– from FUN CAMP
** People on Twitter love naming Fight Club rules. Here are some of them, presented without comment. **
11th rule of Fight Club: “Bring something nice to share!”
First Rule of Sissy Fight Club: …stop…Stop It!…MOM!
The first rule of fight club: Twitter is not your diary.
The second rule of Fight Club is don’t even bother trying to pronounce “Palahniuk.”
First rule of fight club,is shut the fuck or I hurt u.
32nd rule of Fight Club is no peanut products are allowed at Fight Club!
The first rule of Chess Club is always call it Fight Club.
Anybody tweeting me telling me the first rule of Fight Club… Just… You’re the worst type of people.
the third rule of fight club is that you brush your teeth at least twice a day.
First rule of pillow fight club is you don’t get your own pillow.
Third Rule of Fight Club: second Monday of every month we have a potluck. No store bought items. Sign up list to avoid duplicates. B.Y.O.B.
The second rule of fight club: No chicks with guns What if I get a hard on and wanna bone her? The Taliban win.. That’s what F’n happens
First rule of Fight Club is to love Tom Waits
Nobody ever talks about the 42nd rule of Fight Club (Don’t wear pantyho’ with peep toe)
First rule of procrastination fight club is you avoid taking about rules as long as possible.
The first rule of Baby Panda Fight Club is: PETA is gonna be pissed
the third rule of fight club is that we can’t make fun of billy anymore because he told his mom last time + he has the only ps2 in our gang
The first rule of Fight Club is no Girls spoilers.
6th rule of Fight Club: If your last name begins with a vowel, bring a dessert to share at club once a month.
first rule of fight club: don’t break up via text
++ This interview originally appeared on the Keyhole Magazine website, which sadly crashed and was rebuilt without all the old content. So I am posting it here in honor of the news that Edward’s first book of prose is forthcoming from Publishing Genius. Check out his first book here and his art here. ++
I lived in the same apartment building with Edward Mullany for about a year, and with his then-fiance/now-wife Anjali for double that. He and I once played pool against these two guys—a manic unfunny court jester type and a surly expatriate who, upon meeting, grew to hate each other throughout the course of the game. I’m pretty sure we won.
I got to know and love his work as I encountered it, first in readings, then in many of my favorite journals. His writing has appeared in Keyhole, Alaska Quarterly Review, New Ohio Review, Tampa Review, Beeswax, Johnny America, Invisible Ear, and other journals.
Edward now lives in New York, where he teaches at College of Staten Island. He is an associate editor at matchbook, an online literary journal.
II. An Edward Mullany Reader
A Dozen Fictions:
– A Minnesota Divorce
– Three Stories
And a Poem:
III. A Conversation with Edward Mullany
Gabe Durham: I was talking to my friend David the other day about how he hasn’t really begun sending out poems yet, even though he’s already written quite a few good ones, because he’d like to take his time, save up, and then send them out once he has a sizable body of work–we took to calling this the “hoard and blitz” method. There’s a quality control aspect to this method that really appeals to me, and it’s kind of the opposite strategy of those of us who began by sending out work that either wasn’t yet ready or never would be. You waited awhile to send out your stories and poems, too, didn’t you?
Edward Mullany: I’m not sure one way is preferable to the other. Maybe it’s more a matter of habit, and varies from writer to writer. I didn’t so much “wait” to send stuff out; it was more that I never got into a routine of sending stuff out until several years after I’d begun writing. Which was fortunate, because, in retrospect, it took me a long time to write anything that I can say I’m proud of. Not that everything I write now is good, but I’m a better critic of my own work now; I can see when the writing isn’t going the way it ought to be going. Of course, it’s another thing altogether to fix it.
GD: Your poems are often narrative and your stories are sometimes as short as a few sentences, so there is often some stylistic overlap between the two, but you mentioned to me once that your poems and stories come from different places. I’m interested in that idea, that classification maybe could come less from the rules a story/poem follows but from what ignites them. Could you elaborate on that and/or correct me if I’m misrepresenting you?
EM: That’s a really interesting question. Classification is more useful (as a tool) to critics than it is to artists, but every artist needs to be a good critic, whereas the opposite is not necessarily true. This is because art is the only human endeavor in which success cannot be entirely explained (or duplicated) by technical mastery. Think of the paintings of Jackson Pollock. People are often claiming that ‘a child’ could do what he did, but it isn’t true. A Pollock is a Pollock, and nothing imitative ever comes close.
What I’m saying is an artist must know what he’s doing; if he doesn’t know why he’s making the technical and imaginative choices he is making (and if he isn’t pulling them off), chances are the piece will have no order, and thus will not be art. That isn’t to say the process of artistic creation is an entirely conscious act (it isn’t), but rather that there must be a constant interaction between the artist’s conscious and unconscious mind.
It’s in this context that I think a discussion of genre – the difference between prose and poetry, for instance – should take place. As you alluded to, many fiction writers are experimenting with the length of the short story. The term “flash fiction” has become popular. One result of this trend is that long narrative poetry and short narrative fiction are beginning to resemble each other in a way that we may or may not have seen before. (This ignores, to a degree, the fact that form alone – verses, linebreaks, rhyme, etc. – can differentiate poetry from fiction, but the larger point remains). The suggestion, then, that we conceive of the difference between poetry and prose in terms of impulse (or, as you mentioned, “what ignites them”) is a good one.
In my own work, poetry allows me to access a voice I cannot access in fiction. The conceit is different; for some reason, in poetry, I feel both able and compelled to give expression to feelings and ideas that are of the utmost personal significance. This is not to say that fiction is not equally an expression of a writer’s personality, but that, in fiction, the writer’s orientation to the audience is qualified by an act of dramatization that is absent (or less visible) in poetry. The result is that fiction often feels staged or artificial (I do not mean this pejoratively) in a way that poetry does not. In other words, the poet is the closest to the raw materials (psychic, spiritual, emotional, etc.) that it is the job of all literary artists to mine.
AMERICAN XVII: NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL CASH imagines a world where Johnny Cash is still alive, and has just come out with a new album of Top 40 radio covers. Rick Rubin comes out the villain on this one, which is too bad because I actually really like all the real life albums in the American series. But it works well for the video.
Did I create this video just so I could sing pop songs in my most gravely voice? Possibly.
Thanks to Josh Lushch, Diana Levy, Ralph Nguyen, Alex Franklin, Brendan Bergen, and Liz TD for shooting with me.
Songs Covered Herein:
1. Macklemore – Thrift Shop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes)
2. fun. – Some Nights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQkBeOisNM0)
3. Justin Bieber – Baby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffacxfA7G4)
4. Rihanna – Diamonds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWA2pjMjpBs)
5. Psy – Gangnam Style (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0)
6. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ6zr6kCPj8)
I just found this!
In Fall of 2011, I taught a Literature class. I was required to teach mostly out of a reader, but I also taught Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad.
At the end, I got my students to tell me what texts from the reader they liked and disliked most. Here are the standout results from both categories:
A Visit from the Goon Squad (15)
Shirley Jackson – The Lottery (13)
Brian Doyle – Pop Art (10)
Jamaica Kincaid – Girl (10)
William Faulkner – A Rose for Emily (8)
Melville – Bartleby (14)
Jonathan Lethem – Super Goat Man (13)
Sophocles – Oedipus Rex (8)
Everyone who took me up on my offer to read a book for extra credit selected the same book off my list. David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day. They all loved it.
– This was a unique sample in that all the students were women. (Hard to say how this affected the results, though it’s always fun to speculate. Of the items listed above, only “Girl” speaks to a specifically feminine experience, and tied with “Girl” was “Pop Art,” which is about fatherhood. I do wonder if Lethem appeals a bit more to men than to women in aggregate, since his fiction so often deals with traditionally “boy” stuff like comic books.)
– It is also possible that part of why my class liked Egan’s book so much was that we all went together to see Egan read at Amherst College, and she was very real and charming. Maybe if they saw Melville read they’d have gotten into it more.
– It is funny to me that MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” made neither list, because a big chunk of my manuscript MEANWHILE is an autobiographical account of the day I taught this text, what we talked about, etc. I have thought about that day so much that it seems to me like the most important day of class I’ve ever taught. Subjectivity in motion.
The tic marks of time’s passage are innately hilarious.
The suppression of information regarding my age may increase vitality.
I have whimsical grandchildren.
Nothing says birthday like decapitated washboard abs.
Eleven lines of creative cruelty are negated by one line of vapid kindness.
Forgetting a loved one’s birthday is an opportunity for spunkiness.
The greatest thing an old person can be is a good sport.
An electronic greeting card is somehow more considerate than a link to a website.
On my birthday day, sex is owed me.
On my birthday, public nudity is sanctioned by law and will not result in my immediate arrest.
I will live forever.
Heard ’em Say
All of the Lights
N***** in Paris
A speed limit is a starting point in an ongoing negotiation.
When I see the word “scallions,” I picture scallops.
Multi-grain bread thinks it can trick us into thinking it is 100% whole wheat but WE ARE SMARTER THAN MULTI-GRAIN BREAD.
Chin-up bars presuppose a house with a certain soundness of structure.
Twilight Zone where conservative white guy deports last immigrant and then finds his grocery no longer carries Mexican Pepsi.
You know a comedy bit is gonna be bad when they go, “What I want to know: Whose job is it to come up with [x]?”
Watching a doc about ballet kids & wondering if grace in writing is much valued by writers of my generation = embarrassing even to mention.
We kill at daggers of insight. Amazed/concerned at how many friends genuinely dominate at Ongoing Daily Show Writer Tryouts.
Southern entertainers love jokes about church denominations.
Bookmarked for banishment: The move in writing, “In fact, why don’t you go check it out for yourself? I’ll wait. La la lalala. Back? Great.”
Week 6 ofP90X is the one where you’re convinced that ONLY YOU understand the rich inner life of
Week 7 of P90X is the one where upon waking from a nap your spouse tells you you kept murmuring, “Ab Ripper X. I hate it. But I LOVE it.”
Sad rule is you only get one “catch some flack” per book or you’re gonna get some grief for it.
Ever “like” a fb photo of your friend and her baby and then turns out on closer inspection she’s discreetly breastfeeding?
EB Farnum : Deadwood :: Butters : South Park
I read a thing from the new manuscript, MEANWHILE, about Courtney Stodden, Jezebel comment boards, the ages at which young heterosexuals can marry, VH1’s “Tough Love Couples,” divorce, the sitcom “Whitney,” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
Hosted by Jim Ruland and Todd Taylor of the long-running punk zine Razorcake.
Two other new episodes are up: Norb and Justin Maurer
AND dip into the archives for previous podcasts from Ben Loory and Amelia Gray.