he had with folks like Frank Miller back in the day.

The show itself was fun. The scenery wasn't as interesting since I got there as soon as it opened, beating the crowd. Not that it's Nerd Prom or anything, but the room is small and can get cramped in short order. I continued rebuilding the lost collection of my youth, finding books I'd owned in years past in "good" to "very good" condition. Stuff like old issues of Rom and Dectective Comics from the early 80s--comics that are twenty-five years really, really old--that I remember, for example, buying in a 7-11 that's no longer around, etc.

My "big score" was a discounted copy of Adrian Tomine's Summer Blonde. I'm telling you, it's a must-read. His stuff always keeps me enthralled.