November 7, 2013
Since Dad said he will move
to the country, I’ll stay behind.
I love baseball mitts, the library,
Noyo Harbor fishing boats,
and the fog horn’s sad song.
I love volunteer firemen
and the town sirens, and
the clunk of Skunk trains.
I pull Paul Bunyan parades
in my wagon and hope to
become an orphan like Pip.
I offer my services on a sign:
Free Son Rental. Desires to live in town.
Plays baseball: catcher or second base,
rarely hits doubles. I hit errors real good.
Got kinda swell references from Cathi—
she says she doesn’t, but she likes me.
Never caught in bars or whorehouses.
Take correction by hand, not by belt.
I’m natural yellow haired so you know
I’m not Mexican or Injun or colored.
Reliable, of good cheer, and a wiseass.
September 5, 2012
I’m pleased to announce that my friend, Kimberly Elkins’ story: “The Awful Wondering” is now published in the Iowa Review. It’s not available online—you have to subscribe. But you can read some things in the issue here:
Here’s her bio:
KIMBERLY ELKINS’s work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Best New American Voices, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. A finalist for the National Magazine Award, she received a fellowship from the Houghton Library at Harvard for research on her novel, What Is Visible, forthcoming from Grand Central. A visiting lecturer for the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Hong Kong, she has an MFA from BU and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
June 21, 2012
Interview with a Vamp: The Paris Review and Dorothy Parker, 1956
When I read through this interview done in 1956 between The Paris Review and Dorothy Parker, I couldn’t help but wonder what Shakespeare would have thought of her wit. I imagined he’d say: “Call my director: I was wrong, we should be casting women for all those parts. Hell, if we can find any more like Parker, cast her in the men’s parts, too.”
June 12, 2011
Tim Gager, the principal of the Dire Reader Series, announces a new literary journal: Printer’s Devil Review (PDR). He’s its Editorial Consultant and he helped find authors to submit to the journal. Thomas Dobson created it along with his staff of editors. It’s is an open-access journal of stories, poems, and visual art. They aim to provide emerging writers and artists with greater access to publishing. For the reader they hope to deliver new voices and visions. The journal has all the contents downloadable on PDF files from the Website. If the story of Kate Racculia is an example, he’s met his promise to showcase good writing. I was once a printer’s devil (a printing assistant) and had my own Red Howl Press when “press” meant paper under my feet and ink under my fingernails.
April 9, 2011
Is there a lonelier task on earth than writing novels? On days when the reality I’ve invented no longer serves to fill the space in my life, I feel more than empty. And other times, compared to my imagined characters, real friends and lovers sometimes appear pale. I hung out today with four people of excellent accomplishment, talents, and wit, yet I found myself habitually going home alone and being all right with that. I often feel that only the famous and dead writers I’ve read understand how I feel, yet they are no longer a comfort to me now that I inhabit a world of my own words. Their worlds are now places in which I can no longer live, only visit. I get the impression I’ve dreamed myself into a life others envy, yet they understand only the slightest amount about the solitary place into which it exiles me. It is a weak joke to me that my main characters so often find themselves alienated and desperate to throw themselves into the life of others, yet fail to do so successfully. Perhaps that alienation is the fuel that drives me to create new work after new work. How pale is that?
April 6, 2011
This is the boat Ronan buys to flee Las Croabas after he is threatened by thieves. It’s seaworthy enough to sail along a coastline, but not enough to survive a storm at sea.
March 7, 2011
Writing is like pro football—you have to work at it until you sweat every day (and, of course, the injuries are more severe).
November 14, 2010
My fiction combines autobiography, short parables for children, history, travel writing, and poetry. It is related in this way to the Haibun form of 17th Century Japan. The Japanese poet, Bashō, known mainly for his haiku, was a writer of haibun. Haibuns may use a scene in a descriptive and objective manner or they may occupy a dream-like space. Realistic scenes may be faded into parabolic ones such as this which follows a paragraph of standard prose:
I am your mother. I give you life, I hold your life up, I give you life on your own. The last gift is the hardest to give. I caress your title page as it leaves my hand. I can’t imagine not giving you a little sister. It’s the third gift.
September 29, 2010
My story, “Late Night Waitress,” is related to my novel, Blues Pizza. It made the rough draft but got left on the cutting room floor . . . to be picked up and then recycled into its own character study. It is available in PDF form at the Wilderness House Literary Review website: http://tinyurl.com/2enhzwn
August 9, 2010
My short story, Late Night Waitress, has been accepted by Wilderness House Literary Review for September. Julia Carlson, the fiction editor, asked for a bio and said I ought to include the info about the music that relates to the story. This story evolved from a ejected chapter from my novel, Blues Pizza. I hope to publish the novel with the songs on CD so readers can listen and read. The story is built around a songwriter who’s in New York for a session gig and who also has written a song for the band in cutting the record. The actual song, Choosers, is a song I’ve written and recorded. I just put it up on YouTube.