There’s a great new Stephen Dixon story up at matchbook.
Been reading Scott McCloud‘s Understanding Comics–so smart and fun. (Thanks Other Words committee for the tip.) I’m sure the book is outdated in a number of ways I’m too ignorant of the comics/graphic novels universe to understand, but many of these concepts are timeless and applicable to all the arts.
For instance, there’s a whole section on the concept of closure, “observing the parts but perceiving the whole.” Example: When we see a partially obscured Pepsi bottle, our brain fills in the rest from experience. In comics, it relates to the way our brains fill in/animate the space between comic panels.
This concept is absolutely applicable to the novel I’m reading, Mary Robison’s Why Did I Ever, which is told quick panel-like snippets, leaving just enough for the reader to fill in her own picture of what’s going on in between. (Kind of like My Loose Thread.) In comics, we’ve trained ourselves to do this in childhood. We learn to “read” comic strips before we learn to read. In Robison’s book, I spent the first 30 pages or so pretty resistant to the idea. I wondered, “Is this form worth the work?” But once the book trained me to read it, I’ve been addicted to the rhythm, and the effort is no longer conscious.
I’m delighted to say, 2010 is shaping up to be my biggest year for stories yet. Lots to look forward to:
I’ve got stuff coming out in the next Collagist, Keyhole 9 (which I got a sneak peak of and can tell you is a solid issue, including a moving story by Nick Kocz) two different issues of Mid-American Review, The Normal School (my first time having a story available in a Barnes and Noble, I think, and I admit this excites me), The Lifted Brow’s next beast of an issue (maybe the contributor copy I’m most eager to receive/read/listen to), Bust Down the Doors and Eat All the Chickens’ upcoming online issue, and a contribution to a forthcoming Magic Helicopter chapbook.
Meanwhile, Fun Camp is on the march! In the next indeterminate number of months, 18 more shorts with appear in notnostrums (4 of them), A cappella Zoo (1), Nano Fiction (3), Saltgrass (2), and FriGG (8!).
Since the sidebar is getting a little unruly, I’m keeping it all straight on the Publications page.
Chris Bachelder did a reading this summer in which he read three pieces–two short stories and one short essay–all relating to The Great Gatsby. The essay just went up at the Believer (fortunately one of the full-text freebies) and my favorite of the two stories has been up at Subtropics awhile now (same deal, full-text freebie + bonus interview). Lately, though, I think his main thing is publishing excerpts of his next novel, like this one in storySouth. It’s gonna be good.