Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Last Plug

Tomorrow night I'll be reading in San Diego. Here are the details...

What: Vermin on the Mount Reading in Downtown San Diego
Date/Time: Saturday, July 31, 8 - 11 p.m.
Where: Sushi Performance and Visual Arts, 390 11th Street, San Diego, CA 92101

The night will feature a stellar lineup of writers, including Aaron Burch, Lisa Fugard, Jess Jollett, Amelia Gray, Lindsay Hunter, Enrique Limón and Adam Novy.

More info here.

I'm planning on drinking at The Field, a great Irish bar, beforehand.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Perceptions

"Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. I don't know what I think about certain subjects, even today, until I sit down and try to write about them. Maybe I wanted to find more rigorous ways of thinking. We're talking now about the earliest writing I did and about the power of language to counteract the wallow of late adolescence, to define things, define muddled experience in economical ways: Let's not forget that writing is convenient. It requires the simplest tools. A young writer sees that with words and sentences on a piece of paper that costs less than a penny he can place himself more clearly in the world. Words on a page, that's all it takes to help him separate himself from the forces around him, streets and people and pressures and feelings. He learns to think about these things, to ride his own sentences into new perceptions."

Don DeLillo, from a Paris Review interview

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What I Say to Myself

I have another new story out in the world this week (yes, it's been a good week).

This one is called "What I Say to Myself." It's in the latest issue of You Must Be This Tall to Ride.

Edited by BJ Hollars, the site focuses on coming-of-age stories and is a continuation of this anthology.

The new issue also features work by Cyn Kitchen, Kate Flaherty, William Lusk Coppage and Chris Wiewiori.


Poster for Vermin on the Mount Reading in San Diego

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Husband Across the Hall

That's the title of a new story that appears in the current issue of the Foundling Review.

Here's how it begins:

"There is a husband across the hall who looks at me. Two doors down, to the left, opposite side, near the emergency exit, with a wife I never see, yet I know she exists because there have been periodic sightings over the years, like the sightings of a rare, delicate, beautifully named bird."

Like all the stories I've been writing lately, this one is pretty short.

The issue also features commentary by Randall Brown.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Deeply Complex Thing

“A good [short story] collection has a deep coherence buried inside. I think the way one story plays off another, the way a collection adds up to a single vision is a deeply complex thing, one that hasn’t been addressed enough in criticism. I’m a big fan of original collections. I love the way the stories line up in a book like Hemingway’s In Our Time, or George Saunders’ Pastoralia, or Christine Schutt’s Nightwork. You feel a small thread weaving through them, almost invisible, maybe simply a thread made of the fact that they all have some deeply complex nuanced style and a concern passing from one story to the next. As a reader, you’re moved from one completely individual unit to the next, and you know that they’re not linked and that they can stand on their own, but you still have a kind of sense, in the end, that you’ve been through an experience that comes from the complete entity. (I’ve said this before, but it’s akin to listening to something like Radiohead’s OK Computer, or, better yet, Bach’s French Suites.)”

David Means, from an interview with Tom Barbash

Thursday, July 15, 2010


"Chekhov said he wrote as easily as a bird sings. That would be nice. I’m like a bird who's listened to all the other birds singing. Over there, in the next yard (very distant), are the songs I like. For a while I imitated them as best I could, until I figured out my own song, which I am now contentedly singing. Of course, what the bird doesn't know (because it has a birdbrain) is that it isn't just a matter of learning one song. You have to come up with a new song for every book. For now, I've got the song for this book. And that's when it becomes fun. That's why you don't want to finish too quickly. Because the part that's fun comes between the discovery of the song and the singing of the last note. Then you're back to silence, and listening. And that can be a bit rough, especially for an increasingly older bird like me."

Jeffrey Eugenides, from an interview with his editor, Jonathan Galassi

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Upcoming Reading: Saturday, July 31

Jim Ruland's venerable Vermin on the Mount reading series is coming to San Diego on Saturday, July 31.

And I'll be one of the night's readers, along with Aaron Burch, Lisa Fugard, Jess Jollett, Amelia Gray, Lindsay Hunter, Enrique Limón and Adam Novy.

The reading will get started at 8 p.m. and will happen at Sushi Performance & Visual Art in downtown San Diego's East Village (390 Eleventh Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101).

More details here.

Should be a great night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Trailers

Are book trailers becoming a standard part of a book's PR campaign?

Sure seems like it.

Here are two that have been getting some attention as of late...

Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story (w/ cameos by Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Gaitskill, James Franco and more):

And Rick Moody's The Four Fingers of Death:

And an older one for John Wray's Lowboy, featuring Zack Galifianakis: