Friday, October 30, 2009

New Story "Glad We're Not Poets" at Waccamaw

Rocktober started with two stories getting published, and in nice bookend fashion, it's ending with two more stories finding their way into the world.

Earlier this week I posted news about a new story over at Twelve Stories.

And today I have another story -- called "Glad We're Not Poets" -- up at Waccamaw.

(Also included in the fiction section of the issue:
Jensen Beach [Hobart web editor], Ted Chiles, Rachel Furey, Greg Gerke and Zachary Vickers. Plus there's a generous helping of essays and poetry.)

Nothing for months and months and months and then wow -- four stories in a month. I'm trying to bask in it while also realizing that this is rare, especially for someone who writes as slowly and infrequently as I do.

So yeah, for now: basking. And how long is it socially acceptable for one to bask?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Story "Apology" at Twelve Stories

Issue two of Twelve Stories is now live, and it includes my story "Apology," which is really, really short.

Edited by Molly Gaudry and Blythe Winslow, the issue also features Lydia Copeland, Roxane Gay, John Jodzio, Ben Loory, Larry Menlove, Ross Rader, Matt Salesses, Rebecca Serle, Jason Stout, Jacqueline Vogtman and Eric Vrooman.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

News, Links, Pumpkins, Etc.

It's Sunday night, and a brief, general update thing is about all I'm capable of...
  • Some recent acceptances from SmokeLong Quarterly, Waccamaw and jmww.
  • Random Ethan quote: "Daddy, should we have a conversation?"
  • I'm horrible at updating my blog, but a while back I finally updated my links to include some great writers. You should check them out.
  • Just made the easiest, unhealthiest enchilada casserole ever (recipe and ingredients courtesy of Trader Joe's).
  • Lastly, the family recently went on our annual pumpkin patch pilgrimage. Photos below.

The Lil' Devil and the Princess...

The inevitable battle over fishy crackers...

Ethan enjoys some homemade pumpkin ice cream...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tweeting the Classics

I'm sure there are some who will no doubt interpret this as another example of the death of reading, books, literature, etc.

I don't know.

I think it's pretty amusing.

Here's the tweet for Dante's "Inferno":

"I'm having a midlife crisis. Lost in the woods. Shoulda brought my iPhone."

And for "Oedipus the King":

"PARTY IN THEBES!!! Nobody cares I killed that old dude, plus this woman is all over me."

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I'm always interested in hearing about the "process" of other writers. (Quotation marks used because I'm not even sure what it means; process is a mystery, and every writer is different.)

So I fairly regularly check out the New York Times "Stray Questions" series. Writers get asked the same three questions:

1) What are you working on now?

2) Describe a typical day in your writing life.

3) What have you been reading or recommending lately?

Pretty standard boilerplate questions, I know. But it's the second one that gets the most interesting responses.

The most recent writer queried was Michelle Wildgen, author of the newly released novel But Not For Long and an editor at Tin House.

Her process seems similar to mine, especially the "mental coaxing" part:

"...I’m usually in front of my computer by about 10, getting a few e-mails out of the way (again, so I can concentrate, a recurring theme), and then rereading what I wrote the previous session or doing really elementary copy edits, all in the hopes of getting in the mindset to move forward. I do a lot of this kind of mental coaxing — little stretches and rereading and meandering toward the world of the story. I never just throw myself in front of my laptop and start writing, though I wish I did. I try to write toward something — toward a scene, toward an idea I know I want to get to, even just toward an evocative pairing of words that’s been on the tip of my tongue for a few days. I try to leave myself something to start with the next day, so I can’t feel completely stymied...

"I know it isn’t coal mining, but I’m generally pretty tired after a good four or five hours of writing. Then I can turn to lighter editing, less exhausting writing or any kind of work that uses a less generative part of the brain. If I’m really sapped, I just start cooking dinner so I can get out of my head entirely. As for actual workspace, no matter where I live, I always unintentionally turn my office into something distinctly garret-like, to the point that when someone offered to photograph me at my writing desk, I opened the door and he just went mute with pity. I never have music playing, and I never go to a coffee shop or anything. I stay home in my garret with the blinds down."

Well, there are some significant differences. I don't write during the day, and spending four- or five-hour stretches on my fiction just doesn't happen these days. And I don't have a garret.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fiction Writers Who Memoir

Are we talking trend? (First saw mention of this on Avery's blog.)

And did I just use memoir as a verb? I believe I did...

New DeLillo: Point Omega

I see that Don DeLillo has a new novel, called Point Omega, due out in February.

Here's the write-up from the Scribner catalog...

Writing about conspiracy theory in Libra, government cover-ups in White Noise, the Cold War in Underworld, and 9/11 in Falling Man, "DeLillo's books have been weirdly prophetic about twenty-first century America" (The New York Times Book Review). Now, in Point Omega, he takes on the secret strategist in America's war machine.

In the middle of a desert "somewhere south of nowhere," to a forlorn house made of metal and clapboard, a secret war advisor has gone in search of space and time. Richard Elster, seventy-three, was a scholar - an outsider - when he was called to a meeting with government war planners. They asked Elster to conceptualize their efforts - to form an intellectual framework for their troop deployments, counterinsurgency, orders for rendition. For two years he read their classified documents and attended secret meetings. He was to map the reality these men were trying to create "Bulk and swagger," he called it.

At the end of his service, Elster retreats to the desert, where he is joined by a filmmaker intent on documenting his experience. Jim Finley wants to make a one-take film, Elster its single character - "Just a man against a wall."

The two men sit on the deck, drinking and talking. Finley makes the case for his film. Weeks go by. And then Elster's daughter Jessie visits - an "otherworldly" woman from New York - who dramatically alters the dynamic of the story. When a devastating event follows, all the men's talk, the accumulated meaning of conversation and connection, is thrown into question. What is left is loss, fierce and incomprehensible.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

You Can't Argue with a Four-Year-Old

"Mommy, you're not a girl. You're a boy because you look like a boy."

"But I'm a girl. I have boobies."

"A different kind of boobies."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Short Fiction Series Photos

Left to right: Alain Benatar, Sally Shore, me, Lynne Oropeza and Matthew Thomas Lange.

Alain Benatar reads "Are You Okay?" (published in Tin House).

Sally Shore reads "Mind Your Questions" (unpublished).

Lynne Oropeza reads "Three" (published in Wigleaf).

It was a great night. The actors were fantastic and many wonderful friends and supporters showed up.

Thanks to all who came. And a special thanks to Sally Shore for making it all happen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Short Fiction Series Tonight!

Here are the details once again. Promise this is the last time I'll blog about this...

What: New Short Fiction Series presents Andy Roe's What I'm About to Do Now and Other Stories

When: Friday, October 9 @ 8 p.m. (box office opens at 7:30)

Beverly Hills Public Library, 44 Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills

Map/directions: Here

10 bucks (I promise to buy you a drink at some point in your lifetime if you come)

More info can also be found on the New Short Fiction Series website.

I Used to Write Poetry

I have a little something up at Laura Ellen Scott's VIPs on vsf blog.

It talks about how I used to write poetry and the connection between poetry and very short fiction.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Stories @ Hobart and decomP

Rocktober is already off to a great start.

I have two new stories out there:
The first one is kind of light. The second one is kind of not so light.

Kafka for Dummies

Saw this at the New Pages blog this morning...

A story in Science Daily reports that reading Kafka or watching a David Lynch film can make you smarter:

"According to research by psychologists at UC Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia, exposure to the surrealism in, say, Kafka's 'The Country Doctor' or Lynch's 'Blue Velvet' enhances the cognitive mechanisms that oversee implicit learning functions."

And here's a quote from one of the researchers:

"The idea is that when you're exposed to a meaning threat –– something that fundamentally does not make sense –– your brain is going to respond by looking for some other kind of structure within your environment. And, it turns out, that structure can be completely unrelated to the meaning threat."

"Meaning threat." I like that.