It's been a month. Here's the loose ends of what happened:
1) I went through a long streak of not writing any fiction, making me go insane and start crying while watching Wrestlemania 21, specifically the part where Hulk Hogan comes out and flexes in front of a giant, electronic American flag.
2) I started trying to watch real films so I have something to offer in conversations aside from Nicolas Cage movies. I'm starting with the works of David Lynch. Blue Velvet was good once it got into the story. Eraserhead was up its own ass. I'm watching Wild At Heart next, starring, oddly enough, Nicolas Cage. Life is a circle/highway.
3) I posted on the Facebook page for the German thrash metal band Kreator, asking if I could join their band. So far, no response.
4) I had the official book party for Shake Away These Constant Days. It went well. In the words of my friend Bob, "It wasn't runnin' a train, but it wasn't a trainwreck."
5) I bought a package of pizza flavored hotdogs, which was the second grossest food-related decision I made all month, right behind eating a pancake that I found.
6) I went to the Goodwill and saw this bootleg Michael Jackson hat, which I bought for $1.50, wore for a weekend, and then sent to Sarah Rose Etter.
I had the first installment in Love Dumb, my all-too-thorough chronological journey through the complete song library of KISS, go up a bit ago. There was a slight hiccup in the posting schedule, but from now on, every Thursday there will be a new column. Check out the first one:
“Strutter” makes considerably less sense than the song it started out as, a little Gene Simmons 60’s psych-rock ditty called “Stanley the Parrot.” This is significant, considering “Stanley the Parrot” had an oblique narrative about the influence of summer in making a man and a two-minute non-sequitur intro and odd bluegrass solos and it’s called fucking “Stanley the Parrot.”
I also had a review of Gregory Sherl's debut full-length collection, Heavy Petting, go up at [PANK]. I was mixed on it, for sure, but the gist of it is that the good stuff was brilliant and the bad stuff was bullshit. There's plenty of both, but as far as first collections go--especially such long ones, it seems--Heavy Petting is as intriguing as it gets.
I say this not to slight his work or age—I liked his poems and he’s only two days younger than I am—but Gergory Sherl is a poet of youth, which is to say that his debut collection, Heavy Petting is saturated with a holy-fuck-I-hope-I’m-right sort of faith.
Lastly, I'm probably the only person to who's done an interview with UW-Platteville--the college I graduated from several years ago--and referenced Motorhead and girls who do cocaine if it's free.
Q: Can you tell us about one or two high points of your life since you’ve graduated?
A: I didn't get married or have kids and it's awesome. I listen to Motörhead as loud as I want, whenever I want. If that sounds like something a fifteen year old kid would say, that's probably because it's all I've ever really wanted since I was fifteen.
After I stopped crying and started writing fiction again, I turned out a short story without a title (I'm soft-positive on "Old Winners") that leans pretty heavily on Barry Hannah, specifically his story "Water Liars." He's got an old guy going to the docks to visit other old men who lie about shit in a jovial way. I've got a young guy who goes to an arcade to visit old men who tell him how to win in a competitive-yet-empty way. There are buried problems with women leaking out of everything in both. I'm hoping that using "Water Liars" as a jumping off point--Amy Hempel calls it "response writing"--won't be obvious. But, if I'm going to rip something off, I want to rip something off that rules.
I'm finding that I like style more than I like substance, which isn't to say that I like no substance, I just like style more. There's Van Halen and there's Elvis Costello. Neither one is without traces of what makes the other untouchable, but they are genius opposites.
I haven't submitted this story anywhere yet, but I'm back on the submission train, so I'll be sending it out shortly. I've got every eligible story in my chapbook, Murmuration, out at several places each right now, just sort of waiting on replies. Of the longer pieces I worked in as a second section for the Caketrain contest, only one, the aforementioned story about a millionaire and time zones and girlfriends and ex-girlfriends and a mute Italian girl called "Run the Daylight Down," isn't out anywhere yet. Once I get done watching The League DVDs a co-worker loaned me and insisted I watch, I'll send them out.
I started up the micro-press that I've been threatening my life with for the past year or so. This essentially just means that I ordered a printer and a long-arm stapler and have begun the long process of trying to figure out how to use a bootlegged copy of Adobe InDesign, but those are all big, necessary steps.
I'm planning on doing 20-40 page chapbooks of fiction and non-fiction. Magic Helicopter Press and Future Tense Books are both great examples of micro-presses putting out killer chapbooks. I've read their work and am learning from it, and I hope to put out a quality piece of work sometime early next year.
I've accepted the first manuscript to be released, but what little details I have aren't worth spilling right now. I will say that, in , and a human goddamn being.
Passenger Side Books.
(Real website--or at least a blogspot--coming soon. Facebook will do for now.)
Validate me, internet.