Why not make a story out of ordinary, found incidents, the way some artists make sculptures out of wrecked cars or fabricate fabulous images out of dirt, blood, and rust?
Why do authors abandon their books?
Review of new Jim Harrison poetry. Harrison is nests of wheat or sand or Rilke magnesium and the bones of magnesium, fluorescent bird bones, Pop Tarts I feel 33 X 33 cents. Sometimes I glow orange to handful of Pringles orange as I read him. From a Harrison poem:
We are parts. What part are you now?
The shit of the world has to be taken
care of every day. You have to choose
your part after you take care of the shit.
I’ve chosen birds and fish, the creatures
whose logic I wish to learn and live.
Ben Marcus goes all:
In my first novel, just published and probably soon to go out of print, since it is miserably bad, I fail to live up to the promise, however weak, suggested by my last book, if you could even call it a book, which has a regrettable title and almost no memorable scenes at all.
Concept: Internet as form/function tool. Tool for creating fiction. Artifice scaffolding of hurry-skurry words.
Facebook stories (flash) by Lou Beach:
I KEEP MY FRIENDS IN A BOX under the bed, categorized and separated, secured by blue rubber bands that originally held broccoli. One day I removed the lid and saw that they had all turned into little bones. I strung them together into a long strand that I looped around and around my neck.
Facebook stories (flash) by David Backer:
My love looks at me and my heart breaks out of my chest. It jumps on the table and salsa dances with our salsa, mash-potatoes with our mashed potatoes, and cuts a rug with our butter knife. Joy is ours. Then my heart gets greedy: opens its veiny mouth, eats my love, and leaves us both for dead in the diner, dancing its eating dance out the door.
What you want to do is add layering, as in echoes or nachos. The form allows for boiled eggs hidden within the driftwood, maybe all of this in an abandoned cave or stomach of pizza delivery boy, below a shopping mall, on Mars. Layering. Why do we Facebook? What is status? What is like? To like or to be liked? Our culture will happily discard things, but for eons we keep telling stories. Isn’t a Facebook post always a story? What was the author’s intent? Friends, that’s a good term, too, especially in the Facebook usage of the word. Who? What do we say and why?
What a non-word. Similar to freedom or nice or Cracker Barrel. A nothing.
You go and teach workshop students to do a lot more than “like” something and then Facebook comes along…
Flash fiction is still/still/still here, folks. So? Sew. Quilts. Notebooks, scribble within them.
Chaco types furiously on her cell phone keypad, stopping only to take an occasional puff of her Seven Stars menthol cigarette. But she’s not sending a text message. She’s writing a novel.
Chaco is becoming one of the most popular mobile phone novelists in Japan.
A story as an online Alzheimer’s forum.
Posted September 19, 2008 8:06 p.m.
One more time, folks. Does anyone know about the cage thing Molly mentioned?”The first quality that is needed is audacity.” —Winston Churchill
Posted September 19, 2008 8:43 p.m.
I believe it’s called a tent bed. My father had one in the hospital after he fell and broke his hip. It zips around the bed frame (zippers on the outside so the AD patient can open it). He was always trying to get out of bed to wander and other restraints aren’t legal. At first I thought it seemed inhumane but the other option was to put his bed a few inches off the floor and I didn’t want him catching a draft and the germs off people’s feet. And in the end, it calmed him. The option to wander was taken away and that helped him to relax more, surprisingly.
Posted September 19, 2008 8:45 p.m.
Do you know if you can buy them commercially? That might just work for my dad.
Posted September 19, 2008 9:02 p.m.
Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. I’ve been trying to think of a connection between moon (Moonie) and the bird’s name, and I’m fairly certain they’re nightingales.
Posted September 19, 2008 9:19 p.m.
Ooh, that would make sense and sounds about right. Way to go, NatureNut. Molly, you have your answer!
Posted September 19, 2008 9:46 p.m.
Molly, I’ve been following your story and was so hoping you’d discover the name of the bird. My grandma has AD and doesn’t recognize me, which is bad enough. I can’t imagine a spouse doing that. Anyway, I’m so happy you found what you were looking for. I hope it offers some comfort.
A story as an online time traveler forum.
At 02:21:30, SneakyPete wrote:
Vienna, 1907: after numerous attempts, have infiltrated the Academy of Fine Arts and facilitated Adolf Hitler’s admission to that institution. Goodbye, Hitler the dictator; hello, Hitler the modestly successful landscape artist! Brought back a few of his paintings as well, any buyers?
At 02:29:17, SilverFox316 wrote:
All right; that’s it. Having just returned from 1907 Vienna where I secured the expulsion of Hitler from the Academy by means of an elaborate prank involving the Prefect, a goat, and a substantial quantity of olive oil, I now turn my attention to our newer brethren, who, despite rules to the contrary, seem to have no intention of reading Bulletin 1147 (nor its Addendum, Alternate Means of Subverting the Hitlerian Destiny, and here I’m looking at you, SneakyPete). Permit me to sum it up and save you the trouble: no Hitler means no Third Reich, no World War II, no rocketry programs, no electronics, no computers, no time travel. Get the picture?
At 02:29:49, SilverFox316 wrote:
PS to SneakyPete: your Hitler paintings aren’t worth anything, schmuck, since you probably brought them directly here from 1907, which means the paint’s still fresh. Freaking n00b.
At 07:55:03, BarracksRoomLawyer wrote:
Amen, SilverFox316. Although, point of order, issues relating to early 1900s Vienna should really go in that forum, not here. This has been a recurring problem on this forum.
The one where Christopher Hitchens allows himself to be water-boarded.
Form and formulas and fakes.
Ken Baumann with best photo of the week. A post at that rag HTML DWARF. Not sure its origin. I was thinking Iceland then Photoshop or maybe a lunar obligation? Who knows, but still very effective.
Poem thing kinetic by Keith Nathan Brown. Pop and slash. Well glow.
Ever received one of those stupid-ass emails that say FAILURE NOTICE, meaning your email bounced back, most likely due to some error on your part or the recipient’s. (With me, it’s usually my mailbox is full.) Anyway, Failure Notice can be a fictional structure, too.
22.214.171.124 does not like recipient.
Remote host said: Do you want your copy of The English Patient?
Unresolvable address: email@example.com.
Giving up on: 126.96.36.199.
Hi firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the automated qmail-send program [188.8.131.52], at yahoo.com. Okay, so maybe I haven’t been completely upfront with you here. It isn’t just your address that is unresolvable. If only it were that simple. It’s just that email@example.com is looking for somebody with certain core attributes. A job, for example. Someone whose bed has made it off the floor. Someone whose life ambition is not just to own a crepe truck. Please try to understand. It’s not you, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. I was unable to deliver your message. This is a permanent error. Sorry it didn’t work out. And no, she doesn’t want her goddamn copy of The English Patient.
I am stoked to be in the new Stoked. I write about Velveeta. Because I like it.
And we all remember The Crystal Gavel, a literary magazine you can find at Amazon’s comments section. (As an editor of the magazine, I encourage you to submit. We are really in need of flash fiction and/or any really long poem you might have around the house or office. We love long poetry.)
Or a story might be an Ebay auction. Selling water sipped by Michael Martone. Well worth click. Go ahead.
(I’ve done the Ebay thing in the pastly)
Again, layers. How we bid and sell and buy, the words. The auction of our very lives. Etc.
WARNING: Neti Pots will kill you.
Midwestern Gothic interviews me.
Christmas present: E-book versus Book-book.
I bet this book is damn good. Need to buy.
A fucking amazing Gary Lutz interview at The Paris Review.
To what degree does your personal experience influence your stories?
To no degree at all, practically. I suffer from E.D.—Experience Deficit. Not much has ever happened to me, and I have never had much luck in making anything happen myself. Anyway, my personal life seems off limits, even to me at the center of it. Somebody should sell pocket-size lifetime diaries with just a quarter-page for each entire year—I could surely get my money’s worth out of one of those.
Have you read this lottery essay? Wow.
Back in the dark days I taught composition classes. I know quite a bit about composition, so I will now pass on 13 and one half tips. Consider this an early Christmas present:
1.) Golden coins. Do not offer students golden coins of praise. Once, as a child, Jeff Goldblum thought of herding. To begin, the village gave him one yearling lamb, as is the way. He met an Englishman out exploring in the glens near Posk. The man offered a golden coin for the lamb. On the walk home the coin melted in Goldblum’s pocket; it was chocolate. Jeff was never allowed a sheep again. Is this the way to face an empty sheet of paper?
2.) Do not strive to get a student’s goat. A goat is a great thing, like the wind. If the wind is in the house—flickering, whispering, singing above the stove—then do not fall asleep. Now is the time to compose! If the wind kneels at the doorway and stares at you, let the wind outside. Just let it go.
3.) An empty sheet of paper is like a watched pot in its boiling. Do not eat a soup of green potatoes. Do not eat a soup that will float rocks the size of a man’s fist. If you question a soup, and the soup itself answers—do not eat that soup.
4.) There are some roads not to follow.
5.) The tortoise gets a haircut but no one notices. Sad.
6.) Jeff Goldblum stands in the center of The Swinging Bridge. He is shivering in his shorts and sandals. Why? I can’t say. He kneels and stuffs his mouth with old snow. Why? I can’t say. He sways to and fro, fro and to. Why? The wind of Lon. Do not eat old snow.
7.) Hot tea will make them babble. They will speak of Composition as the raven speaks of rhinestones. Glitter, glitter. Why smash your own cooking pot? You ever tried to mix red wine with hot tea? Don’t, unless it is New Year’s Eve, a big party, you feel sleepy, and Mia Farrow is in attendance. To please the others, at midnight, you might leap from Confucius’ front porch, twirl in the air, and land sideways on your heel. It is broken. It still haunts you today. In the cold it throbs like an ember. A heavy clay textbook. This is what I mean of hot tea—serve in moderation.
8.) The tortoise asks his students: What change have I made in your life? Silence, but then front row girl raises her hand. “Well, I don’t try semi-colons anymore.”
9.) Why avoid quaffing clichés? Composition is a walk in the park. Yet Confucius says many parks have sand kept in cages, and dark secluded corners of shrubbery where unspeakable acts are the common way. Then as easy as pie. Yet legions are they who can not bake a pie worthy of eating.
10.) The tortoise knocked on Confucius’s door. His heart jolted; no one likes a sudden visitor. He grabbed a pitching wedge, and peeped out the window. “What do you want?” he asked. “A recipe,” the tortoise said. “A structure. A simple arrangement.” “Simple?” Confucius said. “Theconstellations are simply arranged, yet infinite.”
11.) Some teach the import of purpose. But who can say the function of another? Does the lemur know the microwave? What of popcorn? The bee makes a perfect hexagon of wax, yet requires no abacus or ruler. Why is my mouth so dry? My eyes glassy? I wish knew the correct technique for pushups, but I don’t. And never will. You ever seen a green blackboard? Even the raven wonders: When, exactly, is the best time to caw?
12.) An essay surrounded by block quotes with low-lying white space in the centre is called “Heavenly Well.” When an essay paragraphs through drafting and the Works Cited resembles a covered cage it is a “Heavenly Prison.” Sections where students can be entrapped in mountain gorges and cut off are called “Heavenly Nets.” Where the margin is sunken, the font grotesque, the corner dog-eared, it is called a “Heavenly Trap.” Dust spurting upward in high straight columns indicates concentration, revision of language, or possibly the approach of chariots.
13.) Much of this will not be understood. But that’s ok.
And Brian Oliu might write essays that are Craigslist posts.
‘Why is hip-hop stagnant right now, why is rock dead, why is the conventional novel moribund? Because they’re ignoring the culture around them, where new, more exciting forms of narration and presentation and representation are being found (or rediscovered).’
I love Meg Pokrass pretty much all the glow. She is the roar. Check out Holiday beers.
Here is a review of watching golf on TV. OK.
This Pumpkin Farmer flash at elimae is mojo glow. Well done, Rhoads Stevens. Screaming horses, indeed.
Tao Lin continues his drug-related Photoshop art. People dismiss Tao Lin because he is, well, Tao Lin. But I think this Photoshop/drug thing is often mildly funny to very funny. Well done.
EE be glow like vertebrae of diamonds and cumin.
And Jim goes:
I want to bother you with some recent nonsense; a classmate dropped
dead, his heart was attacked at thirty-three. At the crematory
they lowered his body by fire-resistant titanium cables reminding
one of the steak on a neglected barbecue grill, only more so. We’re
not supposed to believe that the vase of ashes is the real him.
You can imagine the mighty roar of the gas jets, a train coming
closer, the soul of thunder. But this is only old hat, or old death,
whichever. “Pause here, son of sorrow, remember death,” someone once
said. “We can’t have all things here to please us, our little Sue Ann
is gone to Jesus,” reads an Alabama gravestone. But maybe even Robert
Frost or Charles Olson don’t know they are dead. That would include
you of course. It is no quantity, absolute zero, the air in a hole
minus its airiness, the vacuum from the passing bird or bullet, the
end of the stem where the peach was, the place above the ground
where the barn burned with such energy we plugged our ears. If not,
show yourself in ten minutes. Let’s settle this issue because I feel
badly today: a sense that my teeth and body are rotting on the hoof.
I could avoid the whole thing with a few drinks—it’s been over
eight hours—but I want to face it like Simon Magus or poor Faustus.
Nothing, however, presents itself other than that fading picture of
my sister with an engine in her lap, not a very encouraging item
to be sure. I took Anna who is two for her first swim today. We didn’t
know we were going swimming so she wore a pink dress, standing in
the lake up to her waist in wonderment. The gaucheries of children,
the way they love birds and neon lights, kill snakes and eat sand.
But I decided I wanted to go swimming for the first time and wanted
to make love for the first time again. These thoughts can make you
unhappy. Perhaps if your old dog had been in the apartment that night
you wouldn’t have done it. Everything’s so fragile except ropes.
…when one abandons plot, one realizes that the structure of plot is simply an arbitrary collection of rules, suggestions, protocol. So you just find another set of arbitrary armature. Number. I often use numbers–the hours in the day, the weeks in a year. The number of planets. I am writing a whole book of short fiction now based on the number four. Fictions employing the four seasons, the four winds, the four corners, the four chambers of the heart, the four humors, the 4H Club, the Fab Four, the Fantastic Four, the four railroads on the Monopoly Board, Four Calling Birds.
Drugs? Someone tried to sneak crystal meth over the boarder. How? In their NACHOS.