Monday, November 30, 2009

A Fanboy Moment

Is it wrong for a writer’s blog to post about football? And is it extra-special wrong if that posting has no merit outside of fanboy blathering? Should I not leave such fanboyishness to the sports bloggers?

I think not. And here’s why: In the last six months, I’ve winnowed. One by one, I’ve dropped the distractions in my life, pulling everything inwards so that my entire attention is focused exclusively on my family, my closest friends and my writing. Except I can’t slice off every extraneous bit. There has to be something dangling free. And that thing is the Dallas Cowboys.

Why is this important today? Because it’s minutes from December. And while the rest of the world gears up for the holidays and parties and too many sweets, I’m bracing for the dreaded December Slump. Like the first cold snap of the year. Like mall Santa’s with fake beards. You know it’s coming and there’s no good way to avoid it. The team is 8-3 now. A 9-7 finish is not unfathomable. In fact, I can easily fathom it. If only I knew how to prevent it. If only the team knew how to prevent it.

Here’s my strategy: don’t be Charlie Brown trying to kick the ball. I’ll get excited if we’re still playing come mid January. Until then, Lucy can just hold that ball. I’ll watch but I got better things to do than get worked up. Because, hey, nothing says you’re indifferent quite like a late-night blog post.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Little Noise for "Quiet"

What I love about reading online fiction is the variety you can find – particularly in the realm of flash (a form that is very suited to the Internet). That’s all just a prelude to the praise I want to throw David Erlewine’s way. Specifically for ”Quiet”, his new story in PANK.

The story is under 250 words and has the weight of a story ten times as long. David does this so well in his writing –condenses the essential flavor of a narrative so that nothing is missed despite the brevity. In “Quiet”, he gives us the entire story of a mother/son relationship. Impressive not just in its ambition but in its effect. Its impact. Its success in causing the reader to pull in a long breath and wait a good moment before being able to move on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Considering Brian Evenson

Confession: I’d never read a word of Brian Evenson’s until today.

I’d, of course, heard plenty about him. Most of the lit blogs I read speak of the man in breaths of pipapitating awe (yeah, I made that word up). I kept meaning to order one of his books. Still meaning too. But when I discovered via HTMLGiant that a story of his entitled “Windeye” was up at PEN America, I figured I’d better go see what all the pipapitation is about.

I was surprised. I have no idea if this one, brief story is representative of the Evenson style, but I really didn’t expect such clarity of prose and tightness of narrative. Frankly, I expected the story to be “difficult” – the kind of story that takes multiple reads to suss out an ounce of coherence. I don’t know why I expected this. Perhaps because there’s been a trend within certain quarters of the short fiction world (including the quarters where Evenson is praised) towards a kind of linguistical and structural experimentation that forgoes a strong narrative in favor of artistic impressionism. While I often find those kind of stories brilliant in their own right, I don’t often enjoy them as “stories” in any traditional sense.

I enjoyed “Windeye” as a story. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. And what did happen next repeatedly surprised me in the way a very good story can. But, what truly impressed me was how much depth Evenson manages to create in such a small, strange space. There’s a haunting quality to “Windeye” that is very rare in fiction this short. I could tell even after the first reading that the story was going to rattle around inside me and resurface in the months and years to come.

So, yeah, if this is what Evenson is all about, I get it now. No more procrastinating on reading more of his stuff. Orders will be placed very soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not a Bad Monday ...

Two new stories up today.

"Beautiful Beast" over at Monkeybicycle.

"What Ever Happened to Sue Ellen?" over at Staccato.

Very glad to be a part of these great publications. Many thanks to the editors.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Submission Realization

Was reading submissions this weekend for Splinter Generation and came to a realization:

Man, this generation is lonely. Story after story about lonely people looking for connections. Is there a reason for that? Maybe every generation feels cut off. But I can't help but think there's so much more to be cut off from nowadays. Like, maybe loneliness increases the more you're aware of how many people you don't know. One of six point seven billion.

I'm going to go pour myself a drink and think about that for awhile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Limits of Everything

And so, there is a novel.

It’s slipstream or cross-genre or whatever you want to call it when a story doesn’t exist in flat reality. No synopsis here because it’s in the early stages. Like a young relationship. All hope and sparkle eyes. No doubt the crafting of this will suck away my time for writing short stories. But that’s okay. It’s about the story, right? And I love this story. Like I said, a young relationship. Puppy love. Seriously, time to get a room.