Archive | December, 2006

Death by Tchotchke

While in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, I may have thwarted a robbery or maybe caused a mass murder. I don’t know what happened exactly. We were in a tiny store full of tchotchke: elaborate handmade knives folded into wooden handles, brass paperweights, paper globes of old world maps, paper dolls, journals, and stacks of scented candles. The odor of floral, musk, and honeysuckle filled the store. The store was so narrow that two people couldn’t pass down the aisle at the same time. I stood in line to buy a handful of things for my daughter and mother. The cashier asked me whether it was “mathematically the same” to calculate the tax for each item and then total it up, or if she should total it up and then calculate the tax against the total.

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Hard Drive Failure

powerbook.jpgMy Mac PowerBook, purchased in the summer of 2005, began to experience odd hard drive problems. The computer has always become uncomfortably warm but I never experienced the blistering heat that caused Apple to recall the batteries. The computer has become hot enough that the shape of the case has distorted. When I type now, the computer wobbles back and forth. About two months ago the hard drive suddenly began to act odd. And then one day it wouldn’t mount. I rebuilt it. And then a week later it spun to a stop.

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Take the Cake – Literature

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From October 21 – December 15th, ArtPatch and the Henry Art Gallery presented a survey of past and present The Stranger Genius Award recipients. I took some pictures before my reading last month and the curator, Sara Krajewski, along Matthew Stadler’s text. His text was displayed on placards next to past winners of the lit prizes in History and Industry-style cases. I didn’t realize I couldn’t take pictures, although judging from the blurry nature of the photographs, I think I must have realized I could be booted. Museum guards make me nervous. In the last year I’ve been to museums in Baltimore, San Francisco, and New York, and invariably I am instructed to move my laptop bag to the front of my person. At the Henry, my furtive shots caused a guard to duck her head in and instruct me: no photographs. So I didn’t get a blurry shot of John Olson’s interesting box of things. All I have are a mound of his journals. But, here it all is if you are at all interested.

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Prose Pose

Strike a ProseWhy is it that one of the US’s most visible literary critics feigns such a mumbling degree of articulation about books and the basic figures of literary discourse (the difference between fact and fiction)? In the current New York Times Sunday Book Review, sometimes People magazine reviewer Francine Prose spends more than a hundred words alluding to her easily more-than-a-hundred word mumbley exegesis on the difference between fact and fiction. Presumably this is the topic of one her seminars or classes. This does not bode well for her book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them.

Here’s my stab at it. Fact is true. Fiction is make-believe. Seven words.

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Rain, Flying Trees, The American Book Award

When I left Seattle on Thursday heavy rain was falling and my father-in-law had told me that hundred a mile an hour winds would be coming. When he began to talk about the rain and the wind, my wife and I had a plane to catch and we didn’t listen to him, much.

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Clear Cut Press Interview in Tarpaulin Sky

Tarpaulin Sky has posted an interesting interview with Matthew Stadler by Selah Saterstrom that shows the infectiousness of Clear Cut’s language. Here is (part of) Selah Saterstrom’s first question:

“Clear Cut titles remind that reading is an event—a temporary space of heightened significance. In thinking about how to begin, I’ve been considering my own history of engagement with Clear Cut titles. In one way or another, these engagements have always put me in contact with issues of memory and desire.”

In other Stadler news, it looks like he was one of the winners of the United States Artists award. Excellent.

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Two Sentences

I found these sentences in recent things posted recently:

A clean-cut guy in the audience asked the writers, ‘Does your lifestyle change when you get published?'” from Molly McQuade’s report at PoetryFoundation.org on the Literary Writers Conference in New York City.

When the brochure said ‘a haven for bikers,’ we assumed Schwinn, from Martha Clarkson in the new issue of Hobart.

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Betsy at HankBlog on Loudhailer

They came, they hailed, they grossed me out.

Last night’s Loudhailer with the Stranger Genius Award literary winners sans Rebecca Brown (who was dearly missed) was mind-bending fun.

(Note that Betsy links back to this site, so you could, conceivably, get stuck in an endless loop of clicking on the Henry Blog, back to this blog, until finally your clicker broke. You could actually do that if you were a machine.)

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