drop your miter into a first historical Saltine of sadness

KGM sent me a letter today. Wait, a letter arrived today from KGM. Wait, the return address is Amy Berkowitz, from Mondo Bummer Books.

[I need to cut my yard but there is a certain luxury to looking out at an unruly yard and not cutting said yard. For a moment I forgot determinism and poured four cups of coffee. For a moment I thought about the sky nothing but the sky.]

Letter as chapbook? I might have been drunk and ordered this online, not sure. I have been laying off the Drinking & Ebaying habit, so maybe have leaked a bit into Drinking & Buying Literature. Anything is possible at this point.

Sometimes my brain feels like an aquarium.

Look, I’ll tell you this: KGM wrote a letter. It begins:

Laura had a dream about being a potato. She sat on a table, being a potato. She could feel her fibers, and skin. She was surprised to find that the eyes of the potato didn’t see anything at all, not even something surreal and magical, as she would have guessed. Laura woke up slowly that morning, remembering her dream, and feeling a little upset that she could never dream anything more exciting.

The remainder of the letter is a ceiling light or blinds you peek through, waiting for someone at the drive, the way sun on walls will become an itinerary, I mean the ways words are like days as they move you. I mean to say beautiful. Often KGM writes in beauty.

*

[You can actually mix Merlot and Guinness. Free tip right there, kids.]

I liked Other Electricities. It was an elegy. I don’t think this was written about enough. It was a prayer to some lost thing. Sometimes I will see the word snowmobile and think of a tombstone. Or I might be trapped in a stairwell and start thinking about snow. So, that’s how that machine works.

Neck Deep, I loved. It could be because I also enjoy baths. Or it could be the disc golf essay. It could be because Ander is a good friend but I doubt it. A lot of my good friends have books I like less. Also one time Ander hit me directly in the back with a disc golf drive. But I digress.

I Glow Vanishing Point. The other day I was crouched over a black beer and I told someone, I said, “I really think Vanishing Point is better than Neck Deep.” They said, “Really?!” I could tell they didn’t agree at all. So I disagree with their disagreeing or some kind of math thing. And I knew the buzz on that book would go Boat Flips and Grits. Since the pages bleeds into the Internets, the Googles. Yep.

The man is doing things, folks.

[This bar you can lift up framed photos and the walls are white behind the photo. The wall is yellow from nicotine. I thought it was a yellow wall. You should probably use that detail in a story. Details in stories will make the reader less aware of the teller of the story, maybe. I have no idea what picture will be in the frame. Look, it’s your story but God please don’t see your reflection in the glass frame and start describing your protagonist’s bangs and shit.]

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This is Literally all the Info I have at the Moment.

*

A kick ass glossary over at Hobart. By B.C. Edwards.

Worried is how a dove coos when you hold it real tight.

That’s actually true. Also a dove’s breasts contain white and dark meat. Also it’s considered bad form to shoot a dove from a wire or off the ground. I see that from someone on like a Tuesday in Mississippi and I think, “Douchebag.”

I tried to get into the Hobart Outside issue. I mean to say I submitted. I thought, “An outdoor issue? That’s made for me.”

No it was not made for me. Fail. Aaron sent a really nice rejection.

{It was this story published soon after at Superstition Review. Beware the author photo. They ripped it from my BSU work site. I look sort of creepy or maybe like I tan [I do not]}

I saw Aaron at AWP and someone STOLE HIS LIQUOR!!

OK, they “confiscated” it. But, look, you can use the word “confiscate” all you want, but you still took a man’s whiskey and, yes, you will go to hell.

Speaking of my life, the Indiana Review kindly emailed me about sending them a story a while back. I was pleased as a pair of sweatpants to send them a story. Actually, I didn’t really have a story. So I wrote one called “The Thing.” (Sort of a dumb title, now that I reflect on it.) They emailed me yesterday with Fail. In the spirit of Jac Jemc’s excellent REJECTION BLOG I will include the letter for you. I thought it professional and kind:

Sean,

Our apologies for the delayed response; we wanted to give your work its editorial due.

After much discussion we have ultimately decided not to utilize your submission, however, you have certainly made fans of our staff. Please feel free to submit in the future.

Thank You and All the Best,

The Editors

Indiana Review

Does any magazine out there want “The Thing?” Come on, I took the time to write an actual short story and you know I’m into micro-fiction and flash and all that hybrid thing like when you get a bird and fly it into a ramshackle. Or sit out in a storm, out in your shed. I was about to write about the rain sweeping the roof but God that sounds so like a writer. The rain should saw the shed or pith it. The rain pithed the shed. What the fuck is a pith helmet? I mean I see the thing.

But pith?

Here is a sample paragraph from “The Thing” to help you nap:

While asleep he sweats. While awake he occupies himself. Finds all the strands of hair—corners, bathtub O, eyelids of doors—and spins them into tangles and lines and decahedrons of light. The yellow teeth of the window. There coughs the Cat’s Cradle, frantic fingers, clacking nails, hands unhinged and flailing, gummed-out in the elbows of a clattering machine. Or he might walk room to room and identify objects. Green lotion, cigarette husk, open drawer. Fact: A kitchen knife is a computer. Fact: You program the thing. Or back to the dancing fingers. Effigy of music, with the hands and the splitting/shimmering hair, blurring some stringed instrument, the greasy hiss of bones.

A blue humming, veins.

Touching of the Starbursts? To alternate flavors, to maintain an equality of each, but he suspects they try to fuck people with the yellow (lemon). Today all is right with the Starbursts. He unwraps each candy, inhales, mashes them together into a little man (cuts four pieces in half for arms and legs), and props the Candy Man in the freezer, alongside the vodka and the burnt tots of tator.

He names the Candy Man. He says, You are empty like _______ I will call you Empty. You are the day I was drowning and realized the universe. I will name you Palms, Palms Up, Open Hand of the Universe.

He bathes and pees in the tub and keeps on bathing.

…staggers naked into the kitchen…stuffs the whole hard, cold, dumb Candy Man into his mouth. Jaws mashing, tongue pebbling up, maw swollen with sugary drool.

*

I need to revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise.

Look there goes James Thurber and he’s running after the mail truck. “Come back here with my fucking essay!!”

As he drank gin dude would change out his glass eye and replace it with a series of increasingly bloodshot eyes.

Dude had one glass eye that was an American Flag. You wanna get laid? Put a fucking glass eye with an American flag into your skull. Like excuse yourself from the conversation, go to the bathroom, return with American flag eye.

Hell, I’d sleep with you. I’d sleep with before you could sneeze.

*

Oh look, Cubby tells all of us how to tape our fingers for disc golf! Thanks, Cubby! Cubby! Cubby! Cubby! Cubby! Cubby!

*

Wait. Who in the hell is B.C. Edwards (this my mind thinking out loud now)? Sometimes I will read a writer and the hooks in and I’ll float away into the ribs of a washboard stomach and I’ll go get on The Google and hunt that writer down. I suppose it is a good thing when your words make my synapses move my fingers move my time on this planet move my earth my blood so here we go:

Found this over at pax americana. Check this opening line:

As I was walking down the street that cold afternoon I crossed paths with a man with blood pouring down his face.

Tension, immediacy. The story has started. This B.C. Edwards has a sort of cool name and apparently chops.

This at pax again.

When Milo opened his eyes he was still nineteen.

“Milo” is the type of name you find in short stories. But another great line. An opening. Nineteen indeed and then we dissolve into Mad Dog.

He reviews a Sam Lipsyte novel here.

I think he’s involved in Literary Death Matches, a term that always bothered me when I would show up and not one person would die. Or they never died when I was in attendance. I did see a poet punch a teacher-of-forms once. I guess all in attendance will eventually die, now that I reflect. So I guess it is–in a way removed–a death match. Wait, life is a Death Match. Are we really going to go down the We-Are-Born-to-Die route? Sometimes my brain reminds me of a teenager and I just feel sad about that.

[So I cook this huge pasta recipe {this one} and buy all these ingredients and cook it all and when I’m done I put it all into Tupperware and in the fridge and I make nachos and eat the nachos.]

Well, now I know B.C. Edwards. And I’ll keep a look out for B.C. Edwards.

*

What we need is more stories that begin with one word: Gorgonzola.

Interesting flash by Jane Hammons at deComp

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5 responses to “drop your miter into a first historical Saltine of sadness

  1. “Utilize” is not a word I’ve previously seen in rejections. It feels slightly strange.

  2. You know, I’ve been re-reading parts of Vanishing Point I’d already read, and finding myself liking them even more the second time. I think that at first I wanted a repeat of Neck Deep in some ways, because I’d loved that book so much, and it took me a minute to adjust to the new concerns of the new book. I reread “The Essay Vanishes” (title? It’s not handy) before I went to bed last night, and was struck by how much I’d missed of that essay’s instructions on how to read the book. I’m looking forward to diving back in, better equipped.

  3. I feel like I didn’t express myself very well: Basically, I’ve got a better version of what I’m trying to say about Vanishing Point and what I mean about that essay showing me how to read it, but I want to hold off until I’ve re-read the whole book again. I think there’s a whole extra layer of tension that makes the book cohere as a whole in an interesting way, but I want to be sure it’s really there before I say too much.

  4. Also VP never ends. Ander will keep adding web material, knowing him…

  5. Yo, thanks for the kind words, man. Nice to read you reading me while I’m nursing a hangover.

    Your BSU pic is amazing.
    The bit about the socks was killer.

    I can’t believe someone stole Aarons Old Crow. He NEEDS that shit.

    -Carter
    (b.c. edwards)

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