Monday, July 31, 2006

off my ass

I'm not sure I actually remember the last time I submitted any of my work anywhere. It's been a while. The other day, though, I read a hilarious piece about Cookie Monster over at McSweeney's, and it reminded me, just a touch, of a piece I wrote a couple months ago about Winnie the Pooh. So I just emailed it off to 'em. Whether they take it or not is of little consequence (although it's a great pub and I'd love to be in it). Just seemed like it was time to put some of my work out there again.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the weekend included tie-dye, croquet, and bocce.

Friday, July 28, 2006

weekends in Seattle

I've been living back in Seattle for two months now, and I love it. I knew that I would. Poulsbo is a nice little town, but... it's just that... a nice little (pop. 8000) town. With the weekend nearly here, I'm thinking about things to do with the boys, as usual. I'd thought we might go to the beach again, but it's finally cooled off from the high 90's back down to 61 (as of right now). In Poulso, our options were movies, playing video games, church, and um... hmm... that about covers it. In the two months I've been here, here's a partial (partial because I'm sure I'll forget something) list of activities the boys and I have done:

picked two cherry trees, one with succulent, sweet, juicy cherries, one with very sour cherries that are really only good for making pies
made a cherry pie from scratch
went to the beach and built huge sand castles and caught crabs
been to about a dozen different playgrounds/parks
hiked a nature trail
got a pet rat
went bowling
went to the horse races
went to the Seattle Center and rode the rides, including the log ride and roller coaster
pet-sitted for two dogs, three cats, and two rats
went to a horse farm
had water fights
saw "Monster House"
went to a new church, but decided to keep looking because they didn't have Sunday School for grade school kids during services
played outside a LOT (this is significantly different from Poulsbo in that I lived in an apartment complex where I didn't really trust my youngest not to run off and we play at E's house in a fenced in back yard here)
went to the zoo (can't believe I almost forgot that one)

That's a pretty great list for two months, no? And we've only just barely scratched the surface of all the things there are to do in Seattle. It's so good to be back here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

did a reading last night

My favorite book store in town does an open mike reading series the last Wednesday of every month. I'd only been to one before and that was a hair over three years ago to promote SmokeLong and drum up submissions for our first issue. Amazing how the mag has grown since then. Last night, I asked E what she wanted to do and she said she was out of reading material and would I like to go to a bookstore? Funny you should mention it, sez I, I'd been thinking about going to Elliott Bay to do their open mike and promote SLQ, but I'd pretty much decided not to since we're closed for subs right now. But it would be fun, so you wanna go to that and then browse the books after? Sure, sez she.

I'd have liked to have had a teeny bit more time to prepare: take some time to select what to read, print it out, peruse it a few times to re-familiarize myself with the rhythms so that I could make more eye contact with the audience. From getting off the bus to getting to E's to getting back downtown didn't allow for much time, though, so I grabbed two print pubs I was in (both defunct now, alas) and read from those. 'Twas fun. I plugged the mag (and was surprised that the emcee actually remembered that night three years ago, even saying, "Yeah, you were here three years ago." Good memory!) and read Flicker and Pink Fuzzy Bunny Slippers. It went pretty well and it was great to be in front of an audience again (for those who don't know, my creative jones used to be filled with acting).

All of the other readers did poetry (we were a little bit late, so I may have missed one or two, and they may have done prose), so I'm not sure whether plugging the mag for subs will result in any, but it was still fun. I'm clueless about poetry, so I'm not sure how good the other readers' work was, but there were a couple I really enjoyed. Will have to do it again some time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

best news of the day

Man, I hate bumping down the poem idea already, but I'm giddy about something my favorite baseball team FINALLY did today. They designated Carl Everett for assignment! For those of you who don't follow baseball, a few brief tidbits about Carl:

1) He hates homosexuals (which probably isn't that unusual in professional sports, but he's vocal about it).
2) He doesn't believe dinosaurs existed.
3) He's a fundamentalist, if the above two didn't give it away (and this, in and of itself, doesn't bother me; it's other pieces that go along with it).
4) He nearly lost his child to the foster care system in New York because of alleged child abuse.

Those things alone would make me dislike him, of course, even vehemently. But sports fans are willing to overlook a lot of bad things about players on their team if they actually help the team on the field. C-Rex doesn't and hasn't. He has the worst stats of any designated hitter in Major League Baseball. By a LOT. We have a pitcher who is 43 years old who has marginally better hitting stats. Get the picture?

In his place, the Mariners have called up an Australian kid named Chris Snelling who is impossible not to like. He has been injured so many times and has always come back with such tenacity that one of his nicknames is Seabiscuit.

Goodbye, C-Rex. Helllllllllloooo, Doyle!

(And I'm going nuts because my favorite Mariners blog, USS Mariner is down at the moment, so I can't celebrate with my fellow hard-core stathead fans.)

my feeble attempt at a blog poem

This was sort of fun, but I didn't do as good a job as Sharon did. Here's my attempt, followed by the blogs from which the lines came:

"we just want you to be happy"

despicable characters who have a moment of redemption
will threaten to tear you in two

Enough about death for now

despite my best efforts, a lot of concentration, and several curse words,
I have never vomited over a guy before
Made from spare car and computer parts,
he'd already fulfilled his calling, but didn't know it.
They aren't actually slathered with honey.

Forgive me while I powder my nose
obsessively, while sipping Red Stripe

A photo is helpful but certainly not necessary.

Catt Poop
Katrina Denza
Myfanwy Collins
Daphne Bueter
Sharon Hurlbut
History Detective
Matt Getty
Sarcastic Fringehead
Mike Young
Stephanie Anagnoson
Theresa Boyar
Ellen Meister

Oh, in case you haven't read Sharon's post, the idea is to pull lines from blogs you like to read to assemble a poem. The order of the blogs listed at the end corresponds to the order of the lines in the poem.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

a poem

Hey, kids! Go read this post by Sharon Hurlbut. I'm not generally much into poetry, but I love what she did with lines she pulled from blogs she regularly reads (including--lucky me!--this one). If I'm feeling particularly industrious, I'll have to try constructing one myself a bit later.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Randall Brown reviews Myfanwy Collins' "Remember"

The latest review from the SLQ staff is up, and it's terrific. Check out Randall Brown's review of Remember, written by the sublime Myfanwy Collins.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I love dialogue.

Sycamore Review has two blog posts up in response to Steven's review: SmokeLong Quarterly and How Do You Classify Prose Poems? and Editorial Response: That Awesome Cow-in-the-Tree Thing. They pose the question as to whether definitions of literary forms matter and what those definitions should be, a conversation that's been going on for years, sometimes heatedly. I like a lot one bit in particular of what Rebekah Silverman, the editor, had to say: "As SR's editor, I don't really see it as my job to label work into genres: I'm fine taking an author's determination of their work's genre. I do, however, see it as my job, to push those genres by juxtaposing them, mixing them up."

Hell, yeah. Genres should be pushed and artists should be given room to color outside the lines. Which I also think is one of my great joys regarding flash: that it gives more room in its fuzziness of definition to artists to push the language in interesting ways. I've actually said this for a while now. I can even point to a quote! Whee! In Miriam Kotzin's An Essay on Flash Fiction in Per Contra, she posed a very similar question: "When asked about the relationship between prose poems and flash, Dave Clapper, editor of the excellent SmokeLong Quarterly, which publishes flash and interviews with the authors, said, 'I don't really distinguish between the two. Some flash pieces are definitely prose poems. Many aren't. Prose poetry is just one of many valid writing styles, and flash doesn't exclude any styles. I think even some straight poetry could be considered flash.'"

I encourage y'all to jump into the discussion over at SR. It's a great-looking publication with some terrific writing, and this topic presents a discussion that is almost always interesting.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

new review on SLQ

A new review by Steven Gullion is up on SLQ. Terrific review of a very, very fine story by Carla Panciera. What I like best about the review is how much it made me want to read the story, and I'm so glad that Steven found this one, because it's terrific work.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Three days ago was my 40th birthday. Beats the alternative, right? And two years ago today, I met with E for drinks, and that led to our first "date" a few days later. I'm a lucky, lucky man.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New section on SLQ

Inspired by the reviews of Fringehead, The Angler, and Storyglossia, we've started reviewing stories on SmokeLong. Index is here, and the first review is here. Look for new reviews once a week.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Top Ten Page Views for June

Interesting list. I'll be really interested to see how much this shakes up in July, once the June issue has had a full month of page views.

1. Pornography by Steve Almond (June 2005)
2. Irvin Hammers a Cat House by Mike Young (June 2005)
3. Five Fat Men in a Hot Tub by Jeff Landon (September 2005)
4. Memory of Sky by Jai Clare (June 2006)
5. How the Broken Lead the Blind Until They Both Become Something Else Entirely by Matt Bell (June 2006)
6. Daffodil by Kathy Fish (June 2006)
7. Friendship/Love by Ania Vesenny (March 2006)
8. A Foreign Woman by Roberta Allen (June 2006)
9. The Captain by Ron Currie, Jr. (June 2006)
10. Tough Act by Steven J. McDermott (June 2006)