Category Archives: AWP

Anyone who dwells on this planet in perfect contentment can skip what follows

ranier

The citizen who stomps every capital of Europe but has never been west of the Missouri River (so long the dank, brown, catfishy, dark, watered, empty, historic frontier) has missed a large number of important and interesting facts about the difficult business of being an American. The sky is not empty, folks; it’s a massive fluid layer. That’s why we can float. Window. Seat. I matriculated in an inflated steel inner tube the mount of Ranier shrouded most prominent in its own weather system like a very attractive woman on over-sized stacked cubes (possible delicately adjusting as she dances) beneath a strobe light, off an alley, some club.

The aura she creates. She can deliver beauty; she can deliver climate; she can deliver a magnificent water front. Her body  was silver candlesticks, a bowl of polished fruit.

I used to dance at a Knoxville club called “The Underground” (hardly original, though hardly lame, as far as club names) and there was a young woman there, my gods, a young woman I knew, knew well at times, and other times more the way you might know a Grimm’s fairy tale told years ago, and she was some evenings–usually this on a roof drinking beer after dancing, the lips/the legs sore–she was a crater lake that was 16 feet deep and 130 feet long by 30 feet wide, the highest crater lake in Tennessee or more likely North America, stirring beneath 100 feet of ice in the summit crater, visited yes (never stayed), but only visited, and then by following a network of ice caves in the core of the volcano.

Here is her photo:

simone

She reminded of Mount Ranier. Now that I get to glow it all these years later.

Same old story: White dude named Vancouver see this majestic mountain and names it after a pal of his, Mr. Ranier. Of course it already HAD a name. HAD A NAME.

Tacoma, for example.

The mountains climb on the backs of mountains!

Or some such nonsense.

I drank some Jagermeister–poor man’s Xanax for the flight–I had secreted in my jacket pocket and mumbled, “I’d like to try to climb a mountain one day.”

My head felt like a black-velvet portrait of Jesus.

A woman next to me (her daughter a Stanford student diving in the Pac 12 NCAA competition in Seattle) coughed (she was drinking two vodka tonics at once) and said, “The view enjoyed from a summit could hardly be surpassed in sublimity and grandeur; but one feels far from home so high in the sky, so much so that one is inclined to guess that, apart from the acquisition of knowledge and the exhilaration of climbing, more pleasure is to be found at the foot of the mountains than on their tops.”

OK then.

At least I wasn’t next to WRITERS. There were writers all over the damn plane, reading POETRY.

It smells like writer.

Katie bolt the door!

Who the hell is Katie?

I also read poetry. As is my way. BTW, this Natalie Shapero book is glow to the hurly-burly passions and dangers and delights of Big Word Play. Smart book. Fun and serious. Serious fun.

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Landed in Houston don’t remember Houston. Houston smelled like the space between the hit pedestrian and the motor car. So I remember the odor of Houston. So.

I had another beer.

Re-read Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano. He’s coming to Ball State‘s IN PRINT festival. Attend! Attend!

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All kinds of literary glowness:

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yep, yep, yep. Going to be words, words wearing overalls with the top part unbuttoned so that straps tangle-out against their own behinds. Good words, I’m saying.

Landed in Seattle.

A taxi took me to the wrong hotel. We meandered. I saw trees resembling elevators and the sky was gray and past the taxi glass were rooms, beauty, clauses.

Then I took a train. Sometimes on a train I feel like a character in a novel and I grip my swaying metal bar and trumbling along through SeaTac and Othello and SODO and Pioneer Square and whatnot. Two dollars and fifty cents. Seems as reasonable as an ear of corn.

Seattle has a gigantic hinterland for such a small big city.

Train people in Seattle wear bulky, bullet-proof vests and are very nice. I missed my train station and one of them said, “Just go the next one, even though you didn’t pay to go that far, but we won’t tell anyone.”

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Train staff helping yet another passenger…

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My room is on the 9th floor and the elevator goes to the 8th floor. This made my mind muddled.

I am missing a floor, folks.

The hallway smells like fried fish.

Then you meander and whatnot. Into billowing spray of innumerable waterfalls and rapids–I mean the carpet. Then go to this elevator. It’s like fucking James Bond up in here…

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Ah, Seattle. My oyster…well, not really. Because I’m here primarily on work. But between work are slivers of glow. Shards. Seattle? Lumber, shipping, writing conferences, fish, oyster sandwiches, fruits, grunge music, beer, coffee, running outfits, hot dogs, nachos, WRITERS, and vegetables seem to constitute the basic economic activities of these Northwestern communities that have clear access to the Pacific Ocean.

Fuck, let’s eat:

I stroll on out the hotel–what? no rain–and I’m wearing some sort of V-neck thang (just getting into V-necks recently) and I pass a CYBER CAFE that sells ONLY HOT DOGS, but there’s a big sign that says VEGETARIAN ONLY.

Huh?

Veggie hot dog like Mobile station or Microsoft works? An oxymoron?

Um, sort of, um, cluttered in here…

cyber

GIANT ASS VEGETARIAN HOTDOG up in here:

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I ate it with my hands and ate it with my fork. Then I came back the next day and ate a GIANT-ASS CAJUN HOT DOG VERY VERY FREAKING HOT/SPICY, even to me. And I have the heat tolerance of a dragon.

The sense of infinite possibilities still storks the Western mind.

“It isn’t raining!” I said to a young man next to me (he was dressed in green pants and a green sweater with a toboggan hat, hunter orange), “I came to see rain!”

“It will rain,” he said. “And it will be a cold, sucky rain.”

“True!” I barked. Then pointed out the window to a cloud the shape of a whale being impaled (by a seaplane). “But on the other hand, you have natural beauty
which we haven’t in the same sense in Indiana; and so you care a lot more about it than we do. It means more in your life.”

“It’s a big deal to grow a tree,” he said.

Then walked away.

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Chomp, chomp.

If there is only one fine building in the Far Western town, that building is the vegetarian hot dog stand. In the cities they are palaces. Nor is it all bricks and mortar: they pay their hot dog cooks better than we do in Muncie, IN. In the West they still keep the earlier American sense of the value, the sanctity of the hot dog. It must fitly perform a sacred task; it must be the proper nursery of future stomachs. In Indiana we have largely lost that sense-lost it, no doubt, perforce.

Head to the book fair. Book fair is odd. WAY too many books in the world. You write a book and you go into this room full of books. Let’s say you built a plastic, remote-control tadpole. Pretty badass, your own tadpole! It has cute little legs and that groovy tail and texture and swims a bit and whatnot. You open a door and there’s an Olympic size swimming pool full of plastic tadpoles. Well…

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Juked magazine!

I dig these new microficciones by Matt Leibel.

We sucked at hide-and-seek because the places we liked to hide were so different from the places we liked to seek.

Indeed.

John Wang goes, “Hey Sean, you want some bourbon?”

I don’t really drink bourbon.

“Sure, man,” I say. “Pour me a shot.”

Bourbon goes down the hatch like a primitive living destroys formal.

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Holy shit! Flash luminaries!

he and she and he and she.

Do you know them? You should, if you glow flash fiction.

FLASH FICTION?

  • Indefinable by style, so defined by word count (750)
  • Fully Realized: Structure/ Language/Theme
  • Compression & Efficiency
  • Flash fiction is NOT just a short story with fewer words. It is its own genre.
  • Steal from poets (if you know what you’re doing)
  • Allows an active reader, a text to be read ‘off the page.’ Hemingway’s famous iceberg dictum: only show the top 10 percent of your story, and leave the other 90 percent below water to be conjured.
  • It has a lot of names: sudden fiction, micro fiction, short short stories, miniatures, quick fiction, postcard fiction, smokelong, microfiction, vignettes, microficciones.
  • Lovelace pet peeve! Flash fiction is not exclusively contemporary and is not primarily domestic! The genre is ancient and worldly.

I am humbled, I am humbled.

As interest in the flash form continues to develop, teachers must be ready with pedagogical approaches in mind and in hand. This panel of experts in teaching and writing flash, including faculty from Chatham University, Ball State University, and Emerson College, along with editors from Brevity and NANO Fiction, will identify the best practices for generating successful flash-based workshops while exploring effective readings and exercises for writing students.

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Went to a reading, in a bar-like theater-like, something, arty-looking folks. Smokelong reading.

So I read. And then actors act out the reading. Inspired and all…

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Very cool. Words in motion.

“Hey, Dave, what’s up?” I asked Dave Clapper.

Dave drank 9 beers and said, “I want to be captivated, to be forced to keep reading. I like to have an ‘Oh, no, she di’n’t!’ moment while reading, but for that moment to be natural within the course of the story. I want my posture to change from leaning back in my chair to leaning forward with my eyes far too close to the monitor. It’s hard for me to say whether or not ‘The Cougar’ does that. It’s on the long side for SmokeLong—a bit over a thousand words—but I think (I hope) it doesn’t feel like it. I think the dialogue keeps things moving quickly. In re-reading it while editing, I was pretty happy with how easy it was for my eyes to keep moving from beginning to end. I also really want flashes to stick in my head after reading. Quite often, my initial vote on a story can be a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe, leaning no,’ but then after a week or so, I realize that it won’t get outta my head, so I go back in and change my vote. And I still find myself thinking about these guys, much moreso than my usual flashes. So I guess it passes my editorial eye a couple ways, even though I think it’s fairly different from what usually grabs me.”

“Cool,” I said.

Went to bed. Dreamed I was a giraffe shadow. Got up:

WORK. WORK. WORK.

Do the tourist thing once, but do it. Then don’t do it. But do it once. That’s my philosophy on the tourist thing…

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Yep, there it is. Its most arresting landmark, propped up for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle, a stout radio mast whimsically surmounted by an intergalactic flying saucer, drawn from a 1950s cigarette ad.

Then I had some nachos.

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Salena!

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Tried to get a drink…

Tried, at a bar, near the writer’s convention…

FUCKING WRITERS!!!

I ordered a beer and waited a decade and pulled out my phone and called my mother and her first words, before she even said hello, were: “Where are you calling me from? It sounds awfully noisy in the back ground.”

“A fucking writer’s bar,” I said.

Then I went for coffee.

Hey mom, it’s the very first Starbucks.

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Hey mom, Mark Neely and I are eating raw oysters and whatnot.

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I ran and ran and ran. Didn’t jog, folks. Ran. Ran by the waterside.

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Tried to go see Amelia Gray…tried.

FUCKING WRITERS!

Well, I’m happy she got a crowd.

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Hey mom, an oyster burger!

Ran some more. Lots of stairs and hills and sculptures. A saw a seabird in the shape of vapor. Stairs felt very clean.

They used to meet one night a week at a place on top of
Telegraph Hill to explicate Pound’s Cantos-Peter who
was a scholar; and Linda who could recite many of the
parts of the poem thatenvisioned paradise; and Bob who
wanted to understand the energy and surprise of its
music; and Bill who knew Greek and could tell them
that “Dioce, whose terraces were the color of stars,” was
a city in Asia Minor mentioned by Herodotus.
And that winter when Bill locked his front door and shot
himself in the heart with a Webley service pistol, the
others remembered the summer nights, after a long session
of work, when they would climb down the steep
stairs which negotiated the cliff where the hill faced the
waterfront to go somewhere to get a drink and talk. The
city was all lights at that hour and the air smelled of coffee
and the bay. In San Francisco coffee is a family business, and a profitable
one, so the members of the families are often on the
society page of the newspaper, which is why Linda remembered
the wife of one of the great coffee merchants
who had also killed herself; it was a memory from childhood,
from those first glimpses a newspaper gives of the
shape of the adult world, and is mixed now with the
memory of the odor of coffee and the salt air.
And Peter recalled that the museum had a photograph of
that woman by Minor White. They had all seen it. She
had bobbed hair and a smart suit on with sharp lapels and
padded shoulders, and her skin was perfectly clear. Looking
directly into the camera, she does not seem happy
but she seems confident; and it is as if Minor White
understood that her elegance, because it was a matter
of style, was historical, because behind her is an old
bam which is the real subject of the picture-the grain
of its wood planking so sharply focused that it seems
alive, greys and blacks in a rivery and complex pattern
of venation. The back of Telegraph Hill was not always so steep. At
the time of the earthquake, building materials were
scarce, so coastal ships made a good thing of hauling
lumber down from the northwest. But the economy was
paralyzed, there were no goods to take back north, so
they dynamited the side of the hill and used the blasted
rock for ballast, and then, in port again, they dumped
the rock in the water to take on more lumber, and that
was how they built the harbor in Seattle.

Robert Hass

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Snow and rattling rain and I can’t get home, folks. Dallas? No. New-freaking-jersey!? Yes. Cleveland? Yep.

Fly here, fly there. Buy Jim Harrison book and a beer. Jim Harrison reads exactly like Jim Harrison, which I appreciate.

Good writers make you hungry.

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Hey look. I’m eating my birthday dinner at an Applebee’s. In New Jersey.

Depressing as a comma between face and science.

as a busy pigeon.

as a town council, or any other elective body.

as etc.

as etc.

as etc.

A meal, a shower, a bed for the night.

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Would you like me to de-ice your plane?

Yes, yes I would. Ice reshapes the surface of the lift-producing parts of the airplane: the wings and the tail. That roughness is enough to change the aerodynamics of the wing such that there’s more drag and less lift.

Look, out the window, there’s a monster on the wing of the plane! No, no. It’s Muncie, Indiana.

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I suppose I am back home.

awp 19

1. Holograph

2. Flew out of Indy. Drank 2.4 beers at sports bar to calm my think-dragons. Think-dragons throat of fire like “Steel tubes should not fly” or “Humans build airplanes and humans, without a doubt, 100% throughout history, fuck up everything” or “My car breaks all the time, why not this jet?”

Sports bar full of Butler basketball fans. They looked stunned like empty shotguns. Even the ceiling fans were sighing.

3. Fiction writers eavesdrop. That is what we do. I went and sat in a chair and read a running book and overheard three flight attendants. They were arguing over Prose Poem versus Flash Fiction.

She: “…but the poem is a throat, an opening and a closing, not an event. Flash is when the gun fires.”

He: “Do you have to go Chekhov? Huh? Must you. This is Indianapolis International Airport! And what about The Colonel? How can you dismiss the artifact of the language in its content. It’s  a poet and you know it.”

She: “Hey, hey, shut your porthole. I could say the same thing about that Ashley Toliver piece, the way the phone rings, its sparkling beauty, right? Flash, flash fiction. It’s like pornography or a tipsy pilot–I know it when I see it!”

He: Have you worked the new Boeing 7?

She: No, no. But if I did I would treat that thing like my new car. One vomit stain and it’s your ass.”

He: I heard that.

4. The simple fact is I will most likely never join the Mile High Club. I just have to live with that.

5. I bought every issue of 3rd bed (so can you). On page 101 of issue 8 I found “Barn Song” by Corey Mead. Enjoy.

Liquid trees? and Edgar doesn’t know

even a part of Anna

To rise and go to the field and cut off his head.

Like, the more they talk

never having

in fields this constant: nature is lost.

Edgar almost…the mind.

And risen never

returned to the barn.

6. Got into Denver late. Ander phoned and I said “Dinner or disc? We could just do dinner, but that wouldn’t be hardcore. It’s too dark to play disc but that would be hardcore.”

To just fly in half-tipsy/flung-out exhausted and hit the course while the sun is falling like a detached retina.

Ander said we should hit the course.

I don’t remember much. I could not see. We threw discs into the darkness. The night was iron oxide and thunks.

7. Wynkoop for beer, nachos. “Build your own Nachos” Vegetarian green chili and pinto beans with cheddar & American cheese served piping hot, topped with chipotle salsa, roast corn salsa, sour cream and a basket of chips for dipping. 6.95

The build-your-own as gimmick? I barely missed John Wang (interview here). He ate Wynkoop nachos the next night. I wish we could have broke tortilla chips together. Next time, John. These nachos were level 7. Solid.

8. Next day. There is fucking snow on the ground. Now what? What do you think?

Daunted yet?

Now?

What about now? Do you think that water was cold? Do you think it’s snow-melt and I can’t feel my feet, my hands, I can’t feel anything but little stingers of rice, little wooden bowls of my feet all cloddy off the rocks and rill and glass (?) and what do you think, Ander?

(Yes, he retrieves that uphill shot from the river behind him.)

9. Interview people all day, interview people all day…

10. Golden ticket at our hotel. You hold this ticket, you get free drinks for one hour. How many drinks can you drink in one hour. Wait. How many FREE drinks can you drink?

IT FEELS GOOD HERE

I met a Texan man named Kelly. If you are Texan, your name should not be Kelly. I noticed people tip less if the drinks are free. That’s not right. You should tip MORE. Think about it, folks.

11. Rose by Lyn Lishin at deComp

when it’s behind my knees
you’d have to fall to the
floor, lower your whole
body like horses in a field of nachos
to smell it. White Rose,
Bulgarian rose. I think of
sheets I’ve left my scent in
as if to stake a claim for
someone who could never
care for anything alive.
This Bulgarian rose,
spicy, pungent, rose as my
16th birthday party dress,
rose lips, nipples. If you
won’t fall to your knees, at
least, please, nuzzle like those
horses, these roses, somewhere

12. Interviews, interviews. Then I did a quick Eggs signing. Abagail Beckel and Kathleen Rooney are two very nice human beings. Cheerful. Professional. Cool. We sold many books. I thank all. Enjoy.

Here is my POV pic from behind the table.

I saw Blake Butler and Adam Robinson and Wendy Rawlings and a bunch of others. I saw everyone for seven seconds. Only seven. Sad.

13. The best Mexican food in Denver is the Lo Do Rio.

It be sick like stomping off the porch. Glow.

14. Met a guy named Josh. I got a kick out of when he drove his disc right exactly here. He almost fell into a river.

15. The very worst Mexican food in Denver is Cilantro Fusion. Poor food, poor service, margaritas weak like Popsicle-slushies. As I told my friends, this restaurant fused SUCK to LAME. Avoid. Avoid. Do not enter.

16. This Pasha Malla story be great at Hobart.

Bear with me here: I don’t know shit about baseball. I honestly don’t think I could name a single player in the entire professional baseball league, whatever it’s called now.

17. They freaked on my disc bag in Kansas City. They said, “Sir, what is this?” Then they swabbed the interior for drugs or bombs or something. What the fuck? It’s a bag full of discs! No fucking terrorist is going to have the common sense to play disc golf. Our community is one of friendship and glow…

weapon?

18. Interviews, interviews…

19. I want my life to end this way. Just walk off into a disc course…

AWP. see you there?

Yo, let’s go. Ah, Denver. Rocky. Mountain. High.

Copper Nickel with great visitor advice. Drinking, weather, clothing, altitude, all dat.

I will glow town Tuesday to Saturday morning. I will glow NACHOS every day.

Here

Here

Here

And elsewhere. If you wanna meet me for nachos, give me an email. Like I said, I’ll be eating them every single day.

What else?

Mostly bizness, BSU bizness, though I do have a Rose Metal signing at the book fair for EGGS. One pm on Friday.

What else?

Well, I will drop by readings and gatherings and signings all I can! See you there. I will buy your books!

yep