Monthly Archives: May 2008

New Story: The Canadians

The the online version of the new, new NOÖ Journal just came out. Print version coming soon. Both are free.

I wrote a story that’s in it. You can read the story here: The Canadians

Other people in the issue: Daniel J. Bailey Benjamin Buchholz Alex Burford Mattia Cerato Noah Cicero Stephan Clark Patrick Duggan Bobby Farouk Elisa Gabbert Daniel Anthony St. George J.P. Gritton Fitz W. Guerin Ofelia Hunt Sean Kilpatrick Tim Laing Justin Lovato Chelsea Martin K. Silem Mohammad J.M. Patrick Andrew Michael Roberts Kathleen Rooney Peter Schwartz Claudia Smith Carrie Spell Leigh Stein Petteri Sulonen Deenah Vollmer Jasmine Dreame Wagner Sam Wharton

I read Stephan Clark’s story already. It’s good.

Six Thousand Dogs Ahead of the Game, in a Sense

“I was happy to be a black-hearted man in his mind if that would solve the issue between us because that was a bad-looking piece of pipe he had there and I was still six thousand dogs ahead of the game, in a sense.”

– Donald Barthelme, “I Bought a Little City”

The good people over at Tee Pee Records in NYC have just released Swedish rock band Blackstrap‘s new album, “Steal My Horses and Run.” I’ve got a soft spot for music that reminds me of the 90’s radio hits I used to record onto tapes with the first 11 seconds missing. Their best are the album openers, “Winning Speech” and “Rough Parade,” which sound like Garbage (the band) on a good day.

You might also want to check out Rachel Haught‘s cool bizarre electronica. My favorite track is “The Stars,” the song that dares to ask, “Why won’t they let you touch the stars?” And the more I think about it, the angrier I get.

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Season 6, Episode 2

Episode #2 “Settling For Technology Again” (4/26/08): Thomas Bush and Darnell Brisco and special guests Naomi Con and Ellen Anne. They sound really good. Part One, Part Two

Also, listen for a reprise of “Seduction Song.”

Season 6, Episode 3

Episode #3 “Free Kenya” (5/4/08): Thomas Bush and Darnell Brisco and special guests Matthew Seth Baker and Pete Wilson. Part One, Part Two

Coming Soon: Episode #2

Not to get all sentimental

…but Gather Round Children Dot Com turned two this week. First GRC post.

Hey, you should read Anjali’s new story. It’s good.

Also, I like Andrew Bird’s Blog. He’s recording an album and talking about it.

Liz and I spent last summer watching Media Education Foundation DVDs and now she’s going to intern there in the fall. Awesome.

Finally, it seems like the Cure spent the last couple of years asking themselves, “What makes us good?” Because it’s all there in the new single, “The Only One.”

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Comic Strip #3 – Almost Died

Comic strip FAQ:

Will there be a new strip every Monday this summer?

Yes, there will.

These strips are drawn very consistently, almost suspiciously so.

I know. We work very hard on them.

How will I know who wrote which strip?

You won’t know. That’s the “fun” of “collaboration.”

Where is Mark Baucum?

In Colorado.

Global Widespread Panic

Jennie Hoag and Brian Mihok (sometimes referred to as “the boyfriend” on TV restraint blogs) have a poetry project called Global Widespread Panic.

Already, the site has commissioned poems of the title by the likes of:

* Seth Landman
* Willie Bordwine
* Lesley Yalen
* Phillip Thompson
* Ricardo Maldonado
* Chris Hosea
* Luke Bloomfield
* Ian Wang
* Anjali Khosla
* Brian B. Corkspit
* Mike Young
* Luke Freedman Phelan
* Edward Mullany
* Emily Renaud
* Boomer Pinches

I wrote one, too.


I like to read and write premisey things. (Haters call them gimmicky things, but so does Chris Bachelder, who is not a hater but, in fact, a lover and writer of premisey things.) Donald Barthelme spent most of his career coming up with wacky premises and then redeeming them.

Here’s a story by Chelsea Martin that redeems a premise through hilarious logical jumps: McDonald’s Is Impossible. I was going to email her about it because I am trying to get better about emailing people I don’t know when they do something I like, but I think it’s probably even better to go public

This year, I’ve written a bunch of stories in a similar pattern:

1. I have an idea for a story and think, “That would be funny” or “That would be a fun way to get at what I think about x issue.”

2. I write the story and it is kind of funny. But then there’s also something in the draft that interests me more than original thing.

3. I chase the new thing. I write a lot more. I delete some funny parts. I delete some topical parts.

4. I end up with something that baffles me a little bit but is much closer to the kind of story I’d like to read than whatever my original plan was.

5. I hand the finished product over to a man in with expensive shoes and he gives me a check for $10,000.

6. Liz and I gorge ourselves at Osaka.

7. Our sushi lust creates greater demand and more fish are killed.

8. We worry about the mercury content and order only rolls with sweet potato, avocado, cucumber and fake crab (aka krab).

9. I publicly disclose the time (7pm every Sunday) and location (corner of Bright and King) of my meetings with the expensive shoes man. I publicly disclose that he pays me in cash and that in the bag there isn’t GPS tracking or an 80’s No Country For Old Men-style tracking device.

10. A bad person reads it and beats the pulp out of my benefactor before I arrive. The bad person takes my money. I do not give chase.

11. I find a new benefactor.

12. Repeat.

I like to write gimmicky/premisey stuff because its easy to get started. It’s fun to watch good stories come out of terrible first drafts. The flip side is that I abandon stories all the time, like that one, “The Process and the Benefactor.”

Unrelated: I’ve been reading Tao Lin‘s blog for a few months. It’s always interesting and sometimes he writes his way to something really cool, but I wasn’t sure what to think until I sought out some of his stories. Now I’m convinced he’s legit. This one’s great, from his book, Bed: Love Is A Thing On Sale For More Money Than There Exists. Something about these sweeping national paragraphs rubbing up against the personal and embarrassing, the terrorists and the late girlfriend.

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