Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AWP Ready (Seattle Edition)


I am ready for my AWP experience in Seattle. I have everything I need:

√A leather bound notebook so that I can write while other people are just talking about writing. And be seen writing which is even better.

√A laptop to sit in the free Wi-Fi lobby and blog about the conference. The lobby's good because people will see me writing.

√A smart phone so that I can multitask during small talk. I might even be writing.

√A pair of Google Glass so that I can judge the writers in the room in real time.
√An odd hairstyle so people will look at me.

√An odd shirt or T-shirt with an odd phrase like "Pushcartoplyses" so that when people are staring straight ahead they'll look at me.

√An odd pair of shoes so that when people are looking down and don’t see my hair or shirt they will notice my shoes and look at me.

√Pre-prepared questions/comments (mostly comments, long, long comments, a speech really) that are so good they will prove that I am smarter than the people on the panel and that I should have been up there in the first place.

√A limber neck so that I can scan the Bookfair as I talk to someone in case there is someone more important I should be talking to.

√Nonalcoholic whiskey to use for shots with other writers who are using actual whiskey so that I can drink them under the table and thus prove I am a better writer.

√My card that includes an ad for my AWP erotic thriller just up on Amazon.

√A rain jacket.

Bring on all the writers and writing programs that are associated.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Me in Thumbnail Magazine

So my piece "14 Ways to Save According to Somebody on the Internet" is ironically not on the Internet but in the latest print issue of Thumbnail Magazine, which you should buy here. Buy it for all these fine reasons:

In Thumbnail Magazine's fifth annual collection of quality flash fiction, Ben Tanzer and the team from This Blog Will Change Your Life take charge. New stories are complemented by street art collected by Adam Lawrence and musical selections by Jason Behrends, with stories by Lauryn Allison, David S. Atkinson, Lauren Becker, Ryan W. Bradley, Spencer Dew, Jason Fisk, Jessi Lee Gaylord, James Grinwis, Rachel Hyman, Kyle Hemmings, Joseph G. Peterson, S. Craig Renfroe, Megan Stielstra, David Tomaloff, and Cyn Vargas. This collection also includes Morgana McLeod’s “Cotton Candy Miracles,” 2013 winner of Thumbnail’s No-Fee Flash Fiction Competition, judged by Sean Lovelace.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Ulysses in 18 Cartoons

Not having a midlife crisis? Not wanting to read a book that almost demands reading other books? Have approximately ten minutes?

Go here for 18 animated cartoons that sum the whole thing up.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Books I've Bought Because of Ulysses

So my midlife crisis is taking the form of reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is an excellent excuse to buy more books.

1. As I’ve already pointed out, picking an edition of Ulysses is hard. And so I ended up buying the Modern Library version for my reader’s copy.

2. I know this person here would argue that you should just go it alone to get the true enjoyment out of the Ulysses, but I’ve tried that before. Granted this time has been easier (do I just remember stuff from the before?). Let’s face it, I’m academic at heart. I like reading annotations. So I bought Gifford’s Ulysses Annotated. And for good measure I got The New Bloomsday Book by Harry Blamires (3rd edition).  

3. I happened to find cheap copies of Chester G. Anderson’s James Joyce and His World and Edna O’Brien’s James Joyce.

4. For good measure, I bought a three volume set of James Joyce’s letters. I found a first edition set on eBay. I wanted the three volume one so I got both Stuart Gilbert and Richard Ellmann edited letters. My friend Mel Clayton turned me on to collecting writer’s letter collections. There’s something comforting glancing through and seeing Joyce complain about money and how the writing’s going. And, of course, the dirty letters.

5. I’ll write later about all the collector’s copies I had already acquired, am acquiring, and would like to acquire.

Ulysses has already given me so much—mainly a reason to get more books. The only thing better than reading is book collecting.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Ulysses Podcast

Frank Delaney's Re: JoyceI've started Frank Delaney's Re: Joyce a podcast where he says: "I mean to go through it sentence by sentence if I have to, in order to convey the full brilliance of this novel - and the enjoyment to be had from it - I'll be podcasting for some time to come!"

The only problem is that he's not done and won't be for years. Maybe I should slow down my reading. A sentence a day. A word. A letter.

Just read the letter "L"--I'm done for the day.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Choosing an Edition of Ulysses

As you may or may not know, I'm having a midlife crisis and therefore reading James Joyce's Ulysses. First I had to pick the right version. Here's a better post about this subject than I'll be able to do. After reading about the editions I thought I was set for the Gabler, and then at the last minute, confounded by the controversy (and frankly disturbed by the aesthetic of the Gabler), I chose the Modern Library version. So take that Gabler! Go fuck yourself. Yeah.

Actually I picked the ML because the above said it lies open flat. It does (see picture). Nice.

Also, I'm not on that page. I'm on page 5. My plan is to read it slowly. Like four pages a day slow. So that I started it on my 40th birthday and I'll finish on Bloomsday in June.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Please Join Me as I Have a Midlife Crisis and Read James Joyce’s Ulysses

I just turned 40 today, and, therefore, I am contractually obligated to have a midlife crisis and ergo must do something crazy. I’ve been surveying my options. I could buy a sports car, but I don’t care anything or know anything about cars. I could have an affair, but my wife might not like that. I could jump out of a plane, but I’m afraid of heights and flying—mostly I’m afraid of dying which has necessitated this midlife crisis in the first place.

So I’m reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. Reasons why:

--I’m a writer and pretend to know stuff about literature.
--I’ve been to Dublin a few times.
--I’m not going to climb Everest.
--It was published on Joyce’s 40th birthday.

I don’t believe in bucket lists (or YOLOing). That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of life, as if it were just a checklist of experiences to collect (GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL!). Life’s a random barrage of sensation barely comprehended, and it’s better to cultivate a savoring enjoyment of all the small pleasures that happen your way. But, that said, you got to do something before you hit the grave, so for me it might as well be reading this Modernist masterpiece.

Though, I have tried to read Ulysses before and failed. So check back to watch me quite possibly fail again, miserably. Or quietly. Or just skip it and watch The Walking Dead.