Monthly Archives: November 2011

winking huge hog-goblin winks of bad sex, FOCUS NEEDED

Angela Woodward is an absolute glow-head. Have I mentioned this yet? Yes I have. Not many flash writers are writing in the style, tone, control of Woodward. Here’s another.

Recently ran this marathon. Sometimes it hurt, other times my thighs felt like a Pringle Picker (a picker of wild Pringles) jerked awake by the pleasant odor of nachos, a real chip, the corn tortilla. Ah, the Pringle Picker…I had my downs, my ups, my windless thuds, then my 2nd winds (I always do, and I am thankful) and my leaps and look-arounds. The key to a good marathon is to look around–you are on a journey! Experience it. And it’s sort of even better; you are on a journey while on opium (your opiate receptors going crazy train during a marathon). Who doesn’t want to travel while on opium? Oh, you don’t? Well, good for you. You annoy me.

Then there will be times you will not look around…pain. You will go tunnel. You will go way tunnel. Marathoners know of the tunnel I speak…the focus of pain.

How did I run? Sort of slow:

3:19:11

My friend Mark ran a PR in the half, so all was good. I like to see runners run PRs, because I know how good that feels. Here is a poem of Mark’s where he mentions porn stars.

Speaking of, I am so happy Murakami made the short list for “Bad Sex” awards. Murakami has always written overly clinical and, well, bad sex scenes. His sex scenes are about as titillating as dropped cabbage.

Appropriated Forms is a theme today. Facebook Posts as stories, for example.

Or even a book about the making of a book…

This is badass. Spiegelman’s Maus goes meta.

Speaking of meta, can we blog about blogging? Anyway, this is getting a lot of run over at that listless dog, HTML GIANT.

It is raining. That’s very interesting, isn’t it. That’s just exactly the type of thing people are looking for in a blog, a comment on the fucking weather. What type of rain is it, Sean?

These are dark days for the weatherman, dark days…who needs them?

It’s rain. It’s like the blue fists of rain. laughing on the roof. steep rain leaning in the streetlight, across the pebbled face of a man selling jalapenos. pattering drops. hot slapping. hiss of heavy rain. black olive beads. at a solid pace. at a tall treble. endless toy onions of rain. a hollow roaring sheet. rain shaping the walls of lettuce. rain rattling down the gutters. silver salivas of rain. drizzling tongues. slick shoulder-rustling rain. chill rain falling. rain-mothered thunderer. hot sauce stains of rain. blinding rain. rain-gutted. how could i eat that many? rain splashing and ripping down from the wide-spreading limbs of avocado. sloshed about thick and sly. Lenses of rain. split peppers of rain. high-webbed satellite bowls of rain. afraid of what might be asked by the tortilla man. a wet sky, made tasks, deflated tomatoes of rain. broken knives of rain. i’m going to get somebody a hunk of cheese. kid browsing rain. lost headlamps. satiny sips, silver-fish, sheens of rain. licking as rain, gone through the ceremony rain. spitting against. sucked down gulps. rain-washed and rutted. balanced 90-degree toppings. daily appointments of rain. fight rain, flight rain. fall and fall. every drop of cream kept later like a detail. rain muzzling. a sound not unlike the rubbing of potatoes. a big man stumbling. and what do you see when you scan the menu and I’m not there? long arms of artichoke pearls or grains to slush. rain with a steady odor. rain fled rudely down the stairs. in spite of the rain. racks, napkins, ring tones of rain. 12 gauges of rain. mouth wetting. tell me something.  rain into the Mexican beer. all rain simultaneous. the color of stone. the wind and the rain and the ticks and the clicks and the black running ink of a receipt. Lists of rain, passwords, grocery aisles. the night was dense then, the rain dark, and he went into the room. rent with rain. taxes of rain. stains of rain. ask me about layering. deftly with a rain-chilled face. snapping the rules of rain. as smite as the rain. meaning behind the fray. star-shaped pocks of rain, eyes watery. hold on to me, man. fall of glass. blue light swept of rain. rain-print. sneezed off, snapped, hacked into a salsa mist. OK?

I am teaching a class spring 2012 on the Appropriated Form. I am excited. I see the entire world, everything, spatially to otherwise, as a potential structure for creative texts. Now I get to put that sensibility into a class. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research, enjoyable research, meaning I’ve been reading a lot of literary magazines, hunting down forms. Examples, just from today:

From Palooka Journal, Tests, by Marcia Aldrich.

Her blog here. (Note that she recently won the AWP nonfiction award–congrats!–and that the book uses the structure of an abecedary.)

Here she is at Diagram.

And Brevity.

But I like “Tests.” Because the title instantly has breadth, metaphorical, actual, the clattering space between the two. I like that it’s a community college test. I like that the community college puts its slogan atop its student tests, somehow this reads as community college, the fuck-off and gloss and put-upon self esteem I imagine (and know, having taken classes at several community colleges).

I like how Aldrich recognizes the form (an important step to Appropriation Fiction) and morphs/bends/riffs and plays off the form (the MOST important step to Appropriation Fiction).

Dr. Joy indeed. Sociology. Here’s excerpts from question one: In the past unit you read about family structure. What are some of the defining characteristics of the American family?

…a big, explosive wedding…

…enforced boredom…

…and requires a great deal of maintenance.

Indeed.

And then Aldrich takes things to another layer, another level. It’s damn funny, even ha-ha funny, though not really. Right? The teacher comments. This is not only a test, but a graded test. On the “explosive wedding” above, the teacher writes, in the rhetoric of RED INK…this note:

Jude, did you mean expensive?

She did not. She meant EXPLOSIVE.

It’s a brilliant example of why I am teaching the class on this concept, the form, the function. You get more echoes from appropriation. You get all the connotation of the original form, then your own imaginative layering–whether structural addition/change to or in language or in theme–and the two together become three, four, five or more echoes, rings flowing out from the throw rock of the splash. We are working terrain here. We are looking at new ways to do this thing. And it’s going to be amazing. Different. Better. Different, off-putting to some, but fuck some. This is a machine, this way of writing. We are going to try to steal parts, to weld, to kick gauges and gears right in their foreheads, and then to make something new. Weird, we hope. Odd. Odd is OK. We likes it.

Or as Dr. Joy scrawls in his bold, red ink:

DO YOU MEAN LITERALLY?

FOCUS NEEDED.

THIS IS NOT FROM YOUR TEXTBOOK.

I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU GOT THESE ANSWERS.

I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers. I don’t know where you got these answers.

Sounds like a worthy code and mantra to me.

Well, swink me. No, sir, swink you.

How far down do we swink?

You mean this evening?

Yes.

Hey, did you people know Swink has a little collection of Appropriated Forms, as in letters?

Here they be:

1. I’m Sorry About the Otter Pop, by Jenn Stevenson.

I hope that wasn’t too long for you Bill, I know you thought my cover letter was lengthy, I guess it’s the novelist in me, and Alan, I hope you found your glasses so you could read this thank you.

2. Letters Returned to Sender by António Botto

You didn’t show up again.  I wasn’t angry, despite my impatience having reached a feverish irritation that was hard to overcome.  You’re being cautious, so you think, reducing everything to the penury of what might happen.  I don’t like love disciplined by rules; I give myself over to the freedom of my emotions without fearing the consequences . . . Artists don’t feel themselves obliged to respect established morality . . . As you can see, my logic is completely sentimental.  But, really, why didn’t you show up?

3. Dear Randall by Elizabeth O’Brien

You big dumb stupid idiot. Why didn’t you come to my wedding?

It was an awesome day; you missed micro-brewed beer and goofy art made out of Dixie cups and the chance to see the best man fall on his face carrying a 5-foot-tall bridesmaid and land directly on top of her. Most important, you missed the chance to nail me with a pie in the face on my wedding day.

4. Despite Everything by Chris Wiewiora

- She loves onions

- Her favorite movie is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

- She has perfect pitch

- She hosted a TV news program in high school

- She’s got very ticklish feet

- She actually has curly hair that she straightens every morning

- She’s got the Latin aphorism from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Talenolite te bastardes carborundorum [Don’t let the bastards grind you down] tattooed underneath her left breast

- She bites her nails to the cuticles

- She was C-sectioned out, because her umbilical cord noosed around her neck during birth

- She wants to keep her last name when she gets married (which is cool with me)

- She kisses without tongue, but with lots of lip biting

Wonder if my class will write any letters? You bet your ass they will write letters. Hey, here’s a letter I wrote about a failure in my shampoo:

October 18 2003

Nexxus Products Company

Santa Barbara, CA 93116

Dear Sir or Madam:

It is like 4:30 in the morning and I sitting here at my desk (my dachshund Flash snuggled below my feet) sipping Red Bull and writing this memo concerning one of your cosmetic/beautification products, a conditioner, specifically, Nexxus Phyto-Organics Nectaress Nourishing Conditioner. It is in a plastic bottle the color of a pack of Newport cigarettes, or maybe diet Coke spilt on a doctor’s office carpet, or maybe coffee just as the creamer is spinning within it—kind of off-white, liverish, with a tinge of cream of mushroom soup, and the bottle is ergonomically shaped and fits the hand of an average adult and is # 4010800/29060-V3 and is round and smooth and cool to the touch, like a 20mg Dexedrine tablet, which may or may not be relevant here. Hopefully, with my descriptors, you can identify this bottle/batch/industrial unit.

At any rate.

I am writing due to a failure in the conditioner consistency. Ever since I had to crash at my girlfriend’s girlfriend’s loft in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota (this was after several days and nights at the city’s semi-annual Jackalope Sundaes Insomnia Rave—looong story), I have always used Nexxus Phyto-Organics Nectaress Nourishing Conditioner in my thrice daily (sometimes more) washings of hair, and the product has at all times had a glossy, creamy, steamy, velvety texture, with just a thickening hint of coffee bean (my guess-timation), which I find refreshing.

However.

This time was different. On June 14, 2003, I first became aware of the problem. It all began with the conditioner delivery process, as I was up all night and washing/conditioning my hair repeatedly and suddenly I was forced to squeeze the Nexxus Phyto-Organics Nectaress Nourishing Conditioner bottle with excessive intensity, huffing and grunting and grinding my teeth and, yes, cursing, just to get the conditioner to exit the bottle and settle into my open palm. I found this alarming. Usually, this particular conditioner flows from the bottle, in an agreeable manner, like chocolate syrup on Sunday morning corndogs. Sir or madam, it did not flow. No. It slugged, yes, then spat, drooped, and congealed. There was no way I could apply, work through, or leave in for one minute this dusty nugget of conditioner. It looked like old phenylephrine paste, or rubbery caulk one would find in the bathroom corners of a rehab center.  It reminded me of a dead slug, or crack-house mattress linen—I mean it was decrepit and dry and pinkish and gummy and altogether horrible.

Can you explain? I can’t. I have hypotheses, naturally. The conditioner might have been in some way dehydrated. My mind goes immediately to the coffee beans (again, I’m assuming Nectaress refers to coffee bean nectar), possibly inferior due the recent drought, number of devastating brush fires, and persistent political instability in central Columbia. Or maybe the bottle had a sealant failure? Like the shuttle with the O-rings, you know? That blew my mind when the shuttle exploded! I’d been up for like 34 days and I was all, “NOOOOOOO!” So, I checked out the bottle and even used a small magnifying glass I got from CVS pharmacy and I saw absolutely no failure of the exterior seal or casing. Next, I thought of sabotage. I mean, like anyone else, I have scores of enemies and bill-collectors, but who would tamper with a man’s beauty supplies? Oh god, I don’t even want to consider the implications.

As you can see, I find this dilemma worrying. Excessive worrying, you’re probably thinking, but all of us are different. We all have our little “thing” we worry over. For me, it’s my stomach. No matter how many Phentamine tablets, or how many crunches; I have to check my stomach in the mirror at least ten times a day. I don’t know why. I think fat will just appear, like a narcotics cop at my door, or something. My mom worries about The Bomb. Still! I told her the Cold War is so over, but she doesn’t listen. And there’s this lady, friend of my mom, Mrs. Gorman, who lives three blocks over and worries I won’t show up every two weeks to trim the dandelion shoots from around the post of her mailbox (a gaudy plastic thing in the shape of a chicken barn). I mean she sits out there in this old red porch swing waiting on me all day and I always show up (admittedly, sometimes late in the evening and/or early morning) and she always says, “I thought you weren’t coming.” Why? Why would she say that? For ten and a half years, every 14 days, I have trimmed the dandelion shoots from the post of her mail barn, even in the winter when not even one dandelion shoot exists. (Though she insists I show up, I don’t charge her in the winter.) Why, I ask you? Why does Mrs. Gorman imply I might not show up to complete a job I’ve been doing for over a decade? Who knows? Who can answer such questions? I mean why does God allow SUVs? Why do people take naps? How does Oprah gain and lose all that weight? And so on.

Well.

What I’m saying is I guess I know how Mrs. Gorman feels. I am comfortable with cosmetic sameness. Time and again, without fail, I want an excellent, excellent, excellent conditioner. Basically, I am conditioned to my conditioner. That’s a joke. But this issue is no joke. I really need to know the next bottle of beautifier will be like the last bottle. It’s important, a comforting routine, like morning Ritalin, running sprints in the driveway, cigars at lunch, Mountain dew at midnight, a neighbor boy dropping every two weeks to trim an old lady’s dandelion shoots . . .

Two days ago, I inverted my bottle of Nexxus Phyto-Organics Nectaress Nourishing Conditioner and I peered deep inside its opening (now clogged) and I squeezed and clutched and strangled, and once it finally released its grubby little chalky dab of conditioner in my hand, I have to admit my lips formed the words: “I thought you weren’t coming.” Yes, just like pitiful old Mrs. Gorman.

I want my old conditioner back. Please, please, please, don’t make me switch conditioners—the last thing I need right now is a big decision in my life. I’ve got all kinds of relationship problems and an ingrown toenail and MC Hammer-like credit card debt and an appetite problem and a small IRS situation and my girlfriend’s girlfriend keeps calling from Minnesota and…well, I digress.

Please reply with an explanation of your conditioner breakdown. I must know. I really must. For now, I’ll add Diet Dr. Pepper to the remaining product and do my best. That’s what I do, whether washing my hair or trimming dandelions or eating the cotton from inhalers or making a sandwich for my dachshund or seeing an out-of-state girl, my best. I expect the same.

 Sincerely:

Sean Aden Lovelace

*

For example, a Contributor Note: (BTW, it pisses me off they had to add all that “April’s Fool” context to this piece. Poor form, HFR, poor form, though you know I love you [usually]).

Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and grew up there, leaving, at seventeen, to work as a roustabout in the last traveling circus to winter in the state. He has held many jobs since then, including night auditor in a resort hotel, stenographer for the National Labor Relations Board, and clerk for a regional bookstore chain run by the associates of the Gambino crime family. For the last twenty years, Martone has been digging ditches. As a ditch digger, he has helped lay agricultural tiling, both the original fired-clay tile and the flexible pvc tubing, in the farm fields of northern Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan. He worked on the national project that buried thousands of miles of fiber optic cable along active and abandoned right-of-ways of North American railroads. He has often contracted to do the initial excavations at archeological digs throughout the Midwest’s extensive network of mounds, built by archaic pre-Columbian civilizations, where he would roughly remove the initial unremarkable strata for the scholars who followed at the site with hand trowels and dental instruments. Often when digging ditches, Martone would employ a poacher’s spade made in the United Kingdom by the Bulldog Company and given to him by the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who ordered it from the Smith & Hawking catalogue and gave it to Martone as a going away present when Martone left Boston where he had been digging clams. It’s ash, “Y”-shaped handle still retains a remnant of the ribbon that decorated the gift. Martone has operated a backhoe, constructing drainage ditches, and he has used a DitchWitch when digging a trench for buried electrical conduit in housing developments around Las Vegas, Nevada. He has been certified to run a drag line as well as licensed to maintain boilers in obsolete steam shovels. He is proficient at foundation work, having been employed for four years in the area of poured form and precast concrete retaining walls and building footings. Briefly, he worked as a sand hog, tunneling a new PATH tube between Manhattan and New Jersey. Martone has mined coal and gypsum in Kentucky and repaired the sewers of Paris and Vienna. Honorably discharged from the SeeBees, he once helped fortify, through the entrenchment and the construction of sand berms and tank traps, the Saudi Arabian city of Qarr during the Gulf War. He has buried culvert in Nova Scotia and created leech fields and septic tanks in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania. Having installed irrigations systems on the Trend Jones designed golf courses of Alabama, Martone recently took a position as a grave digger at the Roman Catholic cemetery in his home town in order to be closer to his family. Using the newly purchased Komatsu excavator, he dug the grave for his mother who died unexpectedly in her sleep. He observed the funeral from the cab of the machine, waiting until the mourners had departed to remove the Astroturf blanket covering the spoil and then back-filling the opening and replacing the squares of real turf on the dirt. Since that time, on his days off, Martone digs, with the poacher’s spade given to him by the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, his own grave, or, at least, attempts to dig his own grave as all of these efforts, so far, have been filled back in, as the resulting holes, to his professional eye, were never quite right.

*

Error Messages, for example.

S

Glow Report: NANO Fiction Volume 4 Number 2

WHO ARE THE EDITORS?

[All B/W photos by Vivian Maier]

Well, here you go. Looks like someone’s been shooting at this book. Oh my. How odd.

Possibly most glow eleemosynary thing said about me. Go Fog!

Lovelace is the internet and independent literature’s biggest proponent of flash fiction (that and nachos)

Now let’s move on to that genre with all the compression of a good Tennessee river mussel, FLASH FICTION:

[Wait. Wait. Check out One Drawing for Every Page of Moby-Dick. Please? This dude is glowing like bearings-o-balls. Like pressed sparrows or the moment before a thrown harpoon.]

Cover: Cover is by the artist Grayson Castro. Here is a photo (below) of Grayson since these days everyone just has to know what a person looks like. External appearance versus the inner significance of man. Grayson likes hot sauce. BTW, I like the name Grayson. Seems like a person who could tar a rooftop and cook a decent pizza on the same Tuesday evening.

Cover image is of a skateboard kid with lacerations and an edible candy necklace. Kid’s name is Worm, I’m sure. When you meet him he goes, “Yo my name’s worm.” He says it quickly. That’s his standard greeting: “Yo my name’s worm.”

He averages 111 at duckpin bowling. So? I sort of love Bingo and duckpin bowling and coming out of the deep woods on tiptoe. Wade upstream, that’s a safety tip, folks. For Bingo you bring your own little marker pen and a flask. BINGO! Sometimes the sound of water running over stones makes me believe everything will be OK, for a moment.

SCENE:

“Whoa. What happened to your face? You look like gummy Worm.”

Worm picks at bottom lip. (See how I mixed dialogue and gesture? Do that, could you? You. Writer. Could you?)

“Was front-siding a rail-stand off a jet yo at the airbase big ass blue jet with flames yowzers!”

This is a lie. No way Worm did a skate trick off a jet. The nearest airbase is military and you walk up asunder to a parked military jet and a soldier shoots you. That’s their job: to shoot anyone approaching the jet. They get a monthly paycheck to shoot your ass. That’s just reality, Holmes.

So.

[I utilized the term asunder incorrectly.]

[I will run a marathon tomorrow and I feel anxious. Why? Well, a week ago I sort of bruised or ripped some cartilage about my ribs and it feels like a glowing ember of coal in there and will this affect my lung capacity? Maybe. Who knows? Hey, I know let’s WAIT AND SEE.]

[Here is a writing prompt, if you need a fucking writing prompt, you apothecary-pants. Who needs writing prompts? OK, here’s a writing prompt, press your little fingers on those clicky little keys on your computer and start making black pixels on the gleaming white face of your computer mooning you for needing writing prompts.]

How did Worm get his face all huddle-muck?

[Why use the word, utilized? So affected. Let’s use the word, use.]

Worm? How he got that face?

1. Installing ground effects on Ford Escort. Jack collapsed.

2. K-Mart manager hit Worm with a bag full of quahog clams.

How about when Teebow gets Tee-bowed? Hell. Yes. I saw it live and made me feel like I was wrapped in a blanket of steaming creamed potatoes. It also, for the first time, made me feel for Teebow. I mean he was dropped into an odd, odd play. And now he has to learn lines he doesn’t know how to speak. Drooping. Drooping. Well, at least he got paid. In God we trust, etc.

3. The glory of his mind flared up and charred Worm’s face.

4. Worm met a little group of writers and they workshopped his forehead over red wine in a living room with hardwood floors and framed sketches of flowers and a bowl of oxygen.

4. I do not know. Kids like Worm are flooded gardens full of dazes and lacerational faces. They are reflections in bowls of lunchtime corn flakes, misting away. We are all Worm, really, and really not at all. Ever had your bike stolen? I did twice. Wait. Three times.

Inside the Cover:

Here is a photo of Brian Oliu. I took this while we were at his house eating nachos and cracking open a Rubik’s Cube. Brian lives in Alabama but I was visiting his California vacation home, the one located alongside a fieldwagon standing in a darkly cobbled tunnel of summer’s long discontent, as you can see. Outside Brian’s door the sardines were once so thick you could actually walk across their backs to Hawaii. A sparkling mercury shiver-bridge. But not anymore. No. Not anymore. BTW, that couple in the background are my helicopter parents. They enjoy sit-coms and sexting.

Brian leads NANO Fiction Volume 4 Number 2 with “Tuscaloosa Missed Connection: bullseye-Target-m4w-22.”

I thought this piece glow because it appropriates form. He is a formalist, in this way. This structure is borrowed from a Craig’s List category. Three things I know: 1. Brian actually has an entire Tuscaloosa Craig’s List Missed Connections Project, and 2. The meaning of Brian’s work cannot be paraphrased, since content and form are inseparable, and 3. The 15th Street Diner in Tuscaloosa has damn good cole slaw.

SIMILE GIVEAWAY!

Ok, you have a character that is hungover. Write that their eyes… “were red lines on an atlas. No carrot slivers, in the cole slaw of his bloated face.”

There you go. You can have that one. Really, take it. Like most of what I pen, it is about as keen as a dropped soup. Enjoy.

Brandi Wells writes about someone’s hands falling off, and hey, we’ve all been there. Do you remember the time Brandi Wells wrote  a letter to Grammar? I do. It happened to appear here the same day I started my hobby of shelling beans, a very painful hobby that led to callouses and foot-splinters and, yes, my hands falling off. (My habit was to shell them on the front porch, like my grandmother did back in the olden days of eating raw turnips with a nip of corn whiskey.) A person always remembers pain, always will keep those memories of pain clamped away in the purple bird-calls of the mind.

[One time a man and his son were watching a parade and Abraham Lincoln passed by in a tall carriage. The man slapped his son in the face! Why did you hit me, the son cried. The man said, I wanted you to remember the day you saw Abraham Lincoln.]

Dear Grammar,

I am always misspelling you. And you smile when you correct me, but it’s a hard smile. It’s a smile that looks like you want to murder me.

And remember that time I told you I was sick? You told me I could go home, not to worry about it, but you didn’t sound like you meant it. You voice was saying SIT IN YOUR CUBICLE AND CORRECT EVERYTHING.

Have you even sat in one of these cubicles? Sitting with my back to the opening makes me think that someone will come up behind me and hit me in the neck.

It is easy to die from being hit in the neck. Why do we have to sit in these little boxes? What’s so great about these goddamn boxes?

I get the feeling that no matter what I’m doing, you’re sitting right outside the cubicle listening. Probably taking notes. Later you will type it all up and send it to me via email. You will format your email in the form of PQP (praise, question, polish) and the polish will tell me where the wrong commas are and how then is different from than. When whan when whan when whan.

Whatever.

If you send this letter back to me with trackback comments about what I can do better, I quit.

Sincerely,

Brandi

[How Kim Kardashian turns the reality business into an art. Do read.

Andy Warhol, the original celebrity artist (who also painted celebrities) showed the way. ]

Here is a photo of Brandi Wells just whaling on some kid, probably Cher:

Widowers is a very effective meditation on grief it is an engine a quiet engine thrilling along below the skin the skin of verbs–slurps, chews, dreams–quiet engine like the shadow of a moth eating the final last cone of flickering French fries. French fries? What? Fail by me. But. Well done, writer and musician, Jaydn DeWald.

Janee Baugher writes well of the claustrophobia of a shitty relationship. The frustrating loneliness of the thing. The way a relationship makes you doubt yourself, since weren’t you the very guide that led us to this impasse? And time leaks away…leaks away. And I think this author has a good feel for when to use direct dialogue versus indirect and this wonderfully charged line of direct dialogue–”I met someone and we fucked”–is a fine turn, a fine mule-kick to start the unraveling leaving of an end.

[Aside? Lucy Corin on a sentence.]

Also. This about one of Janee’s books: Written during a six-week trip through Europe, COÖRDINATES OF YES marries nuances of travel (loneliness, restlessness, adventure, reverie, risk, discovery) with ekphrasis (poems inspired by the visual arts). Words.

ekphrasis sort of a glow word.

Here is a photo of Janee, because I know you have an inquisitive mind:

[Here is a brief Mary Miller interview at The Short Review. I like when she goes all:

I like stories that put me in another person’s life and make me feel what he/she feels. I don’t think they have to be complete, or have resolutions. For the most part, life doesn’t have fast or easy resolutions and I don’t think stories should have them, either. As such, my stories are often called “slices-of-life” or “vignettes” and it still bugs me (because people mean it as an insult) but I don’t really care. I like vignettes.]

But I digress…

Thomas O’Connell, in “Before and After,” reaches beyond the confines of realism and draws upon the energies of fable, folk tale, belches, and myth while maintaining a strong contemporary social relevance. That’s not easy to do, folks. Believe me. I’ve tried. I tried to go Magical Realism just last week and ended up losing my car, in a slice of cornbread.

Speaking of the metaphorical, have you read Meagan Cass over at SmokeLong? A lot of flash writers attempt the conceptual flash, the flash where the title is striving for metaphor, a controlling conceit: the egg is fragile but holds life, etc., etc. Here we have an example that absolutely works. This is the one I would show yourself or your students (along with others–Amelia Gray anyone?). Cass pulls the idea off, by controlling tone, level of realism, and structural integrity. The egg is form equals function here, not some forced and pressed idea. So. Take a look-see. Glow.

Fade in, fade out:

Cloudy Honey is one of those texts that takes language, sharpens the feet of its font, then lops your bloody arms off.

he pours whiskey into a smile

i keep mowing the lawns of these same mistakes

her beehives spin themselves in my closets.

These sentences made me want to reach for a bottle of ink, twist off the cap, and drink it right done. Think I’ll get online and see if I can find me some more Hafizah Geter.

Here you go. This one is a bright pool hummingbird blood.

Here yo go. This one is a prime-time orgy full of AA sponsors.

“There is a Time in Every Young Man’s Life When He Must Kill a Snake” is the best title in NANO Fiction Volume 4 Number 2. It is a flash by Adam Moorad. I know Adam well, since we both admire H. G. Wells, especially the earlier novels, and Adam and I actually co-wrote a grant that involved translating all of H.G. Wells’s earlier novels from English to French and then from French to Russian and then back into English, just to see how the process would affect the many forms and lengths and open, unlimited subject matters (from fantastic to stark realism) or conventions of narrative structure or grammar within those earlier works. Anyway, the grant was never funded. Here is a photo of Adam, naked:

[I ran a half marathon last week. I ran 1:24:10. The race REALLY made me blar. Mojo Blar! ARGGGHHHH! It made my head go taffy that has been eaten, spat out, and sculpted into horrible little Taffy Peoples. The race was organized by truth-twisters! They said finisher’s medal but they gave us a refrigerator magnet! They said gels throughout the course and they had ONE gel station. They said aid stations EVERY mile and they were scattered about, water only. Water. The fucking age group prizes were a jar, one mason jar. I could go on, but I won’t go on. I won’t go on. I won’t go on…What is the point? I did get in a good run for this week’s marathon, so. Life…]

On page 25 of NANO Fiction Volume 4 Number 2 there is a acrylic on canvas artwork of a naked person. Here it is. Be sure to turn away if you are offended by the naked, human form:

We also get images of a teenage girl naked in front of a bicycle, a dog with three eyes, a woman vomiting blood.

Alina Gregorian’s “Seagulls” is endearingly odd. The ending line elevates it to that wonderful smile-land of imagination–which is to say it made me smile, thus releasing endorphins, thus bettering my day.

Miguel Morales writes from the perspective of Poland. The text is addressing American tourists. It is playful yet with an undercurrent of seriousness. Not so unlike Zippo tricks,  sex, deep sea fishing, or opening and shutting a butterfly knife in church. I do not know Miguel Morales but here is a photo he sent me of his tennis court. I am a tad bit enviousness he owns his own tennis court.

Lena Bertone goes a bit Kafka on us. She adopts this stance in order to encompass the often phantasmagoric political realities of the 20th century. That’s understood. Also I like cheese.

Here is a fable by the author.

Here is a short story by Haruki Murakami.

You’re welcome. What did you expect staring into

your TV set?

Who is Molly Laich? I don’t know, but she pulled off a drug flash. You know drug flashes, right?

METH

FENTANYL

COCAINE

Hell, they are everywhere. All the more impressive Molly pulled this one just glow. It’s the sentence work, the sentences–long, flowing set-up, transition internal monologue, dialogue doing something, turn and return.

Here is her blog.

Here is a photo of her book. It’s a memoir about her childhood spent laboring in an Army blanket factory (her cradle an iron trash-bin). Can you imagine living in a blanket factory?

Bradley Harrison drops beautiful language on us like stuttering, flickering leaves in the shower.

Coming slowly down the hillside, smoking dank and slamming the levee, the strange tongue turning the world full of birds in the deep breath.

There is an argument over lyricism in fiction. How much can be maintained? Does flash open itself to this type of squeezed shard versus the novel? Or can a work do both? Here, I just really admire how Harrison nods to poetry, crunks that form into the block, throws a dropped moments back into the air, its apex, caught there. CAUGHT there–this is one role of flash, to throw and catch and show a thing.

[New Hobart, homeys. Go glow it.]

I HAVE NOT SHOT A BOOK IN A GOODLY WHILE

And that’s sad. If a critic isn’t shooting books, what, pray tell, are they doing? Where did “Pray tell” come from, you are asking as you pick the popcorn kernel from your pelvis. WTF did you thunk?

Shakespeare, The Tempest: “Heaven thank you, my dear father,” said Miranda “Now pray tell me, sir, your reason for raising this sea-storm?”

Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice: “The thoughts of others! Pray you, tell me this.”

OK, let’s shoot something:

The results, unimpressive. NANO Fiction Volume 4 Number 2 is VERY lucky it’s raining dats and cogs outside. I had to go indoors. So used the air rifle. Hmm. Well we do what we can. We do what we can. Life is hard.

Exit wounds here, the young lady on the back cover, obviously a pal of Worm’s.

This interview be shardy-glow:

Sophie Rosenblum: I’m continuously impressed in your writing by how undaunted you seem to be by blank space. How do you make space work for you, and what advice would you give to writers attempting to move in similar directions?

Edward Mullany: Blank space is most interesting to me when the writer uses it as a canvas onto which the reader’s imagination is projected. In other words, it should only look blank. Really it should function as a kind of invisible arena in which the reader’s psyche produces some feeling that the writer, by doing his or her work, has elicited.

HELLO PEOPLE!! See that wonderful chapbook over there to the right (scroll up, go on), the one that says HOW SOME PEOPLE LIKE THEIR EGGS? Would you like your own? Would you, to use as a coaster or a weapon or to increase your gumption level or to help orchestrate a VERY public romance or for whatever your motives and needs for words? Yes, yes, you would. Your heart is God’s cycle clip. So. SO?

ROSE METAL SHORT SHORT CONTEST!!

ANNUAL SHORT SHORT CHAPBOOK CONTEST

Our Sixth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest submission period begins November 1 and ends December 1, 2011. Our 2011 judge will be Randall Brown. The winner will have his/her chapbook published in summer 2012, with an introduction by the contest judge. During the submission period, please email your 25–40 page double-spaced manuscript of short short stories under 1000 words to us here with a $10 reading fee via Paypal or check.
Individual pieces in your manuscript may have appeared in journals, both in print and online, as long as the entire collection itself is unpublished.

Word

Here is an interview by the author of Pee on Water.

When talking about The Legend of Zelda, genius Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto said he wanted to take the idea of a game world even further, giving players a “miniature garden that they can put inside their drawer.” This is how I see stories, as a little world inside a drawer. I feel the definition of a story is very open, pretty much any clump of words, but I view the experience of reading one much like how Miyamoto describes exploring the new world of a video game.

Here is a photo of the author:

Dear Shelley,

We’ve returned from our vacation in the nation’s capital. We spent most of our time in the museums on the mall. I liked the art museums best. The day after we visited the national cathedral, we were in an office building when the earthquake struck. None of us had ever been in an earthquake before. It feels like such a long time since the last time I saw you.

With Affection,
Harold

Watched a Kingfisher hunt the creek this morning, skimming down the alleyway of the creek channel at great speeds and then–PLUNK–diving into the water and out with a silvery flash of fish. I don’t know how you sit up high in a tree and watch that and not feel OK for a second. Just a little bit. Ah, the odor of hickory on the gray, morning air.

Amanda Goldblatt gives us the term, tittering.

This atrementous guffaw: Twenty-seven years old is too young for dentures.

Indeed.

Hover glow.

Vallie Lynn Watson shreds the self. One of those you read and go thunk, you thunk, “Where can I get some more of this champagne fountain full of sighs and short-fuse flame-crackers?” Well.

That night in the New Orleans hotel, she had said, “I’m not going to let you sleep, you know,”

or

Maggie left a trail of panties in bar bathrooms across Chicago.

or: you do some leg-work. Go seek, and you will rind, a red rind of a life-melon, most likely. Looking forward to seeing more Vallie Lynn Watson on the side doors of life and the gnash-throes of everyone’s faces.

I like the structural work of Bryan Grosnick. Numbering.

Kristine Heiney SHOWS us why the final line matters.

[This is EXACTLY how I wanted people to respond to Fog. Thank you. I mean that.]

Jen Michalski is a consistent glow-face. A person who will brush your brain-wires and scrub your thoughts all Barbie-wired. Flicker, Flicker. She will rock you like a Word-a-cane.

If you haven’t read Jen Michalski yet I fear for your head, your feet, your soles, your soul.

Andrew Bales sums up how everything is about to change. We are going to experience EVERYTHING, without moving ANYTHING, except a finger, on a mouse. See what he does is take “the relationship story” and add a layer, add a layer. You must add a layer, folks. Andrew is good at billiards. Here he is shooting pool in a dive bar in Kansas: Note that he drinks mojitos.

During a confusing time I lived for exactly one year in Michigan. I would like to thank Adeena Reitberger for capturing a move to Michigan. A move to and fro. I stumbled upon a black jewel here, an onyx tear. It moved me. The universal in the specific. Thanks, Adeena.

[Excellent Nyorker article on Reality TV, oh my. FUCK reality TV is my opinion. But then that’s obviously obvious. And a reduction of…OH, Anyway, read the thing-un.]

Note!

[What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk?

J.H.]

S