Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Talking About He Is Talking to the Fat Lady

When I heard xTx was releasing a chapbook, I jumped. Glad I did because I’m now the proud owner of one of the few printed versions (#36 in fact) of He Is Talking to the Fat Lady; and I love owning printed things. I don’t even have to feel guilty for hording words. The chapbook is digitally available here at Safety Third.

This isn’t a review. This is a suggestion that you get a hold of the stories contained within He Is Talking to the Fat Lady. While a lot of writers are flitting around the edges of ennui and introspection, xTx is driving straight into the gut. The result is a collection of stories that combine physical violence and various kinds numbness to create a beautifully desperate look at emotional frailty and our attempts at resilience.

I often think we live in an overwhelming time, where none of us truly has the capacity to bear or even process the stories of horror and loss and struggle that flood into our lives through all these connections. xTx is capturing that overwhelming experience in a way few writers can.

That sounds like a review. Maybe it’s a review. But I intend it as a recommendation.

"The Nameless" at PANK

If this was Novemeber, I could say Happy PANKsgiving and feel mildly clever. But it's December. So maybe: Merry PANKsmas. I'm not sure that's appropriately non-demoninational. It also sounds weird.

In any case, this is all to say that the December PANK is live right here and it contains my story-like thing "The Nameless."

So ends today's self-promotion.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How We Talk About This Thing We Do

For reasons not worth explaining, I was quote-hunting today, centering my efforts on the various arts and their various inspirations. I looked for quotes on dancing and music and painting and poetry and general writing (aka that thing we term fiction).

Here’s what prompted this post: for all the arts save general writing (aka that thing we term fiction), the quote sites overflowed with pleasant little missives about how said art was the yada yada whatever journey to/revelation of truth/beauty/life. Good quotes. Perfect for my needs today.

Now, as for those general writing quotes, I’d say 90% or more pretty much discussed what a god-awful slog this business of ours is and how it requires nothing short of pulling your soul out of your nose/anus/ear/pores.

Poetry? Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat (Frost). Poetry is an echo, asking shadow to dance (Sandburg). General writing? Yeah, that’s pain, pain, suffering, pain.


Bollocks. Bollocks.

Writing – general writing, fiction writing, whatever – is the most freeing thing I do. As silly as it sounds, I get to be a lover, a killer, a mechanic, a prince (actually, I don’t think I’ve ever written about a prince, but I sure as hell could). I get to recreate the world daily. I get to squeeze this big mess of nonsense into something that contains meaning – at least to me, at least for me. And that’s not nothing. That’s not something everyone gets to do.

Sure, some days it’s a pain to write – because I’m tired or sad or busy or because I’m feeling suffocated by the omnipresent fear that my creation will fall painfully short of my vision. But despite this, I do write. And I do love it.

So, in the event I’m ever fortunate enough to be Bartlett’s worthy, I pledge to say something like this: Writing is the way we slice through the chains that hold us inside ourselves. Writing is how we, for even a moment, stop being so damn lonely.

Enough now. Back to this story of mine that’s falling painfully short of my vision for it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Leap" at Hayden's Ferry Review

Thanks so much to Beth Staples and the editors at Hayden's Ferry Review for including my story "Leap" in Issue #47. The story is available in the print issue; or you can read it online here.

The opening:

They found my roommate’s body stuffed into a drainage pipe two miles from campus. I saw it on the news before anyone came to my dorm-room door. “Body of Missing Student Believed Found.” He’d been dead for five days. I’d like to claim I was the one who’d reported him missing. But I hadn’t even known he was gone until his girlfriend called the police.

The knocks at my door began a few minutes after the news of his death hit. Light tapping at first. Then people banging, shouting for me to open. I imagined them swarming in the hall. If I’d opened the door, they would’ve eaten me. Skin first and then the red parts. I sat in my desk chair next to the window, the February air coming in cold as I watched my roommate’s fish swim circles in his tank. A key rattled in the lock. Then the door opened, and there was the resident assistant with two cops, clones of each other, formal posture, pug faces. A crowd gathered behind them but didn’t come in. “You the roommate of Baron Butler?” one of the cops asked. The RA told him I was. “That’s David Nikkola,” he said. My name is Davis. But I offered no correction. Or maybe I mumbled one. I don’t know. This was five years ago now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cut Through the Bone Now Available!

You should order this book. Because Ethel Rohan is amazing. And amazing writers should be read.

Buy it here.