Archive | May, 2006

Cute Drawings following Cute Protocol

big eyes distorted body is cute
Trial audience: “aw cute”

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Cute

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My daughter at three had an unwavering addiction to cute that has matured now that she is five into a kind of cynical consumption of “cute.” We spent a painful hour for me (joyful hour for her) browsing a Web site with hundreds of adorable pictures of kittens and puppies. There is a Japanese sensibility (kawaii) for this kind of cuteness, and cuteness it seems is not merely cute in a kind of purely innocent way but cute in a way that camouflage looks natural, cute as a deliberate confusion of signifiers. At three my daughter bought cuteness; at five she is fluent in cute. I am merely confused by cute. I did, however, find an The Aesthetics of Cute.

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Matthew Stadler on the Suburbs

Mr. Stadler writes, “Old stories, reflecting our nostalgia for the 19th-century city, must be displaced by new stories.” Read, Losing You Might Be the Best Thing Yet: What Has Become of Cities” or last month’s article about Beaverton, the suburb of Portland.

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State of Literary Publishing 2006

The New York Times just ran an article that lists in numbers and in names the state of publishing in a country dominated by four major publishers and 1 book buyer for Barnes & Noble (17% of the market). It’s a sobering affair, and yet offers a kind of justification to lunatics and small press types that standing on a street corner and trying to unload your screed is the only practical way to conduct oneself.

This from Jonathan Galassi (FSG):

Publishers frequently argue for the bottom quarter of their list — the books that get the least marketing support and often sell the fewest copies. That’s “where the major writers of the future usually start,” Galassi said. “It’s where much of the best writing is, the work of the odd, uncooperative, intractable, pigheaded authors who insist on seeing and saying things their own way and change the game in the process. The ‘system’ can only recognize what it’s already cycled through. What’s truly new is usually indigestible at first.”

Read the whole article here.

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On Police Beat by Mr. Mudede

I recently saw the movie Police Beat and really liked many of the things about it. Although I remain cautious about Charles Mudede cultural reporting, a caution I think he would ask readers have of any writer, Mudede has written a number of great things in The Stranger, such as this 2001 feature about the region south of Seattle, Negative Land.. He is also a source of contentious opinion, a commodity I think in Seattle where people tend to fall in line pretty quickly with the prevailing sentiment. I have heard Mudede read sections of a novel in progress for years. I’ve come across fragments of his fiction published here and there, and it has been a source of mild frustration that he hasn’t actually published a book yet. At one point 10th Ave East Press commissioned him to write a book. And then they left town. But finally in Police Beat, there is something. I wish it had been a novel where the overall work would have stuck to Mudede’s singular sensibility, but nonetheless, Police Beat is something whole and complete and at least novelistic.

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Wandering Hermit Review #2 Release Reading

From Steve Potter:

Wanted to let you all know that The Wandering Hermit Review # 2 is on the way! It’s gained forty or fifty pages and a stylin” heavyweight, glossy cover since issue 1 and is lookin’ pretty sweet, if we do say so ourselves!

For those of you in the Seattle area, we’ll be having a reading at Richard Hugo House on Monday, May 22nd. The reading will start at 7:30 and feature Seattle area contributors to the issue. Much thanks to Richard Hugo House for co-sponsoring the event!

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About Charles d’Ambrosio and Clear Cut Press as best as I can figure

Orphans: Essays, was released last year by Astoria-based Clear Cut Press, about which he says, “I have so little good to say about them I am refraining from saying anything.” — Karla Starr’s profile in the Willamette Weekly of first-rate writer Charles d’Ambrosio

Matthew Stadler, the publisher of Clear Cut Press, said it was like a divorce. “He won’t return my e-mails,” Stadler said.

Here is what happened with Charles d’Ambrosio and Clear Cut as best as I can tell. D’Ambrosio tried to resell Orphans to Random House (Knopf), something he is free to do under Clear Cut’s utopian terms.

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StringTown tonight

I’ll be reading with John McFarland, Sybyl James, and others tonight for StringTown. 7:30 Friday at Ravenna Third Place Books.

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Review of Shoot the Buffalo in The School Library Journal

When his parents and uncle leave nine-year-old Aldous Bohm and his two siblings alone in the woods, he panics. Instead of staying within the warm security of their cabin, he drags his siblings into the cold, rainy woods to search for the adults.

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OED and the Canon

The OED (as it is called by obsessive) is THE multi-volume mother of all English dictionaries and contains the history of each word. One braggart of a contemporary writer, David Foster Wallace (often referred to lovingly as DFW by his adherents and Wallace! by his enemies) claims to have read the thing (obligatory footnote). If you’ve seen it, these are huge, tabloid sized volumes that take up a whole shelf and probably weight ten pounds each and have tiny print. An insane thing for a book — but perfect for a database.

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