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!
Now let’s move on to that genre with all the compression of a good Tennessee river mussel, FLASH FICTION:
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.
“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.
[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.
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.]
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.
If you send this letter back to me with trackback comments about what I can do better, I quit.
[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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
[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?