I bought a Jazzmaster and I shouldn't have. I don't know anything about jazz, but I know a lot about J Mascis. The way "Freak Scene" sounds is enough reason for me to go back to saltine/peanut butter sandwiches for a couple more months.
I took some time to type up the non-story pages for Shake Away These Constant Days. Got the legal/business junk and dedication (it's for my parents . . . and those about to rock) on one page in the beginning and then a page at the end for acknowledgments (yes, Shawn Michaels is thanked) and another page for the details on who suggested what song for each story. We were thinking about doing an essay explaining the Our Band Could Be Your Lit project, but I'm lazy. In the end, we decided to not pitch it as an OBCBYL book at all.
One of my dream publications finally came through. A few blogs ago I mentioned a story I wrote about a guy who just crashes cars with his buddies. It turned out to be about a little bit more than that--not much, though I do finally get a chance to use the phrase "marble dicks" in a piece of writing and get it published--and Smokelong Quarterly picked it up. When it comes to flash fiction, no place is better. They've published Dan Chaon, Kevin Wilson, Thomas Cooper, WP Kinsella, Steve Almond, Sara Levine, and dozens of other awesome writers who I love. And now me.
One of the editors there was kind enough to not reject my story wholesale despite not liking the ending, and after sending in a couple new drafts, we came to an agreement. It was kind and I was grateful, because I've been rejected a lot by Smokelong, more than any other journal. "Jalapeno Summer" was the eighth story I've submitted to them. I guess this just proves the old saying right: If at first you don't succeed, use the phrase "marble dicks."
My friend Dena's manuscript is almost done on my end. One last piece to go, and while it's the longest one, it's still the last one. She sent me a bunch of e-mails asking me why I used a bunch of fancy words, to which I had t reply, "Because I want people to think I'm smart." I had to look up "ennui" the other day to figure out if someone was talking shit about me. Turns out they were just being accurate. Dena's going to get into the real nitty gritty of editing this week, so wish her luck. Or don't. She doesn't need you. She's a pioneer, motherfucker.
On my other friendly philanthropic endeavors, my first YA workshop ditched me this week. No clue why. One of them submitted work, even. I'm trying to think if I made a bad joke about not showing up the week prior. I'm trying to think of anything that isn't "They just think I'm a weird dickhead." The second group made it just fine, though. We read "Mexico" by Rick Bass and talked about it. I'm trying to find the one thing that they'll latch onto and make theirs. "How To Be a Writer" by Lorrie Moore is on the table in the next couple of weeks, which I think they'll respond well to.
Monkeybicycle posted something on Facebook today saying that they want some new columns and features on their website. I sent them an e-mail that included this paragraph:
"I've been thinking lately about a column wherein I do an album-by-album review of an almost arbitrary band with lots of albums. Like .38 Special--also known as the dudes who sang "Hold On Loosely" and "Caught Up In You." Did you know that they have 12 studio albums and 3 live albums? Kansas have 14 studio albums and 6 live albums and one song from a Will Ferrell movie that came out 25 years after it really mattered. Chumbawamba have 20 albums. (Right Said Fred have 8, which, though fewer, is still impressive when considering that they're the band who did "I'm Too Sexy" and nobody has ever cared about them beyond the potential for using their song title to justify making a stupid joke when taking off their Marlboro jacket.) Tom Cochrane/Red Rider--that goddamn "Life Is a Highway" song that's so bad that even cover bands in small Midwestern towns won't even play it--has 13 albums. Figure it out.
I went on to explain this in detail, which, regardless of what you may already think about the idea, was most likely overkill. I also offered to review books if they agree to send me free ones. Then I offered to review anything. I'll consider any response that isn't "Please never e-mail us again" a victory.
I've got shit on YouTube to watch while I'm busy not writing. Stay handsome, America.