Sunday, June 20, 2010

Splinter Reading This Thursday

If you're in L.A. and want something fun to do this coming Thursday, June 24th, come on out for the Splinter Generation reading.

Friday, June 4, 2010

20 Under 40

So, apparently, I didn’t make the New Yorker’s much-talked about list of 20 Under 40 fiction writers worth watching. Such a shame. They only do these things once a decade or so and I’ll be 40 in a little more than 4 years.

There is, of course, a lot of criticism of this list. I’m not going to link to it because it’s easier to summarize (and I’m lazy): The list is predictable. It’s boring. It’s boringly predictable. It represents nothing more than New Yorker’s staid aesthetic. It’s too concerned with token diversity. It’s too full of writers with big agents and a knack for self-promotion. It doesn’t include _______ or ________ or __________ who are clearly superior to the collection of two-bit hacks actually chosen.

I think people are mostly jealous. Not just of the list itself but of what often seems like the random way certain writers break through while others do not. And, yeah, that part sucks. It sucks to think someone of lesser talent and lesser work ethic and even lesser savvy might hit it big while you pluck along unnoticed forever. But then again, a lot of things suck and we can either dwell on the general shittiness of the world or we can try to shovel some of it out of our way.

I didn’t mean for this to collapse into a “chin up, bucko,” diatribe. I just prefer to channel my own jealousies into motivation instead attacking those who make me jealous. I suppose not being jealous at all would be a better choice, but, yeah, there’s only a select few people of whom I’ll never be jealous. When it comes to the greater game, I want to play, too, and I envy those who already have a seat. That’s just how I’m wired.

Again, this post is going all tangential. Sorry.

What I meant to say is how damn lucky I feel to be working in a profession where being in your thirties is considered being early in your career. A 35 year old writer is “one to watch.” A 35 year old NFL player is on the brink of retirement.

I didn’t write much in my 20s. And what I did write was really bad. In fact, it wasn’t until just a couple of years ago that I really committed myself to writing. I often think that means I squandered more than a decade. Maybe I did. But the good news is, assuming good fortune, I have many more decades left to write. Regardless of who is and isn’t on The New Yorker list, all of us under 40 should note that, by choosing that auspicious year, The New Yorker is acknowledging that most writers don’t bloom until later in life. They picked writers they think have already shown signs of become exceptional. But imagine how many they missed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I wrote a story about Japanese porn and masturbation. It's here at Thirst For Fire and it's not really about Japanese porn and masturbation. Although, it is.

Good issue. Weird. I like weird. In fact, I'd say that weird is the number one thing I look for in fiction. When I'm in a workshop and I read something strange, I circle it and get all excited with my red pen in the margin. Give me alternate worlds. Zombies. Magical realism. Perversities. Desperate people with unstoppable urges. Take me by the neck.

I'm overstating it. Or stating it poorly. It doesn't all have to be tattoos on the face (and probably shouldn't ever be tattoos on the face). It can be lizards in the gut. Quiet little lizards.