Friday, May 29, 2009

Story by Story: Brian Evenson's 'Fugue State' (1) 'Younger'

(Thanks to everyone who is spreading the word on the contest, prizes are insane and still getting added, please submit, more info and updates soon, but in the meantime, more new...)

In concurrence with sentence related posts on HTML Giant, I thought in the manner of reading/reviewing the new collection from Brian Evenson, 'Fugue State,' from Coffee House Press, instead of just writing about the book as a whole I would write on each story one by one, not breaking them down but discussing whatever elements of the story particularly struck me on a craft or creative level, beyond simple 'spoiler' style summation or expository review.

Having been effected so much by Evenson's work, particularly (if I had to pick just one) his last collection 'The Wavering Knife,' which to me is among the top 5 of all text art objects on a sentence and style level of all time, I realized it would likely do me a lot of good to savor each this time, thinking about each piece on its own, rather than tearing through books in my want, as I often do, which will be a good test of self control, and hopefully be worth reading here as I go along.

As a matter then, of this being a book that isn't out yet, I'll do my best to keep from giving away the stories in themselves, but more in the manner they reflect, and how they propel, and will hopefully let this reviewing stretch into the book's release in July, where others can join in as it comes.

To kick off the book, then, is 'Younger,' a 9 page story that originally appeared in Conjunctions.

The tone is immediately surprising, perhaps, if not totally, in the hemisphere of Evenson's past work, in that it does not utilize present action, and is more the reeling of a woman inside her body, looking for semblance in a defining moment of her life, a moment she can not figure out particularly why it is defining.

What is so amazing about this story is not what is said, perhaps, or even what is not said, but how things are said around other things, that then give illumination to both in the contrast, and by the leaping of implication and potential energy.

As in: in this story, moments loom. They are present, even given a frightening edge, but then allowed to bubble, to lock, and remain crystallized, beyond the idea of resolving, or even moving on from unresolved, a potent moment.

In a brilliant reflection of the actual propagation narrative of the piece, the woman attempting to figure out a moment in her childhood that she has not been able to move forward from even years and years later, the language of the story manages to trap the reader in that moment as well, gifting the reader not with the understanding of why that moment affected her, but how it felt to be affected in that way.

The result, then, is much more potent than the simple recreation of scarring childhood events, an awful thing that happened, etc., but a much more visceral and psychic kind of terror, which of course is the much more potent and everlasting kind, and in Evenson's crystalline and ultimately visercal to the point of being in-brain sentences, resounds so much more than it would have had it simply walked on the brunt of its imagistic impact or brutal feat. It is a psychological study akin to the subtle moments I love most in Lynch and Poe, and other brooding masters.

If this story is any kind of indicator of what we're in store for here with 'Fugue State,' which I am beyond 100% steel that it is, this book will prove to be another monolith in black, cerebral and yet ultimately wholly enthralling fiction, another change in the game of what text can do.

For my favorite sentence, or at least most representative sentence, from this text, check out my sentence-based counterpart in post at HTML Giant.

Next up, in a few days most likely, 'A Pursuit.'

In the meantime, more info on ‘Fugue State’ here.

Preorder ‘Fugue State’ here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is not not a Contest

Here's a writing contest, OK?:

There is no entry fee.

The winner will be published in an edition alone on a single, nice looking frontpage on Lamination Colony.

The winner will also receive a bunch of stuff. This is a contest.

You can win.

I have some homemade art. This:

You can have that.

I have a picture of my ass when I was like 22 (age not verified, but I was legal), you can have that too, my ass looks good in it, I was tan, you can post it on the internet wherever I won't be mad. It is possible as well to opt out of the ass picture.

You can have copies of No Colony 1 & 2, you can have those if you don't yet.

I have an extra copy of Chelsea Martin's everything was fine until whatever, the winner will get that too. I like that book a lot, Chelsea fucking kicks serious ass, that book is enough reason to enter a free contest.

I'll give you some Stephen Dixon books and some books that I bought with the intention of reading and haven't yet and still want but I will give them to you if you win this contest, free, based around the conceit of sharing and enjoying writing.

I'll try to give you some money if I have some extra when the winner comes along. At least a beer or two, if you drink beer, and if you don't, soda. You will get more quantity of product if you choose to get soda instead of beer.

There's always water.

I will promote the winning piece and the websites related to the authors of the piece.

** A list of additional donated prizes has gotten Quite Insane, and is listed at the bottom of this post **

This is a serious contest, there will be a winner, (at least 1-2) runner ups (depending on the # of entries vs # of prizes), everyone will get free shit, it will be free and people will read words maybe and talk about it not because there was a contest but because there are words.

Donated prizes will be distributed among the winner and the runner ups as I see fit: I will try to be fair and cool like butter.


Texts between 1 and 2000 words. Just words. Text. There can be pictures in it too. Photos. Stuff. Not poetry or fiction or creative nonfiction, in the name of it, but anything. Words. Say something.

** BY THE ABOVE LINE I MEAN ALL WRITING IS ALLOWED. All forms of words are welcome. **

1 entry per person.

I'm going to read the entries with time I would have spent looking at websites I always look at anyway or watching poker on TV or something stupid.

Winners will be judged on the basis of how much I enjoy them, or think they are good.

Anyone can enter, if you enter under a pseudonym the prize will go to the pseudonym.

If you put terms in quotes that aren't speech in the piece you are disqualified.

If anyone is interested in donating further prizes for entrants, money or books or personal items or offers of fun, please email me, I will announce them and link there here at the bottom of this post.

Please blog this contest around.

Promotional contests should not cost money. Didn't you ever listen to Fugazi.


Please send contest entries to laminationcolony [at] gmail [dot] com, include THIS IS NOT NOT A CONTEST in the title, entries will be accepted for one week, until Friday June 5.

Winners will be picked soon after and published soon after.

This is a contest about life.



* (1) copy of Shane Jones's 'Light Boxes' from Publishing Genius

* my used copy of Fugazi's 'Instrument' documentary on VHS

* (1) copy of Molly Gaudry's 'We Take Me Apart' forthcoming from ML Press

* the last hand edited manuscript of THE SELF ESTEEM HOLOCAUST COMES HOME and a printed copy of FROWNS NEED FRIENDS TOO (new two books from Sam Pink)

* a copy of William Walsh's 'Questionstruck,' Thomas Cooper's 'Phantasmagoria' and Issue 7 of Keyhole, all from Keyhole Press

* a copy of Jimmy Chen's 'Typewriter' from Magic Helicopter Press, donated by Josh Maday

* a CD of live audio mixes from various low power radio programs by Matthew Simmons

* a copy of Fox Force 5 chapbook anthology (forthcoming from Paper Hero Press), donated by pr

* a set of six drawings of video game controllers drawn by Steven Seighman of Monkeybicycle for the cover of Hobart's games issue

* a ruled Moleskine notebook - unopened, in original wrapping; the next edition of 'Smoke: a London Peculiar', the magazine of words and images inspired by the city (issue 14 out soon-ish); + a 'feature article' to the winner of the contest to write their thoughts on writing for Writers' Bloc, if they wish, all from Vaughan Simons of Writers' Bloc

* a copy of Kathryn Regina's 'i am in the air right now' from Greying Ghost Press

* a copy of the 'Meeting People is Easy' documentary on Radiohead, donated by Shome Dasgupta

* a copy of the debut issue of Dewclaw, from Evelyn Hampton

* a new copy of the new double issue of Sonora Review 55/56 (with DFW memorial section), donated by Brad Green

* a copy of Jack Christian's Let's Collaborate from Magic Helicopter Press, a copy of Mike Young's Okay Now from Magic Helicopter Press (limited edition Summer Tour thinbook), a copy of Pasha Malla's The Withdrawal Method, a copy of Joshua Beckman's Take It, all donated by Mike Young / Magic Helicopter

* 2 random ass books from Barry Graham's book shelf

* 2 random ass books from Jereme Dean

* a copy of Justin Sirois's brand new MLKNG SCKLS donated by Publishing Genius

* a first edition signed copy of William Gay's Twilight, a signed copy of Craig Clevenger's The Contortionist's Handbook, and a galley of the forthcoming novel Johnny Future by Steve Abee, all from MacAdam / Cage

* a lifetime subscription to Muumuu House, c/o Muumuu House

* issues 2 & 3 of Ghost Factory Magazine, c/o David Peak

* issue 3 of Pank, c/o R. Gay

* $50 cash via paypal from megaboss Ken Baumann

* a first edition hardback copy of Gordon Lish's Dear Mr. Capote from Chris Higgs

* a copy of the debut issue of Gigantic

* quite a number of other things, located in the comments 4 now

more to come, check back...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brion Gysin + Doughnut Sex

Just reviewed the final final proofs for Scorch Atlas, it looks siiiiiiicccckkk. Zach Dodson ate himself alive making the pages so good. There are certain pages in the book that to make their texture Zach chewed the paper with his own teeth. This is an object page for page. Now on its way to printers. Boom.

Ravi Mangla asked me to contribute to Recommended Reading and I did that. Thanks Ravi.

Over the weekend I read this: Andrew Zornoza's WHERE I STAY. It is something else. A full review and thoughts are soon forthcoming, but let me just say: there isn't anyone who wouldn't get something out of this beautiful collage of sentences and image. I started reading it intending to just read the first few pages, and pretty much read straight through instead.

Blurb from Matthew Derby: "Consider Andrew Zornoza’s Where I Stay a loose retelling of Werner Herzog’s 1974 march from Munich to Paris to try to save a dying friend—only set in the arid, ominous nowherescape of the contemporary Southwest and composed by a strung-out W.G. Sebald. Zornoza dedicates the book to “all those he's lied to” before prosecuting a narrative in stark photographs and crisp, lurid text that will make you wish we had more liars like him in the world."

More on this soon, but trust me, just buy it.

Man, I can't wait for the new Michael Haneke film to come out over here: The White Ribbon.

This morning I woke up for the first time in my life actually chewing on my blanket. I had been dreaming I was eating a cruller covered in chocolate syrup. I was in this small kitchen that was connected to the parish hall of the church down the street from my parents' house, where I went to preschool and would spend the day. Strange how certain rooms, like this one, which I hadn't thought about in years, can stay hidden in your body like that, and are randomly right there. It was as if no time at all had passed since I'd been in that little kitchen, the same one off the room where we met for Boy Scouts, and where during one afternoon at preschool I was sent by the teacher to ask the minister of the church where his son was that day (he had not shown up for class): I thought that man was god.

In the doughnut dream there was a fat kid, I can't remember him now, maybe he was me, fat, Boy Scout aged again: the kid had pointed at the dougnut and said, "You know you want to fuck that doughnut." His tone was aggressive and ready to go.

Before that I floated through my backyard and to the church on a very small red balloon with my infant cousin, who I had to sling along with my arm to keep from rolling off and smashing on the ground. The infant could not stop laughing.

I want to build a Brion Gysin Dream Machine.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I asked MS Word to summarize my novel RICKY'S ANUS in 100 words or less, here's what it said:


Ricky. Ricky. Ricky









Ricky. Ricky. RICKY


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dollar Store Tour

Pretty stoked in the planning of this summer's Featherproof & Friends Van Tour, this July...

The Dollar Store is a mixture of comedy and literary readings where everything is inspired by junk bought at a dollar store. It's been featured on National Public Radio and in major newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune. The show has sold out it's Chicago home for 3 years running, and has successfully toured to St.Louis and New York. More information can be found here: This summer we're embarking on the biggest Dollar Store Tour yet!

This tour will include the following authors, (at various times). The books, reading series, and presses they represent are in parentheses. Amelia Gray (AM/PM , Featherproof Books, 5 Things Austin reading series), Caroline Picard (Green Lantern Press, The Parlor reading series), Zach Dodson (boring boring boring, Featherproof Books, The Show 'n Tell series), Mary Hamilton, and Lindsay Hunter (QUICKIES! reading series), Jac Jemc (The Rejection Collection ), Blake Butler (Scorch Atlas, Featherproof, EVER, Calamari, Lamination Colony), Patrick Somerville (Trouble, Vintage, The Cradle, Little, Brown), and of course Jonathan Messinger (Hiding Out , Featherproof Books, The Dollar Store reading series).

Here are the cities we plan to be in when:

Chicago Launch Party, Thu, July 2nd
Nashville, Fri, July 3rd
Austin, Sun, July 5th
Houston, Mon, July 6th
New Orleans, Tue, July 7th
Atlanta, Thu, July 9th
Washington DC (Maybe Baltimore?), Sat, July 11th
New York City, Sun, July, 12th
Brooklyn, Mon, July, 13th
Boston, Tue, July, 14th
Albany, Wed, July, 15th
Detroit, Thu, July, 16th

Not sure which legs of this I'll be on (possibly the whole thing, but at least certainly half), but we'll have early copies of Scorch Atlas on hand, well before the 09/09/09 release date.

This is something that happens.

On a sidenote, reviewers interested in promo copies of Scorch Atlas, please drop me a line (please include relevant info like where the review might run, thanks!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vegina Vedio

I kicked Adam's ass with seven shirts on, what!

The nanners are still stuck to my pants!

Ever is included in the American Reading List's list of '50 American Novels,' what!

There are some book lists on that list!

Did you know I am american?

Pleasure enjoyment of the shoutout to the Copy Family on Fiction Fix!

My sister took 300+ pictures of me and in some of them I did not appear malformed! My sister makes art if you need art for book life!

Dan Wickett kindly wrote up my Gown from Mother's Stomach for SSM, I think I tricked him though! Whereas that story was written in about 2 hours, any story where a baby is destroyed took me at least 9!

Unfortunately I have only made one story where a baby gets eaten, I need more o dat childdeath cash money!

I may have been misrepresenting myself some evening!

My most recent deth-threat letter will be posted here pending the arrest!

Books is books is bookses!

Agoraphobic Nosebleed's HONKY REDUCTION is kissing me on the face after many years!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SSM: Kirsten Kaschock's 'from Sleight'

The analogy of the 'Russian doll' has been discussed to death in the manner of speaking about 'worlds within worlds,' and in a way, this notion is so wrong: it makes the worlds seem clear and separate, contained within one another as a placeholder, to be toyed with and stored, each painted cool.

Hell naw.

Let's drop the cute crud and pretend like we're actually talking about something that exists, and is made not of snap-shapes, but of air and doors.

Like, here: Kirsten Kaschok's 'from Sleight', which appeared in the always brain licking Action Yes in Spring 2007. I hadn't read any of Kaschok's text until coming upon this in reading and rereading the AYes archives for some fuel to make me want to spurt.

(How easy it can be to forget how much the act of writing is as much a method of intake as it is out-.)

Excerpts in fiction often suffer in that they feel strung out or lopsided: I've never had so much trouble and frustration as when I am trying to cut up a very long text into something 'submittable,' etc. In this case, with this excerpt from 'Slight' (which I am now very interested to find the body of, having chewed a digit and wanting body), the effect is forward-pushing, if also maddening for how it makes the blood boil wanting more (good!).

This text, in its most reduced state, is an exploration of one my favorite, or at least perpetually recurring, thoughts: the body as a house and house as a body, and how rooms connect to rooms, with blood, etc.

And while these ideas are things I've walked upon for so long, here in 'Sleight' the approach feels fresh, in the way it takes an even more literal, somehow almost clinical approach (the narrator goes into a room and flexes her body, thinking about the state of the architectures) and the way is mashes with Kaschock's manner of melding the heavy-headed with the offhand: an aesthetic that can often come off bratty, but not here.

Clef rearranged her leotard. She adjusted the elastic along her hipbones, tugged at her spaghetti straps, then bent over to gather up the architecture. During performance she wore no leotard beneath her web, but in rehearsals the women wore them and the men—athletic belts or biker shorts. She looked in the mirror. Her hair, though pulled back, was coming undone around her face—which was growing somewhat red. She could already see blood pooled where a few bruises would be forming: one beneath her left knee, one on either hip. A throb told her of a fourth on her shoulder. It felt good—her—moving again. Tender.

So mathematical, almost bizarrist, using the anatomy as a map, inside the worm of rooms where the body itself has gone to flex for no apparent purpose but to do so: leaving that insisted upon 'Russian doll' junk at the gate. The narrator is aware of her body, and the body around her body, without wanting their connection: though all still within a mood of kinetics, like someone is about to somewhere be stabbed or have a fuck.

These ideas are propagated and allowed to worm, rather than be needled, letting the sentences and their surrounding space do most of the work, like here, a one sentence paragraph:

Clef began to rotate her tubes and wires.

There is likely an analogy of the name 'Clef' that could be fucked up out of someone wanting music but the music is just there, and is not asked upon, and rides, and lets eat: this is a text and not a story, not a poem. Text. No labels. Words. MMM.

The last graph, in its exit from the space of the rest of the narrative, a connected disconnection, takes the architectures of the fleshy body in the building body and reverts them to the fleshy body's own ingestion of a smaller cell, the eating of an apple, which, once bitten of its best flesh, is tossed away, left in a trash pile to be resettled somewhere, bitten somewhere else, maybe, or left to rot:

Clef ate an apple as she walked toward the subway. The apple was a world. The wind that whipped a lock of wet hair into her mouth was inside the apple. She sucked salt from the hair before pulling it from her lips. Above her the blue pressed down coldly. She was taller now, and could pierce it. Clef cut a swath from the air as she moved down the street. First, someone noticed her passing. Then, someone else. Scraps of newspapers and neon-hued flyers drifted down to settle in her wake. She tossed the apple core into a wire trash can and peeled some red paint from her palm. It had the irregular shape of a continent. Some vagrant continent—brightly bloody.

The variance of space, like something throbbing, lands in lands in the best way, the sanguine, tunneled way, over the insistence shelf-sat 'doll' diagram where everybody already knows: this is a text like meditation. This is text made of fine things: High, low. Bloody food. Sentence. Sentence. Shit. Rapacity for shit same as a temple, and for flexing. Yum.

More Kaschock please.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bun B saved me from grousing around like a total dick today I think

I don't know if I have the wherewithal yet to say I had a blast in Ann Arbor for the Hobart readings, and thanks to all those who put me up, pulled me around, and hung out. It should happen four times a year or something too much good.

Highest of high points maybe was watching Matthew Simmons's mother watch Matthew Simmons read from his book A Jello Horse, she looked so proud and invested in every word he said, it made me teary eyed a little, the reading was also good.

Matthew's drunken snoring (which he later declaimed as only when drunk) was the most explosive thing I've ever heard, it would be intense for a few minutes, then enter a period where it sounded like he was chewing something, then he'd explode in the throat. It was 'incredible,' I wasn't even upset that I couldn't sleep through it.

Sam Pink is a funny sleeper, with shoes on, facedown, no pillow/blanket, probably not by choice but both nights I looked to see this, I think the first night I kept rubbing my feet on his head.

At some point on night two I remember putting on 7-10 shirts and freestyle rapping, then spraying Sam in the mouth with the sink nozzle, and getting into a wrestling match with Adam Robinson, somewhere in there he smeared 4-5 bananas in my face and mouth, my clothes the next day looked like someone had ejaculated on me, I had to keep saying "It's bananas," during the fight Adam's old friend Benji or something thought I was hurting Adam or something and got me in a headlock, he decided he didn't like me after that and kept asking me what my drunk babble was supposed to mean, I kept telling him "It is what it is, if it's for you, it's for you, or not," which seemed to make him madder, sometimes people just don't like me I guess, that's understandable.

So much other good and good people I can't even recall it all, lots of great reading and talking and staring drunkenly through sun, I am ready for action.

Thanks especially to Elizabeth Ellen, Aaron Burch, and Matt Bell for setting things up, driving me around, making me feel at home, and facilitating the writer weekend madhouse, it ruled.

Thanks as well to everyone came out to the reading, in particular Sean Kilpatrick (finally met my filth man, a gentleman for weeks), and brothers and sister Peter Markus, David McLendon, and A. Minetta Gould.

David McLendon said the new Unsaid is 500 pages long. Holy wow.

In the airport waiting for my flight I walked the length of the Detroit airport 5-7 times while reading the last 70 pages of 'Human Smoke,' what a fucking book that is, I kept noticing the same people noticing I was walking past the same point over and over again while reading, on the plane I sat next to a woman bigger than I am who had on a body shawl and kept trying to fix how she was sitting on/inside it, and situating herself in the seat, she also had a brown paper bag on her lap that she kept crinkling with both hands like she was giving it a massage, I never saw what was in the bag.

Every time I am on a plane, when they ask what I want to drink I get ginger ale, and about 3 out of 5 times if the person I am sitting next to has already ordered, they will stop and change their order to ginger ale.

On the plane I read most of 'Natural Novel' by Georgi Gospodinov, it was fun and interesting, Dalkey wins again.

I am glad I came home w/o a tattoo.

I need to get my brain/act together.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"A pig was transfixed by a flying splinter of wood and a rooster was killed. That is all."

Heading to Ann Arbor tomorrow afternoon through Monday for Hobart weekend reading and the Ann Arbor Book Festival: if you are in the area, come out to a reading! Flyer is a couple posts down...

2/3rd done with Baker's 'Human Smoke,' I've never been so engrossed by historical texts before, it is an incredible work, like he took all the good parts out of 150 other WW2 books and put them in order. Amazing. I think I am finally going to have to read his 'Double Fold' now, soon.

We are watching the first season of Dexter over here, it is pretty ok; on the other hand, 'The Fall,' by that dude who did 'The Cell,' was a turd bath, like bad Peter Greenaway written by M. Night Shyamalan. There are things worth destroying.

My story 'Bath or Mud or Reclamation or Way In/Way Out,' which originally appeared in Avery Anthology, is reprinted in the new issue of Proximity as an insert: beautiful magazine, do a peek to it n whatnot.

Just saw final cover version, back and all, for Scorch Atlas: jesus, Zach Dodson is the captain of magic. Seriously, I can't wait for people to see what he has done with it. More than I ever thought it could be.

People talking about Lost makes me wake up inside a urinal cake.

Exercise rooms are strange when there is no one in them.

Ahh goddamnit I've said it before but I can't wait for this film: Gaspar Noe's 'Enter the Void':

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SSM: Mark Leidner's 'Snow'

Since all month Dan Wickett and countless guests over at EWN, an ongoing tribute in the mind of Short Story Month, I figured I'd join in on my own and look at a story from one of my favorite online yearly presences, the finalists of $5 Diagram's Innovative Fiction Contest. I felt really honored last year to be included among an amazing slew of work, among them Amelia Gray's 'There Will Be Sense,' and the story I want to talk about now, Mark Leidner's ridiculously cool 'SNOW'.

The thing I've come to admire so much about Mark Leidner's writing of late is how he is able to work ideas and thoughts that on their face seem casual, even funny, into these paragraphs that, once delivered, continue to hang, having said something in a new way that not only makes the familiar strange again (which David Foster Wallace once said seemed the duty of most postmodern fiction), but to take a situation that is based in the real, possible, but also impossible, but also totally, supposedly, 'human.' (Whatever human is).

What does that mean, that I just said? Here's a paragraph from Leidner's 'Snow,' which is on its face simply a story about a man and a woman who hang out while there is snow (the saying of which reminds me of another great thing about Leidner's work: there is no way to 'encapsulate' it beyond its own body, because the speech and the ideas are the real magic, and so any attempt of saying 'oh well here's what happened' becomes immediately dashed. He's irreducible, which is another way of saying: his sentences, like Donald Barthelme's and Ken Sparling's exist for a reason.):

"The sun was low above the snow, and through the dim light the man saw movement. He plotted it from left to right, walking a circle around it. He watched it shrink into a dot when it withdrew into the background, and when it moved into the foreground, grow, into a woman. Hey! he shouted, Where are you going? The shape that was the woman slowed, changed direction, and started moving through the snow toward him. She wore so many layers of clothing, she seemed to be round, rolling. When she came to a stop she pulled a long pink scarf from around her neck, and asked him, What? He watched the snowflakes settling on her nose, melting. Where are you going? the man repeated. The woman pointed back the way she came and said, In. She turned around and started walking, adding over her shoulder, I'm getting out of the snow. He watched her shrink until she disappeared, rewinding the long pink scarf back around herself like a slow pink tornado."

Haha, what? What the fuck even just happened there? The sentences are all very clear, basic even, but what are these people doing? What are they made of? And yet, despite this strange manner of handling, this brief scene so possessed of its own logic that it seems to make no sense (like the true everyday, the true 'human') I understand exactly.

Leidner is amazing for these kinds of scenes, these logics delivered almost as if from the eyes and understanding of a very smart child, but without the inherent 'boy genius' way of speaking that comes with so many of those 'smart child' narrators.

Another thing I love about Leidner's work, and in particular here, is the way these scenes, strung one after another in a way that sustains itself, and owes no debt exactly to what comes before or after, still manage to work together in their aura, an anti-narrative narrative, that at no point attempt to have some greater truth or overpowering moment, because those moments are inherrent, and throughout, leaving no time or line wasted...

Which makes the reading fun!!!!! FUN!!!! An all too undervalued commodity in writing, I think, for the page to be so electric from one end to the other that the reader not only gets enrichment from the consumption, but has a good-ass time doing it, is entertained, but not in sacrificing any of the artifice or the language power (in fact, enhancing it!).

Here is voice without 'voice,' story without 'story,' a sense of aura without getting it stuffed down your throat, all in a package that feels both new in the telling and wakes a hunger for more.

Hell yes, Mark Leidner.

The range of delivery within all of this, in Leidner's hands, becomes even more compelling, in that from one graph to another, the tone can change as quickly as the ideas, and yet completely without feeling forced or 'authorial.'

Perhaps some of the moments that work the most beautifully are the subtle ones, such as this short scene, which again on its face seems so simple, but captures a manner of betweenness that is so rarely rendered in short fiction:

"The woman couldn't sleep, so the man hummed her a lullaby. He stared intently at the back of her head while he hummed, imagining her eyes on the other side, staring intently at nothing. When the lullaby was finished the woman asked, Do you know who wrote that? The man did not even try to think of an answer. After a moment of silence had passed between them, the woman rolled over and got in his face. Brahms, she said."

At the same time, too, Leidner is no soft duck: he can take it right back to the throat, again with grace:

"Dog Cull in China, the man read the headline aloud. The woman looked up from her oatmeal. Rabies kills three, one a girl of four. He scanned the article further then continued. Mouding County officials kill fifty thousand dogs over a period of five days, sparing only police and military dogs. Dogs being walked are taken from their owners and clubbed on the spot. After nightfall teams enter the towns, creating noise to make the dogs bark. Then the teams hone in on the sounds and beat the dogs to death. Before the teams go in, owners are offered sixty-three cents per animal to kill their own. With the aim of keeping the disease from people, we kill the dogs, say spokesmen. Outside it was snowing."

Here the violence is so smartly used, and in an encased way, putting the mode of violence on the page not for its own sake, or even for a directly applied purpose, but a story within a story, an idea.

IDEAS! Mark Leidner has ideas. And whereas so many other fictions make it their job to let you know their ideas right up front (" is my first sentence, slightly odd in tone and maybe funny, which in its consumption will lay bare the 'idea' that I had for writing this story (psss.... its a story about a guy with a stuttering problem who one day wakes up with an ear made of pickles!) ...") No no, no unnecessary finagling or forced fireworks from Mr. Leidner: the magic is of its own. Thank god. A fresh and new and FUN! manner of languaging and skewed storytelling that makes me glad to have my eyes. Booyah.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best Cooch

Reread most of Thomas Bernhard's 'The Voice Imitator' yesterday afternoon, high on nachos and a smoothie. Made my brain come up a little bit. The subtle is so underrated. Time to spend some time therein.

Got my 2x10's subs wakin' me up while I drive now. Realizing though that subwoofers aren't as fun now as they were when I was 16. Maybe that was obvious. Regardless, that Pimp C hits real hard.

Last night someone told me about DMT. I have never really done much chemical, actually none, outside alcohol and caffeine. I think if I were doing to try a drug in a realistic sense it would probably be that. Not that I'm going to, just saying. That almost makes sense, even though it doesn't. Doesn't at all.

Slowly reading TYRANT 6, dang, every piece has been so strong so far. Requires slow imbibing for maximal pleasure. Darryl Scroggins I enjoy.

My porn traffic has been, I think, reduced a bit in the switch from the blogspot URL to the .com, wondering if this will be fixed as the transition continues, or if I have lopped off that section of incoming.

I'm on twitter, you can follow me on twitter.

I feel kind of distracted and kind of like I don't care to not be distracted anyway, so that is a move in the right direction maybe, or the wrong direction, depending on what is supposed to be what. Sorry.

I found this picture in the street down from my parents' house almost 10 years ago:

In the street. Out in the street.

Several people have sent me Lynch mashups, I think this might be the best one still:

list of top 5, thanks Michael Mussman.

Just got Nicholson Baker's 'Human Smoke' in the mail, kind of excited about starting it, it's been too long since a dose of Baker. Also anxiously awaiting copy of Kevin Wilson's 'Tunneling to the Center of the Earth,' which I just finally ordered, and am really ready for.

OK Mom time

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


When I'm ready to die just let me:

I'd been predisposed to certain modes at least:

(see Jimmy Chen's 'Haut or Not' on this bookshelf here)

And then I quickly learned to morph:

I am trying really hard to get my day-mood out of the gutter, staring, I am going to be positive or therein for the rest of this post and whatnot:

In addition to their incredible storage of texts, UBU Web has an enormous archive of video and sound, of which there is so much great I am anticipating the rest of the year in consumption.

Yesterday spent quite a while listening to work on C. Spencer Yeh's page (from Burning Star Core, among many others). His 'Always Been A Storm / Memories of Murder' (2009) ate my lips. C. Spencer Yeh. More on this.

Wigleaf's Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2008 is very live, I don't know how Scott Garson and Darlin' Neal consumed so much in the eating, but very wonderful to see Elizabeth Ellen repping Lamination Colony there, along with several others from LC in the long list, and way too many other rad folks to begin to list. Kind inclusion of my 'Disease Relics' in the top 50, and two other honorable mentions is quite nice. Thanks to those parties.

Looking at 'Disease Relics' again got me thinking again about the novel that it comes from (of which 'The Copy Family'is also a part). I don't know what I am thinking about it but I am thinking at least about thinking about it.

Also kind on the web writing award front: the Dzanc Best of the Web 2009 is up for preorder, and has a boatload of awesome peoples, among which I have two show ups: 'Two Stories' from Action Yes and 'Landlord' from Memorious. I also did a brief q/a about the pieces and web writing in general that will be included in a feature. Fun! Thanks to these parties as well, very kind, and an amazing set of brains to be included with.

The 2009 is now available for pre-order (it will be in stores in late June) at the Dzanc website for $18.00. We are also currently running a special, pre-order the Best of the Web 2009 anthology AND the Best of the Web 2008 and one of them is 50% off (only $30 total)!

Staying positive. Staying positive.

Are you ready for some language porn?



Dang, mane.

Preorder is available by contacting David at::: info {at} unsaidmagazine {dot} com

Rauan Klassnik did an awesome interview with CA Conrad on his blog. Dang.

Ok I can't be positive anymore, time to go stare.

I want to record my year of online life and make it into a movie played at 100x speed, just the screen and what happens on it, a year of online in like 6 minutes, it would be in a way like those timelapse horizons, as this screen is often my horizon.

Is there anyone who would say that the greatest thing Michael J. Fox has done with his life is get sick? I couldn't help thinking that question while accidentally this morning seeing him standing ovationed on the View, and imagining his reception having not gotten sick, coming on the View. He would not have been invited on the View.

I am not trying to be mean about Fox, I am just genuinely asking this question because I want to know the answer.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If the dog does not stop barking I will kill it

The year I watched the Cremaster Cycle all in one sitting except for 10 minutes in a theater in downtown Atlanta I'd never been drunk. I went alone to the theater for the whole day and sat in a room and did not eat. That was a day. I was in there. The projector broke during the very end of Cremaster 5 and we had to come back a few days later to see the last 10 minutes. I did, alone. For that first day only, and the bonus extra completion time, I guess, that specific screening room had several thousand doors in it, doors that were no longer there in other days when I came back to the theater.

That year I had not yet dropped out of music and realized that music essentially is repeating itself with very few exceptions. I had not yet stopped believing in music beyond the parameters of wallpaper and joke, with the exception of the few certain albums I could not and can not still listen to on actual air as they represent too much of another period of time that is very dead and very gone. Most of these records exist note for note inside my head and can be accessed without thinking.

This may or may not have been the same year I dreamed that I was listening to my then favorite album, laying on the carpet in a room of my best friend's house in my younger years, where we spent so many days playing role playing and eating sugar. In the dream I was laying between two sofas and listening to the album, and the album entered a random access groove in its playing that allowed me to hear a track on the album that had always been there and yet no one had heard. In hearing it, I levitated between the two sofas and hung there on the air.

Another year I dreamt of the house I was living in at that time, as if I were awake there in the sleeping, and in the house I went upstairs from the room where I was sleeping to the upstairs where I could hear a friend who also lived in that house with his door locked listening to a record made of music so new and unlike anything else ever recorded that I could not move inside the dream. The dream had the actual music in it. My friend came out of the room in my pausing and his body was completely covered in sweat. He told me the name of the band playing this music was 'Gulange and Godfather.' He shut the door again. When I woke the music was no longer in my head.

Sometimes motherfuckers get real.

One of the things I will never forget is day the kid showed me the cut out section of glossy paper picturing a woman's vagina that he had pasted into a set of origami paper legs, we were standing on a black road that became dirt slightly ahead of where we were, there were several others all around me, the kid with the paper woman was smiling, he closed her legs, later that day I bled and this was not a dream.

The year I gave Bill H. in third grade a picture of my younger sister and he drew over her face with black marker and cut it into slivers and kept it in his desk and sometimes would take the pieces out in class or otherwise sit there staring straight ahead.

The first time I said 'fuck' was to a black kid on the playground that same year without knowing what it meant, we were on a wooden bridge looking into a metal tube, I can remember his eyes.

Shit shut me up I have been laying in the floor all day and deleting words out of files and eating cranberries and bran.

I feel a force of negative power wanting, and me wanting with it.

I need the gibberish tattoo.

I need money that I can spend believing in anything.

Today and yesterday and.. I can't find focus on anything but blip.

Next time my dad is in the backyard burning things in the barrels I am going to help him no matter what words might be in my head.

Do you want to go eat Mexican food with me.

What is the best way to stop trying.

Once even Oprah had a couple teeth:

If I could see everything that blurry. If I had a good haircut and a suitcoat.

Right now someone is outside the window calling for someone to come see.

Monday, May 4, 2009


My review of Jesse Ball's THE WAY THROUGH DOORS is in the new issue of The Believer, you can read the first few sentences on their site. I gave it the highest praise I could muster.

Also, an interview I did with Norman Lock back when I was writing my Believer review of his Grim Tales is up in this month's web edition of Hobart, along with fine fiction by Scott Garson, some dude named Sean Lovelace, and many others. Nice'ns.

If you have been kind enough to link me, and have a second, any updates of my link from the old url ( to the new one ( would be helpful, as it will facilitate the switch in search engines and shit. The old links will still work but, internet or something. RSS feed should continue to work as before also. Sorry.

I drank so much coffee that I feel like shit, and like excited, like 'excited shit,' which is causing me to have churning feelings of extreme hopelessness and boredom mixed with extreme possibility and ideas.

What am I talking about

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I got caught on tape, thanks Lauren :P

yes I have tha skillz, what

Huge ups to !AMELIA!: BOOM

Sean Lovelace thinks he can write about me ULYSSES COLLABORATIVE, I hereby challenge Sean to a nacho competition of some sort soon to come, Sean was never fat, I can smell it, I could destroy his tenderhearted but ultimately suspect adoration of the nacho lovemound, Sean I challenge you, let's go, Sean you were never fat, bitch you ain't go no nachoskillz, Sean.

Had strange editing ideas today for a complete/uncompleted draft of a novel from last year / got the urge to make strange offers/requests on here while at work / work had restricted blogger / did not make requests / glad I did not make requests / still thinking about strange editing ideas, as I seem to have no idea how to complete the novel. / If you have ideas about me having ideas send the ideas in a black package to the drop point

IE: here is a section I cut out of RICKY'S ANUS and I can't remember why or if I should or if RICKY is two books or not a book at all or what is what with what and I should lock myself in a room with knitting needles and not come back out, here is the the last third of one of the many sections cut from Ricky, in the original draft every section was one enormous paragraph with many runons, now it is different, what will happen to Ricky, what will happen to my life, this was from 'Ricky's Lungs,' I also cut out all the body names the sections were for, the longest graph in the original version of the 'book' was more than 11k words or something, why am I typing this or saying this, I have been listening to public radio this week, I'm sorry for everything I've ever done, I'm sorry:


Ricky’s mother had dressed herself in her finest lingerie, a pea green number from Frederick’s of Hollywood with cut holes where the nipples went and a drawing of a picture of a mouth licking its lips on the satin bulge of bush her panties made, and Ricky would you please answer the motherbastard goddamn door she squealed through the keyhole, do this in remembrance of me, she said in a head-voice, and Ricky was still there at the window watching and he saw the dead toddlers as they got dragged out of the sweaty bilge, and he saw on this certain one boy’s face, a neighbor boy he’d once paid three dollars to go dig a grave in their shared grass yard for the coming years he planned to kill, he saw on this boy’s face now slathered in house mud and Ricky’s salty armpit output how the boy’s eyes were still wide open, and yet the men were slamming him around as if he’d expired, as if he had nowhere else that he could be, and as Ricky slammed the window glass with his palm butt he watched the men make piercings in the boy’s chubby toddler cheeks, two new holes through which long bike chains were oiled and threaded, chains that ran straight up into the air, ascending so high and fast into the skylight and the mudding brash of gray glare that Ricky could not see what they’d been attached to, and then with a splay of two long fireman fingers the boy began to lift off by his head, and then men did not look or watch or wave to say goodbye as the child ascended, they did not flinch or bite their lips or remove their red sheened fireman hats adorned with logos and a promotional slogan penned dually by Frank Stanford and Chipper Jones, and in the last moments before the boy was consumed among the shine entirely, Ricky could see the boy with his wide eyes give a thumbs up and an A-OK sign though to Ricky nothing felt okay, and the boy winked just right at Ricky anyway, still squirming, and then the boy had been scarfed too far into the air to see, and the boy was up there somewhere, and in the light the trees were trickled with new blood, and as the men arranged together to append the next three other dead boys in this same fashion, Ricky, breathing Ricky, and with his mother’s voice vibrating the liquid all around him, swam to the front door and tried the knob, and yet no amount of wheedling or knob jostle or keyhole begging or finger keys would make the door come open, and on the other side there was the knock, it must have been fifty of them out there by now, all chanting Ricky’s name, Ricky assumed it was his Ricky and not the well-tanned Ricky they were wanting, though now to some extent they were the same, at least Ricky hoped they were the same, could all Ricky be one Ricky?, inside of titular Ricky his nodes were crying, he had mayonnaise all slathered on his big intestine where some of the parasites inside the other Ricky were preparing to gnosh down on him, candles had been lit, there was a white wine on order from Peru, the door was getting knocked on so hard now Ricky thought he could feel it in his bowels but really it was the parasites, and terror of it was so warm it was exquisite, Ricky’s tendons were popping and flags of international distribution had been erected, and Ricky felt something black come over him, he felt his hair comb over, he felt the rattle of a giant window in him shattered, and in the wet Ricky made his body spin and Ricky threw himself corkscrewed against the door, and Ricky barreled through the door and the door came open and Ricky came out the other side and on the other side of the door was Ricky’s mother’s house, dry as a bone, and Ricky’s mother was standing in the entry foyer there before him, stitched in her crotchless bone-white lingerie and her hair had been rolled up in hot wax ripples on her head like pastries, and behind Ricky’s mother, over her shoulder, Ricky could see through another window that before now had not been there, and through the window over Ricky’s mother’s shoulder Ricky saw America, and over America Ricky saw a figure squatting, and Ricky’s mother was screaming at him, Ricky’s mother had Ricky’s name inside her mouth and Ricky’s name was coming out and it was the Ricky name of every Ricky and behind Ricky the front door closed and Ricky turned and turned again. Ricky with his hot flat hands flat on his hot flat face set in his head.

Friday, May 1, 2009

2222 222 2 2222222 2222 2 2222

Shane Jones and I had a conversation about small press publishing, internet writing, cats n shit that is now up at Powell's. Thanks to Shane and Kevin Sampsell. Words.

Thanks to people who have bought EVER and are buying it. The next three people who fwd me a receipt for it from a time after this posting, I will send supplementary books for free, things you would actually probably want. Added value of maybe $25 or therein.

My CD player finally crapped out in my car. Discs get stuck in and won't go in or out. Need to buy one, but have been subjecting myself to radio for a week or so now. A braineater, of course, mostly except today I heard a song off the new Bill Callahan record that totally made sense, and made me feel okay about the whole no CD experience. I could really use a new musical presence to become obsessed with. It's been a long while. Shit gets old so fast it seems.

I never really 'got' Bill Callahan or Smog until that song. Now hungry for listening to the records in full. Meaning I have to buy a CD player soon. While I'm at it, I think I'm going to hook up my 2x10 subwoofers in the trunk n whatnot. Real shit.

HTMLGiant now has a 'book trade forum,' where I and others have/will list their wants/haves and trades can occur. Please peruse/use: LINK

Finished what is very close to a 'submittable' draft for a new self-contained story yesterday, the first in probably 4-5 months. It turned out being a little longer than I'd intended, 4k words or so, but I'm really happy with it. It felt good to write something smaller like that again. I hadn't been able to in a while. Though of course I have no idea what to do with it now besides see the name of it on my desktop sometimes.

Revising is funny, used to be that things would always get shorter in revision, though now my texts seem to fatten, finding crevices in the sentences to keep expanding, graphs to insert between graphs. I like the 'do the sentence right the first time' method, and have gotten what I think is pretty good at it, but the revisions are nice for fine tweaking and find those holes.


Think I am going to keep writing Lynch essays. One coming soon for a sexy website about Lynch's female bodies.

Speaking of Lynch: Interview Project

Things feel fun maybe.