Sunday, May 31, 2009 Review of Slice Magazine

Every month faithfully reviews a batch of literary magazines (is anyone else doing this valuable service? I don't think so).

Anyway, this month they reviewed the current issue of Slice Magazine. And my story "My Status" got a nice call out.

Here's what reviewer Mary Baken had to say:

"In fiction, I was totally astonished by Andrew Roe's 'My Status,' a beautifully rendered divorce story that managed to evoke a crushing sense of sympathy for all sides of the triangle."

Like I said, nice.

There was also mention of Alexi Zentner's story, which I really enjoyed.

You can read the entire review here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Susan Bell's "Revisioning The Great Gatsby"

A few years ago (four? five?) I attended the very first Tin House Writer's Conference. Overall, it was an amazing experience, and one of the highlights was attending Susan Bell's lecture called "The Artful Edit."

She talked a lot about the editing and revision process for The Great Gatsby. It shows how a book can be transformed during this process, by both writer (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and editor (Maxwell Perkins). It was eye-opening and a real treat.

Bell has since published a book (The Artful Edit), and her essay on Gatsby, called "Revisioning The Great Gatsby," is also included in The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House.

Mark Sarvas over at The Elegant Variation recently posted the essay in four delicious installments.

Highly, highly recommended. Reading it also makes me want to check out the Maxwell Perkins bio.

Tom Waits Rules Too

"I'm the closest thing to myself that I know."

I came across this Tom Waits quote while reading a New York Times review of a new biography of him. I wasn't aware there was a biography of Tom Waits. I am now. I'd like to read it.

Brief Tom Waits story: My wife and I were camping in Yosemite a few years ago. We saw a guy who reminded us of Tom Waits: the pork pie hat, the professional slouch, the baggy clothes, hands thrust into pockets, soul patch, etc.

"Hey," said Maria. "Check out the Tom Waits wannabe over there."

The guy was now walking toward us. Getting closer and closer. Staring down at the ground. Turns out: it was no wannabe. It was the man himself. Camping. Alone. We wanted to talk to him but chickened out. ("Uh, hi Tom Waits. I think you're, like, really really cool." What do you say in these situations?)

Then, just a few months later, we were driving through Sebastopol (I don't remember why). We noticed an old beater car parked on the side of the road. Somebody was getting into the car... that somebody was... Tom Waits.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Neko Case Rules

One of my favorite music blogs, Aquarium Drunkard (named after a Wilco song), recently posted some songs that Neko Case recorded for Canada's CBC Radio3 Sessions.

Man, it's good stuff. Bare bones. Acoustic. Powerful. And that voice.

By the way, the cover for Middle Cyclone (see above) has to be one of the greatest album covers of all time. Right up there with Sticky Fingers.

I must, must share this website.

Once you get there, keep scrolling and you might recognize someone...

When I Grow Up Part 2

"My body is getting so big I can't touch myself everywhere anymore."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Emerging Writers Network Review

Another really nice review of my story "Why We Came to Target at 9:58 on Monday Night."

This one's by the Emerging Writers Network's/Dzanc Books' Dan Wickett, the hardest working man in the literary/publishing/litblog world.

As part of his declared Short Story Month, he's been posting many, many reviews of individual short stories and s.s. collections.

Check out all the goodness. I can't keep up, but I'm trying.

I don't think the man sleeps. Thanks, Dan.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Radiohead Denies Influencing Local Band

I don't check out The Onion as I much as I used to, but this made me laugh...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

To Memoir or Not to Memoir

So I'm grappling.

The issue is whether or not I will proceed with writing a memoir based on my experiences of losing my father and then becoming a father myself a few months later.

I've written a draft of a proposal. I've written parts of chapters, scenes, notes, ideas, random scribbles.

And I'm currently waiting for a sign telling me to continue with the memoir. Or to resume the novel I was working on when the twins were born. Or to start a new novel that I've been thinking about. Or to polish up the short story collection first, while deciding on whether to work on the memoir or the novel(s).

And so it goes.

The sign, though, has yet to reveal itself. And I know it won't. But I'm still stubbornly waiting. And minimal writing is getting done on any of the above.

All of which leads to this quote from Ander Monson. It's about writing memoir/nonfiction. And it's something I've been reading over and over and nodding my head to. Not "the sign," but again, there are no signs when it comes to this kind of stuff (not for me, anyway)...

"But I still don't want to read what most people have to say about themselves if it's just to tell their story. I want it to be art, meaning that I want it transformed, juxtaposed, collaged--worked on like metal sculpture, each sentenced hammered, gleaming, honed. For me, the sentence is where it's at--the way the story's told--not simply the story behind the language. The act of telling is fine: kudos to you and your confession, your therapy, your bravery in releasing your story to the public. But telling is performing, even if it seems effortless. And writing that story and selling it to a publisher makes it product, packaged and edited and marketed. With years of reflection on that story and how it can be shaped as prose (and how its shape changes from our shaping it, reflecting on it), given audience and agents and editors, rhetoric and workshop and rewriting for maximum emotional punch--given the endless possibilities of the sentence on the page, I expect to see a little fucking craft. I guess I want awareness, a sense that the writer has reckoned with the self, the material, as well as what it means to reveal it, and how secrets are revealed, how stories are told, that it's not just being simply told. In short it must make something of itself."

I'll quote this part again: "...a sense that the writer has reckoned with the self, the material, as well as what it means to reveal it."

Million Writers Award 2009

The top 10 stories have been chosen. Voting runs through June 17.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When I Grow Up

Ethan/Daddy dialogue from tonight, post-bath...

E: "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?"

Me: "No."

E: "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up."

Me: "Oh."

It's a lot of pressure on a kid to come up with something "to be." So Maria and I don't usually ask.

But Ethan has offered up multiple career aspirations on his own, without any prompting from us.

The list so far includes:
  • Singer
  • Rhymer
  • Garbage Man
  • Metal Detector
  • Fireman
  • Teacher
  • Mommy

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why Publish in Literary Magazines?

Laura van den Berg answers that question here.

She brings up some points that really hit home, especially the parts about learning to accept rejection and to not take rejection personally.

Tough lessons. And I'm still learning them.

George and Henry

This is George:

This is Henry:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Ice Cream Flavor

Today, while Ethan and I were playing with some toy animals and pretending to eat ice cream…

Me: "Can the giraffe have some ice cream?"


"What flavor is it?"

"It's… jingleberry."

"Jingleberry. I've never heard of that flavor before."

"No, it's jingleberry… chocolate."

"Mmmm. Sounds delicious. How about the lion? Can he have some?"


"Is it jingleberry chocolate too?"

"No, it's jingleberry chocolate weiner."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Five Star Literary Stories Review

What a great way to start the week/month...

There's a really nice review of my story "Why We Came to Target at 9:58 on a Monday Night" over at Five Star Literary Stories.

Thanks to Freight Stories editor Andrew Scott for nominating the story, and to Meg Pokrass for such a thoughtful, insightful, engaging review.

Just for the Title Alone...

And that title would be: The Subversive Copy Editor.

I'd heard of this book a while back, but it looks like it's now out.

Reminds me of my old boss, Jan, who I learned a lot from.

One of her peeves that has now become one of mine: not using a hyphen when you mean to say "re-create" ("I re-created the entire project from scratch.") instead of "recreate."

But is the hyphen in "re-create" dying out? Say it ain't so.

Sunday Quote of the Day

Ethan: "My sewing machine is going to kill you!"

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post (but maybe not), the k-word has entered my almost four-year-old son's vocabulary.

Another recent quote, referring to a CD player: "My killing machine is broken!"

Of course he doesn't really know what "kill" means. But it's disconcerting nonetheless.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Is the Short Storiest of Months

I'm probably the last person to post about this, but Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network and Dzanc Books has declared May as Short Story Month.

Find out more over at the EWN site.