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Earth vs Space

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of the Earth, taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, at a distance of about 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles). It is one of the most iconic, and among the most widely distributed images in human history. It is more than a symbol of globalism; it is the photograph of globalism.

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of the Earth, taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, at a distance of about 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles). It is one of the most iconic, and among the most widely distributed images in human history. It is more than a symbol of globalism; it is the photograph of globalism.

Putin is now the US’s Daddy: Putin said in his Op Ed in the New York Times a while ago, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” I agree the American Exceptionalism and the American Dream are both really dangerous (and heave been myths that have hammered the US middle class/working class in the last three decades.) Russia hasn’t needed myths to suppress their middle class/working class what with purges and the Gulag, however. But whose counting? We have vast prison systems; they have vast prison systems. We have the Russian Mafia; They have the Russian Mafia. We are essentially the same place. When I go for a walk on Sunday at the pier, I am surrounded by Russian couples.

I think it is more dangerous that we see ourselves as “The West” and we see Russia and Asia as “The East.”

It is retrograde to use “The East” as something to define ourselves. Edward Said’s book Orientalism is really handy in breaking down the reductive trick of balancing West against East. Not only is East/West really old as a set an artificial world-view dichotomy, it also serves no purpose in Globalism aside from setting up seating charts, resource distribution schedules, and other administrative tasks. Continue Reading →

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A Night of Matthews: Tuesday at Pilot Books in Seattle

Matt Briggs and Matthew Simmons

Reading 7 p.m. at PIlot Books FREE!

Matthew Simmons the author of the Jello Horse, victor of the first Literary Death Match in Seattle, and author of THE book defining the emerging genre of black metal fiction, The Moon Tonight Feels My Revenge, will be reading and answering questions at Pilot Books at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. I will also be reading from my new novel, The Strong Man, about the Gulf War. You can read a copy or buy one here. If you are in Seattle I hope you can make it for an evening of sludge, sand dunes, and SCUDS.

Here is the post at Pilot Books with some video footage of Mr. Simmons reading. They also found a video of me doing something.

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On Blurbs and Laurie Blauner’s Instructions for Living

Instructions for Living by Laurie BlaunerI recently read Blauner’s brand new and excellent novella Instructions for Living and wrote this blurb. I wonder if there is anyone who really excels at blurb writing? When I had my first book accepted for publication, I had to go hat in hand to authors I admired hoping they would say something. Chris Offutt who I had corresponded with on Salon’s Forums and whose work I really admire agreed to write something if he liked what he read. So I sent him the first part of the book. (He said he didn’t want to see the whole thing.) He sent me back a great blurb but also lamented the whole process. Who was he, he wanted to know. A good blurb would be from someone like Flannery O’Connor or John Cheever, and they were dead. I kind of feel in a similar vein about my own endorsement of a book. But as a writer I realize blurbs are about as important as jacket art — they come to represent the book and if they are accurate they help form an idea about where the book fits into the larger flow of books and words about books. I suppose in some way blurbs are a kind of protection for a book, like a jacket. The author is getting someone to create a short representation for the book and to vouch for the book. And in this case, I totally vouch for Blauner’s book. It is a chilling and increasingly relevant story about living in a bombed-out and repressive time.

Here is my blurb:

In sparse language, Laurie Blauner teases out the beauty of resisting the inevitable: the end of love, the end of life, the end of the world. At the core of her book, Instructions for Living, there is nothingness. The novella is a testament to Blauner’s remarkable skill; she has created a narrative that dissolves rather than advances. This is a chilling story appropriate for a world of pirate corporations, international gangs, and secret police forces.

You can buy the book here.

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MonkeyBicycle8 – Order Now and Receive a Free Issue

My story, “Hunger,” will appear in the new issue of MonkeyBicycle. This from the good folks at MonkeyBicycle:

Order before March 15th and get a free back issue! Just list the one you want (either four, five, six, or seven) in the Note to Seller section at check-out and we’ll make sure it’s included with your Monkeybicycle8 order.

Click here to order and receive your free back issue.

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My new novel, The Strong Man, is one sale now

The Strong Man by Matt Briggs

Jank Edition of The Strong Man on sale now

My new novel, The Strong Man, was just posted to the Publication Studio Web site. You can buy the book in a uniquely printed, print on demand paperback trimmed and assembled at the Publication Studio in Portland, as a DRM Free PDF ebook, or you can access a social media space hosting the entire book. In the social media space you can ask questions, add comments, or contributor whatever you like to each page of the book — kind of like a book in a bookstore where the proprietor encourages book browsers to leave messages on post it notes and stick them in the pages.

Tom Paine who wrote a novel about the Gulf War, The Perl of Kuwait, said of my book, “Matt Briggs shows us the realities of the “new war” that started with the Gulf War. In clear, strong prose he takes us deep into the truth of that forgotten, almost invisible, but tragic war.”

Thanks for your interest. You can find the book on here on the PS site. You can also find an excellent interview with Matthew Stadler conducted by Matthew Simmons about the Publication Studio on HTMLGiant.

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Publication Studio Acquires World Rights to The Strong Man

The Strong Man a novel

Publication Studio buys World Wide Rights to The Strong Man

I just received a press release from The Publication Studio announcing their acquisition of my second novel, The Strong Man. You can find the press release on the PS Tumblr. The book is scheduled for release as a free Web version, a modestly priced, DRM-free ebook, and a hard copy edition on October 29th, 2010.

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Publication Studio Opens Three Store Fronts

This from my friends at The Publication Studio:

Many of you don’t live in Portland, or perhaps do live here but are busy or away. Please forward our news and the attached invite to anyone you think might enjoy the party. We’d love to meet your friends. So here it is:

Dearest Pioneers,

Thank you for trusting us with your beautiful work. For the last 10 months we’ve been asking the writers and artists we admire most to let us print and bind their work, make the books available to the public, and then see what comes of some hitherto-untried strategies for building a public, which is to say a readership and also a market.

We’ve had dinners, lectures, cocktail debates, 10 am gin parties, art exhibitions, collective writing experiments, an online “reading commons,” and numerous trips to other cities to spread the word in person. Notably, we have not had reviewer copies, paid publicity, bookstore readings, or any of the conventional engines of desire in the book marketplace. The key to our method, as you know, is “just-in-time” production of books: the ability to make one book for one reader who wants it, and then make another for the next and then another, and so on and so on, over and over and over.

Along the way we’ve learned how to make a public and keep it growing, how to expand the circle of readers and waste little or nothing along the way. Thanks entirely to you pioneers, our business is growing, and we’re about to make a move that puts what we’ve learned fully to work.

On July 1 we will open our very own for-real PS storefront at 717 SW Ankeny, in downtown Portland! We’ll now have a 24/7 dedicated space for producing books, hosting the social life of production, and housing gatherings where the bigger conversation around books can take place. At the same time our first two sibling studios — Publication Studio Berkeley, CA, and Publication Studio Vancouver, BC — have begun producing their first books and hosting their own gatherings. Meanwhile, we will launch our literary periodical, WEEKDAY, edited by Patricia No.

Please come be our very special guest on Thursday evening, July 1, 6 – 10 pm. Get a copy of WEEKDAY. Have a cold beer. Our friends Lisa Schonberg (ex-Explode Into Colors) and Jonathan Sielaff will play some music. And if you want to make plans with us about the future of your book (or another book you’ve been wanting to make) let’s make a date. We can have a publisher’s lunch! We’ve learned a lot this year about the best ways to support your work and give it a long life. We look forward to doing that,

Matthew & Patricia

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Amelia Rosselli at the Shafer Baillie Mansion (5-22-2010)

On Saturday, I’m reading along with Dot Devota, Dickey Nesenger, Francia Recalde, and Brandon Shimoda read from Amelia Rosselli and our own work to celebrate the publication of Deborah Woodward and Giuseppe Leporace’s translation, The Dragonfly by Amelia Rosselli.

We’ll be at The Speakeasy in the Shafer Baillie Mansion, located in Capitol Hill at 907 14th Avenue East Seattle, WA 98112. The reading will start around seven and end at nine. I hope you can join us.

Here is one of Rosselli’s poems:

The inferno of light was love. The inferno of love
was sex. The inferno of the world was oblivion to the
simple rules of life: stamped papers and a simple
protocol. Four beds face down on the bed four
dead friends with a gun in hand four false notes
of the piano that are cause for hope.
–Amelia Rosselli

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Matthew Simmons at HTML Giant on The Publication Studio

Stadler at Portland's Small Press Fest

Stadler at Small Press in March 2010

Matthew Simmons at HTML Giant interviews Matthew Stadler about The Publication Studio, which will be issuing my second novel (The Strong Man) shortly. Simmons says:

Using print on demand equipment, PS puts out books by a number of innovative writers—including two of my favorite Seattle authors, Stacey Levine and Matt Briggs—rescues the out of print or in publication limbo, and generally advocates for a more nimble, more author-centric publishing world. I asked Matthew some questions. Matthew answered.

Read the full interview here.

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Some Recent Stuff Online

I’ve been remiss updating my blog for the last two months because the real world has been too real. I would like it to stop now, but it isn’t. But in the meantime some things have been posted online I would like to draw you attention to being the self-promoting whore that I am:

  • I had a longish interview conducted with Heidi Broadhead that was posted at Publicola earlier in February. Her introduction is very nice (and makes me blush) and I think it gets across how addled I’ve been and how I wish I haven’t been so addled.
  • As part of the whole 110 shindig for the hundred and tenth birthday of Seattle’s perpetually great bookstore, The University of Washington Bookstore, which now goes by University Bookstore, I think, because of it has stores in Bellevue, Bothell, Tacoma, downtown Seattle and elsehwhere, I spoke with Garth Stein, Maria Dahvana Headly, and Steve Sher at KUOW about the future of books and bookstores. Last three books I’ve bought have been for my Sony e-reader and one of these was small press impresario’s Kevin Sampsell’s fantastic memoir A Common Pornography (an expanded version using the same methods as he used with the initial version of the same name; however this version lacks Mike Daily’s marginalia.) So I am converting myself more quickly than I thought to the digital world.
  • A blog called Marketing Musings has opened a discussion about my book, Shoot the Buffalo, in relation to the late Clear Cut Press and Matthew Stadler’s newest publication effort, The Publication Studio, which recently re-issued Shoot the Buffalo, my first novel, and will be sometime in this half of the year releasing my next novel, The Strong Man. I for one am happy to be engaged with another of Matthew Stadler’s publication experiments. This version seems more suited to the unpredictable and disperse interest in literature. My novel has been selling very slowly and steadily since it has re-released in November at numbers that I am happy with, but would probably make even the most patient small press publisher re-think the idea of re-publishing anything. Clear Cut’s model was well suited to book and the reading public as well, but the subscription model and even the care they took with book production created a kind of inflexible matrix in which authors, readers, and books had to fit. It could not be responsive in the way for instance that the Publication Studio responds to the possibilities of the community of artists, writers, musicians, and designers who have found a way to make something with the Publication Studio. In any case, Marketing Musings has some interesting things to say about it.
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