Monday, January 31, 2011

#72 So Long, Mr. January

Last day as Mr. January over at American Short Fiction.  Read the stories here and the interview here.

Go buy Jen Gann's Back Tuck from Magic Helicopter Press.  I'm sure she'll appreciate it and so will your brain. 


New Idea to Keep Myself Busy:  
Send Me an Email, I'll Write You a Story.  

Then the story is yours and you can do what you want with it.  Submit it to The New Yorker.  Put it in a Mother's Day Card.  Make it into a silent short film that lasts 55 minutes and make your ex-girlfriend watch it when she wants to "hang out and have it be easy like before."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

#71 AWPow!

Special release for those of you coming to AWP this year!

I'll be there, Wednesday through Sunday, at the District Hotel, making a fool of myself and hawking my "Collected Work" available now through Hand Press.  

Stories by me, artwork by Dorian Mckaie.  

These are limited edition, handmade items, and, for now, will only be available at the conference.  

A great place to pick up the book would be at my reading on Friday.  

At the Zoo will be a reading hosted by Publishing Genius and Beecher's Magazine, featuring:

Starts at 2pm sharp, on Friday the 4th at the Washington Zoo (3001 Conneticut Ave NW).  It's FREE, and not to be missed.

There's even a flier!

Monday, January 24, 2011

#70 Posthumous Work of MKM

Christopher Higgs cracked open the issue of writer vs. reader with regard to "experimental fiction" in a response to my interview with Ben Marcus at HTMLgiant.

Higgs has written an interesting piece, in a series of solid examinations of experimental work, but I think it ultimately misses the heart of what Marcus was saying.  There's been a lot of backlash at HTMLgiant about Marcus' comments regarding experimental fiction, "This issue of experimentalism is hollow to me."  Marcus' response, it seems to me, comes from a personal place of being pegged as an "experimental" writer because his early books were not conventional.  Then, upon the release of more conventional work, he was met with the complaint that his work was "not experimental enough."  Higgs makes the point that these terms are useful within a greater discourse of the modes and functions of fiction, but Marcus was merely talking about his own work and his own personal reaction to the limitations dictated by his being labeled an "experimental writer."  I think Marcus means that label is hollow, or has lost definition, for him.  His language might have been extreme, and he has apologized for extending his own predicament on to others, "does anyone...?" But what I admire in Marcus is his efforts to write work that is new and surprising and challenging for him, and not just to write unconventional work.   Has anyone here read "The Moors?"  It's a great story, and Marcus' writing is full force, but it is also a very conventionally structured narrative.  In the interview, he says, "In the end I want to write things that I don’t know how to write, because this seems to command the most energy and desire and attention from me.  It makes me sort of sick with anxiety.  When I’m uncomfortable and confused and curious I tend to try much harder to figure things out."  It is this attitude that leaves me confident he will continue to make work worth reading, work that is unlike what has come before, even if it dabbles in conventional narrative structure and rejects being type-cast as experimental.


I just turned this into a proper response to Higgs' article and posted it on HTMLgiant.  Sorry if you had to suffer it twice.


On another note, you can hear audio of Higgs reading last Saturday at my friend Cassandra Troyan's Ear Eater Reading Series in our very own little town of Pilsen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

#69 Ripositively

Nick Ripatrazone wrote a story with breakfast in it for Necessary Fiction's "First Footing" Project, in response to my story with breakfast in it, "Monday - Sunday."  Read them both before it gets cold!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

#68 Syllabus Series Update 3

More Syllabus Series.

#67 I Can't Really Help It

HTMLgiant published a conversation I had with Ben Marcus.  In it, we talk about his new book "The Flame Alphabet," James Franco, and licking men's backs for inspiration.  Read it here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#66 The Syllabus Series - 2nd Entry

Added a second installment to the ongoing Syllabus Series.  In case you missed Part 1, click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page.  The newest letters will always be on top.

Monday, January 17, 2011

#65 Necessary Robot

A story I wrote is featured as a part of Necessary Fiction's First Footing Project.  It is a response to A.D. Jameson's "Waste Extraction."  Read it today!

Friday, January 14, 2011

#64 Stury

New story coming out in the lovely short fiction print mag Fractured West.  Buy a copy, subscribe, or learn more here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#63 Oh, Why The Hell Not?

Ok, so I'm not a teacher right now.  I proposed a class, Difficult Fiction, and the employer and I had a difference of pedagogy ("you just can't teach Ulysses in two months, son...and who is William Gaddis?").  I am, however, going to help teach a class this semester.  We don't have a syllabus yet...but we have thoughts on a syllabus...and thoughts on a framework.  The teacher gave me articles to read and respond to over the break and, rather than posting my syllabus - as I've seen so many intelligent writing teachers out in the internet sand trap do - I'm going to post the correspondence between the teacher and myself, as we work out the syllabus...because it's maybe actually more fun and we'll talk about more artists than we'll likely wind up teaching... here goes:

Hello E-,

How are you?  How's the break been?  Sorry it's taken me so long, but I've had the chance to look through all of the articles you gave me and I wanted to touch base with you about them.  

First, I agree with you about the John Cage lecture (On Commitment, given at Wesleyan 1973): it's excellent...(more).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#62 Tendered Buttons

Is it just me, or this is great...a just great way to experience this?

Whereas this is funny to me...and this...and this (something lovely here too).

Monday, January 10, 2011

#61 Yes yes yes! This Makes Me Happiest...

Illustrated by Sam Cook

Story by Colin Winnette

You can read the whole piece here: 
American Short Fiction.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

#60 What Have I Done...

Here's an interview I did with the great folks at American Short Fiction.  In it, I talk about Hemingway punching Wallace Stevens in the nose, and I can't help but bring up "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" yet again.

2011's going to be a great year.
Also, if you're awake, make sure to tune in to 90.1 KPFT at 6am to hear Damon Smith playing/talking with Sandy Ewen, Markus Cone and others.   Listen live at


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

#59 Happy New Year! Yes!

Hey everyone,

I'm very happy to say the good people at American Short Fiction elected me as "Mr. January" in their web exclusive Pinup Series. They published some of my new work here.  Make sure to take a look at all five parts of the piece.

This is some of my favorite work from last year, and it's great to see it amongst such good company.  Check the December archives for work by the fantastic Miss Jen Gann, and the new print issue for work by Sara Levine.  And leave some comments, let them know what you think.
Thanks all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jan Svankmajer - (Darkness/Light/Darkness)

#58 Exercise

I went running this morning and this was all I could think about:

The Wonder Years - cw

If I met Kevin Arnold in an airport all those years later and he brought his kids and new wife, I would say who is this bitch, who are these little rats, get rid of them, you made a promise.  I would feel proud, then sad.  I have no self-control after a long flight.

Middle School Much Later - cw

As a prank I challenged the guy my new friend didn’t like much to a miniature pickle-eating contest.  In two minutes, I ate twenty-seven miniature pickles.  The poor guy lost, but thought he won.  He ate forty-two miniature pickles in five minutes.  My new friend kept time for both of us, but didn’t tell the guy when his time was up, just let him eat pickle after pickle, and that must have been how I knew he was my new friend.   

Here’s How We’ll Do This…  - cw

If we are going to do this together you’re going to need to tie yourself to me and me to you and if you’re going to tie yourself to me you’re going to need a good length of rope, a significant length of rope, because I cannot stand to be near you right now or most of the time for that matter so we’ll start with a good length of rope and go on together from there.

We Are Fighting All The Time Where We Are Living Now  - cw

It is not hot enough in hell to stand the sound of the AC.  It is not loud enough in this shit town to bear the discomfort of sleeping in headphones.  Tickling is not fun enough to warrant cleaning up your urine.  Baths are not relaxing enough to put up with an hour of bent knees and foot-to-crotch or ass-to-crotch.  If you pee on my foot, my leg, my waist, my blanket, one more time, I will sleep in garbage bags and you will pee only on yourself and have only my shape to hold and nothing more.  If you like this, I will suffocate.  The euphoria of suffocation will not be enough to make the whole thing worth it in its absence, but I will still do it.  If I am stiff and strict to my shape and you like this, you will have to put up with my garbage-bag-rot-body stench.  In death too, we'll compromise. 


So there's that.

What is wrong with me...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

#57 NTR

Hey everyone,

This story was printed in the spring issue North Texas Review.  I didn't realize it was available online until now.  So here it is.  Have fun.  Thanks.

Saturday, January 1, 2011