Tag Archives: Mary Miller

They Could No Longer Contain this Fucking Book Launch!

I went to Chicago to launch this fucking book, to read at the Beauty Bar, a bar that offers manicures and pastel walls and martinis but i had vodka and Oberon and then later Oberon and a quaff of Guinness so to speak, a dark, swirly, cloudy quaff so to speak, i cut my right index finger (and there blossomed blood) while opening a Fat Tire in my hotel room, as i ate a light dinner of Pepperjack cheese, French bread, an orange, and a tall, brown bottle of Fat Tire in my hotel room so to speak, this modern curves and colors hotel room in the winding spires and steel monoliths of downtown Chicago, the hacking and the coughing and the scissor-running streets, and my hunger forced me into the scissor-running streets where i was intimidated by the choices and the bustle and the sheer majesty/monstrosity of the place, and so i found a quaint local market and I handed my 8 dollars to a beautiful young lady (most of the young ladies of Chicago are stunningly beautiful) and she said, “Wrong side” like I suppose I handed the 8 dollars to the left of the cashier machine and so then I corrected and handed the 8 dollars to the right of the machine and the beautiful young lady gave me change and so I bought bread, cheese, an orange, a tall, hefty Fat Tire and went back to my room like some animal, like some scratching, burrowing animal so to speak, and i lay out my parcels, my freshly baked bread, my tightly sealed block of Pepperjack cheese, my wonderfully pebbly and fragrant orange, and this sweating bottle of Fat Tire and i had no opener or spoon or fork so ate with my bare hands, tearing ragged chunks of bread, ripping off crumbly crags of cheese, and opened the beer with the edge of a car key (i often carry car keys) and the key blade slipped and cut open my right index finger, as i have said. And so i bled.

People dig this fucking book, they do. The Chapbook Review goes all:

The overall wonder of this plump little gem is that there is no jockeying for space, no jostling of elbows, no stepping on toes. Yes, five authors have colored these pages with volumes of desire, longing, humor, loneliness, heartache, wit and desperation; and yes, the stories are often larger than the page, larger than the space allotted in our chests to breathe them in, but. Each individual voice is heard. Each story is a concrete, complete thing that connects with the others in the most honest and organic way. There is no point where the smoke of one story shapes itself lazily into the haze of another. These five voices are distinct, definitive, and each story smarts with such pin-prick execution you’ll be surprised not to find blood on the page.

Tim Jones-Yelvington in the house! I have always wanted to meet, read with Tim Jones Yelvington because I enjoy his work (here, here, here) and I have seen his musings and revolution and advocacy and words on The Google but to have a meeting or reading or word association on The Google is naturally not the same as seeing someone in person, not the same at all no matter how much of this world is becoming an attempt to convince us all otherwise, this calculated devouring world, the devouring bit-by-bit of my mind, of my sense of self, on The Google, also anyway as I was saying Tim Jones-Yelvington is the type of person to talk with you while wearing a doll attached to his forehead and I need more people like this is my life, my daily meaningless life so to speak, to read with and to talk with while they wear dolls affixed to their heads and also naturally to write with as we launch this fucking book, this book, talked about, people do talk about this book, for example, Outside Writers Collective and Press:

This collection of five flash chapbooks from five different authors (the four finalists from the fourth short short chapbook contest and the winner from the third) is as inspiring as it is moving, sad, funny, challenging. It’s basically everything you’d ever want from the written word, and it comes in such a damn tight package that, well, it’s wonderful.

Time-Out Chicago does it all:

So let it be said that the authors here know what they’re doing. Jodzio’s book, Do Not Touch Me Now Not Ever, leads off the collection with an infectious sense of humor, featured in stories like “Octane,” in which a woman thinks a warlock has cast a spell on her because a pony-tailed man smiles at her. Miller—whose Big World is a personal favorite—delivers Paper and Tassels, another clinic on how to pack character work, pathos and even plot into 250 words. And Lovelace’s How Some People Like Their Eggs, originally published on its own, gets a worthy reprint here. Colen is the most restrained writer included here, and Jones-Yelvington provides a slightly punch-drunk counterpoint.

Word. And then I got to meet John Jodzio at the reading, John Jodzio who I did not know, had not seen, had slightly read (here, here, here), and so I was wondering, Who is this John Jodzio? and then he gets up there, on that stage at the Beauty Bar, and he’s reading, reading rather well, and then he starts gearing up and killing it, killing because he’s very funny, very, very, funny, and I now have a new favorite funniest-writer-that-I-actually-know (the prior one was Peter Davis, a very funny man)

POEM ADDRESSING MY PAST, CURRENT AND FUTURE STUDENTS WHO ARE SUFFICIENTLY INTERESTED IN OUR CLASS ENOUGH TO CHECK OUT MY WORK

I hope you learn something from this poem and the powerful, mystical way it concludes!

and what a surprise, a surprising way to live life, where you show up in Chicago and all the taxis honking and scurrying about and the Beauty Bar vodka rolling through your veins and to read with fellow flash writers and stumble right into a new funniest-writer-that-I-actually-know, John Jodzio, a man whose words fill the room and ceiling like glittering mechanical horseflies, giant, cartwheeling, glowing, blinking horseflies that sting and buzz and sting again, who will read about hookers and chili and fog machines, all of this while gradually unclothed, with various “messages” written across his chest (he later said this was a pain in the ass to remove)

and this possibly brings me to a point of this post, a comment on what I consider the “best” type of reading, and an example was seen and heard and felt here during this launch of They Could No Longer Contain Themselves (most would or should go TCNLCT by now, just for the sake of brevity), the very thing I have argued with about with writer and internet and occasional “real-time” or “actually having a beer” friend Blake Butler, the idea of readings working best with HUMOR or SEX or something titillating along those lines and here we had myself reading with humor and sex and Tim Jones-Yelvington reading with humor and sex and John Jodzio one of the funniest reading of words men on this planet, I mean that I have heard read so to speak, I mean a true humor, not a cleverness or simple guffaw, but a human laughter of light and pain and mechanical horseflies, etc., and so all three of us (and also Davis Schneiderman–a dynamo of a man I am happy to have met; and Kathleen Rooney, a glow-force reading the other TCNLCT flash authors not in attendance) screaming out humor and sex, a sort of laboratory exercise in my theory, though with an understanding and respect by me of Blake’s point, Blake saying, I think, don’t write down to an audience so to speak, or read down, don’t go for laughs or sex when you could bring the audience higher, up to words and themes and areas of language much more involved and layered and so on, and I get that, I get that, but I also attend many, many readings and laughter releases endorphins as does various ideas of sex, and these things are not mutually exclusive, and truly funny is actually very hard and takes someone higher, as true humor has subtext, as true humor is really a recognition of our absurd existence, namely that we were born on this planet to die, and anyway I mean to say the audience was howling and the vodka was howling away, and then a hip hop artist showed up later and he really didn’t have much flow, not a great deal of flow, so we moved to another bar and someone sang musicals very loud and very well, and I took a taxi to the hotel eventually though I don’t remember the ride back, the swirling black ride back, a swirling black tornado that emitted from my eyes and head, a tornado with shimmering silver dots within, and possibly edges of purple, as is my way.

Audience enjoying humor. (James Tadd Adcox was there–good to see you again! Good to quaff many beers!)

Audience enjoying sex.

Before leaving Chicago, I walked down to the majestic/monstrous lobby of my hotel and found an empty table and chair. On the table, I placed a review copy of my new book, Fog Gorgeous Stag. Inside I wrote:

TO SIR OR MADAM

IF YOU HATE THIS BOOK, I AM SORRY. I SUPPOSE.

I then signed the book, walked away, and drove home.

Exploding treadmills doing what you love coffee clacking

The Lit Pub is up and running. Like a crackling yarn crane of goodness. Fly! Fly! Check out this exciting project. It will make you want to consolidate a garden of stars. It’s got Molly Gaudry. She kicks ass. It’s got Chris Newgent. He kicks ass. You know it’s going to be glow. These people mean bizness! I mean to say: buy some books, people. One of the best way to support this whole scene is to buy some freaking books.

But what exactly is Lit Pub?

Good question. So. HTML GIANT does an interview here:

*

I’m all serious and presidential and shit and gonna drink this beer all presidential going to drink this beer all presidential and Michelle be drinking this beer and working out later on the treadmill and everyone shut the fuck up while I down this wonderful beer in this authentic for once Irish pub. [Damn, I do love Guinness. Good choice, sir. And you look better than some:]

Oh lookie a shot of whiskey…oh my oh my.

PARRRTTTTTYYYYYYY…

[I thought you quit drinking.]

[I hate people who drink through their foreheads. I knew this one young lady drank whiskey through her feet, the soles. I had a sister tried to drink gin through that little cabinet above the refrigerator. Dusty bottle of cabinet gin. Never works. So I removed that gin and hurried away. In the mouth! In the mouth, Nixon.]

(BTW, here in a medical study about three desperate lads who decided to INJECT vodka into their veins.)

When questioned about intravenous injection of alcohol, he said that he had been using this method for 10 years until 1 year before admission. He injected mainly vodka with a frequency of four times per week. His main reasons for injecting were the rapid effect and enjoyment of the needle, particularly when heroin was not available. He described the only side-effect as redness and a burning pain at the site of injection.

[Style. That's why we voted for the man. That little kid is rocking a cool relax pose, too.]

*

Oh, fuck Twitter.

*

Have you checked out ChickLitz? Literary blog, yo. Go.

*

Oh, glow Amy Schreibman Walter. She wrote this poem that is sort of/kind of a Dorothy Parker mashup. Made me all worm-riddled with happy. Me like. Read it at elimae.

*

Pissed off I am. So I channeled that into my visual art. This image below is a piece of art work. I used a technical piece of optical equipment, a device called an iPhone. I pressed something called the camera icon button. VEry technical stuff. I used a technique called juxtaposition, like when you see a beautiful woman but she is driving a blue scooter on the highway shoulder and she runs over a crow eating French fries.  The the sun cries. I call this print MY FUCKING TREADMILL LIFT MOTOR EXPLODED AGAIN BUT AT LEAST I AM IN THIS BADASS BOOK OF FLASH FICTION AUTHORS.

So, the bad news is I had to run outside in the mid-80s temperatures, full sunlight, did a little Fartlek X 20 bursts, a 5 miles deal of sweat and red knees and legs rubbery like a window sealant when I was 12. Etc. There is a difference between running on a treadmill and running outside (wind resistance, foot push-off), so I always elevate the grade on my treadmill when training. I’m giving you a tip here. Go at least 1 %. I yawned a bit after the workout, a signifier of a good run.

So the bad news is I need another fucking lift motor and this IS MY FOURTH LIFT MOTOR!!

Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I dropped some pretty serious $$$$$$ bread, bullion, mazumah, cabbage, chicken feed, coin, coinage, dinero, dough, funds, bucks, green stuff, legal tender, skins, ready assets, refund, riches, , wampum, wherewithal on this treadmill, I mean this is no Sears bullshit, etc., this not yo mamma’s treadmill, this is like the treadmill bought for clubs, for health clubs (Think about the difference. A home treadmill is for hanging your underwear on. A club treadmill has a bear engine, for people to run on 24 hours, to stagger all over, etc.) and sure it’s been years I have owned the thing, and everything falls apart, we are all falling apart, oh my, oh my, but FOUR lift motors?

The good news is They Could No Longer Contain Themselves: A Collection of Five Flash Chapbooks By Elizabeth J. Colen, John Jodzio, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Sean Lovelace, and Mary Miller!

The buzz is starting. Good. I just want to honestly say how privileged I feel to be in a book with these flash authors. My mind is a piano paw. I glow. Look:

Already reviewed here.

Already on the Small Press Distribution Best Seller list!

Buy it, people.

*

I just played a metric ton of disc golf in Peoria. Don’t even flutter that link unless you love the game, unless you know its perfect fits and dark carpets of joy.

*

I am stoked about Tyler Gobble and Stoked Press. They have a call for submissions, so, you know, submit. Now.

*

I write some more Velveeta over at Robert Lopez. Cheese. I intend to write only about Velveeta until 2012.

*

New Hobart has a Julia Wertz interview. Who is Julia Wertz? I didn’t know. I don’t even like these type of comic things. OK, I’m warming up a little, but really, I’ve read two graphic novels. So. Started reading and surfing and checking out her Web Comic blog thing. I like it. I like her stuff. Might get her book.

Here’s a sample. Funny. And that’s not an offhanded comment. Tough to be funny. It shows intelligence, perception, and understanding of narrative structure. So, hey, respect.

The only annoying thing is her disclaimer, something like EVENTS NOT RELATED TO MY CURRENT LIFE…etc. Why would she put a disclaimer next to her creative work? Like the readers are idiots. Or she is too sensitive? Maybe some things happened and she wants the Internet freaks to LEAVE HER ALONE. I get that. Internet freaks are the worst. I have stopped reading COMMENTs on news articles or at Youtube because they make me depressed about humanity. So maybe she ran into someone so concrete they think her graphic artwork is somewhere they could go find a drink? And why would anyone care if her comics are/are not about her actual current life? I don’t get that one. Maybe this is the world we live in. Even if it is autobiographical, you have to tell a reader that your life has changed, that you have changed, that you are capturing a period of time? That makes me sad.  I mean it’s a cartoon, right? A cartoon needs a disclaimer? But I digress.

Saying all that, I think I’ll buy the book.

*

The Atlantic has a glow series examining the creative process of many artists, from T.C. Boyle to Chuck Close to Tim Burton to Frank Gehry to all types of designers, chefs, directors, writers, seers of artistic visions. It’s interesting how these “geniuses” work, their processes so different and then often the same. Grinding it out, for example:

Samples:

With me, if it’s a good idea and I don’t have it right, I stay with it. You have to be patient, just keep erasing what you don’t like. At a certain point it becomes alive, and you know the problems are solvable with solutions you may have used before. That’s my songwriting process.

Paul Simon

The system seems totally mechanical and so systematized, but in fact the thing about limitations like these is that they free you to be more spontaneous and intuitive. The painting is always in a state of flux. It’s a process well–suited to me, because I’m a nervous wreck. I’m a slob. I have a short attention span.

Chuck Close

*

Here is a photo of Brian Oliu eating nachos. He has a book out! Get this book! You know Brian has  a name no one can pronounce and he likes satiny 1980s jackets and 1980s video games and this book is made of lyrical essays composed as Craig’s List missed connections so hell yes.

One time I was in Alabama at this diner and Brian showed up and I said, “Brian, eat a fried pickle.” And he said, “OK.” And he ate a fried pickle. True story.

*

You do know about Bat Segundo show, right? Best radio author interviews around. Check them out.

Correspondent:It’s an unsuccessful story. Should history really be in the business of remembering the losers?

Hochschild: Well, first of all, for me, as a writer, it was a challenge to see if I could write a narratively interesting and emotionally meaningful story about a movement that failed. My last book was about the anti-slavery movement in the British Empire. That was a successful movement. Slavery did come to an end. These people failed to stop the First World War. But I still find them very, very much writing about. Because it takes a special kind of courage and nobility to go against patriotic madness that’s in the air. And very often, a movement like this, it doesn’t succeed the first time. We still haven’t stopped war today. We’re caught up in at least two necessary wars, in my view, in the United States right now. I would like to see people who opposed those wars take some inspiration from these earlier folks. Even though they failed.

*

A lot of buzz for Lidia Yuknavitch’s  new memoir, The Chronology of Water. I really enjoyed this review by Amy McDaniel, mostly because McDaniel wades into the novel/memoir civil war. Good mind, good words, Amy.

*

the same third of a meat-can at dusk.

Meat-can indeed, sir. It’s about time everyone understand Matt Bell is a meat-can of badass. Thanks for this flash, Matt.

S

Woot Woot Newz and Miles

Word.

New micro-fiction/poetry/hybrid/whatever/plop/lovely pancakes/celebrities/corn chips/thing coming out in 2011.

The more I wrote on this the more I understood people offended by the term, genre.

What do I know about this MSS?

Pub Genius Press.

MSS is odd. Not sure what to say about the MSS. I feel it’s a swirling pool below a pipe, a flotsam juxtaposition. We’ll see. I enjoyed writing it, intellectual play, shard-glow, sort of the point of writing for me.

I’ll let the words on the page talk in 2011. That’s how it should be anyway.

Here is a sample but a poor sample since I have radically changed the text by now.

Here is a sample but a poor sample since I have radically changed the text by now.

How do I feel? Like snapdragons and wine made from the drippings of arrows. I wear transparent sandals as I walk the kidneys of my living room. That means happy. Then it settles and I had  a small depression (why? but the same thing happen after a good road race) and then I just settle and move on and try to write something. Been weirded out by Lady Ga Ga recently. Not sure why. But I sense I will write about Lady Ga Ga soon. I feel it stirring and that is usually the beginning of how I work. It’s like an itch.

What should I do to celebrate?

Make nachos. Kiss them. Drink champagne.

*

Other big news!

The Broken Plate launches on Monday! During the In Print Festival.

In Print has Mary Miller, Matt Bell, Kalia Yang, and Mitchell Douglas.

How kick ass is that?I am always so impressed how this festival gets these people together, reading, conversing, energizing all the BSU community. Makes me proud to work at BSU, to be honest. If you are anywhere near Muncie, Indiana (and I know you are) on Monday or Tuesday, come hear these people read, speak, glee like film-makers and moons.

Wow. It’s been a journey on the magazine.

The Broken Plate is the BSU undergrad-edited literary magazine. I have been Head Editor the last year. It was a new position for me and I had never done such a thing and I went from anxious to OK to we-can-do-this to awed, especially by the students. They really stepped up, from designing to editing to marketing to everything that makes a literary magazine. I am happy and proud of our end product, our words.

This issue crackles like golden larynx bones. Includes Roxane Gay (always strong) and Jimmy Chen (one of the wittiest, most interesting writers, period), many others, and even BSU students. One of the unique aspects of The Broken Plate is the mix of national/international writers and BSU undergrad students.

Someone is going to say, “Hey, Sean, Roxane and Jimmy and you all write for HTML Giant. Is the fix in at the magazine?”

BLAR ME.

The students edited the magazine. The editing was done blind. I didn’t even get the names of the authors until the very end of the process.

But I am HAPPY to see these two authors and many others.

Get a copy!

*

New Word Riot out!

Great interviews: Mary Miller, Shya Scanlon, Matthew Simmons.

I thank Riot for these. Excellent.

*

Ran 17 miles today at Greenways. What is Greenways? This:

Oh, it hurt. I won’t lie, I was a tad hungover. You do NOT want to run your long run in a state of dehydration. That be stooopid. So I drank a metric ton of water (carbonated–I drink all my water with fizz now, and it is annoying) on the way over. Went bad and good, like many long runs. My hams are screaming now. I felt dead-legs early, then got a second wind about mile 10. Grinded 10-14. Then drove it home. I had a tendency to grind anything home, and I hope to never lose than tendency.

I saw dogs, reclining bicycles, dogs, dog shit (who let’s their dog go ON the Greenway?), kids, no comets, no naked people, a few other runners (more joggers–nobody was rolling it), dogs, a man screaming into a cellphone while standing on a bridge (In general, people pacing across bridges, yelling into cellphones, they scare me.), a nice parcel of robins in the shrubbery, a house with a pond and this canoe at such an aesthetic angle, like some small Japanese print, I don’t know, I was jealous of the pond-canoe people but I am sure they have credit card problems and the wife still pays for porn (who does that?) and the teenager just started hardcore into the Furry scene and I saw several rivers (rivers always make me glow and give me energy) and groundhogs and furrows of dirt and someone mowing their yard (a bit early?) and more robins and a few doves and several woodland/swamp areas I would not mind bow hunting (noticed when I think of bow hunting I run faster).

I talked to exactly one person. This older man bicycled up behind me and just stayed there. It weirded for a second. Why is guy drafting off a runner? Then he pedaled alongside and yelled out, “You are running 9 miles-per-hour!”

I said, “Sounds about right.”

Then he pulled away. Well, thanks for than information, kind sir. Your little digital MPH reader.

That was my only conversation of the morning (except when I prayed to my knees).

*

Been playing a lot of Bioshock (the first one). That game be crazy. I like it.

Xbox is weird. I should not be playing it, yet I find odd moments. Reminds me of running or writing in that way. If you really want to do something, you do it. People sometimes annoy me when they say “I have no time” to do something. You can find time, though it might be pain in the spleen (like running at 6 a.m. or X-boxing at midnight or eating nachos during a faculty meeting). Really they are saying, “I don’t want to do that thing as much as another.”

I think.

S

2nd Serving of Eggs. Yassos. All that.

Wow, good newz. Feel like a Kentucky sunset. People like Eggs. Cool book-a-coming! Will be Sally. Like extra Sally. As Eggs will join other fiction collections, to be published in Spring 2011 by Rose Metal as one-fifth of a multi-author volume. This baby will feature Mary Miller (You haven’t read Big World? You are a clod of noses.) , Elizabeth Colen, John Jodzio, Tim Jones-Yelvington. And me.

Word.

I mean to post all the reviews of Eggs but cannot imagine the point. I might put them over there on the right, like some do. Anyone, the reviews have been many and strong and I want to give a big-ass thank you to all who took the time to read, write about the read. Wow.

*

The story that will not die. More on Lish and Carver.

*

Matt Bell interview very strong. Part one and two. This is sick, so much smart stuff. I read this and felt 1.) dumb (I feel this often), 2.) Now smarter, 3.) A helper in a glass-blowing demonstration. I felt keen. Glow of glass. I made something.

*

YASSO X 8.

I went 6:00 mile pace for the first 2 800s, then went 5:56 X 2, 5:52 X 2, 5:49 X 2. I think it is important to increase speed/intensity as you near the end of a workout. To actually grind harder as you fatigue. This is what will prepare you for the marathon. Once you get into flow, take advantage of the flow. Use the flow to hammer, to get into the crucible. You know what I mean? You have to be in shape first, but once you get fit, the world is your workout, the workout your world. And it’s such a creative act. Every run is this castle of sweat and time and speed and something intangible–runners know the Place–and you craft and curve and shape this thing, this workout, this glowing castle, and it is corporeal and incorporeal, I mean it lasts for those minutes but then all the glow after, the muscles response after, the blood and hurt of the lungs, the growing, the day you toe the line, the day you cross the line, the day you finish one thing, start another. It is a castle big as you then big as the universe of running. Maybe castle isn’t the correct term, the image, but maybe a castle of shimmering air, of movement, of blur.

Felt good. Sort of sick of people wondering if these workouts are for real. Some debate whether Yasso can predict race time. Do them. Build up to 10 or more. They are for real. Have run many marathons and race times built on believing this workout. I think it real.

*

John Madera reviews Jospeh Young’s Easter Rabbit here. I’d like to see more micro-fictions in the realm, more image based, floating in words.

Examples here.

*

I had tofu refried beans nachos last night. I need Dave’s Insanity Sauce.

*

I told you good newz.

Dzanc Best of the Web 2010 will include my Casablanca ode.

Word.

*

I miss fishing. I wish I was fishing. I hate the cold.

happy.

JMWW all Fnaut all Marathon all

(Lawrence Weschler)

New JMWW is out, with a “real-time interview” with Joseph Young, Mary Miller, Adam Robinson.

I see the words Mary Miller and interview, and I read.

I am seeing more and more of these “interviews” in chat form, or IM, or iwhatever technology, and it interests me, the flow, back-n-forth, the built hotels of word-bricks, of winter icicles popping, the way green doors open (and close?), same and differ than a more traditional interview form. Voice and tone is certainly changed, and it’s a bit more organic, as in tentacles to cups. I’ll be interested to see how the genre evolves. Already we have chat entering fiction (Tao Lin, taken directly from the author’s own life) and essay (Wendy Rawlings and emails). We shall see.

*

Fictionaut has my “nacho” essay as “Faved,” a new feature. That text sure has had some run, so I am thankful.

*

Speaking of run, I almost have my 2010 plans hashed out. I think I want to do three marathons, beginning with the Music City Marathon in Nashville. I would like to go sub 3 hours here. They play country music is the only big concern. When I hear country music my retinas detach, so I plan on running blind.

I might be running a truly insane Oct marathon, but we will see. It will be one of those “This is the only marathon like this in the world” efforts, but some things have to fall in place. If I do run this race, it will most likely kill me, but that’s cool. I mean I’m OK with that result.

The third I need a summer one…we’ll see. Still looking.

Today I started my training for the April 24 Nash-vegas one. Three miles. Wow, that isn’t much, but that’s what the plan called for, folks, and I am following the plan. It is by Hal Higdon. It is here.

*

“I’ve talked a lot about writing. But I don’t know what it is.”

Duras

Sean Lovelace Reviews Mary Miller’s Big World

Alcohol:

Saturated.

Seeing.

Shaking our heads…

I want to start there.

Then:

If Big World was a beer, it would be the type of beer that carpet-bombs hangovers in the form of bowling balls (shard/chunks/stilettos off; the type of bowling ball you find often abandoned in creeks, alongside upended shopping carts, those mud-clutched femurs, skulls), big ol’ Moon Pies echoing upside your forehead. The characters would not bowl. They would watch others, disinterestedly, like observing flies on a windowpane. They would sip from those little crinkly bowling alley cups, and the pitcher urine warm, same cloudy hue, the sides streaked greasy. These characters would not bowl, not ever. They would watch, watch so closely (as in exactly) the pain of others (that they don’t [can't?] express), that pain a moiling presence, or a caught truth, like hangover sweat seeping through pores, like what ifs, or what wheres. But no bowling. No lift and fling. No fucking way.

“I sat outside with him while he drank his bourbon and Coke and watched the pigeons circle” (Leak)

Big face of the stupid morning. Salty, like blood, or glass added to the beer. Something added to the beer, as if the beer itself was now done, exhausted and boring, not enough. What should we do to the beer now? Put glass in the beer. Like that. But who puts glass in beer? Shut the fuck up. Drink. Drink. Drink, and add glass, crushed glass–make it sparkling, all reflective and sped up like lightning…Do it feel glow now? It do, I suppose. If you don’t live these few minutes, few days, how you feel in your gut and blood and pulsing crackle, what’s the point of feeling at all? (this option also explored, soon).

(These characters caught up in what they should do, versus what they don’t want to, societal vs. self, as in a Burroway paradox: individual and universal. Like that. I know someone reading this can relate. Ndeed.)

beer

[Do I sound like D.H. Lawrence? So?]

{Why did his narrator freak out over the snake?}

To teach U something…

“We feed him shots of vodka and amaretto to catch up…” (Even the Interstate is Pretty)

(note: you might want to be careful what you catch up with here, since nothing moves forward)

A white sleet of alcohol choking down the chimney of your reading house. Clogging it. Filling your hostel/temporary world, all tracheal lodge, cigarettes and pickled eggs and fuck. Onions and bourbon, etc. Life seems to accumulate, to drift up on these characters. One day they look around and go, “Shit, my mirror, false friend. It’s deep and cold now. I am going to freeze.”

(Seeing self in others. Seeing others drink will make a person feel less alone, less insect)

“I’m also at the bar, also drinking something frilly…” (Not all Who Wander Are Lost.)

What I mean is glow/slow headache and waking up alone on a mattress, in low hotel, free will intact and spinning those springs. Maybe itch of done-something. (Amazing the greasy sheen on a hotel TV screen. How did it get there?)

{self}

“There were only four left and the bottle of whiskey was almost done.” (Fast Trains)

[Does this seems scattered, complicated? A neat drinking game would be to read each story and take a drink every time a character does the same. Now leave me be.]

dsc00418

Get that lime off my beer.

Jesus.

(If you need a lime on your beer: 1.) Stop reading Mary Miller. 2.) Stop reading my blog.)

B vitamin deficient uptake penance meal: BBQ chicken fried chicken fried. Deep fried Snickers pizza. Meat & 3. I seriously suggest the 15th Street Diner, Alabama

(Sex is fun. When I mean fun the red clock numbers do pass. I mean something is inserted so I guess something happens. Time passes. Friction.)

Shotgun. Where is my shotgun? Fuck, it’s gone, and I smell gunpowder on my index/middle fingers. Somebody get me a big-ass mug of beer. I said full, please my lady.

We thank thee.

“He fixed my drink, put his elbow on the bar.” (Pearl)

Mason jar of. Drinking aluminum pyramid. Recession proof. Common sense proof. Proof, as in sociological evidence–Mary Miller writing of a man, not Man (the writer’s way of whispering).

“She likes wine coolers, she likes daiquiris…” (Aunt Jemima’s Old-Fashioned Pancakes)

Single cold can of beer sold in gas stations.

(Sex again.. This time we just go oral because of monthly practical considerations. My jaw hurting. I have a quickening technique. You can watch the news and do this. Look at the news. Another kid thrown off a bridge, drowned in a bathtub. Jennifer way pissed at Jolie, at Brad, etc.)

“I drink a beer and then another…” (Temp)

Happy hours not so happy.

“I’ve had a few, he said, cocky now.” (Big World)

The best beer is free beer, followed by stolen beer, followed by cold, followed by cheap, followed by sex-for-beer. Followed by beer where someone finally shoots you (more on this later).

“…until he gets up and uncorks another bottle.” (Full)

(on and on, and on, which is how drinking really is, on and on)

“‘We won’t drink this week,’ he said, which was what he always said…” (Animal Bite)

rita

Like a Tuesday returning every week. Like that.

Alcohol as a way to pause, shove away things.

“Tonight I’d like to talk to someone who doesn’t have a story.” p. 78

To look away.

“Fuck your sandwich.” p. 86

There’s so much crazy pain in these pages. I am talking night sweats, real pain. Fingers lopped off like excuses, etc.

“I can’ t think of anywhere I want to go less.” p. 150

So much to avoid, decline, to blur.

“…that if he ripped me open I’d look like the inside of a wall…” p. 198

To slam, to shotgun, to kill–to piss away.

Like that.

*

Size:

I am really pleased how many reviews mention the size of this book.

You douche bags.

Let’s see:

Average size of a Shakespearean Sonnet: 114 words.

Sonnets written in Shakespeare’s Lifetime: 154.

Total words in sonnets: 17556 words.

Cujo, lame-ass novel by Stephen King: 80,000 words.

Fuck + Off, I beg you.

I am done with this issue. I am done. Shut the hell up.

*

Religion:

Big World has a religion, a code and cult. Like poetry, look to the last line, read backwards to unearth the core.

sign

“I watch my hands pretend they’re birds and then I take a sip of my coffee, and he takes a sip of his and we’re sort of pleased with ourselves, with what feels like a revelation isn’t.” (Not All Who Wander Are Lost)

(falseness of sustaining suddenness–reality of everything fades. Hegel, final words before death: “Only one man understood me. And he didn’t understand me.”)

“He piled it all high on his bed, and I thought of the things I’d pile on ours, how I would keep going and going until the bed finally gave way under the weight.” (Animal Bite)

(I will call the narrator, SHE. SHE would get a lemon, make it into lemonade, then mix it with gasoline and pour it into her eye socket, her eyes (hoping to fill her skull). Ignite with Zippo trick. SHE fears good. Or feeling good. You offer your hand, she wants it, to twist, disconnect from the hand, for kindling on a memory, funeral pyre.)

{much of this metaphorical. There is no gore, only true existential horror.}

SHE would not use the word pyre.

Sometimes I wanted the narrator to take her life out back, to offer to the creek, the forest, to do something Native American, to accept the life and death and struggle of who we are. To hug meaningless. To pray to flux, to death, to the nothingness of dead leaves. To just break away into flakiness/realness, as some form of exercise…

yard

(Offering of respect. This book is so detached it may be brilliant. I can’t say. But God, you might find this book clogging your sink, artery, the hollow cavity of your next Wal-Mart chicken, the shrunken rat inside your clam chowder (You bought clam chowder this far inland?? Well, you are  a fool.), the thing you contact CNN and sue over.

It is a presence.

It is a presence.

*

Nihilism:

Big World is a nihilist text. Are we allowed to say that anymore? Hell, half the reviews I’ve read of this book haven’t even mentioned a central thesis–alcohol, in all its manifestations; that this narrator is walking dead and empty, waking to drink (a form of shooting yourself in the head, though the bullet takes years to travel, one novelist says {I have noted this elsewhere, so those that notice, uh, no shit}), but still alive somehow, still watching (this word said again for emphasis, repetition a poetic tool)–so aware, aware–the core of HER pain–and no one says it, so I figure it’s all good now, I can say what the hell I want. To miss the alcohol?? There are other excellent themes here. But to skip our national hypocrisy, love, adultery, peace, wrestle, hate with alcohol. Who is zooming who, folks? Fuck it, that’s not even the core.

I want to say Big World is the first Nihilist text (and I have read many–they used to be in vogue [not so much now, and BTW, do not misconstrue: this isn't Mary Miller's purpose, to write a nihilist text]) since The Stranger (sweet and sad  Meursault, our narrator, who smokes cigarettes and feels up women at the theater the day of his mom’s funeral) that I have felt an interest, attachment to the narrator. This is Mary Miller’s art here. What separates this book. For some damn reason, I care–in varying degrees, but always care–for HER. I mean the HER of these stories.

Why?

1.) SHE (narrator, not writer–don’t make that simple, easy mistake) is female. Not sure if anyone’s noticed, but 89% of the shit we talk/blog/teach/ shall I go so far as “like”  is male-centered writing, voice, even author (though not as relevant to my point, the author). I might have initially had a Lorrie Moore response to this book. Finally a full collection of female narrators, in 1st POV (though Moore is 2nd, obviously). I look/need female narrators, as weird as that might sound. It deepened, my feel, my attachment as I read  (I don’t blog a book this hard unless it deepens, for example).

2.) The nihilism is a result, not an origin. A result of acute observation. Ignorance is bliss, they might say, but these women are too perceptive to sustain ignorance. They watch. The core of their pain is that they do NOT turn away. They keep absorbing. So where do they turn? The abyss. I mean this, not being pretentious. They embrace the abyss. Finally, we return to out birthright now. And the abyss has no footholds, no bars, handholds. It is, by definition, deep, as in inescapable. These characters aren’t getting out, and they are not so interested in the process. What is out? No. What is?

OK.

Nothing.

Good answer.

3.) In some alternate world, I wanted to date the HER. I bet this book is going to get this a lot. And then I hope the book slaps me (and all readers seduced by the nihilism), and says, “Fuck you!! I mean, really fuck your longings for outward appearance versus inward significance, the PAIN of these pages–FUCK YOU!!!” Who wouldn’t want a bourbon with this HER? Who? I hope this seduction is addressed in other reviews, by smarter individuals, to engage the larger context I am aware and somewhat ignorant of, I do. There’ something…

4.) Sometimes I wanted SHE to barbaric yawp. To kick some ass. To break kneecap. I hate to be naive to a complete book but I took this photo in my office today and I wished it for the book (this may be a sign of insanity). This isn’t a criticism, obviously. More a longing. Any book that gives me a longing, cool. I’m actually wanting a sequel.

dsc00415

I wanted the SHE to run over someone in the book, honestly. But hand them flowers an instant before.

*

Microcosm:

In “Fast Train” SHE is shot, and is so relieved (in many ways). SHE wants to be shot. She has wanted to be shot her whole life. This story I will call flower, the mystical, the microcosm. Wow. These character want to be shot, to be wounded, but in the back of their drifting (ETOH) minds: Do I even deserve the cost of the bullet?

*

End Thing:

I’d like to end this review by saying I have bought several copies of this book. I handed them out the way I hand out hallway “What’s up??” comments and/or Lorcets to close friends with “stomach pain” (a nebulous term–usually means the person is lonely and want to just take Lorcet, a break up, or cable went fritzy that night, etc.). Either way, at least 19% of the people who have started this book have returned it, shuddered, and said, “Wow. I couldn’t go there.”

I translate: They saw themselves in this book.

That is a compliment, Mary Miller.

Rock on.

People, buy her book HERE.

Seriously.

It worth. Or why? I just said why.

So fuck

fuck off

buy.

*

S

Hubble. Heartbreak Hill of. The Sex Life of the Fantastic Four by Martone.

I think I will do a short post today, since we have professor candidate visits this week and I am entering Big Training mode for Boston, along with all of my family, writing, whatever duties. Oh yeah grading. Also a cup of sake sits somewhere I need to drink…Really, tonight, sushi.

Then I am gearing up for my review of Mary Miller’s Big World.

Coming Soon!

*

New decomP is out, people.

I like this Corey Mesler poem.

*

My treadmill lift motor is fucked. Not good. Since I am training for a certain marathon known for a world famous hill (really series of). Then the fitness place says the part will be in March 25. Huh? Great customer service, Life Fitness, you douche bags.

My marathon is April 20!!!

So I just put two bricks under the front section, lifting the grade %, maybe 3 to 5 or something? Feels about that.

Does anyone know how to measure and figure grade percentage on an incline?

dsc00414

Dropped 10 smooth miles this morning and experienced a major “Runner’s High” miles 8-10. I felt like flying, an effortless flow. Been a while for me, since experienced runners don’t really get the huge highs of opiate receptors, due to tolerance and so on. So it’s a bonus for me. I felt incredibly alive, crackling and meaningful for a few minutes, I’ll tell you that. My body felt like it belonged in flow, and I believe–in the eons/evolutionary sense–we really are meant to run.

I could have been a Tarahumara. They drink and smoke before their runs and these races go for hundreds of miles!! I wish I had been born into their tribe. I really do. Maybe next time??

By the way, this what the Tarahumara wear on these ultra marathon runs. OK….

shoes

If I wore those shoes, my heel would split into 9 sections.

I pray I am ready for Heartbreak Hill.

Here is Lance giving it a try.

lance

I’ve wanted that hill for many years. So let’s do this thing.

*

“What does the Hubble Telescope tell us? It’s a ridiculously large universe from which no clear message emerges..”

John Updike

*

I just heard I’m going to be in Second Run, with Amiri Baraka, Ander Monson in the issue, etc.

OK.

I feel like the dog in the big movie. Like I can say, “Look at this big movie I’m in.” And people will go, “Yeh, but you’re still a dog.”

Check out this Martone!!

*

S