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Echoes and Mirrors » publishing

Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

A Couple Random Literary Notes (And One Shameless Plug)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

First, a shameless plug: I have a poem in the new issue of Used Gravitrons. Check it out, the whole issue is quite wonderful, really.

Second, and maybe a little late, but Miracle Jones at The Fiction Circus posted a wonderful guide to writing fiction: How to be a Fiction Writer. And I’m not sure which step I’m on, but I have a rough idea and my head hurts.

Third, be on the lookout for the first issue of ILK Journal soon. I’m not in it, but it is run by at least one very good poet and I’m looking forward to it.

I realize I don’t post a whole lot about literature, writing or anything like that here very often and, honestly, I’m not about to start. This place exists for my virtual fist-shaking at the world, absurd philosophical digressions and other miscellany. All of which is without schedule or purpose. I can go months without posting a damned thing. And that won’t stop either.

So carry on, you silly gooses, stop looking at my wacky blog and do something productive.

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Run For the Borders

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I like Borders. I have the rewards plus card and everything. I like to go there and drink coffee and read sometimes. The B&N used to be okay until it moved into the mall. Not that the move changed it necessarily, but now going there brings with it the whole package of “going to the mall” crap that keeps me away from the mall in general. We have a small bookstore here. One. It’s okay – they do more of the collectible / rare stuff. We also recently got a 2nd & Charles, which is a huge used bookstore. It’s like candyland for people like me.

So when Borders announced it was filing for bankruptcy, I was sort of saddened. And I look to the e-reader bullshit as the reason. E-readers are great for Amazon… they don’t have stores to maintain. But Borders needs people in their stores, not buying an e-reader and then never coming back. Every time I’m in any bookstore, there are plenty of people shopping for books. So I’m not inclined to believe that people don’t read anymore. There may be fewer, and it may be the younger people, but they’ll catch on one day.

But thankfully they’re not closing the Borders near me… yet. It’s a fairly busy store. I imagine it’s actually profitable to operate. Then again, I know nothing about business. They seem to be closing 5 in the greater Atlanta area, though. I don’t think the big one near Lennox is one of them.

I can see the novelty of the e-reader, but I don’t get it. I like paper and I like putting a bookmark in it.

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Tips for writers…

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

10 tips on writing fiction from some big names in writing

The biggest one I took away from this is that I need to actually do the damn thing. Which is something I’ve been overlooking for too long now, aside from this bloggy-blog thing. I love writing and used to plop down and write a story (at least one) every day, whether it was good or not. Sometimes I’d also rewrite stories that I found lacking. Lately, though, I’ve just made a lot of excuses about being too busy. I don’t even remember what it really feels like.

Tomorrow is relatively open for me – I suppose I’ll sit down and write something.

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How completely rude of me…

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

I never bothered to point out that Discharge 5 started up some time ago. Really good stuff from these cats. I was kind of sad to see the end of Discharge 4 (except, you know, I never really did like much of cocainejesus’ art. just sayin’).

I will be getting the chapbook if I can scrounge enough change out from under my desk.

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Story of my life

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Pretty much sums it up.

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My Google Reader is Better than Yours

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

… because I read an amazing essay up at Clockwise Cat that’s not up yet:
Dharmic Dimensions in The English Patient by Allison Ross:

“The English Patient,” the award-garnering 1996 movie based on the novel by the same name, is one of those hypnotizing, multi-layered gems that humble the viewer into lauding the very creation of films. The movie, set near the end of Wolrd War II, concerns a charred plane crash victim who nostalgically narrates to his nurse the tale of his fateful romance with a married woman. The film style invokes the golden era of movies, with its sweeping scenery, quixotic reliance on romance, and intimately drawn characters.

But the film also has a less discernible dimension. As I see it, “The English Patient” is literally suffused with Buddhist themes. Whether this was intentional is unclear, but I don’t think any observant viewer can deny the movie’s intrinsically spiritual milieu.

The book also radiated some patently Buddhism themes, and so I was glad to see it carried over into the movie incarnation. In the book, specifically what struck me was the Indian character Kip’s Zen-like meticulousness in defusing bombs. This is not as tangible in the film, but you do see a certain Zen-esque serenity in Kip’s manner. Of course, Kip is a Sikh, a religion which mingles mystical Hindu and Islamic qualities.

I’m only going to give that teaser. It’s probably blogspot being overly friendly for some unknown reason and leaking content from the next issue, due out next month.

If you don’t read Clockwise Cat, you need to. Allison Ross has some amazing work up over there and somehow I end up reading half of it early. So I will take this opportunity to provide some (albeit marginal) publicity.

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In Which I Say Things I Maybe Shouldn’t Say?

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

In Which We Enter The Box:

Through a couple of flukes (acquaintances, a cousin involved in the ownership) I’ve ended up at The Box twice in one week. The Box is a club in downtown Manhattan. It has a live burlesque show and a drinks list featuring $13,000 champagne (did I read that correctly?)

As with many such places, The Box adheres to a mystical door policy. On Visit #1 I was told to say “SUGAR RAY” as a password. On Visit #2 I was not allowed inside until my cousin poked his head out the door and identified me like a perp in a police lineup. Casual humiliation: a staple of the nightlife.

While reading this I kept getting the feeling I had read it before, and couldn’t quite figure out why. With some quick googling, I realized why. It was because I had read it before. Same work, same blog, different title. Maybe the talented Ms. Molly Young forgot that she posted it before. Maybe her raving fans will attack me again (That was the post in which I called her an attention whore. Maybe everyone missed the fact that anyone who writes/blogs is to some degree.)

A very entertaining piece, none the less.

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Sily coonts

Friday, February 6th, 2009

I just stumbled on this cheeky little thing: Why Do Young Male Writers Love Icky, Toughguy Deadbeats?

Because most male writers are dorks. Who wish they were tough guys. Because male writers are too confused by feminism and women in general to portray “real men” on the page, much less in reality. And Palahniuk is their role model? Palahniuk is gay. How the leader of the New Manliness turned out to be a mostly closeted homosexual is a source of endless mystery to me.

Take “Tool Academy,” by way of example. The perfect example, really. Because it reveals that the new women are men. All those peacocks greasing up their bodies, wearing thongs and preening, crying and apologizing. These contestants are not men. They are women with penises. Gender is a masquerade. Welcome to our reality, dudes.

I don’t know about you, but writers are not good role-models, period. The most ‘masculine’ writers I can think of, that I personally respect, are Henry Miller and Norman Mailer (Thomas Pynchon, Walter Mosley and Burroughs all come in close behind). Masculinity hasn’t changed, but it has been subverted by dominating women and the hordes of douchenozzles that bend to their every whim. And it probably has a lot to do with people needing to eat and therefore doing jobs they find morally abject. Being too effeminate or playing up the tough guy roles are examples of overcompensation by weak-willed people.

And the clenching moment, courtesy of Brian Hill:

Male writing is largely the domain of upper middle class (white) men who suffer from emasculation issues. I’m black, I write fiction. I come from a working class background (scholarship kid, NYU grad). Back when I was repped by William Morris, I remember going to NYC lit events and feeling like I should be bouncing at the front door. Kerouac and others like him didn’t come from the establishment and suddenly read FIGHT CLUB and decide they wanted to play too, but unfortunately that’s where most male writers come from these days.

Every hedge fund pimp I’ve ever known is struggling to finish a novel about how difficult it is to be a hedge fund pimp.

There’s also the crisis of masculinity itself. To me, it seems that my generation (I’m 31) defines masculinity solely through the pursuit of women. I love women. I’m married to one, but when the only rite of passage is reading “The Game”, then there’s a problem in the world of men. What is the male culture independent of the influence of women?

Which brings me back to gay old Chuck. How did a gay man become the icon of masculinity for the commuter crowd?

FIGHT CLUB is hip-hop for white men. (Although hip-hop is hip-hop for white men, but I digress…). Dick lit is fantasy fulfillment. It’s the ridiculous idea that even if you’ve been a sheltered, pampered, entitled prick for most of your life — a month doing sit ups and you can turn into Chuck Lidell. These books convince soft-natured fellas that they have a boxer’s pain threshold, an animal’s savagery, and a gladiator’s soul. Just like rap music convinces every black kid that being black somehow makes you inherently more badass than everyone else (it doesn’t), these books convince yuppies that they’re not fragile.

And just like black kids who watch Scarface and miss the fact that Tony Montana dies in a hail of gunfire, alone, addicted to cocaine and insane — the “man fans” miss the fact that FIGHT CLUB is about a narrator who is so shit-scared of asking out Marla Singer that he invents another personality in order to fuck her. FIGHT CLUB isn’t about a world without women. FIGHT CLUB is about a sub-culture created because of a woman. It’s not about empowerment. It’s an essay about how men can’t escape emasculation.

When men find motivations separate from their relationships with women, that’s when we get our balls back.

All in all, amusing and enlightening. And offensive if your nuts are rubber-banded or you secretly pander to the opposite sex.

Chuck Palahniuk will always have a place on my bookshelf. It’s just so damn entertaining. But these people Brian is talking about are all over my school -granted, they know more about the technicalities of writing. It’s what MFA programs have been producing for the last few years. I get submissions for Hobson’s Choice from these guys and you know what? It’s sad. Quite a lot of it is well-written. Just… weak.

I don’t know if Kerouac is such a hot example, though. I really don’t like much of what he wrote. Cassady on the other hand was pretty much on point, although I’m sure someone would be quick to point out the Ginsburg affair and how it emasculates Cassady, etc. (which, while relevant, is outside of the scope of my point). The fact that these young men are writing about love and sex in ways they have never come close to experiencing is what’s wrong with them. Oh, I think somebody wrote a novel about these guys, oddly enough titled All the Sad Young Literary Men.

But, if you step back and look at it, it’s okay. Because they’re young and so what if they have a crappy manuscript they’ve been revising and shopping around for six years? It doesn’t hurt anyone, least of all them. In fact, they’re okay. Hell, I haven’t finished a novel. I did start one, but just kinda realized my shortcomings about how to tell the story: my socialization has limited experience with hospitals (and specifically cancer).

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hahahahahaha.. yeah.

Monday, January 19th, 2009

How NOT to write a novel.

Typically, the plot of a good novel begins by introducing a sympathetic character who wrestles with a thorny problem. As the plot thickens, the character strains every resource to solve the problem, while shocking developments and startling new information help or hinder her on the way. Painful inner conflicts drive her onward but sometimes also paralyse her at a moment of truth. She finally overcomes the problem in a way that takes the reader by surprise, but in retrospect seems both elegant and inevitable.

The plot of a typical unpublished novel introduces a protagonist, then introduces her mother, father, three brothers and her cat, giving each a long scene in which they exhibit their typical behaviors one after another. This is followed by scenes in which they interact with each other in different combinations, meanwhile driving restlessly to restaurants, bars, and each other’s homes, all of which is described in detail.

Seems about right to me. It’s how every 20-something girl’s fantasy novel goes. Or most fantasy novels period…

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something worth reading

Friday, January 16th, 2009

The Winter 2009 issue of the Denver Syntax is up.

It is certainly a publication worth reading, not to mention free. Also, they published my work in the last issue so I hold a certain affection for them. Check it out.

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