Thursday, February 17, 2011

#78 - Baby Cheetah

New Story published over at Everyday Genius - "Baby Cheetah."

Adam Robinson is the editor for this month and he's done a bang up job so far.  Go check out my story and stick around for a little while, the lineup for January has been pretty fun.  Mike Young has a piece up about food and when he read it at the D.C. Zoo, I, along with Chloe Cooper Jones and a few other folks, was that food!  Even though he may say we were not...

"Baby Cheetah" was written in the snow blizzard in Chicago a few weeks back, while I waited for the airline to let me know just what the hell was going on with my flight to D.C.  I wrote a bunch of other animal stories during that blizzard and I've since finished a collection featuring these stories.  It's called "Abecedarium."  Someone should illustrate it.  Someone should publish and distribute it.  Someone should buy so many copies.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

#77 Machinessence!

Ok, this is great.  Or what I've been looking for, at least.  Check it:

This is a still from a site that will "psychoanalyze" your written work for you.

Here's what they have to say for themselves:

"The program tries to pick out the sentences of an input text that are most representative of the text as a whole; that is to say, find the essence of a text."

Excellent, no?

So here is the machine-distilled essence of a short story I wrote this morning:

We were at a bar called Tarantula and my friend brought in a tarantula he’d found in the street.  My friend passed me toothpick after toothpick, pulling them from the bar when he needed more. The Tarantula is a bar but it’s also a thing I ate one time. My friend passed me toothpick after toothpick, a fresh morsel on each tip. We drove and we drove and we drove and my stomach began to turn.  I said I can’t believe I ate that fucking tarantula and he said nothing.  The bartender doesn’t own a bike, but he could steal one if he wanted. He sat in the passenger seat and I kept driving because he wanted to hit me.  I drove on for what felt like forever because as soon as I stopped he could hit me if he wanted.  He wound up back down by the televisions at the far end of the bar.  When we were nearing my apartment, I asked if he wanted to stay the night and he got quiet.  And that’s not to say fuck you, it’s just the fastest way of doing things.  We got in my car and he looked around at it and said nice car.  My friend handed me another toothpick.  I didn’t need the beer anymore, but I sipped it because it was nice. 

Here's the essence of a story I wrote a little while ago:

You acquired the rabbit’s foot by accident – abandoned on a subway seat – and therefore know it was not the framework of ambition or desperation, nor the desire for change, or any shift in your susceptibility to superstition, none of this led to the recent landslide of fortune, the loves you’ve found, the money promised you, the desires you once had, now bled and emptied, pockets along your arms, shoulders and chest in which your new optimism will flow, fattening your face into a delighted grin.  They are free, more or less, or resigned to their restraints, philosophical about it, maybe, and free in that way. The rabbits do not flinch at the sight of your rabbit’s foot. The rabbits rabbit and you move your eyes and you are so so inexplicably happy. The foot stays with you too, until you abandon it. The rabbits move . They watch your still face, your eyes drifting dreamily. They rabbit. They go back about their rabbit business. They move about in their rabbit light. They’re uninterested, too, in your recent luck. The grin stays with you, for however long. The rabbits do notice your grin, though, nibbling. They go back about their business. 

Ha!  That essence is weakkkkkk.  Needs more tarantula.  But, chapbook of prose poems, here I come!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#76 Steve Martin on Publication

#75 The Naked Mole Rat

The Naked Mole Rat promises a letter is forthcoming.  Often reserved, soft-spoken, the Naked Mole Rat has been more or less forced to acknowledge the fact that the service at Cheron’s Dine and Eat has become near intolerable.  The servers, he finds, are downright rude.  Hateful, even.  The Naked Mole Rat, for the most part, keeps to himself.  He works from home.  He cooks most of his meals, or eats them cold.  He’s not particularly interested in relationships, romantic or otherwise.  But every now and then, he reasons, one must go out, if only to maintain a socially acceptable level of sanity.  The Naked Mole Rat finds Cheron’s Dine and Eat to be the most accessible restaurant on the block and the most affordable.  He likes the arrangement of the tables and chairs.  He likes the look of the menu.  There are a variety of edible textures to choose from, and texture is something he thinks very much about.  He has never ordered anything complicated or asked for any kind of special treatment.  But the wait-staff at Cheron’s Dine and Eat prefer to treat him as a burden, rather than a paying customer.  He is often left standing at the front door for twenty minutes or more, on nights that are not particularly busy or crowded, while the wait staff passes him by, over and over again.  The Naked Mole Rat blames his size.  He blames his looks.  The Naked Mole Rat is not a handsome man or a charming man or a friendly man or an interesting man or a bothersome man.  The Naked Mole Rat does not even see himself as a man.  The Naked Mole Rat feels the wait-staff at Cheron’s Dine and Eat also see him this way, as not even a man.  This makes it very hard for the Naked Mole Rat to go back, time and again, as he does, when it feels right to do so.  It feels right to do so, but he is afraid.  Afraid to be mistreated.  The Naked Mole Rat resents being made to live in fear.  The Naked Mole Rat went back to Cheron’s Dine and Eat thinking, this time, it will be different.  He waited to be seated for nearly fifteen minutes.  A waitress passed and he said, excuse me, Miss.  The waitress turned, but did not stop walking.  Sir…,she said.  She nodded once, her eyes fixed on the Naked Mole Rat.  The Naked Mole Rat promises a letter forthcoming.  This is intolerable, he thinks.  This is intolerable, he will write.  Just as soon as it feels right to do so.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

#74 Buy a Book!

Whelp, AWP is over and done.  Flight got cancelled so I'm off to wander DC until things fall back into place.

Only a couple copies left of my Collected Work:

They're $15, handwritten, handsome little objects.  I accept Paypal ( or checkssss!

For $20, I'll send you a copy of the Collected Work, as well as another book that might be generally worth your time.

Shipping and handling is whatever shipping and handling costs.

The reading at the zoo was great.  Read alongside some excellent writers and fun-loving folks.  We heard an elephant, sensed a fisher cat, enraged an emu and got way too close to the gorillas.

Readings are a lot of fun.  I would like to do a reading tour, I think.

Friday, February 4, 2011

#73 DC!

Couldn't get into anything last night due to my late night arrival.  Went out for a bit, met some folks - Chloe Cooper Jones, James Yeh, Lincoln Michel - and had a nice time, but felt sick all evening.

Reading is today at 2pm at the DC Zoo.  Come see us:

  • Deb Olin Unferth
  • Alec Niedenthal
  • Mike Young
  • Michael Kimball
  • Stephanie Barber
  • Blake Butler
  • Matt Bell
  • Amelia Gray
  • Rachel Glaser
  • Alexis Orgera
  • Colin Winnette
  • Timothy Willis-Sanders
Off to register!