Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
And this is my last plea to you to sponsor me: You can still donate. And it supports a good cause.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I should probably work on that 6 hour goal for today.
Thank you to those who have sponsored me and if you still want to but haven't:You can still donate. And it supports a good cause.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Girlfriend(?): I'm not buying you another book. I got you one last year, and you didn't even read three pages of it.
Guy: But this one's about war!
Anyway, I should get started. Goal: 6 more hours today.
You can still donate. And it supports a good cause.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
You can still donate. And it supports a good cause.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
*Straight here only means chronologically and may be stretched out over four days with breaks in between for eating, bathroom stops, sleep, drinking, video gaming, gardening, cartooning, romance novel reading, and sexual intrigue.
**There are no prizes. But you will get to see what I write during the event, so that’s sort of like a prize.
***The writing my not, in fact, be crazy, but instead only eyebrow raising. Admittedly it will probably be a domestic drama. With a band of rabid possums thrown in. One can never tell.
****Tomorrow will also be fine.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Though I'm not a denizen of Tweetville, my friend Jeff pointed me to one that makes me want to join just to follow them: FakeAPStylebook. At Fake AP Stylebook you can find answers to all your unasked style questions and concerns. Here are just a few of my favorite examples:
- "The word 'totally' is redundant except when describing how rad something is."
- "Italicize words to give your story that gangsta lean."
- "'Teh' is a common misspelling of 'the.' Add it to your rival's spell-check dictionary. "
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So I'm participating in the 2009 Dzanc Books Write-A-Thon which will take place December 17th through the 20th. I'll be writing for twenty-four hours over the write-a-thon. That's like a day. Though spread over four days, so not so crazy as writing for twenty-four hours straight which would probably result in my writing even worse than normal.
You can sponsor me by going here. You'll receive updates as to my progress. And I would be grateful. And thank you.
For those that don't already know, and if not, you really should: Dzanc is a non-profit independent publishing company that supports literary magazines, small presses, and funds writing programs in public schools, as well as the Dzanc Prize, which benefits not only the writer awarded it but pays for a community based project like writing workshops in prisons or cancer centers.
If you would like to get involved in the Write-A-Thon, please email Dan Wickett at email@example.com.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Which brings me to my friend Derek Nikitas, whose novel The Long Division has recently been released to rave reviews. Including this one where he's compared to...that's right, Shakespeare!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Which reminded me, I saw this movie when I was young…how young, I can’t say…school-age…I’ve never left school, but younger than I am now.
I saw this movie…or maybe I imagined it. A ship got lost in the Bermuda Triangle…it had to be the Triangle…and wound up on a calm sea covered entirely by these vines so thick you could walk from one trapped ship to another using snow shoes…which they oddly enough had or maybe they just made some out of tennis rackets, which oddly they had. Below the vines, under the water was some kind of sea monster that would occasionally eat someone. I believe the bad guy had a trapdoor to the sea monster on his ship for people that displeased him.
But it’s the image of all these ships caught in vines on a still sea that I love…that still stops me sometimes. An image good enough to be in Moby Dick. Maybe it was a movie adaptation of Moby Dick.
In the age of Google all things should be at hand, but I can’t think of enough to even being a search—other than Bermuda Triangle which I tried and didn’t seem to do the trick.
If I didn’t make up this film, I should probably never see it at any rate. Keep reality from killing the dream.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
What do people think about the term “badass”? Still cool, right? Let’s forgo discussing the relative coolness of using the word “cool.” But badass still has some cache, even with the loss of the sting of taboo connected to “ass,” which barely registers as a curse anymore. Much more cache anyway than the stillborn "chillax." Can anyone really use this word and not sound like an
(pictured two badasses chillaxing)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
My love of Word is no secret. Here's another autocratic slip that shows the foulness of the MS soul. Too much? The point is that just on practical terms forcing the capital is a mistake because it makes the reader stop because the registered trademark is for a washing machine, not, as everyone understands, the place one goes to use a washing machine.
But more importantly, when words become part of the language, they belong to the people, not a corporation. Get over it kleenex.
© 2009S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.
Monday, September 14, 2009
My friend Mel sent me the link to this photo blog Book Lovers Never Go to Bed Alone, calling it "totally book porn" and it's certainly corrupting the morals of the good non-reading public everywhere--if everywhere is this link right here.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I've just tried out Google Docs. And I'm wondering if this will one day push out Word. Which makes me think about how I loved WordPerfect so much and how I had to give it up for Word--forced kicking and screaming because of compatibility. Stupid, stupid Word. WordPerfect is still out there, like an unrequited lover.
Monday, August 31, 2009
School is in. And responsibilities loom over my puttering around. Which often, inexplicably, means I get more puttering done. Not really inexplicable because I have to prioritize my puttering, put my puttering first. These are things I've learned from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which I have never read but bought for a quarter at a garage sale from someone I suspect had not read it either. Point being, I'm teaching again. Shaping young minds. I try not to think about that too much. It's paralyzing if you do. Like the Larkin poem: "They fuck you up, your mum and dad./ They may not mean to, but they do."
(pictured: goats puttering)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
So the folks over at the irrepressible Flatmancrooked came up with their ideal fiction anthologies and asked some of the writers they've published for their lists. Mine is up in Part III. Be sure to check out Parts I & II. I notice that many get real defensive about their lists and include disclaimers or get defiant as if expecting their choices to cause bar fights. Me included. I'm not making a point. Just noticing. I like to notice stuff.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Probably you've already checked out the first issue of The Collagist, a new online literary magazine from Dzanc, because I'm usually late to the party. If not, you should. Really. Because as previously stated, it is cool. It includes work by and about Gordon Lish. And even some Easter-egg-style goodies, like the Michael Martone contributor note story.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I'm a last minute person...because I'm essentially lazy. So I thought I'd mention the 2009 Flatmancrooked Prize judged by Aimee Bender. It's deadline is, oh, Aug. 15th, which is what tomorrow? Anyway, for any procrastinators out there...
I should also mention their new innovative program called LAUNCH, where they launch the career of a new writer by asking for readers to buy shares in that career. Read more because I'm too lazy for the details. The writer in question is the cool Emma Straub, who according to the faucet of fact Facebook will write you a love letter if you launch her.
And to continue the unsolicited testimonial, because I like the cut of these people's jib, their blog articles never disappoint.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I hated cars well before it was cool. Not for any earth-saving reasons, I mean the supernova-ing sun's going to take care of this place soon enough, right? But just the general resentment--all I wanted was a way from point A to B and I get saddled with a constant source of nuisance. And I'm not a fan of speed. I'm a fan of slow. Of porches. And god knows I'd never buy a new car--a racket if ever there was one, paying for the car-salesman aggravation and instant depreciation.
So naturally, the other day I bought a new car. I blame Heather, who so loves cars she has a pet name for hers which I won't reveal because out of context it sounds dirty...I should probably just not bring it up. Also, I blame the last junk heap that hauled my ungrateful self around which died before it could claim any of that cash for being a clunker.
Anyway, we got an '09 Elantra Touring. Here's my review: it's nice.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Here's some stuff that's going on:
Monday, July 27, 2009
So it's summer, and I'm actually reading things other than student work, but it just reminds me of things I haven't read that I feel like I should. Today's book I have not read is Independence Day by Richard Ford. That's right, haven't read that one. But one of my past professors told a story about how he was jerk, so that probably makes it okay.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Grey, gray, grey, grey, definitely. Reading a Stoker biography and turns out he had grey eyes and loved it! So does one of my brothers, though I'm not sure about his feelings on having said grey eyes. Why do I bring it up? No reason.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
So the good people at decomP nominated my story "Scientist Mad" for Best of the Net 2009. The other nods include:
Adam Moorad - "Star-Spangled Enterprise"
Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz - "A SHORT HISTORY OF UNUSUAL FISH"
Kristin Dombrowski - "Bog"
Kira Hesser - "inertia / inner / in her"
Heather Momyer - "Dead Dog"
Iftekhar Sayeed - "the early mangoes"
Buff Whitman-Bradley - "Aerial Intercourse"
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
So the first issue of > kill author is up with great pieces from Barry Graham, Brad Green, and J. A. Tyler, among others. The editorial staff of > kill author has chosen to remain anonymous, claiming that the reputation of editors is getting in the way of something, what's that thing called that people don't care about having anymore...integrity?
Though the mag is literary in tone and the title comes from a Roland Barthes quote and though they deny being robots, I can only assume that they are, in fact, editors come back from the dead...zombie editors. But not famous ones like Gordon Lish or Max Perkins. No these are middle-management, zombie editors. Though don't get me wrong, they do an excellent job, especially when you consider a zombie's imprecise motor skills.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
So my story "Come, Come Away to Sumerville" is featured at Flatmancrooked. And if you haven't already, you should read their great blog with series like Deena Drewis' on the state of the short story--pretty good in case you're wondering and too lazy to read, which is sad because you are, in fact, reading this very second. Relax, you've stopped now.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Went to see Evil Dead: The Musical last night, and it has restored my faith in musicals. In my humble opinion, zombies and lots of fake blood would improve any musical. Take The Sound of Music, for instance.
Monday, June 8, 2009
CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE (alphabetically):
C. EDWARD ANABLE
CHRISTY CALL (COVER ART)
ROBERT A. DOLLESIN
STEVEN J. MCDERMOTT
S. CRAIG RENFROE, JR.
M. BARTLEY SEIGEL
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Okay, maybe not THE favorite, but certainly ONE of the places I could just spend eternity. The other day, we visited Trinity College Library where the main attraction is the Book of Kells, but I feel like the Long Room always trumps it. And this time they had an excellent exhibit on the origins of the detective story called "The Body in the Library." Book heaven.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
DIP: From America you are, aren't you. What part?
DIP: I've been to North Carolina. Horrible, horrible place North Carolina. They have a swamp there.
DIP: I've been to New York nine times. Nine times. And Chicago. And Pittsburgh.
DIP: Have you been to San Francisco?
DIP: I want to go to San Francisco before I die. St. Patrick's cathedral. Market St.
DIP: (with increasing volume) Go to San Francisco and die. Go to San Francisco and die. Go to San Francisco and die.
(Pictured: a statue of Fungi the dolphin who plays in the harbor at Dingle. Not pictured: drunken Irish person, death, or San Francisco)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
So, I'm in Sligo. Land of Yeats. His epitaph: Cast a cold Eye/ On Life, on Death/ Horseman, pass by. Horseman, you should probably also pass by our hotel about which you should know:
- Has no hot water.
- Which makes sense since most of the rooms don't have heat.
- Each room key opens all rooms.
- The owners operate an illegal all-hours pub downstairs, where they have hen parties or at least a gaggle of girls singing Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" at 4:15 in the morning.
- They serve a nice breakfast while still cleaning up the broken glass from the bar fight from previous night.
- Traditional Irish music sessions include the "Johnny Cash" song "Hurt."
- When we tell locals where we stay, they just laugh in an odd way.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
So I am done with the semester and now preparing for the Ireland trek, much like Star Trek, but in Ireland, not the stars, and with no aliens or pointy ears, except for the faeries. Though some of the students going on the study tour are weird.
In the prep class, we teach them about the Celts. In Dora Jane Hamblin's "Once Maligned, Celts Are Now Touted as the First Europeans," we learn that they were "Wild and woolly...from their notable head and body hair." As you will no doubt remember from my bloging about it over a year ago, my family lore is that we are that genetic stew Scotch-Irish. But clearly from Hamblin's definition I must be some part Celt and if that weren't enough: "They [the woolly Celts] never went in for what the Romans called 'city eating,' that is, elaborate sauces and spices." We all know how I feel about condiments! I have found my people. And they are dead.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Heather and I discovered the other day that someone at Disney was obsessed with frightening psychedelic elephants. After she reminded me of the Winnie the Pooh dream sequence with the Heffalumps and Woozles, I instantly remembered the tramua of seeing the pink elephants on parade bit in Dumbo. This connection isn't frighteningly impressive, since apparently it was a practice to cannibalize earlier animation at Disney, but the pleasant discovery was that the Dumbo "trip" was created before the recreational release of LSD...so perhaps the creators had...what is that...what is that called? Oh, an imagination. A kid-terrifying imagination...
Friday, April 24, 2009
And, of course, lots more, including my old foe: Lee Smith.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Stories About the Eccentricities of Women
A 2009 MSR Short Fiction Anthology
Edited by S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.
ISBN 13: 978-1-59948-187-6, cover price $16.95
* * * The anticipated release date is May 18. The Advance Discount Price of $9 (+ $1 S&H) will be available until April 27. These dates are subject to change. Please note that ordering in advance entitles the buyer to a discount, but does not mean the book will be received before the release date. * * *
The book can be ordered from the Coming Soon page of the MSR Online Bookstore. Here is a link that will take you directly there: http://www.mainstreetrag.com/store/
Please note: For those who would rather not order online, may also be ordered by check or credit card directly from the publisher; however, the discount is not as much if ordered this way ($12/book--postage included). Send to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. Credit card orders, call 704-573-2516 (M-F 9am-5pm EST).
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
This is probably old news, but I'm reading Nick Hornby's collection of his columns in The Believer called The Polysyllabic Spree, which I got from the sale. Hornby quotes Gabriel Zaid's So Many Books: "the truly cultured are capable of owning thousands of unread books without losing their composure or their desire for more." Hornby goes on to add: "That's me! And you, probably! That's us! 'Thousands of unread books'! 'Truly cultured'!"
God bless them both!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
So a student for an April Fool's prank slipped in a fake assignment: A Notated Bible-o-Graphy. Sadly true to the reality of research among most students, the sources were from old reliables like Wikipedia and "google." Though, this research "detailed" the JFK assassination conspiracy involving Beowulf armed with a Hans Solo blaster. An A if ever I saw one.
Pictured the flying spaghetti monster because "It talks about the religion and it is origin."
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
So I'm rereading Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, for the third time, which is impressive for me because I so rarely reread a book. To be fair, I'm rereading this one because I'm teaching it in a class on the Western. So many books, so little time. Blah, blah. Add in the fact that I'm a slow reader...so, so very slow. And I can see just how finite my lifetime reading list really is. Which could lead some people to ask: why do you keep buying all those books then? To which I reply: stay out of my private business that I just happen to be airing in this public forum, you nosey jerks. Point being, Blood Meridian is an amazing novel, which you probably already knew because you happen to read at a faster rate than I do and have consumed David Copperfield while I was reading over this for typos. Point being, it's good to be trailing the kid and the judge again, at whatever pace.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
My poem "Dinner with Family" is up on the superb storySouth, Issue 27, an issue packed with wonders, like stories from George Singleton and Daniel Wallace. And yeah, my piece is a poem...what of it? I can write poetry. I'm very poetic. With the poetry. My only regret is that it didn't come out in April, so I could say it was in celebration of NatPoMo.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Being Gary Coleman
by Ben Tanzer
People will not find your work. Okay, they might, and they do, but mostly they won't, because there is a lot of clutter out there, waves of good to great writers, making noise and publishing, and you need to somehow rise above that clutter, if only for a moment.
So, try the following: self-absorption, saturation, compulsion, repeat.
You must love yourself and your work. Your work is a product. Like Tide, but more interesting. Your work is also an extension of you, the best you, not necessarily the most attractive you, bed head is fine, even the occasional lapses in the brushing of your otherwise pristine teeth, but your writing must rock, you must hone it, get feedback, tweak and re-tweak, and keep writing, writing, writing until you have a voice, any voice, as long as it yours.
And then you must celebrate it, like your very own Technicolor dream coat. Now, am I implying that you should think of yourself as Jesus, well Joseph? Yes of course, and Spiderman, Iman, Yoda, President Obama, Elizabeth Crane, The Ramones, Viggo Mortenson, Tom Brady, Gandolf, and even Gary Coleman if it helps. You are your brand and you must love your work. Love it so much that you want it out there because you know without question that people, some people anyway, will love it as much as you do. How do I know this? Because I do, this is how it works, even when it doesn't, see JT Leroy or James Frey.
Now saturate. And no, that is not the same as exfoliate. Well, it's kind of like that. Still, now you must blog, twitter, blog about twittering, update your Facebook status, more blogging, more twittering, get out, share links, blog about your links, make friends, shoot a video for YouTube, link to other blogs, leave comments on people's blogs, make more friends, be funny, swap books, be engaged, and available, and blog, schedule a reading, shoot another video for YouTube, twitter, Facebook, do interviews, ask people to do interviews, twitter about interviews, do more readings, blog more, be interesting, support your friends, join Goodreads, go on a virtual book tour, blog about that, and then twitter some more.
Do this compulsively.
And then repeat.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
From one of my favorite readings, I got four Dzanc books: Kyle Minor's In the Devil's Territory, Roy Kesey's All Over, Michael Czyzniejewski's Elephants in Our Bedroom, and Allison's Amend's Things that Pass for Love (technically an OV Book).
Also got my first issue of Keyhole. Plus, copies of Barry Graham's The National Virginity Pledge and Jason Jordan's Powering the Devil's Circus--two ultra-cool guys and gripping readers.
And, of course, Hobart had the best swag...what with the Jack that came in the shot glass.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
But I have been given a Rhyming Dictionary, which is pretty cool and makes me think I should become a singer/songwriter. It's syringe, infringe, and scavenge, by the way.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
You know what the worst thing about blogging is? Blogging. That's why I'm glad to have someone else do it for me. But not just anyone: Ben Tanzer, who asks only that you experience things that will change your life. He will be doing an essay on marketing writing. The guest spot will be Feb. 27th, but it's a part of his virtual book tour for his story cycle Repetition Patterns brought to you by CCLaP. Here is the full schedule:
OFFICIAL TOUR SCHEDULE:
Monday, February 16th
Format: Guest essay
Tuesday, February 17th
Wednesday, February 18th
Format: Guest essay on the inspirations behind each story
Thursday, February 19th
What To Wear During An Orange Alert
Format: "Author-to-author" interview featuring guest editor Pete Anderson (PeteLit)
Friday, February 20th
Format: Exclusive new MP3 of a story being read
Saturday, February 21st
Sunday, February 22nd
Monday, February 23rd
Tuesday, February 24th
Chicago Literary Examiner
Wednesday, February 25th
Format: Interview regarding the craft of writing
Thursday, February 26th
Format: Audio interview plus guest essay
Friday, February 27th
S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.
Format: Guest essay on artistic self-marketing
Saturday, February 28th
Format: Interview regarding the book's unusual publishing and pricing
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
You have always suspected that I'm tough. A bit of a bad-ass. I mean just look at my pic with me on the mean streets. And there was that time John Irving wanted to get into it with me. But now I have definitive proof because I'm on the ultra-cool Thuglit. My story "We Are All Bullets" is in the current issue (#29). It has it all, like paintball, Russian roulette, and a high school English teacher. That's pretty much all there is, right?
Friday, January 30, 2009
S. Craig Renfroe
Allison Eir Jenks