The second title from Boss Fight Books, Chrono Trigger by Michael P. Williams, just came out today! I’m really proud of this book. You can buy it here.
As each new day of the week arises, announced in bold font like the chime of a bronze bell counting down the hours, you can’t believe how much of the week has already gone. You can’t believe how much you don’t want it to end.
You can read the PDF here.
There’s a new essay of mine up at PANK, another from the Sept 22 project. This one’s largely about the workday dread of me and my friends, but it also contains a scene in which a man does battle with a book of poetry:
A problem Matthew had with this book of poetry was that it seemed to just demonstrate the boredom-as-point idea in a way that could be conveyed in a single sentence. But where was the rest? The performance of it? There was a Mad Lib quality throughout in which even the “shocking” parts seemed mostly the pose of one saying, Look out: I am shocking you. Oh, but that was intentional pageantry and kitsch, which again played against Matthew’s middle class (middlebrow) expectations. Meaning if this was a tennis match, the book would be kicking his ass.
Others from the same series:
Real quick: I’ve been thinking about how nobody had to review FUN CAMP, interview me about it, make cool videos, etc., but a bunch of people did. All of whom were busy with their own lives. And seeing my book on a year-end Buzzfeed list put a nice cap on the Year of the Book.
So I wanted to express some big gratitude to…
Colin Winnette, Tyler Crumrine, Holly McDede, Brian Trapp, Maria Anderson, Peter Tieryas, Peter Fontaine, Michael Wayne Hampton, John Domini, Mel Bosworth, Spencer Dew, Mike Young, Quincy Rhoads, Joe Sacksteader, Origami Zoo, Vouched Books, Joeseph Riipi, Scott Carpenter, Julie Klausner, Colin Marshall, Brian Allen Carr, Michael Filippone, Matthew Simmons, Peter Cavanaugh, Tobias Carroll, and David Gutowski. To Jack Christian for touring with me. To everyone who invited me to read or agreed to read with me. To everybody who published pieces of the book. And especially to Adam Robinson for designing the book and putting it out with Publishing Genius.
THANK YOU, everybody. It meant a lot.
I put out a call for tips on Facebook. Here’s the list that came back:
- Empty to be verbs: there is, there are, there was, there were, that was, who was, who is
- Search for “that” to check for (1) that/who errors and (2) unnecessary thats
- Accidental double spaces
- Look for unnecessary phrases: in order to, start to, currently
- Look for intensifiers: very, really, extremely
- Can look for “ly” if adverbs are a problem
- Look for imprecise use of “thing”
- Look for “over” when they mean “more than”
- Look for when they say “amount” and mean “number”
- Look for when they say “less” and mean “fewer”
- empty phrases: http://www.academicpeds.org/espauthoring/page_05.htm (Tho many are pretty lawyery or academic and would never show up in certain books.)
- look for “too,” “just,” “who/whom”
- run portions of text through a word frequency app, and then check the most used words for echos/overuses. Or just make a list of words that might be overused and ctrl-f them to figure out quantity and spacing (by looking at the scroll bar)
- “and I” vs “and me”
- ALL APOSTROPHES
- You” a casual non-specific pronoun we use a lot when speaking that causes pronoun disagreement. “Between states” verb forms like “started to / about to / nearly,” etc. also used casually in speech but can’t really be visualized. “ing” verb forms, esp. at the end of a sentence – causes the sentence to lose energy / momentum.
- he/she errors
- “only,” “even,” “actually”
After using these last edits, I sent the draft of EarthBound on to Adam R for layout. We’ve almost got a book!
I wrote about Joshua Dildine’s excellent PHOTO SERIES over at the Fanzine.
Tyler Crumrine’s review of FUN CAMP went up at Sundog Lit this week: “FUN CAMP is a novel about growing up through the eyes of those who think they’ve grown up already, and perfect for anyone who’s ever jumped off of something tall in hopes that everyone else was watching.”
Meanwhile, the book made the 2013 Small Press Distribution “Staff Picks” list thanks to Holly McDede, who notices the camp’s “sexual tension,” “stupid horrors,” and “sexually experimental girls”!
At Hazlitt, I got to take part in Tobias Carroll’s article about a classic DOS text adventure called Amnesia.
Before long, Boss Fight Books will actually be putting out books.
“Many of these shorts are silly until they turn suddenly grave, poignant, and heartbreaking, as if a hilarious stand-up comedian has started to weep. As a voice says in the chapter titled, “Listen to Me”: “Because I know just when to kill a joke.” And that’s also why we should listen to Durham; he knows when to drop the ironic mask. With stylistic sleights-of-hand, his best jokes get beyond irony to an odd pathos and sincerity.” – Brian Trapp in The Collagist
“The way this book comes together, with the monologues, lists, letters, and sermons, keeps us engaged and surprises us with what appears next, tonally, linguistically, and grammatically. … [W]ell worth a read, for both the boisterous diction and for those bunk-bed memories it might ruck up.” – Maria Anderson in Ploughshares
Two new essays from my MEANWHILE manuscript are out now in…
Information was now available so quickly that many people had taken up the habit of delaying one another’s gratification mid-sentence, and we were told today that you could now have your brew and eat it too, thanks to . . . wait for it . . . beer ice cream, that the most popular method of business communication was “by far and away” . . . wait for it . . . email, that a local government had cracked down on . . . wait for it . . . a Bible study, that Swiss tennis pro Roger Federer was the second-most respected figure in . . . wait for it . . . the entire world, that the future of credit cards could be . . . wait for it . . . no credit cards, and then we were offered a joke: What’s the difference between Bono and God? Wait for it . God doesn’t think he is Bono. We demanded patience of one another when, in another age, we’d simply have paused for effect. We’d found words to fill even the holy silence between set-up and punch line.
Our optimism intact, we Millennials were also the least likely to say that the government is inefficient and wasteful. We along with Gen X were most likely to say that America’s best days are ahead of us. We were most sure that the internet was a good thing, most satisfied with Obama, most likely to believe that the US would achieve its goals in the war in Afghanistan, and most optimistic that Afghanistan would remain stable after US troops left.
We were most likely to say the US should “take allies’ interests into account even if it means making compromises,” that peace is ensured through good diplomacy instead of military strength, that “relying too much on military force creates hatred that leads to more terrorism,” that it would not be necessary for Americans to give up civil liberties to fight terrorism, that Muslims were singled out for surveillance and monitoring by US policies (and most likely to be bothered by it), and that “it is OK to refuse to fight in a war you believe is morally wrong.”
The Terminex man came to my place last week and I signed & initialed forms saying I knew they’d kill our termites by taking all the air out of the air. “Will this kill the roaches?” I asked him.
“Everything but the spiders,” he said.
“Maybe that’s good,” I said.
“I don’t like spiders,” the exerminator said. “They’re killers.”
His own handwriting looked just like my dad’s and I told him so.
We talk about my Meanwhile manuscript, Boss Fight, and especially FUN CAMP. Colin’s a radio pro destined for NPR greatness. (Listen to how he segues to a new topic. Like BUTTER.) I’m lucky to have been on his show.
Boss Fight was featured on Gamespot last week. Definitely the coolest and most intensive essay about the new press yet. Features interviews with me and the authors. Thank you Maxwell McGee for making it happen.
Peter Tieryas turned his Fun Camp review into a sweet video for HTMLGIANT where dogs run backwards and children blur indistinctly into each other. That seems about right. As head counselor Dave says, “I want so much for you as a gaggle of campers, but as individuals i can barely keep your faces in focus.”
Meanwhile in YouTubeland, Michael Filippone reads the shit out of some Fun Camp pieces:
Let me know if you get up to performing some FUN CAMP bits online. I want teens to read from this book to audition for the school play and then accidentally fwd the audition video to the whole school and then become–not necessarily King of the School–but at the very least a wild card, one to keep an eye on.
I leave you with Demon Ben Kopel:
Here’s the part where I liberally quote from Dear Abby:
Abby of Dear Abby presented some readers’ write-ins about graveyard etiquette. Was it okay for people to walk dogs in a graveyard? For kids to play there while nearby people mourned?
“I find it disgusting and disturbing that these folks are using our sacred place for their personal pleasures,” said Jean of Massachusetts, making it sound as if her mourning was frequently disturbed by people having public sex atop nearby graves.
“Dear Abby,” said Jan of Sartell, MN. “Several years ago in a nearby church cemetery, a young couple and their 4-year-old were putting flowers on a relative’s grave. The child got a bit antsy and climbed on a headstone. The stone was loose and tipped over onto the child and killed him. No one should let children play in a cemetery.”
“Dear Abby,” said Alanson of New Jersey. “I want children to play on my grave.”
Here’s the part I made into a video: