Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fun Camp Reviewed in The Collagist and Ploughshares

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“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

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“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

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Two New Essays in Juked and The Weeklings + Everything I’ve Been Up To Lately

Two new essays from my MEANWHILE manuscript are out now in…

Juked: “Don’t Be Evil, Don’t Be Inconvenient”

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.

The Weeklings: “Why You Don’t Like My Mom”

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.”

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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.

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