Archive | July, 2009

I don’t own a chainsaw

She owns three chainsaws.

She owns three chainsaws.

I returned to my house after seeing a reading in Seattle. The readers were enjoyable. Seattle was being replaced. Many of the city blocks looked like Berlin after World War II. A billboard said that a transit station would be in operation in seven years time, in 2016. In Seattle, there were long range plans a foot.

I have seen my neighbor three times since I moved into my house six years ago. By 2016, I’ll have seen her three or four more times. She suffers from depression or some kind of malady that turns her into a shuffling, grey, affectless human being. The first time I saw her, the sky was overcast. She peaked her head over the fence to watch me mow the lawn. She said the last people who owned my house had kept the yard in perfect shape. They kept it in really good order, she said. And then, she disappeared behind the fence.

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Four Book Reviews

Thats right.

That's right.

I’m not sure if it is the summer heat or that fact that I started running again or maybe a better brand of coffee, but in the last week or so I’ve published four book reviews.

1) At Fictionaut Blog, my third installment of Rediscovered Reading has been posted with a look at Jim Heynen’s should be classic You Know What is Right. Although Heynen has published several formulations of his stories about “the boys,” over the years, this is the book of his that I think is, well, pretty much perfect.

2 & 3) At Reading Local: Seattle, I posted a double review of two books by Seattle writers who also write for HTML Giant: Matthew Simmons’s A Jello Horse and Brandon Scott Gorrell’s during my nervous breakdown i want to have a biographer present. Typing the title of Gorrell’s book I keep thinking it should say, “my biographer,” but having read the book I guess he could mean he biographer, for instance the biographer of Lew Wallace or Theodore Roosevelt would qualify I guess. Publishing Genius’s Web site noted that Simmons’s book is currently sold out and will be back in stock sometime in August. This means the book has sold out its first print run. Nice work Publishing Genius and Matthew Simmons.

4) Also at Reading Local: Seattle I posted a review a week or so back about Midge Raymond’s very excellent debut and prize winning colleciton of short stories, Forgetting English.

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Well-Appointed

He is so striking.

He is so striking.

Audrey was tall and skinny and he made the most of those attributes. His ears protruded from the side of his head disorganized in a nearly non-animal and yet biological pattern, like fungal growth from the side of a rotting stump. His skin was covered with blotches and patches of dry skin. The red blotches grew or faded depending on Audrey’s temper. He often suffered a long burning agitation over some wrong done to him and that he couldn’t do anything about and gradually the blotches on his skin turned red and spread over him leaving the island of white, flaking skin. Audrey consumed enormous heaping palm-fulls of tinctures, oils, and mud packs as he attempting to discover the thing that would make his skin better. He spent two years visiting an epidemiologist who removed skin samples with a sharp scalped blade housed in a long aluminum case. Audrey had a favorite coffee shop by the holistic university, Bastyr, where he often subjected himself to various experimental trials of holistic health. He drank a small amount of coffee but otherwise he ate a studiously calibrated diet to keep his red skin, his explosions of dry skin in check.

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Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon

Maps and Legends Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a reassuring book and collects essays that been elsewhere. I think in terms of Chabon’s overall work this is something anyone who follows his work should read. However collected here the overall tone of the essays Chabon is trying to be reassuringly erudite) just doesn’t work. On one hand, he strikes me as an honest essayist who allows his ignorance, knowledge, enthusiasm, and secrets to just hang out there. This doesn’t feel like a front, or as manipulation, and in this way, these essays read conversationally and they are great. However he is either holding back, or is taking on more than he can chew. In almost every essay I wanted him to get in there and do something instead of just amiably chat about the subject, and so the essays often promise those freakishly insightful moments that make Roland Barthes or Walter Benjamin lift their essays beyond some ruminations about collection books or watching detective movies. In Chabon’s case, they the essays remain as chatty ruminations.

In thinking about this now, there are authors whose books of essays are some of favorite books although they are often typically thought of novelists. William Gass, Charles D’Ambrosio,and David Faster Wallace have collections of essays that would displace all of their fiction if I was forced to choose just one book by those authors.

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Yann Martel and Three Million

It disturbs me that the Holocaust is or has become a genre, just as there is a British tea cozy mystery. Is this an inevitable progression, that a collective trauma becomes shtick? Is the pot boiler Western the equivalent reduction of the genocide of Native Americans? The root of Tolkien based-fantasy (and this is pretty much the fantasy genre) is also the story of genocide, that is of ethnic populations at war. Three million dollars seems like a lot of money to pay for anything besides a bridge or highway or something.

I am still reading, btw, any submission to A Boy, a Cat, and a LifeBoat

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Squirrel Confession

I am a tear. I am.

I am a tear. I am.

I am a man, na a dawg, na a ram. I am a man. A twat tare me a twain. We are na. I am na dead. I am retired. A twat irritated me in a dawn. I retired near a tree. Na rats near a tree. A twat tweet, We dead, man. A twat ran. I am a tear. I am rain. I am irradiated wind.

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Forecast by Shy Scanlon: Serial Web Publication is Live

Forecast

Forecast

The first chapter of Shya Scanlon’s novel Forecast has been posted at Juked. Forecast is being serialized semiweekly across 42 web sites. For a full list of participants and links to live chapters, visit www.shyascanlon.com/forecast. I will be posting an installment on August 27th.

About the novel, Brian Evenson (Altman’s Tongue) said, “In Forecast, Scanlon invokes an absurd not-too-distant future that nonetheless seems altogether too believable and real. Tipping its hat to authors like Stacey Levine, China Miéville and Jonathan Lethem, Scanlon’s novel is part SF, part noir, part road narrative and part love story. Whether speaking about an effete talking dog, an underground edu-musement park or the convoluted heartbreak of a man deep in love with the woman he’s been trained to watch, Shya Scanlon’s is a new and vital voice in fabulist fiction.”

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Love in Fiction

Fictional Love

Fictional Love

In fiction, generally, love is signified but it is not actually dramatized. There is a turning point with love. There is a moment where the two people enlist. They know each other and for one reason or another the two people need and want something from the other person and then must be with the other person because the other person can supply this thing that they need. Both people are like this at first. They are alone and without this thing that they need and then they are together and realize that the other person has what they need. And the other person realizes the other person has what they need. When does this happen?

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Alien Confession

I did it.

I did it.

My mamma and I made a lamb smuggle. Less deer, ram and badger a smuggle made us giddy. l made a dam, laid rail, and marked lambs. My mamma made papaya pie. A lamb empire ringed land and sea.

An ugly lamb mugger slapped my mamma and me. Lamb mugger mangled the dam, and mailed the lambs by sail to a damp map.

I bargained my lambs. I bargained by lamp. I simply bargained. The ugly lamb mugger giggled.

My mamma and I made papaya pie. Less deer, ram, badger, and lamb.

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Fourth of July

Liberty or Death!

Liberty or Death!

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