Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Minus the Bear not available for questioning

Forget it, I'm calling it: this is the best thing ever. (Via.)

Also, anyways--

The layout is still very much in transition. (I like the idea of bringing comments onto the main page, but is that somehow a Very Bad Idea? I don't know. Also I might do something else entirely anyway in that slot of space. I have big dreams and little time. And a firm and growing desire to continue playing with Inkscape. All of which means this is likely to be a glorious mess for some time to come. Cool.)

Hey, anyways--

Am I so weird for not thinking the ending of (the movie) No Country for Old Men was so weird? Or does even saying that make me look like a huge poser? Just curious.

Good on it for its awards, anyway. And good on seein' Ol' Smilin' Cormac out there in the crowd last night. Nice to see our favorite recluses being sociable.

And good on those lovable scamps from Once, too. Yeah.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Things I find at the end of the day when I should be dreaming

Mary Doria Russell (whose A Thread of Grace I liked and whose other books I do still want to read) is giving a reading on March 13th at Joseph-Beth Booksellers for her upcoming book, Dreamers of the Day.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"Two cars parked on the overpass/Rocks hit the water like broken glass/I should have known right then it was too good to last"

Think about the numbers: 350 fiction programs. 3,000 new graduates per year. Each taking let's say four workshops, each of which requires three submissions. That's 36,000 short stories for each graduating class of writers, who have worked to convince each other that the top 1% of short stories - those that come closest to generating workshop consensus - may be published in a literary magazine. A literary magazine whose readership may largely comprise writers looking for a place to publish their short stories. "Guarded self-consciousness" starts to look like a mathematical inevitability. Perversely, then, the greatest danger to the short story may be the very institution that's sustaining it.

And, why, exactly, do we get out of bed in the morning?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lighting out for the territories

Oh yeah, in case I haven't mentioned it, I had to give up on Pynchon for the time being, because my brain broke. Somebody here's got a case of the Februaries. So now I'm reading It by Stephen King and it's Valentine's Day so even though it's so not cool for indie hipster litbloggers to read popular writers you still have to tell me you love me and wear that cute thing you wear for me and give me chocolate. Oh wait, you mean it's the 15th now? Shit-hell. Well, can we at least go halvsies on the chocolate? Or beer. Whatever.

It's not the first time I've read King this year. I started the year with Lisey's Story because it had been a while since I'd read King--since the Dark Tower series concluded, to be exact--and I was kind of curious to see what he's been up to. What he's been up to is something that is okay and all but not at all what I was looking for. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. Smucking. What I think I was looking for is what I'm finding in It. Something I can just sort of wallow away inside while the air's cold and the sun's gone. (What, me, ready for summer? Naw.)

Really about the worst thing I can say about King right now is that he's often a bit heavy-handed. Reading It and Lisey's Story does throw into stark relief the tendency I've had to trend over the last ten years to read more for style than story, which may sound good or bad but is neither. If anything I reckon it's unbalanced, which is fine, because I don't know what I'm doing yet. And that's what's good, the not knowing what I'm doing yet. Or so I keep telling myself as I face up to the fact that unless there's a drastic change of fortune in the next week, I'm never going to be a hotshot 20-something author of the moment. Damn. Damn? I guess.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Connection? You make the call!

Joel and Ethan Coen--who did the movie version of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, which said movie (though I have not read the book) I heartily endorse--are set to do the movie version of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union (which said book I have not yet read). (Via.)

(At this rate--and, pardon the self-link, but there's no way I can't spike the joke I've set myself up for--you can expect the brothers Coen to announce their movie version of Anita Diamant's The Red Tent any day now.)

I didn't know there was a trucker hat on the line

The Blog of Disquiet--brainchild of the enigmatic yet alluring, elusive yet allusive Matthew Tiffany--has been rather too calm, lately. Ana María Correa steps in to liven things up:

And it is in contradiction and paradox that Soares gets closest to the enigma of literature and the mysterious process by which amorphous thoughts become transfigured into words on a physical page.

Accuse me of whatever blogger-go-round praise you want, but that right there's one of the best sentences I've read on the Internet in some time. Yes: I wish I'd written it, myself.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Doing the unstuck

Cool. Elizabeth Crane has a new book out. She's interviewed and reviewed at Bookslut.

You Must Be This Happy To Enter is a well-crafted collection of short stories, one whose clarity of tone and theme unites each and every piece into a cohesive whole. At a time when it seems almost antediluvian to be optimistic, Crane's sincerity stands as a bewitching reminder that there is more to literature than tragedy.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Oh yeah, and by the way

There's also this thing now, for however long it lasts. Whatever it is.

Boy meets shadow

Please pardon the layout mess while your February-bound host engages in occasional scandalous acts of cabin-fever restlessness.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I am far too hungover to come up with a good headline

If you need proof that Erin O'Brien and I are not, in fact, the same person, click here.

I did not get a picture of Grant Bailie. Mostly because I didn't want him to think I'm some kind of stark raving fan-boy or anything. But I can confirm that he gives a good reading, and that he wears cool shoes. Take that for what you will.